On Sunday there were just two events I attended, the Book and Author Breakfast and The Crisis in American Book Pages.
Rosie O’Donnell, Alice Sebold, Ben Karlin, and Ian McEwan were the authors at the insanely early breakfast at 8 am. When my alarm went off at 6, I almost didn’t get up, but I did finally, at around 6:15. Then I thought I was going to be late, but I was surprisingly on time.
Rosie O’Donnell has a new nonfiction book, Celebrity Detox, and was very funny, as expected. She had to go right after her talk as her kids had a soccer game. I was kind of ready to hate her, but I didn’t. She was self-disparaging and acknowledged the “real” writers at the table.
I’ve never read Alice Sebold. I have The Lovely Bones sitting on my shelf, and as well now I have a bound galley of her new book, The Almost Moon, which isn’t even out yet.
Ben Karlin, a former producer for the Daily Show and Colbert Report, apparently replaced some other guy, a well-known Brazilian author. He was pretty hilarious. His new book is an anthology, Things I’ve Learned from Women Who’ve Dumped Me. Good premise.
Finally, Ian McEwan spoke, and unfortunately a lot of what he said was just a repeat from his movie from the day before. Of course everyone has sort of canned speech about their new books, but it was even more obvious because of the film. I did get a copy of his new book, On Chesil Beach. Score!
The next session, The Crisis in American Book Pages, was about the state of the book review and print media in general. The debate was interesting but I feel sort of not knowledgeable enough on this subject matter right now to go too deeply into it.
Bascially, some newspapers have been forced by their corporate owners to cut their book, art, and film departments, due to the perceived threat that the new venue for all of that is the internet, namely blogs. Everyone basically agreed that the threat is only perceived, that blogs hardly replace quality print journalism but rather supplement it.
There were several readings after this, but I felt sort of pooped out and anxious to work on my own writing. I parked it in the food court for about an hour before the fried food smell overwhelmed me. Plus the meeting rooms were for some reason ARCTIC yesterday, which caused my unpredictable hives to break out.
It wasn’t even that hot out. In fact it was quite lovely if a bit cloudy and, dare I say it, chilly! I wrote for a couple of hours in Bryant Park. During the work week, it’s a mad house, every table taken, but I guess on a Sunday, and a gray one to boot, it’s not exactly the place to go. I mean, there were plenty of people, but also plenty of empty tables.
My brain has been stirring with ideas for short pieces.