Just about every summer the book world descends on New York for Book Expo. Occasionally it's held in another city--like Chicago in 2016 and Los Angeles in 2008--but New York is the center of North American publishing, and one of the centers of world publishing, so it makes sense to hold it there. The Amazon editors always look forward to Book Expo--although our jobs involve lots of interactions with authors and publishers, it's during Book Expo, while we're in New York, when we feel like we're really among our people. They are everywhere. Every meal, every party, and practically every moment in between promises a run-in with someone we respect and/or admire and/or like. Sometimes it's even all three.
That last sentence was a joke.
The thing about seeing so many people is that, when you write a wrap-up of the week, you end up leaving out more names than you leave in. And that's no joke. I easily could have written about a dozen other books and authors--and hopefully we will cover them in the future. So this is a very small sample of who we met and who we are talking about.
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They Called Us Enemy by George Takei
One of the highlights of the week (for us, anyway) is the Amazon editors' party. Unlike most of the other parties, which are generally hosted by specific publishers, our party is not publisher-specific. So it represents more of a cross section of what's happening in publishing during any particular year. One thrill was when George Takei walked into our party. He was nice, he was gracious, and his presence sort of rippled through the room. It was a big space, but just about everyone knew he was there. Takei is the author of a graphic novel titled They Called Us Enemy, which recounts his time as a child being held in internment camps during World War II, and a lot of people were talking about that as well.
Supreme Glamour by Mary Wilson
Speaking of people who can take over a room, Mary Wilson of the Supremes got to the party early. She was scheduled for a show later that night at the Cafe Carlyle, but you never would have known it. She was elegant and engaging, as though the Amazon party was her only obligation that night. She was also really nice, and she was super fashionable. Throughout their existence the Supremes have been at the front of fashion, and Mary Wilson is publishing a book called Supreme Glamour this fall. They were icons of the 60s, but they were fashion icons as well. The book looks gorgeous.
The Starless Sea: A Novel by Erin Morgenstern
One of the big buzz books at Book Expo was The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. She is of course the author of The Night Circus, which was a publishing sensation. It has been roughly eight years since that debut was published; I know because The Night Circus, along with Ernie Cline's Ready Player One, were both selling like gangbusters during my first year at Amazon--they sort of defined my 2011 in books at Amazon. I had met Erin Morgenstern in Seattle way back when she was on tour for The Night Circus, so it was a real pleasure to see her again at Book Expo. All of the Amazon editors are looking forward to this novel. It is at the top of the reading pile.
American Dirt: A Novel by Jeanine Cummins
Another book that people are starting to talk about is Jeanine Cummins' American Dirt. The book doesn't publish until early 2020, but keep it on your radar. It's going to be very big.
Face It by Debbie Harry
Finally, at Book Expo there was a big announcement that Debbie Harry would be releasing a memoir in October. At least for the people we talked to, it was a common and very popular topic of conversation. Debbie Harry, a.k.a. Blondie, made at least one appearance at Book Expo. That would have been fun to witness. Those who did see her were pretty excited about it. The rest of us will just have to be content with reading her memoir, which I suspect is a reasonable expectation.
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