From A World of New Titles: Editor’s Picks | BEA 2013, Mahnaz Dar’s picks from this year’s Book Expo America.
Old friends and new
One of the best things about attending BEA is meeting old friends. But I wasn’t just reconnecting with colleagues; the upcoming release of Bridget Jones: Mad about the Boy (Knopf, Oct.) meant the chance to get reacquainted with the woman whose dating and career woes more than prepared me for my own life as a “singleton.” Standing in line for author Helen Fielding’s autograph, my fellow BEA-ers and I speculated about the identity of the “boy.” The steadfast but snarky Mark Darcy? Charming bad boy Daniel Cleaver? From what I do know, it seems that our heroine is fretting over the pitfalls that texting have brought to the courtship world, which suggests that Bridget and her seemingly perfect match, Mark, are not basking in connubial bliss.
Speaking of old acquaintances, I can’t wait to see what lies in store for the protagonist of Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep (Scribner, Sept.). Danny Torrance, the five-year-old blessed (or cursed) with uncanny psychic abilities in King’s classic work of horror The Shining, is grown up but still haunted by his memories of the ghostly Overlook Hotel and the legacy of his disturbed, alcoholic father. The adult Dan has taken a job at a nursing home in a small New Hampshire town, where he uses his preternatural talents to provide comfort to the dying.
It’s impossible to avoid cats in the book world, from library cats to Grumpy Cat getting ready for his close-up at BEA. John Bradshaw’s Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet (Basic Bks: Perseus, Sept.) is ideal for anyone who’s ever wanted to know more about our feline overlords, like how they became our constant companions and why so many of them are in the habit of bringing their owners small dead animals.
Best known for creating the memorable cover art for Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, graphic designer Chuck Kidd has written Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design (Workman, Oct). While this title on the concepts behind design is targeted at children, it’s a fun and creative volume that will appeal to adults, too.
Though I’m a bibliophile at heart, several new titles rekindled my passion for my second love: rock and roll. At over 700 pages, Philippe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guesdon’s All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release (Black Dog & Leventhal, Oct.) is an ambitious compendium that amasses information on each of the Fab Four’s recordings, from the technical to the trivial (for example, Paul McCartney wrote “I Saw Her Standing There” in 1962 about his then girlfriend Iris Caldwell, whose sister was part of another rock group, Rory Storm & the Hurricane, which included Ringo Starr). I’m particularly looking forward to the stories behind Let It Be, the last Beatles album to be released, whose production caused a lot of strife and angst among the four.
But wait—there’s more! In When They Were Boys: The True Story of the Beatles’ Rise to the Top (Running Pr., Jul.), music reporter Larry Kane (one of the few journalists to travel with the Beatles) examines the band from a new and unexpected angle: exploring how the four first met as teenagers.
Finally, with Legends, Icons & Rebels: Music that Changed the World (Tundra, Oct.), authors Robbie Robertson (singer-songwriter and member of The Band), his son Sebastian Robertson, Jim Guerinot, and Jared Levine have penned profiles of famous figures in modern music history, including Billie Holiday, Sam Cooke, Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, and more—aimed at both young readers and their parents. The Robertsons, on hand to discuss their work, expressed the importance of giving young people a strong music foundation and described the agonizing process of culling the number of artists in the collection down to a mere 27.—Mahnaz Dar