23 May 13 | Kaija Straumanis | Comments

As the week comes to a close, we at Open Letter Books are getting ready to join the masses of publishers, agents, authors, translators, and book people in general in for Book Expo America 2013.

In addition to getting ramped up to see familiar faces and meet new ones, we’ll be toting around a copies of a few of our forthcoming titles and plenty of shiny new catalogs to wave in your faces. And since we won’t be at a booth this year, we will instead be everywhere. In the book lines, at publishers’ booths, at snack-and-wine gatherings in the aisles, not not crashing evening parties/events/galas, in the whispers of the wind, in the rustling of exhibit floor curtains. In your free book totes and dreams.

Creepiness aside, we’ll basically be around all week and would love to see and talk to you! If you plan on being at BEA and want to catch us, shoot us an email, or check in with us on Twitter to see what we’re up to. (We may even have a few free A Thousand Morons shirts to hand out!) You can also use the same means of contact to avoid us. As an added bonus, Chad will be speaking on panels Wednesday at the Alternative and Independent Presses panel at 10:40 a.m., and Friday at the The Translator & Editor panel at 3:30 p.m.

Hope to see many of you there!
3 February 12 | Chad W. Post | Comments

From this PW piece on BookExpo America and changes to the show:

Reed is already looking to bigger changes in 2013. In a blog post yesterday Rosato discussed a move to B2C, enabling publishers to connect directly with consumers. The show would move to Thursday to Saturday with the general public invited to attend author events and go on the show floor on the final day. “Nothing is baked,” he wrote, “and we have a ton of due diligence to conduct to insure that a BEA that includes consumers, is an event that serves the industry.”

Better late than never. And just wait for the Simon & Schuster rant about how “readers don’t belong at our day of books!” I’m sure their reaction will be priceless and as confused as all get out.

23 October 08 | Chad W. Post | Comments

Even though I don’t approve of the 14-year-olds at Frankfurt who dress up in very skimpy clothes to look like their favorite manga characters and be photographer by old dudes, nor do I approve of the general lack of understanding among the great public on how to walk down hallways and up escalators, it was nice to see so many people flood the Frankfurt Book Fair clamoring for new books. So, I hope this comes true:

But while some publishers want more targeted audiences, others (and in some cases the same ones) would like to see BEA, in the words of Jacobs “broaden the show’s constituency.” If that means opening the show to the public, “I think it would be worth a try,” Jacobs says, noting the phenomenal public turnout for New York Comic-Con. Opening the show to the public, however, “is a very polarizing issue,” Muller says. “It would be a disaster,” Sabia says. “There already is enough chaos in New York.” Nevertheless, Fensterman says there will likely be a consumer component in New York next year: it will be separate from the actual convention, but held at the same time, offering publishers the chance to promote authors both to the trade and the public. Applebaum says Random has an “open mind” about the public attending. Such a move could change the complexion of the show, but that is all right with Jacobs. “I’m up for trying something new,” Jacobs says. “Any sort of radical idea should be considered,” agrees Jensen. (PW)

27 May 08 | Chad W. Post | Comments

I’m leaving tomorrow morning for BookExpo America (aka BEA, aka ABA, well, OK, ABA is more than a bit outdated, but I think some people still say this), and with E.J. in Norway things might be a little quiet around here for the next few days.

This year BEA is in L.A., which is always nice and sunny. And somewhat inconvenient, since the fair has to be split up between two halls, forcing most people to walk back and forth and back and forth all day . . . but whatever. It’s still 72 every single day. And the parties are a bit more glamorous than the ones in Chicago.

In case you’re not familiar with BEA, this is an annual gathering of booksellers, publishers, reviewers, etc. It’s a chance for publishers to show off the books they’re bringing out over the next year and to touch base with independent booksellers from across the country. And yes, there are lots of parties. Overall, a good time is had by all.

I was talking to a professor here the other day about the difference between the Modern Languages Association annual conference and BEA. MLA is so high-pressure, both in terms of interviewing and having to present papers. You have to be on your game at MLA.

On the other hand, BEA is more of a celebration for surviving another year. (And really, when talking about indie bookselling, you can’t overplay the survival aspect.) A time to re-energize, to get excited about books all over again with a few thousand of your closest friends. Oh, and did I mention the parties? (This year there’s one at the Chateau Marmont.)

But seriously, BEA is the place where National Book Award buzz starts being generated, and where dudes in costumes walk around giving free hugs. It’s occasionally over-the-top, it’s frenetic, it’s crowded—it’s all of that, but it’s also a lot of fun to see everyone again and at least have a chance to touch base and, you know, congratulate them on surviving for another year.

In addition to mingling and picking up new galleys, there are a ton of educational events, including three panels on translation. (I’m on two of them, both on Saturday. One about funding for translations, the other about marketing them. Which, from what I’ve heard, is just a bunch of hype. And speaking of the marketing one, we have a late scratch—Gregg Nations from Lost won’t be able to attend since he’s “going dark” following Thursday’s season finale, which I take to mean that the finale is going to be “game changing” . . . )

Also on Thursday, we’re having the annual Reading the World party. This year it’s being held in collaboration with Bookforum and will take place at the REDCAT Theater (631 West 2nd St.) from 6-8pm. Anyone interested in going should e-mail me at chad.post at rochester dot edu.

I’ll try my best to blog the BEA, but generally there’s not a lot of downtime. May turn into one long recap next week . . .

....
The Madmen of Benghazi
The Madmen of Benghazi by Gerard de Villiers
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

Reading a genre book—whether fantasy, science fiction, crime, thriller, etc.—which begins to seem excessively, stereotypically bad, I have to make sure to ask myself: is this parodying the flaws of the genre? Usually, this questioning takes its time coming. In. . .

Read More >

The Four Corners of Palermo
The Four Corners of Palermo by Giuseppe Di Piazza
Reviewed by Patience Haggin

The Sicilian Mafia has always been a rich subject for sensational crime fiction. The Godfather, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos worked the mob’s bloody corpses and family feuds to both entertainment and artistic value. Giuseppe di Piazza’s debut novel attempts this,. . .

Read More >

Writers
Writers by Antoine Volodine
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

Antoine Volodine’s vast project (40 plus novels) of what he calls the post-exotic remains mostly untranslated, so for many of us, understanding it remains touched with mystery, whispers from those “who know,” and guesswork. That’s not to say that, were. . .

Read More >

My Brilliant Friend
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
Reviewed by Acacia O'Connor

It hasn’t quite neared the pitch of the waiting-in-line-at-midnight Harry Potter days, but in small bookstores and reading circles of New York City, an aura has attended the novelist Elena Ferrante and her works. One part curiosity (Who is she?),. . .

Read More >

Stealth
Stealth by Sonallah Ibrahim
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

From the late 1940s to the early 1950s, Egypt was going through a period of transition. The country’s people were growing unhappy with the corruption of power in the government, which had been under British rule for decades. The Egyptians’. . .

Read More >

Miruna, a Tale
Miruna, a Tale by Bogdan Suceavă
Reviewed by Alta Ifland

Miruna is a novella written in the voice of an adult who remembers the summer he (then, seven) and his sister, Miruna (then, six) spent in the Evil Vale with their grandfather (sometimes referred to as “Grandfather,” other times as. . .

Read More >

Kamal Jann
Kamal Jann by Dominique Eddé
Reviewed by Lori Feathers

Kamal Jann by the Lebanese born author Dominique Eddé is a tale of familial and political intrigue, a murky stew of byzantine alliances, betrayals, and hostilities. It is a well-told story of revenge and, what’s more, a serious novel that. . .

Read More >