"Happy Friday afternoon" got a very sincere round of applause at the start of the second BEA librarian book buzz panel. The eight publishers' representatives on the panel kept the mood light as they introduced librarians to the anticipated titles of fall, with an emphasis on nonfiction works.
Elenita Chmilowski, director of library sales at Perseus, presented a grab bag of nonfiction titles. Scholarly titles included stage magician Arthur Benjamin's The Magic of Math; sociologist Margee Kerr's Scream: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear; and Adventures in Human Being by physician Gavin Francis, who addresses questions of the mind as well as the body. Memoirs include Keep Moving by Dick Van Dyke (with Todd Gold), a study of aging, loss, and perseverence.
One of the titles on Workman's fall list is How to Retire with Enough Money by Teresa Ghilarducci; "Unfortunately," joked Michael Rockliff, director of library sales and marketing at Workman, "the book's not coming out until three months after I retire." Rockliff also displayed a photo from Dan Kainen and Carol Kaufmann's Polar, a "photicular" art book, in which the artwork moves as the reader turns the page. As audience members oohed, he reassured them that the books are sturdy and "survive hundreds and hundreds of circulations."
Jean Johnson, national accounts manager for schools and libraries at Sourcebooks, turned the talk to fiction, with a lot of emotion-tugging: The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes is "haunting" and "tragic"; Charles Belfour's House of Thieves is "gripping but really playful"; and Sere Prince Halverson's All the Winters After has "such a fantastic build of tension, I can't do it justice." She singled out Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins, a story similar to The Lake House, as a particularly good title for mother-daughter book clubs.
Virginia Stanley, director of library marketing at HarperCollins, gave a quick nod to Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman before introducing Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter, a psychological thriller about heartbreak and loss. "She's a terrific, suspenseful writer," Stanley said. She also noted slyly that Slaughter does a lot of fundraising for libraries.
Anne Spieth, assistant digital library marketing manager at Macmillan, gushed about Rainbow Rowell's Carry On, a companion book to Fangirl, before dropping the bombshell that there would not be any print or digital review copies made available. After the panel, reference librarian Anna Mickelsen of the Springfield City Library in Springfield, Mass., observed that "That's going to make a lot of people very unhappy." Spieth also championed Home Is Burning, Dan Marshall's memoir about moving back to Salt Lake City to care for his ailing parents, forming "Team Terminal" with his siblings.
Claire Kelley, director of library and academic marketing at Melville House, recommended Patience and Fortitude, Scott Sherman's book on the debate over whether to modernize the NYPL's renowned Schwarzman Building (known popularly as the Main Branch). Nicole De Jackmo, associate director of publicity and marketing at Quirk Books, diverged from the fall theme with two recently published books, The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs and The League of Regrettable Superheroes by Jon Morris, which she said would be excellent selections for the Collaborative Summer Library Program.
Chris Vaccari, director of library marketing and manager of national accounts at Sterling, provided a witty rapid-fire overview of 18 titles on Sterling's fall list. Puns about Johnny Morgan's The Beach Boys ("Wouldn't it be nice to add this book to your collection?") and HouseBeautiful Pink by Lisa Cregan ("There must be 50 shades of pink out there!") drew laughs and groans. He touched on a number of cookbooks, including Kristine Samuell's A Year of Gingerbread Houses ("Some have customized windows—some don't!").
With the show nearly over, librarian Mickelsen said very little of the material being presented was surprising or new to her. "But I hadn't heard of Until We Meet Again," she said. "I'll pitch it to my teen librarian." She said she appreciated the focus on nonfiction, as other BEA events had been more about fiction. "Adventures in Human Being sounds interesting," she said, "and Home Is Burning is something I'm already planning to read." As for books that appealed to her personally, her first choice was easy: "I'm going to try A Year of Gingerbread Houses with my five-year-old."