Thursday, May 26, 2011
BEA: Day 3
My day started early again with the author breakfast. Today's line-up was as good as yesterday's, if not better. Nonetheless, the room was half empty! I've attended these breakfasts since forever, and I've never seen anything like it. Anyway, the host this morning was Jim Lehrer of PBS. His next book will be about presidential debates from his perspective as a journalist and insider. It sounds quite interesting, and I was able to grab several copies of the galley. Lehrer is always a reliably good speaker, but then again, he should be.
Next up was Roger Ebert, and of course, he doesn't speak anymore. He had his computer speak for him, and commented that he's realized his life-long ambition of sounding cooler than HAL. Additionally, he had his wife, Chaz, read excerpts from his forth-coming memoir. He sort of gesticulates and emotes as others speak for him. He and his wife were really sort of adorable. (I'm hoping to post video of a lot of these breakfasts talks next week, but unfortunately, the audio is better than the picture, I'm afraid. Flip cams aren't really made for distance work. Anyway, there may be video of some of the things I'm describing eventually.)
After Roger was the Irish, Booker Prize-winning novelist Anne Enright. I've never read her, but I tend to enjoy Booker winners, so I was really interested in hearing her speak about her forthcoming novel, The Last Waltz. I was also able to snatch several galleys of this title, and I'm looking forward to reading it, but I have to admit that she wasn't a great speaker.
And finally, Erik Larson spoke about In the Garden of Beasts. He is a terrific speaker (and a not bad looking older gentleman). His talk had the feeling of being extemporaneous, as though he knew his subject matter so well inside and out that he could just speak comfortably on the subject off the top of his head. It's probably true. I was able to grab many copies of this finished hardback, and while I read little non-fiction, it does sound interesting. I may give it a read, and I will certainly be giving copies away soon.
After breakfast, I did a quick walk through of the show floor on my way to hear Jane Lynch speak. That's right, Gleeks, she's got a memoir coming out called Accidental Happiness. She got up on the stage and said something about reaching several milestones. She got married. To a lady. Because she's "a gay." Also she turned 50, bought a house, and is financially solvent for the first time in her life. How all of that translates into "write a book," I don't exactly remember, but I should have good video of this one to post later. After she spoke and answered questions, she was just signing some little cards advertising her book. They didn't even have blads there for her to sign. I certainly didn't need a signed card, but I really am a huge Gleek, and I wanted to meet her. She was lovely when she was speaking on the stage. During the signing, she kept things moving quickly, but gave everyone a moment. I told her that I always enjoy seeing her interviewed because she looks like a completely different person without her Sue (Sylvester) face on. Then she made the Sue face at me. She was very friendly.
So, the show was closing down at 3:00pm instead of 5:00 today, the final day. I certainly didn't feel the need to stay until the bitter end. I walked the floor, grabbed what galleys I could. Got several signed books. Don't ask me which ones. I never really know what I pick up at BEA until I unpack the boxes. Okay, I remember one debut novel I had signed today was Girls in White Dresses by Allison (?) Close. There were others. Oh, and John Rector, who I know from T-fest and mutual friends signed a galley of his latest.
Years ago, I made a rookie mistake at BEA. I waited until the very end of the show to take care of my shipping--and was stuck waiting in lines for several hours! Well, I never made that mistake again. Now I'm in there early, but truthfully, things were so quiet at the show, I don't think there ever were lines. Anyway, shipping was fairly painless, other than the cost. I packed up a bag of books to share with family and friends in DC next week, and ultimately I did ship three boxes of books back to California. A grand total of 121 pounds worth. They should make it back there before I do. I'm looking forward to really looking at what's in there!
I was considering hanging around til 3:00pm to swing by the opening reception for the Book Blogger Con, but I really didn't have the energy. Also, I had left my cell phone on the charger in my room, and I needed to make a call. The last thing I did before leaving BEA 2011 was swing by and listen to Jane Fonda talk for a while. You got it, another memoir. All in all it was a fine show. I made contact with several publicity folks, and as noted above, have more books than anyone could possibly read. Humpday giveaways should be interesting for a while. I'm really looking forward to the Book Blogger Con starting at o'dark hundred tomorrow. I am also hopeful that I may get to sleep in one day this weekend.
I went back to my room at the glamorous Westside YMCA (What am I, made of money?) and finalized dinner plans with my friend of 20 years, Roland, and relaxed for a couple of hours.
Theater Postscript: You thought I was out of celebrities for the day? Roland and I went to see The House of Blue Leaves with Ben Stiller, Edie Falco, and Jennifer Jason Leigh. The production received mixed reviews, but Roland and I both enjoyed it an awful lot. The play is somewhat bizarre. Reality and characters are heightened, and the plot is absurd. But the language is magnificent, and there's something very powerful and effecting about it. I have always been fond of the play. And Roland, who is a talented composer, playwright, director, and filmmaker was exactly the right person to see it with. We had a great chat as we walked out of the theater.