My last BEA post, I promise (what? I'm still excited).
I got up early Thursday to catch the shuttle to McCormick for the Adult Author Breakfast. The food was convention-standard continental breakfast - rolls, muffins, fruit, coffee that could strip the paint off a car - but the entertainment was stellar. After several industry awards were given out, the audience got to hear from four authors. Host Faith Salie - whose new book Approval Junkie came out in April - warmed up the room with some jokes about things she had heard about BEA in the 1980s. Then Colson Whitehead spoke about his upcoming book, The Underground Railroad, that I have had on my must-read-when-I-get-my-hands-on-it list since it was announced - I am fully ready to have my mind fucking blown with a genre-bending, historical novel about a black woman's dangerous journey to escape the slave-holding South via an actual underground railroad (out September 2016). Louise Penny spoke eloquently about her development of Inspector Gamache, who was modeled on her husband, Michael - there wasn't a dry eye in the room when she related Michael's struggle with dementia, one that he is losing (A Great Reckoning is out August 30). Sebastian Junger finished up the presentations with his book Tribe, about how we as humans seek companionship and how sometimes those who have undergone a collective bonding experience, like combat veterans, find it hard to adjust to our current society that also places emphasis on individualism (out Tuesday, May 24).
Now, this is the craziest panel I attended - the BEA Adult Editors' Buzz panel on Wednesday night. On Jenn's advice (and previous experience), Jenn, Michelle, and I were already planning to attend and then Riverhead tweeted out that they would have matching tote bags for Brit Bennett's book at the panel. And we knew we had to get there early (we did - we sat down front on the end near a book table).
So, books. EVERYTHING at this panel sounds amazing.
1) Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge, out October 25, 2016. This is a history of a single day in America - November 23, 2013 - and chronicles the lives of the ten children who were killed on that day by guns (on average, seven children per day are killed by guns). A necessary and heartbreaking title.
2) Darktown by Thomas Mullen, out September 13, 2016. A historical novel set in 1948 Atlanta when the police department is ordered to hire black police officers - who are not allowed to arrest a white person, drive a squad car, or set foot inside police headquarters. When a black woman last seen with a white man turns up dead, the two black officers suspect a cover-up by white officers. Recommended as a Walter Mosley readalike. (I believe this is also based in historical fact regarding the police integration - or lack thereof - in Atlanta.)
3) History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund, tentatively scheduled for release in January 2017. A fourteen-year-old girl, who lives in what is the last vestiges of a hippie commune in northern Minnesota, becomes entangled in a family's life by becoming the babysitter to their young son. And then shit goes sideways (basically - that's not what the rep said in the pitch, but that's what happens).
4) Little Deaths by Emma Flint, out January 17, 2017. A true crime aficionado has written a historical whodunit set in 1960s Queens based on the real-life tale of a recently divorced mom, the murder of her two children, and the media storm that ensued during the trial. Yes, will read, thank you.
5) The Mothers by Brit Bennett, out October 11, 2016. Look at this gorgeous cover and matching tote bag. The Mothers is a debut novel set in a contemporary black community in Southern California and follows grief-stricken teen Nadia and what happens after she makes a fateful decision. This is narrated by a Greek-chorus of moms and aunties, from what I've heard, and it sounds so amazing.
6) The Nix by Nathan Hill, out August 30, 2016. A big, juicy debut with political overtones about a man who finds out that his estranged mother may not be the woman he thought she was with a hidden life. This is set in Iowa (holla!) and Hill is an Iowan as well (double holla!).
And that's it for BEA 2016! It was great and I really hope to go again in the future.