Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Book Expo Chicago - A Feast for the Reader

Product DetailsBook Expo America is to a reader what the next hit must be like for an addict. And Chicago is a great American city, so much fun to visit and to dine in. My friend Maryellen was not as circumspect as I. She hauled home more than forty books while, since I was flying on to another city, remained cool at a conservative 21. But even if I read all day, every day, for the rest of the summer, I couldn't get through some of these big, fat, buzzed about books like Jonathan Safran-Foer's "Here I Am,"  or Nathan Hill's debut, "The Nix."

Product Details

Library Journal, the folks I review literary fiction for, always host the first day of BEA with a knock out cast of publishers and authors in panel discussion. Picture this. We arrive at the venue around 8 am to find that all of the big name publishers, Harper, MacMillan, Random House, as well as some wonderful small presses, have tables place on the periphery of the room. In the center is a wonderful breakfast spread and tables for eight. As we walk around, eyeing the displays, sales people are literally pushing free books into our hands.

"Do you like Dennis Lehane?" a Harper rep asks.

"Of course!" we affirm.

Product Details"Then you must read this," she says as she dishes out multiples of Michael Harvey's "Brighton," already optioned for film. It's the first hour of the first day and already my book bag is full.

Product DetailsAfter breakfast we go upstairs where LJ's Barbara Hoffert is preparing to interview Pulitzer Prize-winner and FSU professor, Robert Olen Butler, whose new novel is called "Perfume River," and is a potential choice for my first book discussion in December. I'm a sucker for anything that speaks to the divisions wrought by the Vietnam war within our country and also within our families. The synopsis sounds very personal to Butler who spoke emotionally of his time spent as a translator in the country and his love for the people he met there.

Joining him were Safran-Foer and Jay McInerney of "Bright Lights, Big City" fame, with "Bright, Precious Days," his third novel to follow the Calloway family as they strive to hold it together under what should be the everyday pressures of career, parenthood, and social climbing, but are apparently all magnified in New York City prior to the big bust of 2008.

So, what does this all mean for you dear readers? Well, imagine, all this star power and it's only lunch time. Wait til I tell you about the afternoon sessions. These hot new novels will all be coming out within the next several months and you're now in the know. I'll have lots of wonderful give-a-ways for you over the next couple of months, including some obscure but delightful little books that are floating just under the radar, so stay tuned.


Linda said...

You have me all excited! I better place some holds. Really, really enjoying Russo's book right now.

Sallyb said...

Oh, Linda, and there's so much more to be excited about. Know you'll want to get on hold for Perfume River. Sorry that the folks at WGCU say I can't use it for the radio because it doesn't take place in Florida. My review of Russo's book was starred in the May 15th issue of LJ.

Andrea said...

whoopee! I will never approach the book carnivores, but I will love trying and thanks to you, I can get the cream of the crop!