Kalamazoo Diaries #1: The First Day

Please allow me to introduce myself. I am The Berserker. You can call me Berserk for short. I am escorting Natalie, Anna, and Suzanne to Kalamazoo (or “Kzoo” as the pros call it) for the 45th annual International Congress on Medieval Studies.

The drive down to Western Michigan University was uneventful. We saw the expected amount of road kill and discarded rubber tires. Natalie fed me a rather large Hershey bar and I sang songs from some show called Glee that Natalie had never heard of before.

We arrived at the Exhibits Hall around 5:00 pm where Suzanne was waiting for us. We quickly unpacked our books and prepared our booth.

Exhausted from their efforts, the girls went back to the hotel and tucked me in so that I would be at my Berserker best for the first official day of Kzoo 2010.

And what a day it was!! So many medievalists saw me and came right over to our booth asking for books in our Readings in Medieval Cultures and Civilizations series. By noon, we had sold out of Medieval Saints: A Reader, The Annals of Flodoard (btw, no two people seem to pronounce “Flodoard” the same way), and Gregory of Tours. Anna had some Vikings cartoons prepared and they were eagerly taken from our table. We also had some Berserker buttons of me and some of my friends that we sold: Berserker Buttons for a Buck.

My new Vikings reader flew out of the booth as did another new volume, Medieval Medicine. On the other side of the booth, Suzanne was doing her annual meet and greet with her peeps, many of whom requested Finding the Right Words: Isidore’s Synonyma in Anglo-Saxon England by Claudia Di Sciacca.

We discovered that Jill N. Claster’s Sacred Violence seems to be the preferred summer beach reading for the Kzoo crowd, and we are eagerly anticipating their feedback in the fall.

Our new UTP medieval coursepacks were a hit with profs, who were heard uttering expressions like “Wow” and “Thank you for this idea!” and “Fantastic!” upon hearing the news that  our content was now available for their students in a more flexible format.

A busy day was capped off by a relaxing night at the local Indian restaurant at the Kzoo strip mall in the company of long time UTP series editor, Paul Edward Dutton. The only disappointment at dinner came when we were informed that there were no more chick peas left in the city of Kalamazoo.

Natalie and Anna are now getting me ready for bed for my second day on the job.

Kzoo 4Ever.

-The Berserker


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