Archive for the ‘ALA Events’ Category

Bank Street’s Mock Printz

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014


Excitement is building over who will win the ALA Youth Media Awards, to be announced in a few days at Midwinter. Librarians aren’t the only ones who will be watching their Twitter feeds. So will the thousands of kids around the country who have voted in various Mocks.

The kids at my old stomping ground, the Center for Children’s Literature Bank Street College of Education recently voted in their Mock Printz program, ably led by  Jennifer Brown, Director (look for their Mock Newbery winners in the next few days, unless the East Coast snow storm delays it).

While the Honor Book the kids chose has been on many best books lists and was a National Book Award finalist, their winner did not get recognized on the major lists we tracked (see our downloadable spreadsheet 2013 Best BooksChildrens and YA), proving once again that kids and critics often differ.

Below, Jenny reports the winners and highlights of the discussions:

The Winner

TwerpTwerp by Mark Goldblatt (Random House BYR; Listening Library).

Highlights of the students’ book discussion:

“I had never read a book set in the 1960s. It was cool to see how someone who was my age back then was going through life.”

“I liked that it included phrases you’d expect a 12-year-old would say.”

“When he admits what he did, I liked how he wrote it. The whole book he was putting it off. He was having trouble admitting it because he felt really bad.”

“I liked how he would be talking about something and then get off-topic.”

“I liked that the characters were all really different from each other.”

“I liked that there was a real sense of hard reality.”

Honor Book

9780375849725_8d093-3Far Far Away by Tom McNeal, (RH/Knopf; Listening Library)

This title came in closest with the next highest number of votes. Students commented,

“It was a mixture of a lot of genres. The mystery made me want to keep reading.”

“I like that it was told from the point of view of a ghost. I’ve never read a book like that.”

“All the characters had different personalities.”

“You can’t staple it with a genre, it has aspects of different ones.”

“It was really creative and smart.”

“I couldn’t put it down.”
“The point of view of the ghost made it special and different.”

“It was a fantasy, but the characters seemed real.”

Midwinter ’14: The Procrastinators Guide

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Midwinter 2014

It seems to always happen this way. Just as you begin to face the list of the things you put off until after the holidays, you suddenly realize that you haven’t put together your Midwinter schedule.

No worries; check the stories below for some tips on what to look for:

Midwinter ’14: Author Events

Midwinter ’14: Get Those Galleys

Midwinter ’14: LibraryReads Program

I hear a some of you grumbling (with a strong hint of envy) that you’re not going to Philly. Don’t let that get you down; do your own private walk through the aisles and avoid the crowds. Check out the authors featured on programs and in the booths (such as Penguin’s listing and the list of titles publishers will highlight during the “Spotlight on Adult Literature“). Look for egalleys of those books on Edelweiss or Netgalley (for the print inclined, email requests for copies to the library marketers; check our links on the right, under “Publisher Contacts”).

Whether you’re heading to Philly or not, you’ll get a great preview of the upcoming publishing season.

Midwinter ’14: Author Events

Friday, January 10th, 2014

We’ve already urged you to sign up for the free AAP/LibraryReads programs (two names alone should entice you — Rainbow Rowell and Ransom Riggs). We hear there are still a few spots open, but hurry, seating is limited.

The Invention of Wings - OprahAlso available —  save money by buying advance tickets for the United for Libraries’ Gala Author Tea on Mon., Jan 27. Speakers include Sue Monk Kidd, the author of the latest Oprah pick, The Invention of Wings, (Penguin/Viking; Penguin Audio; Thorndike), as well as Lisa Scottoline and Laura Lippman.

The other author programs (see ALA’s highlights) do not require advance reservations and include several big names, such as  National Book Award winner, James McBride, Silver Linings Playbook author Matthew Quick (his new book, The Good Luck of Right Now is coming from Harper on Feb. 11) and Brian Floca, author of one of the best picture books of the year, Locomotive. (S&S/Atheneum).

