Here is a picture of what my desk looked like two weeks ago. October is the last month for people to nominate books to YALSA's Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, a committee I've been proud to serve on since 2005. In October, publishers are often in a rush to get nominated titles and possible titles for nomination to committee members so we can read them and nominate the for the list. Currently there are two very large boxes full of HarperCollins titles in the corner of my office, and a box of assorted titles by my door, and two book carts getting near the overflowing point in opposite corners of the room. (In the photo, you also see a hardcover copy of Does my Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah. That's for another project I'll address in another entry.)
If I do say so myself, being on Popular Paperbacks is the most fun you will probably ever have on any YALSA committee. Why? First off, we all love to eat. There's an unwritten rule in the committee that whoever is local to the city where various ALA conventions are being held is responsible for the procurement of food for the all-day Sunday meetings. I grew up in Chicago, so in the summer of 2005 we had Lou Malnati's pizza and Amy Joy donuts. We had Tex-Mex in San Antonio and some great Thai in Seattle. Besides the food, the committee encourages open discussion. Anyone attending ALA is welcome to come to our discussion sessions. We laugh a lot and get to discuss some really good books.
Every year, Popular Paperbacks puts together four themed lists, so when you need a list of interesting nonfiction books, or humor, or fantasy, think of us first! Usually two themes a year are repeats of popular genre lists: GLBTQ, sports, mysteries, etc. The other two are lists the committee feels are of current interest, or that might just be fun to put together. In 2006 we put together "Books That Don't Make You Blush" and for 2008 we have "Sex is a Touchy Subject" and "Magic in the Real World."
If you want to be a part of Popular Paperbacks, all you have to do is fill out a YALSA Committee and Task Force Volunteer Form. You don't need special powers or a genius IQ, just an interest in teen books and an idea of what makes for a popular title.