After networking, the most valuable aspect of BEA (for me) is the variety of different panels. Like all things in life, you have to find and sort the gold from the not so great, as far as panels go. On Tuesday, the social networking panel was very disappointing and not at all what I was hoping for, but I managed to get some great information from several panels on ebooks and mobile apps, including a couple statistics I've been quoting consistently since (Did you know 8% of the adult US population bought an ebook in 2008, and 9% of the adult US population bought an ebook in 2009? Compare that to the 54% that bought a print book in 2008 and 56% in 2009).
My favorite panels, though - last year and this year - were the Editors Buzz and YA Editors Buzz Panels. On both panels editors of some of the most anticipated fall books introduced the book and what made them fall in love with it. If you weren't lucky enough to be there, here's what you should look forward to from The Editors' Buzz.
Room by Emma Donogue is being describe as The Lovely Bones meets The Incident of the Curious Dog at Nighttime, and with good reason. It's out 9/13/2010.
To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.
Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.
I just finished reading Room last night, and It. Is. Amazing. Audrey Niffenegger (love her!) says it best: "ROOM is a book to read in one sitting. When it’s over you look up: the world looks the same but you are somehow different and that feeling lingers for days."
West of Here by Jonathon Evison comes out 2/15/2011.
Set in the fictional town of Port Bonita, on Washington State's rugged Pacific coast, one part of West of Here is is set in 1890 and thereabouts. In that era we meet an assortment of characters - dreamers, adventurers, explorers, opportunists - who settle this wild land, in the process pushing the Native Americans, for whom it has been home, literally to the edge of the ocean. Running parallel to these story lines are those of the descendants of these settlers, now in 2006, forced to deal with teh realities of the deeds and misdeeds of their forefathers.
Juliet, an ambitious, utterly engaging historical novel on the scale of The Thirteenth Tale and The Birth of Venus, follows a young woman who discovers that her family’s origins reach all the way back to literature’s greatest star-crossed lovers.
When Julie Jacobs inherits a key to a safety-deposit box in Siena, Italy, she is told it will lead her to an old family treasure. Soon she is launched on a winding and perilous journey into the history of her ancestor Giulietta, whose legendary love for a young man named Romeo rocked the foundations of medieval Siena. As Julie crosses paths with the descendants of the families involved in Shakespeare’s unforgettable blood feud, she begins to realize that the notorious curse—“A plague on both your houses!”—is still at work, and that she is the next target. It seems that the only one who can save Julie from her fate is Romeo—but where is he?
I haven't started this one yet, but I can't wait to crack it open. Alison Weir, the author of The Lady in the Tower said "We will never see Romeo and Juliet the same way again."
The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore by Benjamin Hale has been getting quite a bit of buzz, particularly for a particular romantic scene between the world's first talking chimpanzee and a woman who is his caretaker. It will be published on in 2/2/2011.
Bruno Littlemore is quite unlike any chimpanzee in the world. Precocious, self-conscious and preternaturally gifted, young Bruno, born and raised in a habitat at the local zoo, falls under the care of a university primatologist named Lydia Littlemore. Learning of Bruno's ability to speak, Lydia takes Bruno into her home to oversee his education and nurture his passion for painting. But for all of his gifts, the chimpanzee has a rough time caging his more primal urges. His untimely outbursts ultimately cost Lydia her job, and send the unlikely pair on the road in what proves to be one of the most unforgettable journeys -- and most affecting love stories -- in recent literature.
And for the non-fiction in the group, there were two titles:
Bad Science by Dr. Ben Goldacre, out 10/12/2010.
Have you ever wondered how one day the media can assert that alcohol is bad for us and the next unashamedly run a story touting the benefits of daily alcohol consumption? Or how a drug that is pulled off the market for causing heart attacks ever got approved in the first place? How can average readers, who aren’t medical doctors or Ph.D.s in biochemistry, tell what they should be paying attention to and what’s, well, just more bullshit?
Ben Goldacre has made a point of exposing quack doctors and nutritionists, bogus credentialing programs, and biased scientific studies. But he has also taken the media to task for its willingness to throw facts and proof out the window in its quest to sell more copies. Now Goldacre is taking on America and its bad science in this revised version of his runaway U.K. bestseller. But he’s not here just to tell you what’s wrong. Goldacre is here to teach you how to evaluate placebo effects, double-blind studies, and sample size, so that you can recognize bad science when you see it. You’re about to feel a whole lot better.
The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddartha Mukherjee. This Biography of Cancer comes out 11/16/2010.
In The Emperor of All Maladies, Siddhartha Mukherjee, physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer examines cancer with a cellular biologist's precision, a historian's perspective, and a biographer's passion. the result is an astonishing lucid and eloquen chronicle of a disease humans have lived with - and perished from - for more than five thousand years.