Midwinter ’14: Get Those Galleys

Friday, January 10th, 2014

StampedeFriday night’s Grand Opening Reception in the exhibits hall has turned into a galley stampede (please, people, have sympathy for the library marketers. They’re tired from days of stacking galleys in their booths). The same is true for the “Spotlight on Adult Literature” on Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m., when publishers feature special giveaways (a good opportunity to find out what titles the publishers hope libraries will give special attention).

You don’t have to suffer the crowds. Various publishers offer buzz sessions, opportunities to hear what the library marketers are excited about and to pick up galleys in a more relaxed setting. You could spend the entire conference in the Book Buzz Theater (we sincerely hope the listing for the first session on Saturday, at 3:30 a.m., is an error!).

NOTE: Please RSVP for the following, to help ensure they have enough galleys for the crowd.

HarperCollins Buzz — 


Saturday, January 25, 2014
10 – 11:15am
Pennsylvania Convention Center
Room 114 Lecture Hall

If you can’t attend, watch for an interactive version here on EarlyWord shortly after the show.

Random House Royal Book Brunch —

RSVP to with “Royal Book Brunch” in the subject heading.

Sunday, January 26, 2014
10:30  – 11:30am
Pennsylvania Convention Center
Room 121B

To find specific publishers on the show floor, check the interactive floor plan.

Sign up Now for ALA/AAP Events

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Several librarian favorites (e.g., Rainbow Rowell, Ransom Riggs, Wiley Cash) will appear at events sponsored by the Association of American Publishers (cosponsored this year by LibraryReads) at the upcoming Midwinter meeting. That may seem a long way off, but these limited-seating events fill up fast, so don’t put this off.

ALA Midwinter BookTalk Breakfast 2014 (AAP and LibraryReads)

Monday, January 27th from 8:30 – 10:00am
Philadelphia Convention Center, Room PCC-122 B

Official invitation here: ALA Midwinter Booktalk Breakfast 2014 Invitation

Space is limited. RSVP HERE with your interest in attending by Monday, January 13th. The AAP will send you a confirmation if they can accommodate your request. Author signings to follow the program.

9781455501762_bb289 9780802122346 9780062088253_0_Cover

9781594746123_cb57b   9781250049377_c5135

Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Living With A Wild God, (Hachette/Twelve)

Alice LaPlante, author of Circle of Wives, (Atlantic Monthly Press)

Ransom Riggs, Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Children (Quirk)

Rainbow Rowell, author of Landline (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Griffin)

Wiley Cash, author of This Dark Road to Mercy (HarperCollins/Morrow)

ALA Midwinter 2014’s Best in Debut Authors (AAP and LibraryReads)

Saturday, January 25th from 3:00 – 4:00 pm
Philadelphia Convention Center
Room PCC-108B

Official invitation here: ALA Midwinter Debut Panel 2014 Invitation

Space is limited. RSVP HERE with your interest in attending by Monday, January 13th. AAP will send you a confirmation if they can accommodate your request. Author signings to follow the program.

9781617751943   9780762452705_3c8bd

Archetype  9781612192642_ea593

Laurie Loewenstein, author of Unmentionables (Akashic)

Leah Eskin, author of Slices of Life: A Food Writer Cooks through Many a Conundrum (Perseus/Running Press)

M.D. Waters, author of Archetype (Dutton)

Rachel Cantor, author of A Highly Unlikely Scenario (Melville House)

And, while you’re at it, add this to your calendar (no requirement to sign up for this one, however):


Sunday, January 26th from 3:00-4:00 pm
Philadelphia Marriott Downtown
Room Franklin 07

Watch the librarians face off against our fearless authors in a ferocious battle, Family Feud  style. For more, including names of competing authors and librarians, click here — ALA Midwinter 2014 Library Family Feud flyer

Caldecott Winners

Monday, January 28th, 2013

To view a video of the announcements, link here. A press release listing all the Youth Media Awards is available here.

Medal Winner

This is Not My Hat , Jon Klassen, (Candlewick)

Honor Books:

Creepy CarrotsAaron Reynolds, Peter Brown, S&S Young Readers

Extra Yarn, Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen, Balzer & Bray

Green, Laura Vaccaro Seegerm, Macmillan/ Roaring Brook

One Cool Friend, Toni Buzzeo, David Small, Penguin/Dial

Sleep Like a Tiger, Mary Logue, Pamela Zagarenski, Houghton Mifflin Books for Young Readers

Newbery Winners

Monday, January 28th, 2013

To view a video of the announcements, link here. A press release listing all the Youth Media Awards is available here.

