For a bibliophile, the tradeshow floor of BookExpo of America (BEA) is a maze of wonderment waiting to be discovered, an inviting mega-bookstore…on steroids. Row after row of glossy-covered paperbacks and hardbacks wait patiently for attendees to examine them: lift them off the shelf, feel the heft in their hands, read the back cover, crack open to whatever fateful page happens to be calling, and give a paragraph or two a read.
One of my favorite parts of BEA each year is the time I spend mingling among the publishers’ displays, on a mission to nowhere in particular but instead to wherever my inspired heart decides to take me. What new book will I discover next? The mystery of the answer gives half the pleasure.
Here are three of the many titles that caught my eye at BEA this year.
I love the idea of a cookbook that contains recipes as well as a sassy narrative, but maybe that’s because I love memoirs as much as I love food. The Crabby Cook, by movie actress, singer, and children’s book author Jessica Harper, focuses on the theme of feeding a family of eaters with tastes so individual that they could drive a mom crazy. The result is a compendium of comfort-food recipes that children will be happy with, but with a twist to keep the adults interested too. Entrees include Gobble-It-Up Turkey Chili, Sorta Mac ’n Cheese, Healthy Shmealthy Muffins, and Lazy Ass Minestrone. Ingredient lists are simple; cooking steps are well within the realm of manageable. Sounds great to a busy mom like me.
Patti Digh has done it again. After her inspiring book Life is a Verb, based on her blog 37days.com, which was inspired by her stepfather’s death by lung cancer a mere 37 days after diagnosis, Digh gives us more thought-provoking and inspiring essays to ponder. Essays in Creative Is a Verb include “Put Down Your Clever,” “See the Pencil,” and “Throw More Pots” and are followed by exercises to help the reader unleash his or her creativity. More beautiful artwork from Digh’s blog followers graces the pages too, lending creative inspiration of their own.
Just when you thought they couldn’t possibly come up with another good idea for a travel book, Museyon Guides has. From Hitchcock’s London to Italy’s Cinecittà Studios, movie aficionados get taken in Film+Travel: Europe on a journey where celluloid meets pavement, where imagination and reality intermingle. Film enthusiasts and armchair travelers alike may never have to leave home to enjoy this part-travel guide, part film-history book, which takes readers through the landscape of Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, The United Kingdom, Scandinavia, and Russia—through the lens of film. Those who enjoy Film+Travel Europe may also want to check out the other books in the series: Film+Travel: North America, South America and Film+Travel: Asia, Oceana, Africa.
The organizers of BEA continue to seek new ways to keep the publishing audience interested and to maintain the conference’s relevance. But while workshop topics and conference length may flip-flop to meet the perceived and changing demands of the marketplace, one thing remains the same: books, regardless of form—electronic or paper—are lovable.