Welcome, 2018: Notes from Valerie's Messy Desk

Welcome, 2018! Last year was quite a year for all of us, wasn't it? We hosted wonderful events, from Kwame Alexander to Ree Drummond. We had to close during the worst of Harvey. People from all over rallied behind us and helped donate books to shelters and schools. The Astros won the World Series! (But don't ask me how many times I've had to watch the replay of Game 7.) Our holiday season went so fast that we hardly had time to breathe.

Kwame Alexander Event

And now we are on our way to another fun year. Bookworm Festival, our big picture book event for kids on February 3rd, has an A+ list of authors and illustrators. The Bookworm Committee has activities and more planned for the day. And the list of authors for Teen Book Con has also been announced. Wow! What a fabulous group.

Are you looking for a book club selection for this year? Come hear Stefan Merrill Block and Bryan Mealer next month. Read their wonderful new books, take notes at the talk, and then impress your friends with your inside knowledge! Although I can't tell you more about our big author event in April, stay tuned for next week's announcement on our website. We can't wait to talk about it.

At home, Greg and I are thrilled to say that our son Steven is engaged now to a beautiful, strong woman, Megan Horton. Megan works in the social media department at Texas Children's Hospital and is a fitness/health blogger. We can't wait until we have another Mrs. Koehler.

I've read so much lately as our evening events wound down in December and we didn't have my letter to write. I loved An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, coming out next month. Many end-of-year lists included Priestdaddy. It's laugh-out-loud funny and completely disrespectful in the best way. Try it! I was mortified and entranced by Educated, a memoir that will blow your mind. And for my monthly Appalachia fix, there is nothing better than the new Silas House novel, Southernmost, which is out this June. My latest two mysteries were Shadow of The Lions and The Woman In The Window.  I'm listening to the National Book Award-winning young adult novel Far From The Tree, a tender, funny, and hopeful look at adoption. As always, you can count on my staff for plenty more recommendations for all ages.

What are you reading?