Saturday, May 29, 2010

Book Expo 2010: From the Floor (Day 2)

The second day of Book Expo was brighter than the first. There was something about the energy of the room. People seemed a little looser; I certainly was. I got Jeff Kinney to record a short video for my 9-year-old son’s class. I scored a nice pile of galleys. I accidentally met a publicist I’ve known only through e-mail and telephone calls (he looked nothing like I thought he would). I grabbed more than a few bags. And I stood next to a massive typewriter. (No, that’s not me in the picture.)

Mostly, though, while the first day felt dull, the second was all about books -- which is as it should be with Book Expo. Here are eight I'll be reading ... and possibly reviewing here at January in the coming months:

The Passage (Ballantine, June), an epic tale of a government experiment gone horribly awry, with nasty consequences for the human race. It’s the first of a three-volume tale, and in his blurb Stephen King falls all over himself to rave about it. I'm only on page 36 (it’s 700-plus pages), and I had to force myself to stop reading it to write this article.

Still Missing (St. Martin’s Press, July), a brutal story about a woman who’s abducted, the year she spends in captivity, and her escape.

Hector and the Search for Happiness (Penguin, September), an international sensation about a guy who travels the world and keeps a list of observations about the people he meets. It’s been compared to The Little Prince.

Room (Little Brown, September), about a mother and her 5-year-old son, held captive in a room -- and her efforts to make it bearable for them both. Buzz is great for this.

A Secret Kept (St. Martin’s Press, September), by the author of Sarah’s Key. It’s about a French couple whose lives are irrevocably changed when the wife reveals a secret.

Cleopatra (Little Brown, November), a biography of the Egyptian queen. Looks terrific.

An Object of Beauty (Grand Central, November), Steve Martin’s new novel about a woman who rises fast in the New York art world.

And finally, The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore (Twelve, February), about a chimpanzee named Bruno who falls in love with his caretaker, Lydia. Oh, and Bruno talks. Oh, and the book is “written” by him. Weird, I grant you, but strangely compelling.

The one truly remarkable thing about this year’s Book Expo was at the HarperCollins booth. Usually, publishers have stacks and stacks of galleys everyone rushes to grab. At HarperCollins, they put out cards instead. On one side of the card, the book’s cover. On the other, the book’s publishing info, a brief synopsis, and a link and code to use for downloading an e-copy. The future of publishing? Maybe. The future of Book Expo? I hope not. Or pretty soon, they might have to change the name of the trade show to E-Book Expo.



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