I sort of finished that shawl before I went to Baltimore for World Fantasy Convention 2018. I haven’t added the tassels (and I’m not sure I will), and I still haven’t blocked it for proper stretch and drape. I took it with me anyway and wore it more like a scarf than a shawl. Worth it. I’ll block it eventually. It would be easier if I had a guest bed to lay it on while it dries, but I’ll have to make do with my kitchen table or the floor.
My convention experience was atypical this year. I usually attend a panel nearly every hour, stalk the book swap table, and circle the dealer room more times than necessary, buying books I’ve never heard of but might be my next favorite. I don’t socialize easily, and get nervous about talking to people I don’t know. This year, I had friends at the convention who introduced me to more cool people, so I had actual conversations with strangers. I got to introduce myself as a published writer, and that made me feel more comfortable talking about writing and asking my new acquaintances what they like to write and read. I hardly attended any panels at all, and I ate out for most of my meals because the Baltimore food scene is killer (if you find yourself in Baltimore, I recommend Miss Shirley’s and Ida B’s for some delicious soul food!). And I challenged myself to only buy books I already wanted to read, leaving the book bag for surprises.
The photo on the left is the books I started with in my bag, and the photo on the right is the books I ended with after relentlessly stalking the swap table (some things never change, and the swap table is one of my favorite parts of the con).
And here’s the books I purchased:
Only five! (Considering I regularly purchase anywhere from 12 to 20, this is very restrained for me.)
My next challenge is to read as many of these books as possible before Readercon in July, where I will inevitably purchase more. I only came home with eight books from this past Readercon, and intended to read them all before Baltimore, but alas, I only got through half.
On the bookshelf in my living room, three of the five shelves are filled with my TBR pile. They were starting to go two deep, and I was starting to feel anxious every time I looked at the shelf, which is often, because you can see it from everywhere in my small living room. Over a decade of accumulating books at convention- and second-hand-store buying binges, plus free books from past World Fantasy Cons that I still think look interesting but never quite get to, has left me with a lot of books I was very excited about when I acquired, but have since experienced a waning interest in. Last year I purged my collection of books I finally admitted to myself I was never going to read. But I still had quite a lot that I just didn’t want to give up on. When I found myself paralyzed by guilt and indecision about what to read, I made a choice to pull out books I don’t particularly want to read right now or in the near future, but don’t want to get rid of because I still feel that I will want them someday. I put those books in a box, and I don’t feel bad about it. All my TBR books fit on the shelf now, and my goal is not to clear the shelf, but to keep it so everything fits.
This Thanksgiving weekend is Readsgiving. Books and pie! I am very excited about what’s on my shelf.