Friday, May 28, 2010

Spectacle on 34th Street

I'd begun to form the impression that the book world was a small one. Silly me. The New England children's book world is small. But if Book Expo America was any indication, this country contains quite the universe of publishers, booksellers, librarians, and other interested parties.

I was happy to see some familiar faces, to pick up some ARCs with familiar names on the covers, and to talk with the gracious authors and illustrators of works I've admired and enjoyed. But it was also a chance to explore the new, to get a better sense of a semi-familiar publisher or discover a debut or new-to-me author, to chat with a stranger and find out that we have similar views on what a reviewer's job is or what makes a book valuable.

Beyond the chance encounters, there was the more organized chaos of the sessions. A panel on YA editors' favorite new releases gave a good sense of what's about to be out there, and I was happy to see that even if trends are definitely present (news flash: fantasy is popular lately), editors are most excited about the authors who do something new with it. A steampunk panel both clarified and raised more questions about what this genre/style/set of elements is and why it attracts us now. The Cake Boss (yeah, the sessions were varied) talked about how important food is to family and basically revealed that he's a pastry-makin' sweetheart.

Finally, a stage full of hilarious and smart guys (I believe there was a Sciezska in there? And a Kinney?) introduced Guys Read: Funny Business, making us crack up while they showed us their passion for reaching out to an often reluctant reading demographic in a way that respects that demographic. Highlight.

Back in Boston now. Ready to read/sell/review/write some books!


  1. Sounds like a fun time! I would have loved to be at the Guys Read panel - glad you got to attend.

  2. It was! You would've liked it. I also picked up an ARC of Sapphique, the sequel to Incarceron (which I haven't gotten to read yet), based on the enthusiasm I remember you expressing. If you're interested in borrowing, I'm sure we can arrange that :)

  3. So what is the point of a reviewer's job? I'm having too much fun crafting virtual essays of reviews on GoodReads. But maybe I'm doing it all wrong.

  4. The other reviewer I talked to brought up a book that used dialect in a way she disagreed with and said she'd mentioned that in the review but didn't make the review an attack on the book or the author. We agreed that a big part of a reviewer's job is to inform the review's readers of any potential problems arising from the work so those readers can make their own decisions about it.

  5. Hi, Shoshana! Thanks for your comment on our BEA round-up over at We removed the link to your blog since we only link to sites for kids, but I'm glad it led me to your blog!
    - Karen from Kidsmomo

  6. Thanks, Karen! I hope you'll stop by again. Your "Lock and Load" podcast is sitting on my mp3 player, making me look forward to my next long walk!