Saturday, May 31, 2008

BEA Day 1

Swag scored so far:
The Girl on the Fridge by Etger Keret
The Diving Pool by Yoko Ogawa
Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
Beijing Coma by Ma Jian
Here Comes Everybody by Clay Sharkin
Close to Jedenew by Kevin Vennemann

Dinners attended:
The Water Grill (soft shell crab was a highlight)
Blue Velvet (tattooed waiters, Kobe beef, swanky outdoor pool)
Cicada (who knew an indoor space could be entirely guilded!)

As usual, the German Collective Stand was buzzing with activity throughout the day. Kevin Vennemann signed nearly 80 books at our booth yesterday. He was certainly a crowd-pleaser (I searched for a good picture of him online, but he's better looking in person). At the end of the day, we held a champagne reception, during which I made by directorial debut interviewing party-goers and capturing the merriment on film.

During set-up, I was excited that we were right next to the Kindle booth. This has turned out to be a disappointment. They don't have any Kindles at the Kindle booth. A couple guys will demonstrate one for you if you ask. Lame. I was expecting an Apple Store set-up of rows and rows of Kindles. There was also a rumor that Jeff Bezos was going to make a surprise announcement yesterday afternoon. That rumor was false. He gave a presentation that, according to attendees, was boring. Kindle and Amazon are not impressing anyone right now.

Lastly, if anyone has a favorite memory or impression of the Frankfurt Book Fair that they would like to contribute to our video project, come by booth #2825 or leave a comment with your name and company.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

BEA Pre-Show Update

Hoardes of pale, fast-walking New York publishes have descended on Los Angeles for BookExpo America, myself among them. My colleagues and I spent a leisurely few hours on the rooftop of the Standard Hotel yesterday, which is quite impressive: sleek pool, waterbed pods, heat lamps, and a bar. It was the cool pre-BEA place to be last night, and the BEA people were easy to spot. We stand out in a crowd of tanned Californians (sorry, but it's true).

We then moved on to the Water Grill, a highly recommended seafood restaurant. The margaritas were as good as the sea bass and soft shell crab.

Set up today is almost over at most of the booths. I haven't had a chance to wander around much, but our booth (German Collective Stand, 2825) is right next to the Amazon Kindle booth. I haven't seen any actual Kindles yet, but I'm sure a small fleet of these devices will be out and ready for you to play with in the morning. The LA convention center is better than the one in New York. The air conditioning works and there are enough women's bathrooms so that we don't have to wait in line for twenty minutes.

Reading the World is having a reception tonight, and I expect a good time there as always. After that, the party-hopping shall commence (or I will not be able to find any other parties and will go watch cable TV in my hotel room).

See you all tomorrow on the show floor! Come by our booth at 4 pm when Kevin Vennemann signs copies of his debut novel, Close to Jedenew. He's really good looking, if that is any incentive!

Monday, May 5, 2008


Do you find umbrellas inconvenient, awkward, and clumsy? Does your arm get tired holding an umbrella over your head? There is a new solution for you...the Nubrella!

This is not literary, but I couldn't resist passing this on. I promise to write a blog about the awesomeness of the PEN Festival in the next few days. I cannot let my experiences and copious note-taking (a slightly obsessive habit of mine) fall off into the obscurity of my memory...better they fall into obscurity on the internet.

Also, I think we ought to stop capitalizing the word "internet" as if it were a specific place.