Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Big Fatass BEA Bookbags

Visited BEA 2011 yesterday for work purposes and found the place was lousy with literary agents. I passed one who has my full manuscript, another who holds a partial, another with a query. But could I speak to them? Nay! I did not want to be the wanna-be author going stalky-stalky in the fluorescence of the (horrible) Javits Center, leaping like a sweaty wildcat upon the unwary agent, two huge bags of ARCS and schwag swinging like fatass saddlebags from my shoulders:

"Um, um, um you read my BOOK yet? You got my book! You read it? HAVE YOU READ IT FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE? D'ya like it?! Can I use that table, over there, for my author signing?"

No, that would not be me, but the whole thing was tough. Everyone has nametags! And the agents' tags have a RED strip at the bottom of their badge, so you can spot them and get that little salivary stalking instinct. Also, the place is even lousier with authors than it is with agents, and they are published. People wait in line to get their signatures. This breeds jealousy, and jealousy hurts.

However, I am gulping down my jealousy to link to some new titles I received ARCs for and of which I heard much buzz/praise. I didn't get copies of everything I saw, because I couldn't carry any more with me. I found myself longing for an eReader, because the fatass bookbags I have mentioned knocked over some old and infirm people as I trudged to the subway after the event.

When She Woke, By Hillary Jordan (Algonquin Books)

(Note: This is the only book I have actually started reading of my new batch, and therefore it's at the top of my list.) I read Mudbound and loved it. So when I heard this new book was out, I darted right over to the Algonquin booth and pleaded for a copy. From page one, this book is intense and terrifying. A cross between The Hunger Games, The Handmaid's Tale, and The Scarlet Letter, When She Woke opens with protagonist Hannah Payne awakening to find her skin, from head to toe, dyed a vivid red through a process called "chroming." She is a felon, convicted of murdering her unborn child, in a futuristic world where church and state are dangerously blurred. For thirty days, her imprisonment will be televised. Then she'll be released into the world, where an even more painful imprisonment will begin. I'll probably be up all night tonight reading this.

Bedbugs, By Ben H. Winters (Quirk Books 9/6/11)
From the author of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. Everyone is terrified of bedbugs, so writing an "understated horror" novel about this topic is a stroke of brilliance. When I brought out the book and showed it to a few friends, they shuddered. One almost screamed, and said she stays up at night searching for bedbugs. In the book, a "perfect couple" in search of a dream brownstone in Brooklyn Heights find something more sinister: The bedbug problem from hell! My skin crawls at the prospect, although bedbugs are not one of my major phobias. They soon will be.

Follows the story of how Min and Ed "met at a party, saw a movie, followed an old woman, shared a hotel room, and broke each other's hearts." The book came with a postcard on which readers can write in "We broke up because..." and mail it in to the publisher. At the show, there were many such postcards tacked on a board with amusing and heartbreaking reasons for the end of romance. My favorite: "Because he was an ass."

And here are several more than sounded incredibly good but I don't have time to write about in detail. Someone has written about them on Amazon already. You can read it all there. And even order the books should you so desire. Enjoy!

Victoria has spent her childhood in the foster care system; her only connection to the world is through the world of flowers and their meanings.

Someone called this "The American Chronicles of Narnia." An adventure into the Impassable Wilderness, a tangled and magical forest in the middle of Portland.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor (9/27/11)
A YA "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" with a mysterious and unique blue-haired MC.

Carrier of the Mark, by Leigh Fallon (10/11)
Megan moves to Ireland, meets hot boy, discovers she has power over one of the four elements.

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick, by Joe Schreiber (10/11)
Average high school guy spends a wild prom night with geeky Lithuanian exchange student—who is really an international assassin!

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, by Michelle Hodkin (9/11)
Mara wakes up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. Then she starts to see things, and people start dying. Editor cites an incredible "big surprise twist" ending.

Down the Mysterly River, by Bill Willingham (9/13/11)
A boy and three animals in a very bad forest.


cherie said...

*wipes drool off side of mouth*

I always like learning about new books so I can add them to my tottering TBR pile. Thanks for the report, Sgt. Phresh. Your heroics and bravery are admirable. And the discipline! For a second there I thought you were going to cave in to temptation and steal some author's signing station. Wouldn't it be great if a reader opens a signed book to a dedication and a " love, Jenny"?

I think I wouldn't mind it. Hehe.

Carol Riggs said...

Thanks for this great list!! I really want to read THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER. Looks super. :)

Angela V. Cook said...

Wow! Those books sound amazing! I'm so, so jealous! Talk about having a job with perks ;o)

I'm with you- there's no way I would've been able to actually approach an agent. I'm too much of a scaredy cat ;o)

Thanks for sharing your BEA experience with us :o)

p.s. my verification word was "oveneat" lmao

Anita said...

Eek! These all sound awesome, but I want want want The Language of Flowers. That is so up my alley. I'm a flower fanatic. Heh.

Thanks for sharing these! And no worries; we all feel stalkerish around the publishing elite. You are not alone, luvie.

Anonymous said...

OMG I think we're related. I would be exactly the same way. IF I ever went to BEA. Which I probably won't.

Also, off topic--you have been TAGGED.

Bethany C. said...

Minus the fat ass saddlebags...I want to be you, Phresh! HOW AWESOME!!!

Anonymous said...

okay first of all I think you've just become the envy of the blogosphere of budding authors ... and LOL I'm sure that "infirm" person appreciated that they were being knocked over by a book lover.

Thanks for the 'on-location' reporting. I appreciate it greatly.

The Rake said...

I don't think our 7-year-old quite understands how lucky he is to have an advance copy of Wildwood.

captcha = flumstra (indeed!)