If I ever have the chance to go to BEA again, I will be signing up for every last one of these! It was such a cool chance to hear from the author’s themselves. A word to the financially wise though, just sign up to be allowed in (you still receive the same ARCs), don’t pay 20 dollars for a bagel like I did. If I had known that was the extent of the “breakfast” I would have gladly sat in back!
I didn’t know which authors would be at the breakfast when I registered, I registered so late in the game, I just tried to choose a day I thought I could make it. I was lucky, though, because it was a very interesting panel.
John Hodgman, who I know as the guy who plays the PC in the Mac commercials (he’s also on the Daily Show, I guess) was the sort of moderator. He has also written two books! He was very funny and talked a bit about the unsuccessful adaptation of books to film, and of course how wonderful books are since that is why we are were all there.
He was followed by Ted Turner. Ted has written a book called Call Me Ted which will be released in November. In fact, they did not give us an ARC of this book, but rather a cap that says Call Me Ted. I do think this could lead to confusion if I try to wear it. In any case, he talked a bit about how wonderful his life has been…how he’s been on seven continents in one year, etc. They then opened up the floor for questions and people asked what the best moments of his life were, his thoughts on the current election, etc. Somehow he mentioned that the book would be enjoyable for everyone and even had something for young people…a chapter called integrity. This is when things fell apart in my opinion, because he said, “I’ve never been caught cheating on my taxes…I’ve never been a polygamist…” etc. Um, if that’s all integrity is, we have some problems. They managed to quiet him down at this point and introduce the next author.
I have Reading Lolita in Tehran in my TBR pile, but haven’t read it yet. I wish I had though, because Azar Nafisi was absolutely fascinating. She shared a bit about how hard it was to come to the United States from Iran and see that people judged the Iranian culture by what they saw from the Iranian government. She shared how she felt stripped and robbed of her heritage and culture because it wasn’t acknowledged. She said something to the effect of, “a culture is measured by the people who are trying to bring change,” and noted how unfair it would be to judge American culture by slavery and segregation. She also talked a bit about her upcoming book, Things I’ve Been Silent About, which I haven’t yet read, but can’t wait to. (we did not receive an ARC of this one either, but a special edition of RLIT with an excerpt–it’s due out in December) When we are silent about something unjust, we are complicit in the crime. (she said something to this effect..not an exact quote) So the book will be about many of her experiences in Iran. Absolutely loved her.
Finally, Dennis Lehane spoke about his upcoming book The Given Day (available in September), which apparently took him five years to write. He talked a lot about how books are superior to everything else and got a few digs in at Ted Turner (I’ve been to seven continents…through reading!). I enjoyed it for the most part, he was funny as well. Sure more people might watch Two and a Half Men than will ever read The Kite Runner, but who will remember it when’s it over?
Fascinating lunch! I also really enjoyed the people I sat with, there’s just something so wonderful about being with other book lovers. Perhaps we book bloggers should have a convention?