Medal Winner

One and Only IvanThe One and Only Ivan, Katherine Applegate, Patricia Castelao, HarperCollins

Honor Books:

Splendors and Glooms, Laura Amy Schlitz,  Candlewick Press

Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon,  Steve Sheinkin, Roaring Brook/Flash Point

Three Times Lucky, Sheila Turnage, Penguin/ Dial

Printz Award Winners

Monday, January 28th, 2013

To view a video of the announcements, link here. A press release listing all the Youth Media Awards is available here.

In Darkness

Medal Winner

In Darkness, Nick Lake, Macmillan/Bloomsbury; Brilliance Audio

Honor Books

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Benjamin Alire Saenz, S&S Young Readers — also winner of the Belpre Award

Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein, Disney/Hyperion

Dodger, Terry Pratchett, HarperCollins

The White Bicycle, Beverley Brenna, Red Deer Press

Procrastinator’s Guide: Midwinter 2013

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

ALA Mid 13If, like us, you are feeling panicky because the trip to Midwinter has become your default time to put your schedule together, breathe and calm down. From long experience, we’ve worked out a few easy steps that insure you won’t miss any major adult authors (children’s and YA librarians already have this down to a science):

1) Check out ALA’s rundown of author events. It’s pretty overwhelming, though, so start with the highlights. Don’t overlook the very last one — a Star Wars-themed party on Monday,  2:00-3:00 p.m  hosted by the author of the Origami Yoda series, Tom Angleberger, and the “Jedi Master of Origami,” Chris Alexander, in the Exhibit Hall (beginning at noon, vendors will have special offers and discounts).

2) Annoyingly, several noteworthy events are not included in the highlights:

Macmillan’s Talia Sherer and Sterling’s Chris Vaccari will “duke it out once again in the third episode of their award-winning Book Battle series,” on Sat., 1 to 2 p.m. in WSCC Rm 608 to 609,

The AAP’s Debut Author’s Panel on Sat., 3 to 4 pm, WSCC Rm 303, doesn’t have an audience cap, so there’s still room. (On the other hand, if you haven’t already signed up for Monday’s  AAP/LJ Breakfast, forget it. Not only is it sold out, there is also a waiting list. Check out the flyer anyway, all of those titles are worth getting to know, based on the advance buzz on GalleyChat).

The AAP’s “Library Family Feud” on Sunday from 3 to 4 , WSCC-TCC  Rm LL4 to 5, pits a “team of fabulous authors” against “Washington’s toughest librarians.” A note on the location: Finding rooms in convention centers drives us nuts and it seems the WSCC has added an extra wrinkle by ALSO having a separate building, called “The Conference Center”, which is indicated by “WSCC-TCC.” According to the map, it is across the street from the Convention Center, but accessible through the exhibits. Take note of the ominious warning on the map, “some of the room names are the same. For example WSCC-TCC 301 is not the same room as WSCC-Room 301.” Ugh. We’re packing bread crumbs.

3) The Grand Opening Reception in the exhibit hall on Friday from 5:30-7 p.m has evolved into the Big Galley Grab. If you don’t want to fight your way through the crowds, the buzz sessions are a great opportunity to nab ARC’s (some ask for RSVP’s, so if you haven’t, don’t be annoyed if there aren’t enough ARC’s available):

Saturday, Jan.  26, 10:30 to 11:45 am  HarperCollins Boom Buzz —  WSCC-TCC  Rm LL4 to 5 (see our note, above under Family Feud, about this location)

Sunday, Jan. 27, 3 to 4  pm — Penguin Book Buzz — WSCC, Rooms 608-609

Sunday, January 27, 11:30 am to 12:30 pmRandom House Book Buzz — Convention Center Annex, Room 303 Note on location: The word “Annex” worries us — this may be “The Conference Center,” which, as noted above, is a separate building, across from the Convention Center and accessible through the exhibits.

