Each year Melinda is lucky enough to travel to New York to attend the Annual Book Expo. This is an amazing event for book lovers, it's the pre-publication promotional expose for the new season of books. The publishers bring in their heavy hitters to promote their upcoming (or newly released) books to book sellers from all over. This is one of the main events that decides what titles end up in the local bookstore.
Part of the draw is that the publishers give copies of the books to the attendees in order to promote their titles. To a book fan the idea of cruising around a huge convention center and grabbing any book you like is equivalent to that scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory where everything from the grass to the river is totally edible! Sign me up please. In fact, let's sit under a cotton candy tree and read the next Michael Chambon book.
You're really only supposed to grab one or two books, but there are plenty of opportunities to snatch more. Each attendee of an authors speech will get a copy of the book they are promoting and once the talk is over there are generally copies left behind. The savvy attendee (Melinda and her co-conspirator Mark) casually make the rounds and snap up some extras to bring back home.
Last year, Melinda bestowed upon us a number of titles, and it was so much fun during the year to pass the Hard Back, just-released Philip Roth book and mention to the shop keeper, oh yeah, I read that ages ago.
This year, Mel was fortunate to get to hear about some exciting upcoming books from authors that we have read and loved, Ian McEwan (Atonement, Saturday) , Graham Swift (Last Orders), Alice Sebold (Lovely Bones, Lucky) , Khaled Hosseini, (The Kite Runner)**, and the legendary Hip Hop producer Russel Simmons. We had a robust discussion about how excited we are to read Hosseini's new book (which is in stores now) but some of us (Christine) have decided to wait to buy it until she knows she can read it as having it around the house would be torture. Mel said something like she wished she could have gotten some of those books.
We knew we were in for a treat tonight because when Mel arrived at Deborah's she had a sizable box. But WOW what a fun night as she pulled out book after book after book.
Here's the Ian McEwan! (claps of joy as the little hard backed On Chesil Beach was passed around.)
Here's Matrimony by Joshua Henkin. (squeal)
And The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold (stop, you're killing us)
And Tomorrow by Graham Swift
And The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta (He wrote Little Children - amazing)
And (seriously...AND!?) Land of Lincoln, Andrew Ferguson
And (oh man, I feel like a Chicago housewife who got tickets to the Oprah show on the day she's giving away tv's.) Peony In Love, Lisa See
The excitement around the table was palpable. We each stacked our new books in order, some by size, others in order of to be read. Melinda was obviously enjoying our reaction and then she bent down into the box and pulled out the Khaled Hosseini A Thousand Splendid Suns and giggled, I lied, here's a copy for you, and you , and you... (more hand clapping.)
We smartly abandoned the proposed book for the next meeting and chose our next selection from the pile. (Can you guess? A Thousand Splendid Suns - duh)
Thanks Melinda! What fun!
**Seriously people, if you haven't read the Kite Runner, please go get it, it's wonderful!