Sunday, May 31, 2015

New York, New York Reprise - Day 1

I just returned from New York City where I attended book events, both the Library Journal Day of Dialog and Book Expo America. It's my opportunity to catch up with friends, meet a few new ones, and hear about books coming out. It's fun and exciting. And, of course, I hit Broadway at night.

This year, the Day of Dialog, "A conversation among publishers, authors, and librarians", moved to the NYU Kimmel Center. Wonderful location. And, I'd never been to Chelsea, so it was fun to see a new section of the city. I met up with friends from different publishing companies (thanks for the cookies, Anne & Talia), met my editor from Library Journal, and spent the day talking with a woman from NoveList. And, then there were the books! Giveaways! I've learned to restrain myself, though, because all those books need to be shipped home, and I like to make it back with just one box to send.

Since Day of Dialog is for librarians, I'll give you a quick summary, so you know what it is. (Oh, and there is a registration fee for the all-day program, but it's worth every penny. Library Journal presents a fantastic slate of authors, editors, and books.) The first panel of the day was Editors' Picks, in which five editors discussed their top titles of the fall season. During the short break, we had the time to visit tables and pick up books. That was followed by Book Trip, in which we followed the story of one book, Bill Clegg's novel, Did You Ever Have a Family. He talked about it, along with the publicist, the editor, and the marketer for Simon & Schuster.

First Novels introduced us to six authors and their five books. We heard from Ron Childress (And West is West), Sloane Crosley (The Clasp), Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranoir (Welcome to Night Vale), Paige McKenzie (The Haunting of Sunshine Girl: Book One, and Claire Vaye Watkins (Gold Fame Citrus).

For lunch, we went to the tenth floor. Check out the view from there.

Our lunch speaker was Gretchen Rubin, author of Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives. Or, you may recognize her earlier bestseller, The Happiness Project.

Gretchen Rubin
Lunch was followed by a Town Hall Meeting led by Robin Nesbitt from Columbus Metropolitan Library (OH). It was a discussion of marketing the library, and reaching out to customers. Once Robin started calling on people by name, the discussion flowed.

The Immigrant Experience consisted of two authors who had previous books, and two debut authors. Vanessa Diffenbaugh (We Never Asked for Wings), Nadia Hashimi (When the Moon is Low), Dan-El Padilla Peralta (Undocumented: A Dominican Boy's Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League), and Patricia Park (Re Jane) were the panelists.

My favorite panel of the day was Historical Fiction, quite lively. Barbara Hoffert from Library Journal admitted some of the books weren't exactly historical fiction, but books she wanted to talk about. Geraldine Books (The Secret Chord), Gregory Maguire (After Alice), Dolen Perkins-Valdez (Balm), Adriana Trigiani (All the Stars in the Heavens), and Charles Belfoure (House of Thieves) spoke. When Trigiani referred to writing as a divine enterprise, saying "Writing is an expression of a soul", Belfoure commented that as a lifelong Republican he didn't even understand that.

Perkins-Valdez, Maguire, Brooks, Trigiani, Belfoure

The final panel was Top Thrills. Again, six authors and five books: Jennifer McMahon (The Night Sister), Lori Roy (Let Me Die in His Footsteps), Charles Todd (mother and son, A Pattern of Lies: A Bess Crawford Mystery), Kathy Reichs (Speaking in Bones), and Kate White (The Wrong Man).

There was a reception afterward, but I skipped out. Instead, I headed to my second show of the week, Les Miserables.

The night I arrived, I went to On the 20th Century. Kristin Chenoweth was excellent. The sets were gorgeous, and it is up for a Tony for Best Scenic Design in a Musical. Chenoweth is also up for a Tony. Unfortunately, I agree with the woman I sat next to on the plane returning to Nashville. Chenoweth was good; the set was gorgeous. I wasn't excited about the show itself.

It's different going to see Les Miserables, my favorite show. From BEA, I left to see Les Miserables with Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean. My favorite play, with my favorite Jean Valjean before he leaves at the end of August. I sat by a young man from Taiwan, and we talked at intermission. His English was a little clunky. He asked me why I've seen Les Miz four times on Broadway, two other times elsewhere and watched the dvd multiple times. When I answered that it was the first show I ever saw on Broadway, I loved the story, and some of the songs move me, this young man, who understood better than he spoke said, "Oh, the show is in your heart."

Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean


Jen Scott said...

It sounds like you are having a fabulous time! I love your pictures. I think I now have added New York as one of the placed I wish to visit.

Kaye Barley said...

I loved reading this, Lesa. And this "Oh, the show is in your heart" made my heart skip! LOVELY!

Cleo Coyle said...

Chiming in to agree with Kaye, "the show is in your heart" says it all! Beautiful moment. Thank you so much for sharing that, Lesa, and the excellent recap of panels at the NYU Kimmel Center. What a fine lineup of books and authors. IMO, Trigiani is wonderful, and I could not agree more with her view of writing. It is indeed a divine enterprise (or should be!), and the very reason why some stories live in our hearts.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Ever since we first saw Les Mis in London in 1986, many shows have provoked the same reaction you had to TWENTIETH CENTURY: "it was OK but it was no Les Mis."

But then, what is?

Jeff M.

Lesa said...

Wasn't that a wonderful answer from the young man? And, you're right, Jeff. Nothing is Les Mis.