3) To help you decide what ARC’s to look for, LJ‘s indefatigable Barbara Hoffert offers her first-ever MidWinter Galley & Signing Guide (download here), which lists — Yikes! — over 250 titles. Publishers also offer other giveavways — Random Houses’ free poster, “What Will You Read After Gone Girl? should be a hit. In terms of ARC’s, here’s just a few we’ll be going after:

Andrea Camilleri’s The Dance of the Seagulls (Penguin, Feb. 26) — the latest in a series that drips with the Sicilian sun and deserves a wider audience in the U.S. (we’d like to see his character, Inspector Montalbano, become the Sicilian Commissario Guido Brunetti).

Therese Anne Fowler’s  Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald (Macmillan/St. Martin’s, March 26) — on several previews of the best books of 2013.

We’re already fans of Charles Dubow’s Indiscretion (Harper/Morrow, Feb. 5). Note: don’t even ask for an ARC of Neil Gaiman’s first novel for adults, Ocean at the End of the Lane (Harper/Morrow, June 18). It’s not available.

4) If you are looking for specific booths on the show floor, search the exhibitors here.

ALA Hot Titles

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

ALA Annual in Anaheim featured more adult authors and book buzz than any ALA in recent memory.

For those who weren’t able to attend, or those whose notes suddenly make no sense, we’ll be putting together the information as it becomes available online.

Here’s the first:

HarperCollins Fall Book Buzz

The HarperCollins Library Marketing team had a packed room for their presentation of titles from the fall list. You’ll particularly need to know about an embargoed title that is sure to make headlines in September, Listening In, by Ted Widmer, based on the tapes from JFK’s previously secret White House conversations.

The Great Nonfiction Read-Alike

From Historical True Crime to Sports Books That Will Make You Weep, this panel of readers advisory pros presented recent nonfiction that proves truth can be even more interesting than fiction; click here for the slides, with covers of the newer titles and here, for the full list, including older titles.

Amy Einhorn Profiled

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Penguin editor Amy Einhorn’s “unique ability to pinpoint the kinds of books that thousands of people want to read” is celebrated in a New York Observer profile.

Proof that her ability is unique — she was the only editor to spot the potential of Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, after it had already been rejected by 60 others. She’s had a few near-misses; she initially rejected The Postmistress, but later decided that it could work with some serious editing.

Einhorn’s big spring title is the debut, A Good American by Alex George (2/7/11; also Penguin Audio and Thorndike large print), which has been a hit among GalleyChat regulars.

If you are going to ALA Midwinter, there are several opportunities to meet the author and nab a copy of an ARC (click here for more information). UPDATE: It’s also available as an eARC on Edelweiss.

UPDATE: Procrastinators Guide: MidWinter ’11

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

UPDATE: Unfortunately, one of our favorite ALA meetings, The Collection Management in Public Libraries Discussion Group did not make it on to the conference scheduler. Below is the info — hope to see you there!

Monday, January 10. 2010
1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
San Diego Convention Center, Room 24 A
2011 Collection Management in Public Libraries
Discussion Group

Issues for the Fresh New Decade
Lively discussion at Midwinter in San Diego! We will be discussing technology, budgets, and other practical issues for collection development in public libraries.


Fellow procrastinators; MidWinter begins two weeks from tomorrow.

We need to make this easy. Below are a few steps to take right now, followed by things you can do mañana.

1) Sign up for the following free events

Take a procrastinator’s advice and do it now; space is limited.

AAP Author Breakfast
Monday, January 10, 2010
8:00 AM – 9:30 AM
Hilton Bayfront Hotel, Sapphire A Ballroom, One Park Blvd.
Veterans of the AAP events will tell you that it almost doesn’t matter who the authors are; it’s always fun and discovering new authors is the best part (plus, you’ll get Advance Readers Copies). This one features SIX, including Jacqueline Winspear, whose  A Lesson in Secrets is coming from Harper in April. It’s free, but you have to RSVP to Becca Worthington at the AAP to reserve your spot.

