Book Expo’s opening Adult Book and Author breakfast was well-attended as usual, with Stephen and Owen King, co-authors of Sleeping Beauties (Scribner, 9/26), kicking things off. Also presenting new titles were moderator Whitney Cummings, Claire Messud, Scott Kelly, Pete Souza, and Jesmyn Ward.
The importance of booksellers was at the forefront of many of the speeches. Astronaut Scott Kelly, who broke records by spending a whole year in space, spoke about discovering Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff in a book store as a college freshman. Jesmyn Ward likewise celebrated booksellers, highlighting the independent book stores at the center of her community in Mississippi.
Otherwise, politics was the dominate theme of the remarks, as it is in the national (and online) discourse right now. With President Trump set to announce his decision about the US’s participation in the Paris Accord on climate change later today, Kelly related an anecdote about the amount of pollution he could see from space and how much visibly denser the rain forests used to be. (Yesterday he put it his way on Twitter, “My 1st space flight was in 2001, my last in 2011. I saw our planet change in one decade. This is nuts.”) Late-entry on the panel Obama photographer Pete Souza showed images from his book Obama: An Intimate Portrait (Little, Brown, 11/7) chronicling the president’s eight years in office, drawing a strong visual contrast to the current moment.
Also seen and heard in and around the convention today:
– PEN America will be presented with Book Expo’s Industry Ambassador Award today.
– Points to St. Martin’s for staking out the game-changing Number Seven subway entrance by Hudson Yards as a giveaway spot for tote bags for B.A. Paris’s forthcoming The Breakdown.
– While the super-spacious aisles and smaller crowds leave more room than usual for hanging out at the show, for reliable wi-fi and free snacks remember to see if you qualify for the American Express lounge out by the main entrance. (You’re welcome.)
– Skyhorse’s Hot Books imprint just finished crashing the book tie-in to Oliver Stone’s The Putin Interviews, which air on Showtime starting June 12 in four episodes. Promising “substantial material” beyond what will appear on air, the book publishes June 16.
– Another topical book, announced earlier this week and landing July 18, is Bloomberg Businessweek reporter Joshua Green’s Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump and the Storming of the Presidency, said to be written with Bannon’s participation, from Penguin Press.
– And speaking of politics, Trump and Putin, what was Carter Page doing registering for Book Expo yesterday?