Mostly odds and ends to report ... Sunday at BEA is usually an anticlimax as people begin to check out and head for the airport ... I was a bit too tired and hungover to make the Sunday's author breakfast (at 8 a.m. - who schedules these things??) so I didn't get to see Richard Ford and Monica Ali but I did make some final booth visits and got to say goodbyes to friends until next year's show.
Saturday was another night of busy partying, with the big show of the night being the annual PGW blowout at the Black Cat. Too loud for much talk but a great, lively scene - fun to watch people let their hair down a bit. The Unbridled Books party was much more along the lines of what one thinks of when one thinks of Book Parties, and it was a great opportunity to chat with their authors, including Frederick Reuss, about whose fascinating novel Mohr I've already written. It was also nice to see so many bloggers in evidence, there and elsewhere. It's hard to believe that at BEA two years ago, I still had to explain what a blog was. (Last year, too, though less often.) The question wasn't asked once this year.
But my favorite part of the weekend came Saturday evening. At my first BEA I made what I know will be a lifelong friend in a gentleman named Marc Parent. Marc works with the French house Buchet-Chastel in Paris, where he acquires foreign language literature for the French market. It's become an annual tradition that when I visit Paris, he cooks for me, and when he comes to the US, I buy him a nice, American steak. As it happened, the steakhouse I chose for this year was the same one where Macadam/Cage was holding its staff dinner party. Marc knows Macadam/Cage publishers David Poindexter and Scott Allen very well, having bought two of their titles from the French market.
We were sitting directly outside of the private room of their party, and we were invited in to join the ending. Marc and I ended up sitting with an author named Sonny Brewer, a courtly, charming independent bookstore owner from Fairhope, AL. I didn't put together that this was the same Sonny Brewer who was the subject of a recent profile in the New York Times Styles section. The conversation ranged all over the place and naturally touched on Sonny's forthcoming novel, A Sound Like Thunder, which nabbed an all-too-rare blurb from Harper Lee. I promised to stop by the Random House booth the next day and grab a copy. Which I did.
Since my bags were already packed, Sonny's book made it as carry-on for the flight home, and I read the book through in its entirety en route. It's a lovely coming-of-age story, one that will surely resonate with any lad who's had an uneasy relationship with his old man. And the best part of BEA - and why I'll go back next year - is that but for this fortuitous meeting, I would surely never have picked up this book - it simply wouldn't have hit my radar. But it has, and I'll talk more about it as its August publication date approaches.
Finally, there's loads of great coverage elsewhere, most notably at Galleycat where Ron and Sarah have been working overtime. Newsday's Aileen Jacobson also gets into the act. Inside Higher Ed looks at the university press quest for crossover appeal. And, of course, there's also good stuff at Ed's, Max's, Carolyn's, Kassia's, Wendi's, Matt's and many others ...