If you're doing what many Americans do this month, you're spending at least some of your time sitting on the beach reading a book. The "beach read" is an essential element of vacation planning, and we publishers work hard to get our books in those suitcases or on those not-quite-sand-proof ereaders. I suppose the quintessential beach read is a "trashy" novel, but for many it's just a good work of fiction, a compelling non-fiction read, or perhaps a trip back to the classics. Middlemarch, anyone?
Oh, my feet, my poor, poor feet… (Extra points to anyone who knows that’s a lyric from the 1956 musical “The Most Happy Fella”!). Which is to say, another busy day travelling around the gigantic Javits Center!One of the highlights on Thursday was the Fourth Annual BookExpo American Librarians Lunch. A room packed with, I’d estimate, about 400 to 500 people was treated to the appearance of five authors with forthcoming books, some known names, some debut authors. Lee Smith, Koethi Zan, Jayne Anne Phillips, Bill Bryson and Louise Penny spoke about what inspired their new works, did short readings, and took questions from the passionate (mostly female) community of librarians.
I saw and heard something remarkable just a few hours ago, something I'm not likely to forget until all the mechanisms of remembering are shot and I’m tucked away for good. Philip Roth celebrated his eightieth birthday in the Billy Johnson Auditorium of the Newark Museum last night with the most astonishing literary performance I’ve ever witnessed. On his birthday night, he put on a farewell performance, a great burst of writing and sly self-display—a triumphal lope around the bases, like Ted Williams did on his last day…