Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year–candy corn and costumes, what’s not to love? While Christmas reads fill me with comfort and joy and summer reads allow for immersion and relaxation, Halloween offers its own reading thrills. Here are the books that are keeping me up at night this Halloween week:
1. FROM HELL by Alan Moore
While I’ve loved classics V For Vendetta and Watchmen, I’ve never delved into Alan Moore’s treatment of Jack the Ripper. That’s all changing now, as From Hell is becoming my favorite graphic novel written by Moore. The art by Eddie Campbell, equal parts exquisite and sinister, has sent my imagination to 19th century Whitechapel–where I hope not to bump into a certain knife-wielding killer.
2. GONE GIRL by Gillan Flynn
I know, I know. I should have read this eons ago, but I’ve just recently got my hands on it–and am not letting go. Gillan Flynn’s novel about a missing woman has the perfect amount of suspense to get my heart racing before Halloween.
3. BATMAN VOL. 1: THE COURT OF OWLS by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
Almost any Batman volume would be perfect for Halloween, as Gotham has scares all year round. The Court of Owls, though, offers a new threat to Bruce Wayne. A series of murders have overtaken Gotham, and a secret society behind the deaths has selected Bruce as their next target. The owl and bat motifs woven throughout the book also add to an already dark and captivating read.
I was so excited when the good people of Book Expo America provided LMezz a press pass to New York’s annual book event of awesome. I attended BEA (the professional trade show) on a Friday, and BookCon (the day open to the public) on Saturday.
Friday’s author signing events were so fun and plentiful that I was happily running all over the Javits Center floor between publisher booths and autographing tables. Highlights included trading quips with Seth Grahame-Smith, who was signing copies of Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter; checking out a YA thriller about a teenage girl who wants to kill by S.E. Green; and meeting not one, but two of my Regency romance heroes, Sarah MacLean and Loretta Chase.
My biggest regret was missing out on Lois Lowry signing copies of a new edition of The Giver, and Amanda Palmer signing/illustrating galley excerpts of her upcoming book. But I didn’t worry, because there was one more day of book geekery to be had.
BookCon (formerly known as Power Reader Day) is meant to welcome the public to BEA. While the public certainly attended, BookCon’s intentions–and overall organization–remained severely underdeveloped. Last year’s PowerReaderDay was such a delight that the disappointment of BookCon 2014 was even more deeply felt. Shoving thousands of BookCon people into a third of the Javits Center’s BEA space was an especially poor choice. Mislabeling the location of events on the show program was another. Crowd control measures also weren’t handled well (with the exception of the John Green Q&A event, which had more teen wrangling than a One Direction concert). The only positive I could find in BookCon was the Image Comics booth, which featured free single first issues of many different series, and had a marketing rep who was super passionate about Image’s titles (I solemnly swear to finish my trade edition of Rat Queens).
I would say though that despite the frustration–and lack of super cool tote bags and ARCs–that the huge crowds at BookCon show opportunity. Even if the attendees only appeared at BookCon to see Grumpy Cat or Amy Poehler, they still paid the not-so-cheap ticket price to attend BookCon. Who’s to say these people wouldn’t spend the same amount of money for a book or two?
I have a terrible love-hate relationship with James Franco, as exhibited in posts here and here. Because she’s such a good friend, Norma bought me an Oz cup that features James’s ridiculous face prominently in not one, but TWO places. That way, I can watch his face double rotate in the microwave when I heat up my hot chocolate.
Norma also signed me up for an advanced reader copy of James Franco’s new novel Actors Anonymous, out today. And guess what, guys! I won! If your definition of winning means that you have to read a book by James Franco, all 304 pages of it, and then write a good 500 words to summarize me contrasting feelings of pain and admiration.
The Room, my favorite little-bad-movie-that-could, now has its own book by actor/line-producer/survivor Greg Sestero. I was so excited about this book that I contacted all the publicists and received a copy before publication date. Now you can read my review for it on BroadwayWorld.com. While you do that, I’ll be online shopping for Lisa-blonde wigs in preparation for Sunshine Cinema’s monthly midnight screening of The Room, where Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero will be making an appearance.
PS. If you missed it: Greg Sestero did an Ask Me Anything on Reddit. You can read it here.
Entertainment Weekly announced that Rainn Wilson is coming out with a memoir new book with Dutton next fall. Wilson doesn’t want to call it a memoir because he is the
“guy who is best known for playing a paper salesman with a bad haircut, tweeting fart jokes and starting a quirky spirituality website.” While he may not be Desmond Tutu, I’m sure Wilson has something worthwile to say. In March, he posted a picture he’d taken of the audition sign-in sheet for The Office. That image alone speaks to the awesome professional—and personal—stories he can share.
Last month I went to Book Expo America. Here’s my last (and belated) post about the event, where there are writing contests and some final thoughts.
Harlequin is having a contest where they are offering a publishing contract to the winner. And Quirk Books (of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies fame) has a new contest where they are looking for love stories. Unlike Harlequin, however, something tells me that their love stories will have something… Quirk-y about them.
Final Observations: Trending and the Future
Advance reader copies didn’t seem to be as widespread. Instead, the main freebie took the form of an actual book. Some were titles with an upcoming release date. Others were semi-recent titles with corresponding author signings. One standout in that regard was a signing for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which was published in 2011. That didn’t stop the line from extending way past the booth. Since books themselves are cheaper than ARCs to manufacture (and many readers would prefer a “real book” rather than a marketing tool), this seems like a positive direction. Readers can still get books before any one else. And authors who have had hits in the previous year (like with Peregrine‘s signing) can connect with fans and new potential readers.
Another element that seemed to be lacking was the presence of digital reading. Even though e-book sales keep growing, I didn’t see much geared toward e-books. Perhaps that may be because an in-person event equals physical manifestations of content. You wouldn’t go to Coachella and spend much time talking about your Spotify playlist, for example.
Power Reader Day is still a work in progress. Not all genres may benefit from a public day. Romance and YA were booming with events, along with commercial fiction and nonfiction. It may take longer for other genres to take hold.
There is still an element of the controlled chaos that is more chaotic than controlled. The tone of Power Reader day was mixed, with author signings, friendly editors, and publicity directors clashing with empty booths, sterile displays, and stone-faced representatives who didn’t want to speak to people with green badges.
Word on the street is that some publishers are still ambivalent about the public entering a formerly industry-only event. Many publishers, however, got the gist of the Power Reader Day, understanding the power of the consumer and making human connections with their brands.
It is understandable though how publishers want to utilize their precious BEA time by connecting with their regular contacts: teachers, librarians, and booksellers, all who support the book business and help curate tastes for the reading public. And that larger level of understanding is not same as the individual consumer.
Hopefully, next year’s BEA will continue to engage industry members and the public with new books and media. Until then, I’ll be waiting—and reading.