5.28.2009

Thursday BEA Notes & Pics

Today was the first day of BEA, the official set up day as well as a day filled with conferences, panels, and discussions about what else - books.

I first paid homage to Osprey, the military history publisher that I've consulted for, as they were very generous in getting me a badge for BEA weekend. I felt it was the least I could do to show up at the booth and help them set up for a bit. Here's John and Kerry hard at work.

Also, I helped Shirley open boxes and sort books before I headed out to attend two of the conferences in the meeting rooms the convention floor. [Shirley - I'll put the other pic up on facebook soon.]

I wanted to say hello to a few colleagues as they set up before I grabbed a bite then headed to the meeting rooms. The floor was a flutter with forklifts, people frantically opening boxes of books, and wandering eyes like myself, taking it all in.

I visited a few more booths then headed downstairs to the Red Hot EReader panel which discussed many of the new options and technologies of ereader software and devices. This was informative as I have yet to purchase an ebook/reader yet, but as of now I'm still undecided on what to get.

Then I attended the BEA Editors Buzz panel where 6 prominent editors discussed the books they were excited about. Since I was only able to nab two bound galleys I'll discuss them here.
When Alexsis Gargagliano, an Editor at Scribner, discussed the wild ride of reading this unbelievable memoir, I knew I had to grab a copy. In Alex Lemon's Happy, his life seemed unreal, the amount of things that happened to him and the many things he did to himself sounded extraordinary. I was intrigued as it is also a story of redemption and I can't wait to take the journey with the author.
If I find copies of the other books over the weekend I'll talk about them here soon. I do plan to review these two books when I'm finished with them.

I also grabbed the one graphic memoir discussed, Stitches by David Small. When Executive Editor at W.W. Norton, Robert Weil, spoke about this dream-like memoir by a multiple award-winning children's book author and illustrator, it sounded right up my alley.

I've already read 50 pages, and it reminds me of Chester Brown's I Never Liked You, another favorite of mine. It is certainly looking to be a classic graphic memoir and I see it getting loads of review attention. It is beautifully illustrated and contains hints of that warped childhood that we all can [certainly I can] identify with. [Apologies for the terrible jacket image grab, I couldn't find anything this late in the evening. Need to get that scanner.]

Later that evening I left for the Petrossian Resturant on West 58th Street, for a wonderful launch party for the U.S. release of, A Crate of Vodka.

The evening promised "a night of Russian caviar, cocktails, and conversation" with authors, Alfred Kokh and Igor Svinarenko. I had a blast, and was joined by my good friend Nancy.

The party felt more like a publishing throwback with great conversation, piano playing, and of course...vodka. I'd like to thank Robert Miller, publisher of Enigma Books, for the invite.


Generally, this is how I like to end any night...with a little drink maybe, and a good book. On this night, it happened to be a flute of vodka and reading about a reporter and a politician discuss 20 years of Russian history and politics as they work their way through 20 bottles of vodka.

And this is only day 1.


5.26.2009

B.P.R.D. Vol. 10: The Warning TPB

I read a lot of comics. I don't post reviews of all of them, and for some reason whenever I read a new B.P.R.D. book - I want to talk about it. I don't want to give away much, but I want to share that this is the type of book I feel lots of people would enjoy. And B.P.R.D. volume 10, The Warning, is no exception.

And this newest story is another wonderful addition to the B.P.R.D. library. As Abe [Sapian], [Johann] Kraus, and friends figure out that the plague of frogs has returned in a new and frightening way, they are on the hunt to find Liz Sherman, who has been kidnapped by a mysterious gentleman from her dreams.

Other ancient enemies surface as well, and this series continues to include solid storytelling and crisp characters throughout. With each adventure, I care about the them more and more, and want to follow them on their bizarre journeys.

Also, the end of the story hints at connections from one of my favorite characters from this series, Lobster Johnson, so I wait in eager anticipation to see where the next story takes me.

Lastly, I thought it worth mentioning the superb storytelling by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi. But I would be remiss if I didn't mention how much I've come to love the artwork by Guy Davis. Not only are his interpretations of the main characters moody and atmospheric but everything from military vehicles, to gigantic machine/beasts, to all the backgrounds and scenery come to life and I simply get lost in the pages.


Kudos to the good folks at Dark Horse for including the sketchbook in the back, with notes by the various creators. It really adds a bit of creative insight to the process. I don't have anything bad to say. I guess my only hesitation would be for new readers of the series to come in at this point, as it would be best to start at volume 1, and it might be difficult to pick up on all the nuances if coming in cold. That being said, many adventures await...

5.21.2009

Walking the Path

This is the type of day I like. First of all, it's only 9:30 a.m. and it is beautiful out. I'd prefer it to stay at the cool 68 degrees it is at now, but I can handle an 80 degree day. I've been home the past few days, happily editing a new manuscript about ancient warfare that has been very interesting, I'm really enjoying it.

But I am glad that I set out to get out of the house today and get into Manhattan. First, I'm heading to lunch with my friends from Osprey publishing, and I'm looking forward to catching up. From there I might hit Midtown Comics to check out yesterday's releases, and hopefully find some gifts for my godson's birthday.

From there I'll wander around, and hopefully share a drink and a few laughs with friends as the day goes by. I plan to end up in the Time Life building, where I used to work, as I've been invited to attend the Secret Identities: Asian Americans in Comics panel, which sound like a lot of fun, and I remember there sometimes being cool events like this in the building when I worked there.

I've also spent the past two weeks setting up meetings and planning to touch down with colleagues and friends at next week's Book Expo at the Javits Center. It looks to be a great show, if even a bit smaller than last year in L.A. That is fine by me, as I'll be wandering around and not working a booth this year.
I see BEA as a great networking opportunity, and I'm looking forward to meeting many new people, especially the other book review bloggers at the blogger signing event on Saturday.
And of course I'm looking forward to seeing old friends and grabbing some exciting new galleys to read!

5.15.2009

I'm Participating: BEA Blogger Signings

If you’re headed to Book Expo America this year at the Javits Center, be sure to stop by the Firebrand booth (#4077 – same as a favorite M*A*S*H* unit of mine) to see me—and many other bookish folk—at the blogger signings. In an attempt to build community, and slightly mimic author signings which are popular at the show, the good folks at Firebrand Technologies and Netgalley.com want you to check out the line up of book reviewer bloggers they’ve lined up and come say hi. Check out the new Netgalley blog below for details and a schedule.

http://followthereader.wordpress.com/2009/05/14/blogger-signing-schedule/

I’ll be at the table on Saturday at 4:00 pm, sharing with several other book bloggers (see the schedule in the link). If you’re at the show, please stop by and say hi – and support this great idea of pulling book bloggers together.


Stay tuned for more details.