Yes, It's More BEA
I just haven't gotten into a good groove for this year's BEA. It all feels too scattered, and I haven't found any areas of the hall that start to feel comfortable and familiar, as I have in the past. It's just too big a show for the DC convention center (although the show apparently feels otherwise--I was told that starting next year they were going into a four-year rotation of New York, Chicago, LA, and Washington (of course they've made similar pronouncements before, and after a couple of years they're superseded by the next such announcement), so who knows how it will work out.)
As usual, there was the normal variety of people hocking their new books--established writers, new hotshots, celebrities from other media moving in, niche celebrities who are largely unknown but huge to the people who know who they are. Robert Duvall had some sort of book project connected to his next movie. Leonard Cohen had a line across half the width of one of the exhibit halls of people trying to get an autographed book within a half-hour window (I didn't stay to find out, but I was curious how the organizers were going to resolve that. Were the first seventy-five or so people OK, but the several hundred others would be turned away? Did they take names so Leonard could send them an autographed book at some point in the future?) I wandered down one aisle behind Amy Sedaris. James Carville and Mary Matalin carried balloon animals through the children's publishing area with two daughters in tow. I got a copy of Daily Kos's Marcos Moulitsas's book (which he graciously signed) and realized that he must just not take a good picture--none I've seen do him justice. I told Frank Rich that I'm looking forward to his book release but somehow neglected to mention that I link to a bootleg version of his column every week.
Comics had a larger presence than I've noticed before. There were a number of signings--official program signings and more informal booth signings, both in the "graphic novel pavilion" and in booths across the floor. Harvey Pekar was at Houghton Mifflin signing a preview of Best American Comics 2006, which he'll be editing. Brad Meltzer had lines around almost the entire DC booth for hard cover copies of Identity Crisis. Linda Medley and Fantagraphics, to her own disappointment but to a good omen for her success, ran out of copies of her new Castle Waiting collection because demand was simply higher than anyone expected. There was more comics news, and more celebrity sightings, but I can't remember them right now because I really need to be asleep. But as an aside to Jim, if you're reading--yes, there was an HM sighting.
I may revisit this and add some actual links in the next couple of days, but we'll have to see. On the other hand, the whole thing wraps up tomorrow, so there's at least one more day of fun to go.