Quirky Books for Fall 2014 | ALA Annual 2014

Sally Reed, executive director of United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association (ALA) that represents the interests of advocates such as friends groups and trustees, encouraged librarians at the “Quirky Books for Quirky Librarians” panel to join her organization before introducing six authors with new or upcoming books. The authors, a few […]

Sally Reed, executive director of United for Libraries, a division of the American Library Association (ALA) that represents the interests of advocates such as friends groups and trustees, encouraged librarians at the “Quirky Books for Quirky Librarians” panel to join her organization before introducing six authors with new or upcoming books. The authors, a few of whom were bemused by the term quirky, presented titles that were a little different and that are already getting buzz in the book world. Reed explained that she was filling in as moderator for LJ‘s Prepub Alert Editor, Barbara Hoffert, who was unable to attend but who had provided introductions to the authors speaking that day.

Climo 224x300 Quirky Books for Fall 2014 |

Liz Climo

First up was Liz Climo, a cartoonist who explained that her route to her new book, The Little World of Liz Climo, had not been without its twists and turns. The author’s high school art teacher, for example, told her that her work was “too cartoony.” Still, Climo, who had grown up poring over Gary Larson’s Far Side cartoons at her grandparents’ house, persevered in drawing comics as she matured. After being rejected from a college animation and illustration program, and feeling intimidated as there were “so many great artists,” she put her dreams of being a cartoonist on the back burner. Luckily, the artist explained, “standards at The Simpsons were much lower,” and she got a job animating for the famed, long-running TV show. On the side, Climo said, she started a Tumblr blog, lizclimo.tumblr.com, and eventually got an agent and a book deal. The result of Climo’s persistence, a book of 100 existing images and 50 new ones that are “childlike but meant for an older audience,” will be published by Running Press in September.

Doughty 224x300 Quirky Books for Fall 2014 |

Caitlin Doughty

One of the authors who was puzzled by the “quirky” label was Caitlin Doughty, author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (Norton, Sept.), a memoir about working in a crematory that is one of LJ‘s BEA Editors’ Picks. Doughty thinks it’s wrong that we’ve sanitized and deritualized death, a viewpoint that caused her “an existential crisis over the word ‘quirky.’ I try to dequirkify death and make it not niche,” she explained, continuing, “I’m often asked, ‘Isn’t your job weird?’ and I think to myself, ‘Isn’t it weird that you are in denial about the fundamental human experience?’” Among the humor in the book is forthright, euphemism-free information about death and the death industry that Doughty hopes will cause readers to think about what they want for themselves when the time comes.

Holland 224x300 Quirky Books for Fall 2014 |

Jennifer Holland

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