Reader's Exchange

Which came first: the fried chicken or...?

“What was the weather like?” That’s the first question co-workers asked about New York last week (I attended Book Expo America).  Answer: “I wore my coat every day!” 

Ignoring the forecast for weeklong 70s, I packed light outerwear that made brisk walking in that unexpectedly cool, windy spell a pleasure--not that I was merely traipsing from Point A to Point B.  Most of the time I hauled armloads of books back to the hotel to stash in my luggage.  Those treasures and a 45-pound box of publisher giveaways and advance reader copies shipped from BEA will furnish prizes for grownup library customers during the "Mad About Reading" summer reading campaign.    Check our Facebook page and library homepage for details next week. 

Last summer, when we held weekly drawings for literary goodies and hosted spontaneous “Pop-Up Prize” giveaways at the reference desk, we relished seeing customers’ expressions change from puzzled to thrilled as we confirmed: “Take it--it's yours!” 

BEA called to mind another rewarding variety of takeaway—candid gems from authors whose work we cherish. 

The Library Journal-sponsored Day of Dialog in the McGraw-Hill building (50th floor, nice view of the Empire State Building) featured practical discussions: collection development, formats in transition, etc.  But DoD is most known for stellar assemblages of authors and publishers, all passionate about their upcoming releases, their enthusiasm contagious. During presentations--editors’ picks, cookbook trends, women fiction writers, key contemporary authors—noted panelists offered up choice commentary: 

Lisa Scottoline’s zingers broke up the room at frequent intervals.  She shared a favorite compliment, bestowed by a gentleman who claimed that he never bought books authored by women:  “You write like a man”. 

Scottoline, who loves to visit libraries and has done so countless times, confessed, “I’m a library ***.” 

Lengendary food writer/restaurant critic Mimi Sheraton, asked what inspired her 1000 Things to Eat Before You Die, smiled, “Well, what motivated me was making a great deal of money.” 

Lee Brian Schrager, author of Fried and True (an entire cookbook about fried chicken) corrected the notion that this delicacy is of American, specifically Southern, origin.  The true birthplace of FC:  Scotland. 

Addressing the panel’s observation that “women’s fiction” is a label while “men’s fiction” is not, Sophie Littlefield suggested this alternative:  “Fiction You Will Like”. 

Marlon James, author of A Brief History of Seven Killings, recounted anecdotes from his university teaching experience and admitted to a fascination with the 1970s: “I just wanted to put my characters in polyester.” 

Chelsea Cain, her injured leg cushioned and propped atop a chair, garnered a roomful of guffaws by announcing the title of her new thriller:  One Kick.    

Asked which women authors deserved bigger audiences, the “Women Writing Fiction” panel recommended these up-and-coming talents:

Princess Bride mug
S.J. Bolton
Victoria Schwab
Lidia Yuknavitch
Linda Castillo
Karen Witemeyer
Sarah Gran
Sarah Beth Durst
and Stephanie PerkinsThe library has books by everyone on this list.

Finally, a memorable revelation not from Day of Dialog but overheard at Javits Center in the massive queue awaiting an autograph and a moment with Cary Elwes of Princess Bride fame:  “I missed a friend’s wedding for this!” 


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