Rep night season is on full blast. Last week we had rep night #2, but now I'm getting all the recommendations confused with the bookseller buzz panels at GLIBA. And if I wait on writing this up past tonight, I'll start getting the recs mixed up with the rep-o-rama lunch tomorrow. So better get this started now.
First up is John M. He's wearing two hats tonight, and they've decided to have him go on twice. He's presenting Norton books first. He mentions The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda, by Ali Soufan. Soufan was an FBI special agent who might have been able to prevent 9/11 had the file he requested gotten to him before 9/12. Here's an NPR piece on the book.
Then John moved on to two books that are already in-store favorites. Jason was able to chime in for The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, while I could make a nice pitch for Diana Abu-Jaber's Birds of Paradise. And though I bought a copy of The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media, I had to confess that I still hadn't read it...though I am still a regular listener. Two weeks ago I listened to one segment three times, twice in the car and once again on the internet. It was about the history of computer hacking.
Randy was up next from Hachette Book Group, the American division of the French company that encompasses the Little, Brown and Grand Central divisions (plus kids, plus the Center Street). Grand Central (once Warner, once sort of the place that I worked many years ago) has a particularly strong line-up of commercial memoirs. This fall their self-explanatory selections include:
--Here Comes Trouble, by Michael Moore
--Seriously I'm Kidding, by Ellen DeGeneres
--Shaq Uncut, by Shaquille O'Neal
--Lady Gaga, by Gaga and Terry Richardson.
As was discussed at the presentation, Gaga's photo album could go Madonna (hit) or Prince (not so much).
From Little, Brown, there was a lot of commercial offerings, bookended by a pair of great Wisconsin novels--Chad Harbach's Art of Fielding, already out, and Ayad Akhtar's American Dervish in January.
Back to John for a report on the other publishers at Abraham Associates. From Candlewick, an interesting collection of kids specualative stories in Steampunk!, collected by Kelly Link and Calvin Grant.
I got a little excited by the third installment of Chico Bon-Bon's adventures, Monkey with a Tool Belt and the Seaside Shenanigans.
As a watcher of Top Chef, I couldn't help but by attention to Chicago winner Stepanie Izard's cookbook, Girl in the Kitchen.
The new book is about a boy with a secret--he can't read. But a teacher and fellow student come up with a plan. Oh, and the girl's name is Velveeta.
Our evening was capped by recommendations by Jason G. at Random House. I have to say the one with a G. or you might mistake him for Jason K., our buyer. Jason's got a good list this fall (shocking), including Joan Didion's Blue Nights, Craig Thompson's Habibi, and Colson Whitehead's Zone One, all of which should have been mentioned on this blog. They weren't already? But they should have been.
Into the Silence, by Wade Davis is the definitive story of the early British ascents on Everest. Davis is a climber and this book puts him in Krakauer territory. I'm told. Davis wrote that book about voodoo. What's that called again? (Consult Google.) Oh yes, The Serpent and the Rainbow.
Any other advice? Yes. If you are a wine store, you should carry Drops of God, the graphic novel from Japan by Tadashi Agi. It's the legendary wine comic that actually influences wine prices worldwide.
More after October 23!