Thursday’s Book and Author Breakfast may have its usual early start, but there will be no dozing off this year. Not with Chelsea Handler, comedian, host of E!’s Chelsea Lately, and author of two blockbuster bestsellers (Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang and Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea) as master of ceremonies.
Handler, who is making her first visit to BEA, is here as both publisher and author. Her imprint for Grand Central Publishing—A Chelsea Handler Book/Borderline Amazing Publishing—saw its first title, Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me, hit the bestseller list. Its second, MAN UP!: Tales of My Delusional Self-Confidence by Chelsea Lately roundtable panelist Ross Mathews, was released this month and Handler’s next outing as an author, Uganda Be Kidding Me, is due in October.
“The book’s about me, a girl from New Jersey, going on all these amazing trips—Botswana, South Africa, the Bahamas, Montenegro, Croatia. I always go with a big group, so that lends itself to lots of characters.” Like her friend Shelly: “I awoke at 4:45 a.m. in Johannesburg, South Africa, in my bra and underwear and looked over at my lesbian friend Shelly, who was in pajamas. Adult pajamas are hard to take seriously, especially when they are worn by a forty-five-year-old woman and are silk screened all over with pick-up trucks.”
A passionate reader as well as a writer, Handler should have no trouble fitting in with a convention hall filled with book lovers. She doesn’t take a moment to think before she shares the books she’s most recently read: A.M. Holmes’s May We Be Forgiven; her friend Gabrielle Reece’s new book, My Foot Is Too Big for the Glass Slipper; Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad; and Jonathan Tropper’s One Last Thing Before I Go. “My dad made me read all the time—I think he was worried because I had blonde hair and blue eyes. I appreciate it now because I read constantly—I’m addicted to it. It’s definitely a good habit he got me into.”
Handler is doing a photo-op following the breakfast at the Grand Central booth (1829).