Max here for a BEA2015 roundup!
I flew solo at this year’s BookExpo last week from May 27th to the 29th at the Javits Center in NYC. New York City dwellers, you must have legs of steel because wow it’s always a doozy. This is my third year at the Expo, and as such I went in with my usual expectations of what I was familiar with, and while I found what I was looking for, I also came away with a few surprises.
This year the show was seemingly as large as ever but also at the same time felt smaller than previous years. This was most likely due to the giant China pavilion, an entire area clad in white with stunning minimalist bamboo planters dedicated to this year’s Guest of Honor which appeared to take up more space than usual. Unlike other showcase pavilions from the previous two years China was very enthusiastic with their own journalists and a flurry of presentations and small talks which often garnered media attention. I just don’t remember other pavilions being that busy the last two years.
Unfortunately a handful of presses and stands that had been there the first two years I’ve attended that I was always keen visit did not attend or receive spots this year. While that was disappointing, a lot of my favorite publishing haunts were there for me to peruse for you.
Marvel for instance featured a panel presentation on their current record breaking new Star Wars line of comics (the best selling comics in the last twenty years, like wow) and shared the forthcoming reissues of the original movie to comic adaptations from the 70s to 80s in trade form as well as a brand new printing with updated artwork. They showcased their current series like Kanan – The Last Padawan (which has ties to the hit cartoon series Rebels) and minis such as Princess Leia and talked about their forthcoming mini Lando.
Outside of panels I was on the hunt for Sub-cultured #goodbooks to showcase on our twitter; amazing books, comics or series that stood out and you should keep an eye out for. I was also intent to find out “What makes a good book (for you)” asking any who was willing to share their personal opinions, which luckily a handful of people obliged and you’ll get to see their responses soon.
Sam Gayton’s forthcoming American printing of his children’s novel Lilliput from Peachtree Press
Hexed comic series by Michael Alan Nelson from Boom!
The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz, Symphony For The City of the Dead by M.T. Anderson, Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola and Emily Carroll all from Candlewick Press
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland Decoded by David Day from Penguin Random House Canada
Painted Skies by by Carolyn Mallory and Amei Zhao from Inhabit Media (an Inuit-owned publishing company with a fantastic, brilliant line of books)
Red by Jacky Colliss Harvey and Atlas of Cursed Places: A Travel Guide to Dangerous and Mysterious Destinations by Olivier Le Carrer from Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers
Fearsome Creatures of The Lumberwoods by Hal Johnson and Tom Mead and Some Very Interesting Cats Perhaps You Weren’t Aware Of by Doogie Horner from Workman
The Good Dog by Todd Kessler (co-creator and director of Blues Clues!) and Jennifer Gray Olsen from Greenleaf Book Group Press
The picture books of Jenni Desmond from Blue Apple Books
Tales from the Brothers Grimm by Herbert Leupin and There’s a Little Black Spot on the Sun Today by Sven Volker from NorthSouth
Artbooks of artists Lorenzo Mattotti and Ana Juan from Logos Edizioni
The many offerings of Nobrow and Imelda & The Goblin King by Briony May Smith from Flying Eye Books
Windmill Dragons by David Nytra and Little Nemo: Big New Dreams from Toon Books
And even more. There are many exciting forthcoming books I can’t wait to talk more about!
The China pavilion yielded two more #goodbooks. I was captivated by a booth made up of mostly students from the Colleges of Art & Design, Humanities and Tea Culture at Zhejiang A & F University in Lin’an City, Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province in China. They were there promoting tea culture and were there with their dean, Wang Xufeng, whose book The Stories of Tea from Homa & Sekey Books was my first #goodbooks pick from the pavilion. The entire group was extremely nice and while there, the students performed 10 tea ceremonies including Confucian and Buddhist versions. Afterwards I got to interview Wang Xufeng herself which I’ll be returning to in it’s own #goodbooks feature on her book and the school.
My second find was a beautifully illustrated retelling of Wang Shifu‘s Chinese classic romance, The Story of The Western Wing (traditional Chinese: 西廂記; simplified Chinese: 西厢记; pinyin: xīxiāngjì; Wade–Giles: Hsi-hsiang-chi) (also known as West Chamber) by 20th century painter and illustrator Wang Shuhui from People’s Fine Arts Publishing House. Wang Shuhui was extremely popular as an illustrator during the 1950s and 60’s for the very same publisher. I was graciously given a copy of the lushly illustrated book and will designate Wang Shuhui as my first forthcoming “Artist Spotlight” column artist, a new venture where I’ll explore and showcase the art of artists both past and present.
In all it was an extremely fruitful venture, and I can’t wait to share everything with you more. Stay tuned!