The highlight of Book Expo is, of course, the Advance Reading Copies–ARCs. These are review copies of upcoming books and I tried not to be greedy, but here are a few finds: 

    A Parody Cover

    Favorite concept book: Pat the Husband patterned after the children’s classic “Pat the Bunny”

    Most hotly anticipated new book: Love Matters by Delilah, a syndicated radio host. I knew I was goig to like Delilah. Like most other parents on the planet, I used to have to force myself to stay awake while waiting for my teenaged daughter to get home from her weekend outtings. In order to keep the imagination from going overboard, I used to listen to Delilah’s soothing voice and music choices on the radio. She was my Friday and Saturday night comfort fix. And now she has a book. I’m thinking it’s a lot higher on my list than the Miley Cyrus book.

    Most massive hit du jour: Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber. I remember reading in Publishers Weekly, years ago, that LaVyrle Spencer’s print runs in hardcover were in the 400,000 range, which is massive. Very few writers get to that point. According to a more recent PW, Debbie has reached that pinnacle. Incredible achievement, well deserved, by the one of the nicest and hardest-working writers I know.

    Hottest middle-grade children’s book at the show: Fortune’s Magic Farm by Suzanne Selfors.

    Hottest debut novel: Oxygen by Carol Cassella.

    Anti-climactic “reveal”: the cover art for the next Stephenie Meyer book. It’s a chessboard, very handsome but not as much of a showstopper as the first three, IMO.

    Cutest cover: Dewey, the Small-Town Library Cat. WARNING: It’s a pet memoir, okay? And everybody knows pet memoirs all end the same. So get out the duct tape and seal the last couple of chapters shut. Unless you like that sort of thing. Unless you like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer.

    Best Lemony Snicket knock-off: Pseudonymous Bosch. A knock-off doesn’t necessarily have to be bad, and in this case it’s irresistibly good! In fact, I liked this even better than the Lemony Snicket series.

    Most relaxing-looking cover: Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons. Off Season

    Most forbidding-looking cover: Testimony Anita Shreve. A real hot-button storyline, too. I’m a sucker for boarding-school books. No idea why, but I am.

I have a chute signing with ARCs of my September book, with my perfectly-dressed-in-polka-dots editor. She gets to hear 40-umpteen people say, “Oooh, my mother loves your books!” Big crowds for Ridley Pearson & Dave Barry, Lois Lowry, Sherman Alexie…

killer sandalsNew Rule: Do not wear your adorable pink Gabriella Rocha heels on the mirror-slick convention hallway floors. (AKA the “what were they thinking?” floor surface) Nuff said.

Huge lines in the booths for Michael Connelly, who patiently signs at Hachette for a long time. Barbara Walters looks exactly like she looks on TV although she is tiny. TINY. Her line was probably the longest I saw.

Brooke Shields is so beautiful I doubt she’s human. Kirk Cameron (what show was he on?) has a book–a Christian memoir, I think.

I find Anne Rice in the Knopf booth so I can give her and her sister Karen a Just Breathe ARC. The book is dedicated to Anne’s other sister Alice Borchardt, who was in my first critique group. She was my mentor and friend for twenty-five years. She passed away in November and Just Breathe is dedicated to her. Anne looks lovely and it’s a short, emotional conversation.