Coming in at the sixth year in a row attending the show PCS is still under prepared. No matter how many tip articles you read and there are MANY good ones (including the one posted back in 2011 on this site which still applies in some ways) once you arrive all common sense goes out the window, but in the best way. While there is a lot of business being conducted, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. You are in a building full of people who love books, write books, sell books, review books and more. Even the shyest person will find ways to break out of their shell.
This year instead of doing a huge preview of the show PCS has made the schedule it will be working off of for both events as a public Google Doc.
There are a few personal highlights for this site though and maybe you’ll come to them and support my friends.
Long time family friend Colin Rath will be signing copies of his IT IS WHAT IT IS on Friday from 1-1:30 PM at Autographing Table 14. The book tells the story of he and his family’s incredible adventure through Manhattan real estate. He and his wife are amazing people and their story is inspirational and powerful one telling you to never let dreams die. Even if you are not at BEA it is a book to indeed get your hands on staring May 26th, 2015.
Ernie or Ernest Cline is a best selling author for his READY PLAYER ONE. He also wrote the screenplay for the troubled but entertaining film FANBOYS. His next book arrives on July 14th, 2015 but he will be signing copies at Penguin Randomhouse’s Booth (3119) on Thursday, from 10-11 PM. This writer first met Ernie back in his slam poetry days at the URBANA slam hosted at Bowery Poetry Club encountering his early work and becoming an immediate fan and occasional friend.
Here is a list of some the celebrities from film, television, music and culinary, the major focuses of PCS that will make appearances at the con in no particular order: Bernadette Peters, Felcia Day, BJ Novak, John Leguizamo, Mindy Kailing, Bobby Flay, Carol Alt, Lisa Jakob, Christie Brinkley, Emeril Lagasse, Karen Finley, Adam Carolla, Nick Offerman, Judah Friedlander, Abigail Breslin, Shane Dawson, Aziz Ansari, Jason Segel.
As you can see quite the line up. I’m exhausted just thinking about it… but it’s all worth. So if you’re there, have fun and love your books.
A few weeks ago the 2014 Book Expo America happened and as every year I had an amazing time and scored many books and took not enough photographs. Being a pop-culture blog I will READ most anything but when it comes to photos I mostly stick to the pop-culture end of things and that means movies, music, television, comics and in cases culinary (as I am a trained chef).
Top Row: Actor Neil Patrick Harris signs previews of his upcoming memoir “Choose Your Own Autobiography”. Author Daniel Handler AKA Lemony Snicket promoting his newest “FILE UNDER: 13 Suspicious Incidents” and upcoming “All The Wrong Questions Book 3″. Christian Rudder of the band Bishop Allen and co-founder of OK Cupid with copies of his upcoming “Dataclysm”.
Bottom Row: Gabrielle Corcos & actress Debi Mazar of Food Channel’s EXTRA VIRGIN, cook book out now. Signmaker and artist Stephen “ESPO” Powers signs his Love Letter. Winner of MASTERCHEF season 4 Luca Manfé with copies of his cookbook My Italian Kitchen.
It’s been a crazy time here in the home of Pop-Culture Spectrum. My life just sucked up by things like THE LAST OF US, but also by just Life in general. I’ve had a lot of personal things to deal with and trying to secure things in my full-time career as a professional actor. The whole time the stacks of books sat there from BEA unattended. Although I have been reading The Fantastic Family Whipple by Matthew Ward. When I could I saw down with these long lists gathering research and trying to concisely or in some cases not so concisely sum of the books. I have just finally gotten through all the adult books and here they are in alphabetical of the first author listed on the covers along with photos of authors taken at Book Expo America 2013 where apropos.
A Blind Goddess by James R. Benn: The latest in the Billy Boyle series, a series of world war II mysteries starring a Army Detective who as once a cop. In the latest two cases come to him at the same time, one involving a possible serial killer and the other a definitely innocent man.
