Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards

For quite awhile now, I’ve been looking forward to traveling to Boston this weekend. I am a dedicated subscriber to Horn Book Magazine, and have been for years. They announced that on October 2nd they’d be having a Colloquium — The Horn Book at Simmons — with the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards the night before.

After I had such a fabulous time at the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet, I knew I had to go to this. For one thing, Rebecca Stead, the winner of the Newbery Medal, author of the brilliant When You Reach Me, was also the winner of the BGHB Award for Fiction. She gave a wonderful speech at the Newbery Banquet, and I got to meet her a couple times and she was so nice. I wanted to hear her speak some more.

But what clinched it for me was that Megan Whalen Turner was going to be speaking. She is the author of what I have to call my favorite series — the books about Eugenides, The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, and this year’s A Conspiracy of Kings (which won a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor for Fiction).

Another nice thing was that as long as I’m not working at the library, it’s easy to get weekends off. So I took today (Friday) off and my plan was to take the 11:50 flight to Boston, settle in to my hotel, and maybe even take a leisurely, lovely walk through Boston’s parks to the Horn Book-Boston Globe Awards from 5:30 to 7:30.

Well, yesterday the DC area had a ferocious rainstorm – heavy rain, with flooding. Unfortunately, that same storm decided to travel to Boston today, too. Our flight was delayed SIX HOURS. Ironically, if I had booked the 2:00 flight, I would have made it on time. But first, my flight was delayed due to weather in Boston. Then it was delayed much longer because of a mechanical problem with the air conditioning. Since that’s linked to the engine, they had to test the engine at full strength on the runway, which ended up taking hours. After that was finally resolved, they told us that the first officer wasn’t able to fly (He had to get home to a sick family member in Seattle.), and they had to find a substitute. When they found a sub, they boarded us on the plane – and then we learned that Boston wasn’t accepting flights!

In Boston I wish I wish that I had stopped at the Wolfgang Puck restaurant at the airport. But it was 7:00, and I was still toying with the idea of trying to get to the end of the awards. But by the time I took the shuttle to the subway, it was 7:30. The subway was very easy and not scary at all. (I had worried a little about taking the subway in a strange city downtown at night.) Then I walked only a couple blocks in the dark to the hotel, which also wasn’t scary because anyone out in that rain was in a hurry to get inside. My umbrella got blown inside out a couple times. I arrived at my hotel, quite soaked, at 8:00 pm. By that time, I was NOT going to set foot outside the hotel again. I even had pop-tarts from the vending machine for supper.

So, with all that waiting time, I did a lot of tweeting and reading tweets. My phone isn’t great for long messages, and I don’t like its e-mail interface, and I can’t write blog posts on it — but it’s great for tweeting. I also saw all that waiting time as a gift of reading time, so I got started rereading A Conspiracy of Kings, which I thoroughly enjoyed. (I brought it because I hope to get it signed.) That book is awesome! Like all of Megan Whalen Turner’s books, it’s even better when you read it again.

I admit, the first time I read it, I was a tiny bit disappointed — because she has set the bar so very high, and the surprise at the end wasn’t as big as the surprises in some of the earlier books. However, reading it a second time, knowing what to expect, I can really appreciate the brilliant way she develops Sophos’ character and how she gives the reader a sense of the huge choices he is facing.

In all of the books, we see that it’s not easy ruling a country. And Sophos, the heir of Sounis, must decide if he wants that kind of responsibility, and what he’s willing to do to get it. And there’s also the ever-present threat of the Medes.

Anyway, any day where I can spend several hours reading one of Megan Whalen Turner’s books is a good one! I only wish I could have landed in time to see her at the awards tonight — but the weather is supposed to be clear tomorrow, so I will not miss it!

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