Thursday, May 26, 2011

Book Expo America: Day Two

Day two of Book Expo America was a bit quieter than the first. The aisles weren’t as frantic -- though there’s always a sort of running of the bulls as people rush to get the galleys they crave -- and the discussions seemed a bit more... whispered. The Big Book I heard about was Wonderstruck, the new children’s illustrated novel by Brian Selznick, author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Scholastic was handing out galleys of the book, which vanished within fifteen minutes of the nine am opening (see running of the bulls, above). They also handed out commemorative totebags featuring some of the book’s amazing artwork.

The other book that made me tingle was a new Michael Ondaatje novel, The Cat’s Table (Knopf). It’s not due until fall, and there’s no dust jacket art available yet, but the book sounds amazing. Not surprising, from the author of The English Patient and Divisadero.

I leafed through the Grand Central catalog, which lists the books coming out this fall, and on virtually every other page is a book by James Patterson. It got to be a bit... much. Even one of the executives at the booth agreed. It feels as if Patterson has become a syndicated novelist, an industry all his own: all Patterson, all the time, kind of like when Seinfeld's NBC run ended and it appeared on every other channel, at any moment of the day. Of course, to celebrate one of Patterson’s many new books, A Christmas Wedding, Grand Central threw a party in the afternoon, complete with wedding cake.

Cake, in fact, was everywhere. Wiley’s Dummies series turned 20, and there were trays of large cupcakes. Yummy ones.

Celebrities were all over the place. Patterson, of couse, and Diane Keaton, Susan Orlean, Michael Moore, Rick Riordan, Charlaine Harris, Harlen Coben, and Guns N' Roses guitarist Duff McKagen, to name but a few.

The most interesting thing I discovered wasn’t a book, but a website for writers. is a new destination, a little project funded Penguin to help writers share some of their work with the public while it’s still in development. Book Country launched just a few weeks ago, and already there are more than 300 books available for reading and a few thousand readers registered. The authors aren’t known yet, but they might be soon. And there are some name-brand authors on the site, commenting on what they read. The deal is that you join for free and read three pieces of work by someone else. At that point, you’ve earned the right to post your own work -- and see what people have to say about it. You might find you’re on the right track... or the wrong one. Already, agents and editors are trolling for new books and new authors. It seems like a fun -- and potentially illuminating -- place for would-be authors.

Book Expo’s last day is today, but I won’t get there. I’m simply too exhausted. But in about a year, I’ll be at Book Expo again, prepping for a run with the bulls, racing to get the galleys everyone will be talking about. And you’ll hear all about it.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home