Publisher Title Presentations
Get  jump on the Spring/Summer seasons and an inside look at what the library marketing reps are particularly excited about, as well as a chance to load up on major galleys. Two of the largest trade houses offer title presentations:

Saturday, January 8, 2011
10:00 AM – 11:15 AM — Adult Titles
11:30 to 12:30 — Children’s Titles
San Diego Convention Center, Room 26 A/B
Please RSVP by emailing Bobby Brinson so there will be an adequate number of galleys, tote bags and goodies.

Random House, Inc.
Sunday, January 17th
Adult Titles: 11:15pm – 12:15pm
Convention Center, Room 31B
(RH is not asking for an RSVP this year)

2) Check ALA’s listing of special events. Put the ones you don’t want to miss on your schedule

Below are two that are not on ALA’s special events list:

RUSA Book and Media Awards
Sun, January 9th
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Manchester Ballrooms A&B
Celebrate the genres with the Reading List and other RUSA award announcements. Even better, enjoy cocktails with fellow RA librarians.

Gala Author Tea
Mon., Jan. 10
2-4 p.m.
Convention Center, Room 29 A-D
You’ve missed the cutoff for advance tickets, so you will want to get to the session early to try to nab an on-site ticket ($55).

3) Don’t forget to schedule meetups with friends

4) Mañana

Make a list of galleys not to miss. A prime time to pick them up is on Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m., during the Spotlight on Adult Literature (more info. in ALA’s listing of special events).

Check out these special offers and signings from adult publishers:

HarperCollins, booth 2016

Macmillan, booth 2026

OverDrive, booth 1017 — check out their new eBook Apps and presentations like, “Best Practices to Maximize Download Circulation”

Penguin Group, booth 1917

Random House, booth 1816

Wiley, booth 1541 (Sam the Cooking Guy there on Monday at 2 p.m.; giving away copies while they last) and a 20th Anniversary Dummies celebration on Saturday (dessert reception at 4 p.m.)

See you there!

Joint ALA/BEA Talks Over

Friday, October 29th, 2010

And, the decision is to not “co-locate.” Below is the official joint statement:

Many are aware that ALA has been talking with Reed Exhibitions (BookExpo America) about the possibility of co-locating the ALA Annual Conference and BookExpo America.  The American Library Association and BookExpo America are today jointly announcing that discussions regarding any co-location of the two events have been concluded.  Communication from exhibitors, attendees and association members indicated that each show is serving its constituency, and after extensive discussion, the ALA Executive Board determined that current arrangements work best at this time. Both ALA and BEA noted that the exploration had been a positive experience and that doors have been opened for other possible collaborative activities between ALA and the American Booksellers Association, the American Association of Publishers and Reed Exhibitions.

Book & LIBRARY Expo America? UPDATE

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Update: “ALA is most definitely not selling its trade show to Reed.” ALA Exec. Director Keith Fields told Library Journal, but did say, “BEA and ALA have been talking about ways in which we might work more closely together in the future.”

Initial reactions by librarians on Twitter to the idea of a combined show were positive.

Rumored for years, but intensifying in the last few months, it’s now official that Reed Exhibitions is in talks to take over both ALA shows, Annual and MidWinter, as reported by Publishers Weekly. Several years ago, Reed bought the former American Booksellers Association show, turning it in to Book Expo America. The Association continues to run educational programs in conjunction with Book Expo.

Further, the PW story says that the ALA Annual and BEA shows may be joined. PW notes the shows are “very different.” Well, there’s an understatement. BEA, of course, is dominated by publishers, while ALA floor space features library vendors, many of them technology companies.

If this comes to pass, ALA would gain much-needed revenue from the sale, librarians would have access to a wider range of big-name authors, more galleys, and would not have to choose between attending the two shows. BEA, which has been downscaled over the years, would stand a better chance of surviving. If there are losers in the deal, it’s independent booksellers, who will compete for attention with the 15 to 20 thousand librarians who regularly come to ALA.

The two shows have a different approach to choosing locations. BEA has been sticking to New York, to make the show less costly for the majority of publishers, while ALA changes venues, to make the event more accessible to a broader range of libraries. The PW story says, “If a deal is reached, Reed is believed to favor locating BEA and the ALA annual meeting in 2012 in Chicago.”

