Book Expo 2009

This weekend was Book Expo. Last time I went to the whole thing, even taking a day off from work. This year I thought one day would suffice.

I was a little late Saturday morning. The night before 1) YP and I had a our monthly photo expedition (the theme: NYC at Night), which involved sake at dinner, and 2) MB and I saw a midnight showing of Drag Me to Hell, which was good by the way! If you like those kinds of movies.

I was supposed to get to the Jacob Javits Center by 9 but didn’t make it till 10. I caught the last half of The Librarian as Digital Diva, which was pretty good. There was a guy from the Boston Public Library who talked about their work with the Internet Archive, digitally archiving their rare works, which are otherwise not easily accessible to the public (you have to go the library, make an appointment, etc.).

One librarian in the audience hadn’t heard of the Internet Archive, and kept asking, “What is it? The Internet – ” pen poised. I dunno, that kind of seems like basic knowledge for a modern-day librarian.

Next I went to Independent Editors’ Buzz, which meant free books! I was a little disappointed by the offerings – one was a fantasy novel, the other a thin mystery from a debut author – but beggars can’t be choosers I guess. Seems I missed the mainstream editors’ buzz panel, which was Thursday afternoon.

The Authors’ Luncheon made up for that though. The speakers were Ken Aueletta, Dan Pink, Lorrie Moore, and Mary Karr. Lorrie Moore (Birds of America) and Mary Karr (The Liars’ Club) are two of my favorites. It was the first time I had heard Lorrie Moore speak, and she was freaking hilarious! Her writing is very funny, and she’s the same way in person, very droll and sarcastic. Mary Karr is funny as well. Dan Pink has a book about motivation, which actually seems interesting, and Ken Aueletta has a new book called Googled: The End of the World as We Know It, and has also written one on Microsoft and Bill Gates.

The giveaways: Mary Karr’s Lit, Lorrie Moore’s new novel, A Gate at the Stairs, and Pat Conroy’s new book. He couldn’t be there for some reason.

In the afternoon I was going to go to a couple of sessions. I went to one, something about online publishing in China, but it was indredibly boring. Maybe it was because the speaker’s English wasn’t very good, but it was just painful to listen to. So I decided to look at the booths for a change, which I didn’t last time because there were so many people, it was overwhelming. This year there seemed to be fewer.

I kept seeing people standing in line for giveaways, and before I never bothered. But this time I decided to since I was skipping sessions. No luck. The giveaways were only for full-fledged librarians and booksellers. Boo!

I guess it makes a difference if you go to the whole thing. Last time I went to every single editors’ buzz panel and author breakfast/luncheon, and got lots of goodies. Going to just one day doesn’t seem to be enough.

On another note, Ronald Takaki died. He was a premiere Asian American studies scholar and historian. I remember reading several of his works in college, including Strangers from a Different Shore, which I still have. Apparently the cause of death was suicide. He had MS for many years, and according to his son, “He struggled, and then he gave up.” Sad.

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  1. […] not out till November, but I was able to get a copy when I went to Book Expo in June. I also had the opportunity to hear Karr speak, and as always she was charming and funny, a […]