The largest book show in the US Book Expo America, was this week and I went for my annual visit amidst the throngs of librarians, booksellers, industry people, and for the last 2 years a lot of bloggers.
I afforded myself most of the day to wander around the main show floor which meant much jostling, squeezing, and nudging through the very busy aisles near the larger publishers. Traditionally people congregate around the likes of Random House, Hachette, Harper, and Penguin as they give out a whole lot of books and they change them throughout the day. There are also tons of signings in the booths.
My first stop was in the very, very long line for Justin Cronin who was signing The Twelve. It was probably the second or third longest line I've ever stood in for BEA behind Neil Gaiman a couple years back and George R.R. Martin many years back. Traditionally I try not to commit to too many lines of this sort as you do miss out on other things and I'm impatient. But given how much I enjoyed Cronin's The Passage I bite the bullet. In the end it went quicker as Stefan from the Civilian Reader met me while queuing and we chatted about books and life, as we tend to do. We also ran into Joshua Bilmes from the Jabberwocky Agency. Agent to such fantasists as Peter V. Brett, Brandon Sanderson, Jim C. Hines, and Myke Cole. In other words: the agent to people I consider stars. Cronin was quite friendly once we got to him. My main question was asking him if it would be about two years for the third volume in which he sheepishly admitted that was the plan. I got the very strong sense that he's been asked many times and felt bad about it taking so long, but I told him two years for a book this size is more than acceptable. He looked a bit relieved.
After that Stefan and I wandered a bit as you're wont to do at such things. We made our way to the Amazon booth as they were giving out a fuckton of books from all of their new imprints. While browsing we again ran into Mr. Bilmes along with Myke Cole who is a super cool guy in person. He's got the energy and excitement you want to see in a debut author. From there we met a few publicists from Amazon and Orbit. I then wanted to go to a quick signing at the Algonquin booth to get a copy of Life Among Giants by Bill Roorbach. Mission accomplished. We then wandered by the SFWA booth where Laura Anne Gilman just happened to be signing Flesh and Fire and met her agent Jennifer Jackson. Jackson reps many authors I'm a fan of like Jim Butcher, Cherie Priest, and Martha Wells.
After that I went off on my own as Stefan had three bags and really couldn't handle more, but I managed to find a few more things Jonathan Tropper's One Last Thing Before I Go, which was on my must grab list. I then went to rest my weary feet.
The second day I only got a few hours on the floor, but I got my golden goose. I tried to go to Morganstern's signing for The Night Circus, but the line was just too long. I then heard people saying the space shuttle was being towed on the Hudson to the Intrepid. I quickly ran over and snapped a couple pictures because it is really something you don't see everyday. The most common comment was "It looks smaller than I thought." Right after I learned about the death of Ray Bradbury, which did cast a shadow on the show somewhat. But more on that in another post.
After that I met Stefan at N.K. Jemison' signing for The Killing Moon. The line was long, but this time I sidled up next to Stefan. It pays to have friends at these type of shows. Soon after is when I landed my golden goose. I had heard rumors of Harper doing something with Carlos Ruiz Zafon's latest book at the show. But it wasn't anything concrete so it could have amounted to nothing, a poster, bookmarks, or a sample chapbook. But again while wandering with Stefan we walked through the Harper booth and saw a line starting, but no notice about a signing, which was odd. Usually there are only lines for signings. What's this for we asked? Someone said "Galleys of Prisoner of Heaven." Zafon's Prisoner of Heaven I asked? "Yes." And from there I dragged Stefan into line. It went rather quick and I now have in my possession of a galley that will be read within the next week most likely. Though I am tempted to re-read The Shadow of the Wind beforehand. Also not seen in the book pile for the day is Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan that got put in a bag I forgot about. The title definitely drew me and if you're curious the short story it is based on is available here for free.
Near the end of the day I met up with Liz Upson from Night Shade to say hello and share a glass of wine. After that I was spent. I skipped the third day as I had had my fill and did all the damage I could take to my legs. The post-BEA body aches had set in. But it was a rather successful couple of days. I met many people and got to debate books with Stefan, which is always better in person. And I got nearly all the books I hoped from. Now I'm going to soak my feet.
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