Nothing is definite yet; Reed’s only comment is that talks are in progress. Library Journal reported on the PW story, and is seeking comment from ALA.

The Best Manga You’ve Overlooked

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

What manga titles have libraries overlooked? That was the question posed to a group of panelists, including myself, at the recent ALA.

Below are my own takes, plus one mulligan, to borrow an idea from fellow panelist Brigid Alverson.

Katherine Dacey was also on the panel,  moderated by Library Journal’s graphic novel columnist Martha Cornog. At the end of this post, check out Brigid and Katherine’s commentary and lists for the full complete panel experience!

To illustrate that these titles have indeed been overlooked by libraries, I’ve included at the end of each recommendation a note on how many libraries own each one according to Worldcat — for comparison, 705 libraries own the first volume of Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto and 634 own Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira.

est em

Yaoi manga, or male/male romances written for a female audience, has the problem of containing a stereotypical triple threat: ridiculously pretty men, outrageous melodrama, and complete disregard for realism. Sometimes that’s what readers want, but if you want depth, honesty, and unvarnished romance, give est em’s work a try. Age Called Blue features brash young rock musicians trying to navigate professional opportunity and personal codependency, but this is no pop idol romance. It is about passion for music and for people, and est em gives readers an unflinching look at love between damaged, fragile people. It’s about figuring out how far is too far and why everyone’s limit is different and the betrayal you’ll forgive from a person you love. It’s about the moment when you have to let go of old fantasies and realize what you need is far simpler than what you dreamed.

est em has a strong sense of gesture and silence, and her rock ‘n’ roll men speak eloquently by trading guitar riffs as much as words. For libraries wondering about content, her works are adult but avoid full front nudity and explicit sex. est em is an intriguing, crossover creator. Her work is frequently published for gay men in Japan, and her stories strongly appeal to both men and women, gay and straight, in the US. (Owned by 6 libraries.)

Fumi Yoshinaga

Fumi Yoshinaga is well known for her titles including Antique Bakery and recent historical drama Ooku, but this series has slipped under the radar. In this series, Yoshinaga brings fresh life to the many cliches of high school dramedy manga. Here are high schoolers aspiring to be manga artists, school festivals, holiday celebrations, awkward romantic confessions, and even a clandestine teacher/student romance. Instead of manipulating all of these elements for cheap thrills, however, Yoshinaga relates these slice-of-life episodes with her trademark blend of honesty, sympathy, and wry sense of humor. In her hands, a Christmas gathering becomes an ode to good company: the music may be terrible, the food lackluster, and the decorations cheap, but if you’ve got your friends, you’re golden. Each chapter neatly sidesteps cliches by returning again and again to the characters. Yoshinaga can’t resist adding in moments of goofy hilarity, but every joke is balanced by a quiet observation. Side note: this is also one of the only manga series I’ve ever read that features an overweight character who is not present simply to provide comic relief. The Flower of Life is about high school but appeals to a wide range of teens through to adults. (Owned by 86 libraries.)

Natsume Ono

This title is one of the few recent manga out there aimed squarely at adult women, and more librarians (and foodies!) should be picking it up. As a girl Nicoletta was left in the care of grandparents by her flighty mother Olga for one logical but unfeeling reason: her mother has met a new man who says he’ll never want children. Her mother chooses a new husband over her inconvenient daughter. Now 21, Nicoletta takes off for Rome to confront her mother once and for all. Instead she’s pulled into Olga’s world: she gets an unexpected chance to rebuild her relationship with her mother and discovers a new home in her mother’s restaurant. Ristorante Paradiso, full of deliciously described cuisine and staffed entirely by older, suave gentlemen, as well as squabbles, unsolicited advice, romantic tension, and dashing mentors. Nicoletta struggles to master cooking, family, and matters of the heart, and Ono’s fluid, sketchy art suits this young woman’s coming of age tale perfectly. Ono’s work is especially appealing for readers who are seeking out the indie side of manga; her art is intentionally unpolished and wonderfully expressive. (Owned by 24 libraries.)

