My day at Book Expo America

Posted by Jeff Markowitz on Sunday, May 30, 2010
The Jacob Javits Center

has 760,000 square feet of exhibition space, and yesterday, every bit of that space was filled to overflowing with books, books of every imaginable type, from every imaginable publisher, from Abbeville Press to Zondervan, from American Girl Publishing to Zhejiang Guanbo Group.  It is a humbling experience to realize just how large and how varied is the universe of books.  And it is great good fun playing a part, however small. 

This year, I didn't arrange to do a book signing (last year, you may remember that I signed Advance Reading Copies of It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Murder).  This year, I went to browse books and chat with friends.  Tens of thousands of new titles are given away at BEA, hundreds of thousands of copies, many of them signed by the authors.  Experienced attendees brings an empty suitcase to BEA (in fact, there's a check room just for those rolling suitcases) so that, at the end of the day, they can manage their extraordinary load of books. I have participated at BEA twice before so I should know better, but this year, I decided to leave my suitcase home and to be more selective.  That, of course, was a mistake, and as the day progressed, I found myself lugging three tote bags weighted down with Advance Reading Copies.

Some folks plan their day with a specific list of new books in mind.  Me, I like to be surprised.  So what are a few of the treasures that I lugged home last night?

Hereville by Barry Deutsch, a graphic novel, the tale of "yet another troll-fighting 11 year-old Orthodox Jewish girl" scheduled for release by Amulet Books  in November 2010.

The Professor of Secrets by William Eamon, an historical tale that "explores the Renaissance era's medicine and culture through the life of the world's first celebrity doctor" is scheduled for release by National Geographic in July 2010.  Eamons's first book, Science and the Secrets of Nature: Books of Secrets in the Medieval and Early Modern Culture was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in History.

How to Grow Up and Rule the World by Vordak the Incomprehensible.  "Vordak the Incomnprehensible is a world-class Supervillain and the Evil Master of all he surveys.  His previous writing includes his half of witty repartee with various superheroes, as well as numerous ultimatums to world leaders.  This is his first book."  Scheduled for release by Egmont USA in August 2010.

Shift by Tim Kring and Dale Peck, a thriller from the creator of the TV show Heroes, that "injects history with a supernatural, hallucinogenic what-if."  Scheduled for release by Crown Publishing in September 2010.

Planet Barbecue! by Stephen Raichlen, "a live-fire tour of six continents, 60 countries, and 309 of the world's most authentic, explosively flavorful recipes ever."  From Workman Publishing.  March 2010.

Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop edited by Otto Penzler.  Penzler is the owner of the Mysterious Bookshop in NYC and is the editor of some of the finest mystery anthologies ever published.  (I recently blogged about The Lineup, which earned Penzler an Edgar last month).  "Each year, for the past 16 years, Otto Penzler has commissioned an original story by a leading mystery writer.  The requirements were that it be a mystery/crime/suspense story, that it be set during the Christmas season, and that at least some of the action must take place in The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City.  These stories were then produced as pamphlets, and given to customers of the book store as a Christmas present.  Now, all of these stories have been collected in one volume."  Coming from Vanguard Press in November 2010.

My to-be-read pile just got a lot taller.

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