BookExpo America was last week, May 31-June 2. It was my second experience with this annual behemoth book event, the largest book trade show in the U.S. Much like other trade shows, the exhibitors set up booths to show their new wares to attendees. Unlike other trade shows where industry participants give out small samples or literature about their products at trade shows,* the publishing industry gives away the real deal, actual books! To be more specific, they primarily give advance reader copies (ARCs) of books, or in some cases, finished copies of the forthcoming and/or hot new titles. There are some instances where only postcards, bookmarks, pamphlets, or the like are available.
This year much has been made of the frenzy that occurred after the Editor’s Buzz panel when a huge room full of people attempted to pick up ARCs of the six books the editor’s discussed. The articles I’ve read made it sound like the tumult was on the part of the attendees. Technically, I suppose it was, but the mayhem was actually created due to poor planning on the part of whoever decided to set up the books on one small table in the back of the room. People got up to get the ARCs at the end of the session, which was the point of having them available, but placing them in an area that didn’t allow for exit flow created a situation where people were forced to glob together and then promptly got stuck in a traffic jam. It was like a funnel with no opening on the narrow end. Ridiculously poor choreography. (Note to staff: next year consult a bookseller with experience handling large events.)
My Top Five
I was in that mess and look forward to reading those Big Buzz Books but want to share with you the five books that I’m most looking forward to reading. These might not be the big books of the year, but they are the five that top my list:
New Haven Noir by Amy Bloom, editor (Akashic Books, out 8/1/17). I heard about this collection of new crime stories set in New Haven last year when a friend was writing a story for the collection. I live about 20 minutes from New Haven and as a Connecticut newbie, I’ve been slowly exploring the city. I can’t wait to dig into this collection. I imagine it’ll either entice me to visit New Haven more often or keep me far, far away.
The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (And Other People’s Lives Better, Too) by Gretchen Rubin (Penguin Random House, out 9/12/17). This book is a deeper exploration into Rubin’s four personality profiles: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels, which she touches on in an earlier book. I was hoping to get an ARC of this book. I think personality categories are fun, but usually don’t put much stock in them. However, Rubin’s concepts provide fresh new insight into my behaviors that have given me much to ponder. According to Rubin’s test, I fall into the category of Rebel. It has helped me understand some of my habitual behaviors and I hope this book provides concrete advice on how to manage the more frustrating aspects of my category.
David Bowie Made Me Gay: 100 Years of LGBT Music by Darryl W. Bullock (Overlook Press, 11/21/17). This book wasn’t on my radar prior to the show, but a poster of the book’s cover pulled me into the publisher’s booth to learn more. Music was such an important part of my early life and after coming out I spent much of my late teens and 20s dancing in gay bars and bonding with friends over music, so I’m really looking forward to reading this history.
Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco (Little, Brown and Company 9/19/17). I saw some buzz about this novel prior to BookExpo and was happy to come across it at the show. Prior to holding the book in my hands, I didn’t realize it’s a young adult novel or the brain child of James Patterson, but hope springs eternal with me when it comes to finding good Dracula related stories. More often than not I’m disappointed. Fingers crossed.
Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction by Grady Hendrix (Quirk Books 9/19/17). I read a lot of horror fiction of the ’70s and ’80s in my teen years and had my eye out for an ARC of this book. I’m thrilled to have acquired one and to meet Hendrix who is the author of My Best Friend’s Exorcism and Horrorstör.
Final Book Haul
I attended BookExpo with my Book Cougars cohost, Emily. Below is a photo of all the ARCs we acquired and look forward to reading. We tried to be disciplined and take only those books we were super excited to read, rather than books that just sounded like something we might want to read someday (which might sound easy to do, but it was really, really hard because SO MANY BOOKS! And when I get tired/overwhelmed my judgement can get hazy).
A big THANK YOU to the organizers, publishers, and staff of the Javits Center for a fantastic show! To learn more about BookExpo visit bookexpoamerica.com.
*Please correct me if I’m wrong about his. To be fair, the only other industry trade show I’ve attended is Expo West, which is for the natural/organic food and product industry.