Naoki Urasawa

Monster and Pluto get a lot of press as the go-to titles for Naoki Urasawa, one of the best manga-ka working today writing for adults. I am an unabashed fan of Pluto (old-school sci-fi gets me every time) but 20th Century Boys is the lesser known of his works. 20th Century Boys spans twenty two volumes, with nine volumes currently out, making it the longest of his series to hit the States; perhaps libraries are reluctant to commit to the series. This is a grand shame. An ambitious epic, I’d compare it in scope and style to the TV show Lost. The story starts out as a glimpse into the lives of a group of middle school friends and shows the way their childhood dreams have alternately lingered or faded as adult reality has set in. In Urasawa’s clever hands, though, 20th Century Boys quickly morphs into a thriller with conspiracies, secret organizations, cults, terrorism, and insidious politics. Multiple timelines, memories, and points of view to create a growing sense of unease as more and more threats are revealed like the ticking of a hidden bomb. Wisely, Urasawa keeps returning to the initial theme of lost dreams, particularly looking at the power of young imaginations as a gift that needs to be reclaimed. Urasawa has a flair for investigatory dramas, and the puzzle pieces falling into place as 20th Century Boys unfold is utterly compelling. Urasawa is not full of violence or sex, elements which sometime feel like the hallmarks of men’s manga, but counts on sincere emotion, heroism among everyday people, and deft pacing to envelop the reader. (Owned by 118 libraries.)

Kazuya Minekura

My own mulligan was a hard choice — which rare and relatively unseen manga do I add to my list? I decided to go with the still (sadly) incomplete but evocative Wild Adapter from manga creator Kazuya Minekura. I almost decided to chime in with Akimi Yoshida’s Banana Fish (please do check out the ongoing roundtable discussions I’m a part of here for more information): after all, who doesn’t like epic crime drama with a strong dose of emotional intensity and frequent mexican standoffs? With six volumes currently available, however, Wild Adapter provides a lot of the same appeal for less money spent by an individual library. Minekura is famous for combining smokin’ hot bad boys and demon action into an irreverent retelling of the Chinese classic novel Journey to the West in the popular series Saiyuki and Saiyuki Reload. The dreamboat stars are a calculated draw for female readers while the vicious action and goofy humor call out to the guys. Wild Adapter balances older audience elements just as well.  Minekura mixes together all of my favorite crime story flavors: yakuza (Japanese organized crime families), shadowy experiments, amnesia, badass fights, shifting loyalties, and bursts of bitter humor. A cryptic pair of leading men, who hide as many secrets from each other as from their myriad enemies, borrow attitude and grim determination from the best seinen (men’s) manga. The relationship between the two, however, full of slowly building tension that borders on but never explicitly becomes romantic, is pure josei (women’s manga) tradition. Her artwork delineates the action and mystery just as surely as she loads a touch or a glance with meaning. Minekura has been on hiatus in order to recover from illness, but fans both in Japan and in the US eagerly await news about when the series will restart. (Owned by 45 libraries.)

Read about Brigid’s picks:

Cat’s Paradise by Yuji Iwahara (Owned by 42 libraries.)
ES: Eternal Sabbath by Fuyumi Soryo (Owned by 86 libraries.)
Suppli by Mari Okazaki (Owned by 19 libraries.)
Twin Spica by Kou Yaginuma (Owned by 44 libraries.)
And her mulligan: Me and the Devil Blues by Akira Hiramoto (Owned by 46 libraries.)

You can also check out Martha Cornog’s two picks in Brigid’s post:

Cinderalla by by Junko Mizuno (Owned by 29 libraries.)
Lady Snowblood by Kazuo Koike & Kazuo Kamimura (Owned by 144 libraries.)

Read about Katherine’s picks:

The Four Immigrants Manga by Henry Yoshitaka Kiyama (Owned by 443 libraries.)
Parasyte by Hitoshi Iwaaki (Owned by 130 libraries.)
Satsuma Gishiden by Hiroshi Hirata (Owned by 36 libraries.)
Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms by Fumyio Kouno (Owned by 206 libraries.)
And her mulligan: Phoenix: Civil War by Osamu Tezuka (Owned by 309 libraries.)