If you have ever seen the annual news coverage of Walmart riots the morning after Thanksgiving, as people happily trample their neighbors in order to purchase whatever it is everyone else seems to want, then you have an idea of what the annual Book Expo America is like. Replace the shoppers with booksellers and librarians, replace the loss-leader appliances with the advance copies of Michael Chabon’s new novel, Telegraph Park. You get the picture.
But seriously, for anyone who loves books, and loves selling them, BEA is a big, overwhelming orgy of geeks in all their glory. Head Geek Junot Diaz made this clear at a breakfast discussion of his upcoming collection, This is How You Lose Her, which he described as being about young men who privately identify themselves as wanting only to be someone’s boyfriend–but who can’t allow themselves the vulnerability necessary for success. Sharing the panel with Diaz were Stephen Colbert and Barbara Kingsolver, along with Jo Nesbo, which provided Colbert with his funniest joke: suggesting that Nesbo’s protagonist Harry Hole was also featured in the Fifty Shades of Gray trilogy.
Other must haves included a nifty little attache case promoting a new Lemony Snicket novel; a bevy of Top Chef cookbooks (we invited Carla Hall to come visit us in New Orleans); a slew of new Batman titles, including one by smarty-pants designer Chip Kidd; literary horror from Victor La Valle and Scott Spencer; and something new from the marvelous Zadie Smith, who was also featured at a breakfast talk (although we heard a surprising number of attendees saying “Who?”).
The bottom line is: there is some great great stuff coming our way, which means it is coming your way too. And whether you want it in print or eBook form, you can get it all at Maple Street Book Shops.