Yeah, so that thing I wrote in yesterday’s post about limiting the number of books I was grabbing at BookExpo? Let’s just pretend I never said that. My canvas bag was stuffed to the brim within an hour on the show floor today, and all of the books look amazing.
Top 5 ARCs (Part 2)
How to Grow Up and Rule the World by Vordak the Incomprehensible
Just reading the acknowledgments page gave me the giggles, and this book for tweens features handy illustrations and lists such as “Three ways to make a Girl Scout cry” that will surely come in handy in all manner of situations. (Hint: one of the suggestions is tell her that all three Jonas Brothers think she’s ugly.)
Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski
What if you could make a call to your teenage self? What would you tell her? That’s the premise of this YA novel that first caught my attention through a viral Twitter campaign that had YA authors and eventually regular folks tweeting their message to a younger self.
Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man’s Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut by Rob Sheffield
Ah, the 80s. Sheffield, now an editor for Rolling Stone magazine, uses the music of the 80s along with other pop culture references to frame this memoir of his teen years. Any book with chapters named after songs like Total Eclipse of the Heart and Pretty in Pink is going to appeal to me.
Fat Vampire by Adam Rex
Accidentally-undead Doug is cursed to be overweight and fifteen forever. And then he falls in love, which is torture enough for a regular high schooler let alone a fat vampire teenager. They had me at the cover art.
An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin
Yes, that Steve Martin. The actor-turned-writer’s new book “examines the glamour and subterfuge of New York’s fine art scene.” No less than Joyce Carol Oates provides a glowing endorsement in the cover blurb.
Here’s a hot new trend in publishing that I don’t mind supporting: gorgeous and charming men writing books on style and fashion. Clinton Kelly (of What Not to Wear), Tim Gunn (of Project Runway) and Nigel Barker (noted fashion photographer from America’s Next Top Model) were all on site promoting their upcoming books today.
I did hear some grumbling that people were too excited about the presence of these celebrities was overshadowing the real authors, but if it brings more attention to books in general than I don’t have any problem with it.
Adult Book and Author Breakfast Gets Frisky
The Adult Author Breakfast featured Condoleezza Rice, former US Secretary of State, John Grisham, author of bestselling legal thrillers such as The Firm and The Pelican Brief, and Mary Roach, author of quirky books like Bonk about the science of sex and Stiff about cadavers. Each author spoke eloquently and passionately about their work: Condoleezza’s emotional tribute to her parents and her own experiences growing up in segregated Birmingham were incredibly moving, as was John’s discussion of wrongful convictions and vivid imagining of how the true perpetrator might react to seeing another man executed for his own crime. Mary was the real surprise, as she displayed a wicked sense of humour while describing her research project for her latest book Packing for Mars. Who knew how complicated it would be to poop in space or the dangers of space dandruff, or that the discussion thereof would make for such good conversation over breakfast?
As moderator, The Daily Show host and author Jon Stewart was his usual wryly satirical self, and had the audience in hysterics with his quips about the state of the book industry and the city of New York, as well as mocking his own authorly abilities (“Hire a team” was his response to a question on his writing process.)
My only complaint about the otherwise wonderful session was the poorly-planned Q&A session, which went on too long and allowed certain audience members to hijack the conversation for their own agenda. I feel a rant coming on, so will write more about that topic separately.
In the end
I’m still digesting the Book Expo 2010 experience as a whole, but overall I think it was a good show. I’d love to see another day of education sessions added, as that was by far the most interesting and useful part of the event for me.
I didn’t feel the same “the book is dead” vibe as last year; there seems to be a greater acceptance that the industry is changing but there is still opportunity to write, make and sell books that an audience will enjoy and buy, whether it’s in e-book or physical format.
So I leave Book Expo will a sense of hope that the book will continue to be a valued item, and that bookstores and publishers will be inspired to innovate their practices and try to — if not totally reinvent — then at least evolve their business model into something that can endure.