Friday, June 6, 2014

BEA14- Speed Dating with Publishers has been hosting a Book Group Speed Dating session at BEA for the past few years, and each year it grows bigger and bigger. This year, over 200 participants heard from 21 publishers about their upcoming books that would be perfect for book clubs.

The participants, many of them librarians and bloggers, sit eight to a table and the publishers rotate from table to table talking about their books. It's very well organized and always a great, informative event.

At my table, we heard from Mary at Harper Perennial. She talked about these books:
  • This Is The Water-by Yannick Murphy, about a murder on a girls' swim team and the parents who try to find the killer.
  • We Are Water- by Wally Lamb that tells the story of a marriage, artistic expression and the secrets a family keeps that can harm for generations. This is coming out in paperback, and I read it in hardcover, it's another thought-provoking Wally Lamb novel. My review is here.
  • What I Had Before I Had You- a debut novel from Sarah Cornwell is coming out in paperback in August as well. I read this one too, and it is heartbreaking look at how bi-polar disorder affects a family. My review is here
  • Sea Creatures- by Susanna Daniel is described as a "beautifully written" domestic drama about a woman who has to choose between her husband and her son. This one intrigues me.
  • The First Phone Call From Heaven- by Mitch Albom is coming out in paperback in October, and would be a good holiday book club read.
  • This Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage- by Ann Patchett is coming out in paperback in October as well. I loved this book of essays that tells the story of Ann's life, from childhood to a first marriage to finding her voice in writing to a successful second marriage and her new career as a bookstore owner. My review is here.
Carla and Hannah from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt shared their thoughts on these books:
  • Wonderland by Stacey D'Erasmo is a stunning debut novel about a female rock star looking to "find the artist within."
  • The Mountaintop School for Dogs and Other Second Chances- by Ellen Conley is a redemptive novel about a young woman who signs up to train dogs at a sanctuary, where she learns about friendship from the dogs.
  • The Lion Seeker- by Kenneth Bonert is an immigrant saga, an "epic event" about a Jewish immigrant living in Johannesburg after WWII. This one is perfect for Jewish and male book groups.
  • Florence Gordon- by Brian Morton has a New York City setting and is a novel about a 75-year-old "feisty feminist" who teaches her granddaughter about feminism, and unwillingly ends up in the middle of her family's catastrophes. This is one I really want to read.
  • Fire Shut Up In My Bones- by Charles M. Blow, a New York Times columnist who writes about finding his voice after a painful childhood in Louisiana. It's also about the community he grew up in, as well as sexual politics, and has garnered great reviews.
  • Falling From Horses- by Molly Gloss has also gotten great reviews and is called "good old-fashioned storytelling" about a cowboy who goes to Hollywood to become a stunt rider and meets a woman who wants to be movie star.
  • The Jaguar's Children- by John Valliant is a novel that HMH is very high on. It's a page-turning thriller about a man hiding in the back of a truck trying to sneak into the US from Mexico. The truck stops and he only has a cell phone that has government secrets on it. 
Liveright, a new imprint to me from Norton, had some intriguing books.
  • Epilogue: A Memoir by Will Boast has an awesome cover- a school photo of the young author. It's the true story of a young man who loses his family only to find a deeply hidden secret that changes everything.
  • Internal Medicine: A Doctor's Stories- by Terrence Holt is another true story, a collection of stories written by an emergency room doctor about the cases and people he has met in his work. 
  • The Last Days of California- by Mary Miller about a family who travels across country by car preparing for the Rapture. It was called "Carson McCullers meets Karen Thompson Walker" and Miller has an "incredibly strong voice." This would be a good YA pick too.
Norton shared three books.
  • An Italian Wife- by Ann Hood is one I really want to read. It tells the story of a 15-year-old Italian girl arranged to marry a man who moves to the US. She follows ten years later, where she and her husband have seven children, one of whom belongs to the man she really loved. It is portrait of America from 1890s-1970s, with "lots of love and sex".
  • Orfeo- by Richard Powers is a novel about science, music and love and is called Powers' most emotional book yet.
  • The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol has received terrific reviews and will be out in paperback in October. It is about immigrants and families, changes from the Old World to the New World, and has been compared to Jhumpa Lahiri's The Intrepreter of Maladies.
I will cover the books presented by Soho, Simon & Schuster, Picador and Penguin in a post next week.


  1. Awesome! We had different reps at our tables so thanks for this. But more important: we were in the same room and I didn't see you?! ARGH


  2. so sorry I couldn't make BEA. Sounds wonderful, for bloggers and publishers!