Tuesday, June 5, 2012

BookExpo America: A Carnival of Eros, and I Don't Care Who Knows It

What I brought back from BEA on my bike
Just got back from my first day of 2012 BEA.  If I were more of a player in the publishing scene I would be at a slew of parties right now like my friend at Booklist, but alas, I'm a lowly librarian.  I always think the vendors like the booksellers and bloggers more than the do me, someone who might just be ordering one copy of their book.  

But the fact that I'm a librarian gets me in and I get a discount, so I take full advantage.  This year I did what I always do, circulate among the booths and pick up catalogs for collection development, pick up advanced readers copies (YA I give to Z's teachers).  I stand in line for book signings.  Today I got Carol Miller to sign her memoir Up All Night.  I had Francine Prose sign her new YA novel, and for Lara, I got Tracy K. Smith--the Pulitzer Prize winning poet--to sign her collection Life on Mars.  (Lara, I'll put in it the mail next week, unless you really hate Tracy K. Smith.)  One of the things I love about BEA is that I discover stuff I didn't know would be there:  like today, I rounded a corner and whoa, there's Tracy K. Smith signing without a line.  (Last year, this happened to me with the poet, Kay Ryan.)

Another thing I love at BEA is that the top of the heap--literary prize winners, university presses, behemoth houses--rubs shoulders with the liminal residers of the book world:  wacky independent publishers,  and the most marginal self-publishing types.  (Also, Scientology Publications and romance powerhouse Harlequin are perennials.)  Case in point:  adjacent to Francine Prose's signing booth was this dude Darab Lawyer (co-author--Clinton Libby) hawking his new age thriller Sun of Apollo.  (He was literally begging people to take his free book, but I couldn't carry anything more.)

The fact that writers were meeting readers, that books were finding an audience in this bland really hard -to-get-to convention center was deeply touching and very exciting to me.  And that's why my post has this decidedly corny title.  (Don't worry--it won't be the title of my self-published book.)

Sad to miss:  Angie Bowie (David's ex)--didn't see her on the schedule I looked at, but apparently she was there.  This is her forthcoming book.

Tomorrow:  I have a full agenda including:  Ann Beattie, Patti Smith chatting with Neil Young, Lois Lowry, Richard Ford

Had to take off during "The Ongoing Evolution of YA Fiction" panel 
Legendary NYC DJ Carol Miller signs her memoir Up All Night
Legendary scribe Barbara Kingsolver explains the Pen/Bellwether Prize she bestows


  1. oh, wow! i'm so thrilled, julie, though not thrilled that there's no line for two pulitzer prize winning poets. coincidence or commentary on the status of poets in the publishing world? i've only read a few of smith's poems. looking forward to delving more deeply. thank you for thinking of me!

    1. Forgot to mention I had her sign it to you. Yeah!

    2. Yes, it's always sad to see the literary poets with short lines. :-(

  2. your great post makes me regret not going this year!