Bookish Discussions

BookExpo America Recap: Part Two: The Books and Authors

Yesterday I talked about all the bloggers and bookish people I met. It truly made for an excellent experience. Another major reason for attending, besides being only an hour from my home, was to geek out over all the new books and catching glimpses of some amazing authors.

Now I didn’t have the best plan this time. I looked over all the lists of galleys being handed out and made a hopeful list of about ten books I really wanted to grab. If you’ve been to BEA, you know how the mantra of “I’m only going to grab a few” becomes something on the verge of hoarding and craziness. It’s challenging not to be swayed by all the lovely covers and pitches. I mean, we all love ALL THE BOOKS! And I know how obnoxious some of the photos of stacks can be, but here is what I ended up taking home over the three days:

books bea

That list of ten, which I didn’t entirely get, grew somewhat. Within these stacks, I picked up some for my kids, some for friends and coworkers and eight short story collections that weren’t even on my radar. (Those publishers really know how to pitch books!)

As far as author signings, I only stood in six lines and two of them were totally random. Again, being in the moment is much different than planning things out on paper. I was most excited to meet George Saunders and Jane Hamilton and I have to say they were both so nice and took time to talk to every person that came through the line. I also snapped a few pictures of other authors (per my kids’ requests) just to let them know how cool their mom is. 😉

Authors BEA 2016

L to R: George Saunders, Jane Hamilton, Amor Towles, Colson Whitehead, Adult Buzz Authors Panel, Jennifer L. Holm, Raina Telgemeier, Veronica Roth)


I didn’t attend as many author panels as I wanted (three total) because they conflicted with other things. But it was nice to sit down, rest my feet, and hear about books coming out this year.

The first one I attended was PBS Presents Women of Fiction with Robyn Carr, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Gayle Forman who has written her first book for adults called Leave Me (Sept. 6), which I picked up for my friend. All three women were so funny, intelligent and had much to say about women’s fiction. While I have never read anything by Carr or Phillips, the discussion gave me much to think about regarding Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit/ Romance. Their books tend to focus more on the issues of women, self-discovery and friendships – not just romance. Not sure if I’ll be picking up any in the near future but it truly was a fun panel.

The second panel I attended was BEA Selects-Literary Fiction. And of the three publishers (Poisoned Pen Press, Cincos Puntos Press and Coach House) I was most interested in Andre Alexis’ The Hidden Keys (Oct. 16), which I didn’t know was part of his “Quincunx” (5 books?) as well as The Coaster by Erich Wurster (Aug. 2).

I could only stay for a little bit of the Adult Author Buzz Panel and loved hearing Brit Bennett talk about The Mothers (Oct 11) and Nathan Hill discuss The Nix (Aug. 30) – two books I wasn’t able to get.

While nervously chatting with George Saunders while he signed Lincoln in the Bardo (Feb. 2017), I found out he is originally from the south suburbs of Chicago (I’m from the north burbs). Another author who I was eager to meet was Jane Hamilton as she signed The Excellent Lombards (April 19) . She was so warm and genuinely interested and when she asked what I liked to read (besides her books) I told her about my fondness for short stories. She took out her personal notecard stationary and wrote down a book she highly recommends called Night at the Fiestas by Kristin Valdez Quade. I thanked her and moved on. The next day at Book Group Speed Dating (more about that tomorrow) and just before leaving my assigned table, I noticed a book across from me that wasn’t pitched during the session. It was the book she recommended! Talk about a freaky moment. So of course, I grabbed it.

books bea 2

The books that I was fortunate to get a copy of that were on my radar were:

Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi (June 7)

The Muse – Jessi Burton (July 26)

A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles (Sept 6)

The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead (Sept. 13)

The Wonder – Emma Donoghue (Sept. 20)

Not Just Jane – Shelley Dewees (Oct. 25)

Any of these look interesting or on your TBR list this year? Now I’ll just have to cancel all my holds at the library so I can get started on a few.

Up Next: BEA Part Three : Books not on my radar, the publishers and all the bookish goodies.



5 thoughts on “BookExpo America Recap: Part Two: The Books and Authors

  1. Jane Hamilton is one of those authors I keep meaning to return to. I read The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World back in the 90s and enjoyed them both very much. How cool that you got to meet her!

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