Outlaw by Ted Dekker: The scifi/mystery/fantasy writer tackles a bit of period adventure with a tale in 60’s and 80’s filled with survival. Ted’s Christian faith comes into play as usual, but one ignores that if not part of the proclivity to enjoy. It is a little hard to do so, but I try.
The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg: The bestselling mystery writers team up to create a new series of teams up as FBI agent teams with Criminal. Has it been done before sure, but not by these two writers, including one who helped create MONK.
The Hired Man by Aminatta Forna: Unable to describe this one myself I borrow from the Amazon description. A taut, powerful novel of a small town and its dark wartime secrets, unwittingly brought into the light by a family of outsiders.
W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton: The 22nd Kinsey Millhone mystery arrives in September embroiled in pharmaceuticals and conspiracy. I grabbed this for my mother knowing she’d love it as she’s loved previous Grafton.
Death of a Nightingale by Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnette Friis: A part of the Nina Borg series of noir mysteries from the Dutch duo. In this the nurse looks into a case of a woman and young mother from the Ukraine who is a suspect in two murders. The investigation leads into a history all the way back to 30’s Ukraine.
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent: Based on the actual facts behind the execution of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, the last woman executed in Iceland in the 1800s. This is the debut novel for the Australian writer where the book is already a best seller.
Death in Breslaw by Marek Krajewski: 1950’s Noir crime located in Poland, written by a Polish author. Availble now in the US from Mellville House.
The Facades by Eric Lundgren: One of the Buzz Books of the show, I’m not sure how to describe it. Its a novel with weirdness, mystery, love and interestingness. This is Eric’s debut novel and I hope we’ll be hearing more from him in the future.
A Couple of Blaguards by Malachy & Frank McCourt (plus DVD of performance from 90s): This new edition of the two man play that can be performed by any two men was before and yet is also an extension of Frank’s work in Angela’s Ashes and ‘Tis and Malachy’s A Monk Swimming. Along with the not professionally filmed or distributed DVD (truly this is in front of a small audience, filmed with a low end camera, and yet saved from video tape to computer for years and then hand burned by someone recently to give to fans at BEA possibly even Malachy himself) it’s a great addition to ny library and the play would be great to add to yours too. The edition has a new 2013 introduction from Malachy McCourt making it more a book than a play publication like the Samuel French edition.
The Returned by Jason Mott: Harlequins big branch out from publishing romance to carry a story involving mystery and the supernatural as people long thought dead return to Earth, not as Zombies, but in the same bodies they died in at the same age. So people who had a kid 50 years ago or so are now suddenly parents again or an old man now finds himself with a young hot girlfriend. The rights to this were sold really early and an event series will be airing on ABC this FALL called Resurrection starring Omar Epps. Much of this book and the series seems to be an American adaption of a Japanese flick from the 90’s, but no one cares about that really.
Doomed by Chuck Palahniuk: The Not Long Awaited Sequel to his last original novel DAMNED continues the adventures of Madison as she leaves Hell and now finds herself in Limbo. She is now writing letters to her fans or supposed fans through a blog connected to her twitter in some weird magic heaven space. It’s not supposed to make sense. It’s just supposed to be more crazy allegory, proof that Chuck can do myth and faith research and put it down on the page in a readable form.
Choke Point by Ridley Pearson: The second in The Risk Agent series. This time Knox and Chu travel to Amsterdam to take down a sweatshop using young women as labor.
White Fire by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child: The latest of the Agent Pendergast tales, this time involving Sir Arthur Conan Doyle AND his creation Sherlock Holmes with murder and cannibalism in the Appalachians.
[LIMIT] by Frank Schätzing: At over 1200 pages, this immense Sci-Fi book from the German author first published in 2009 is also a hard boiled mystery novel, using Sci-Fi the way it was intended, as a backdrop to explore social and political issues, in this case real estate, hotel management, construction deals and more. The book opens with a quote from David Bowie which always a good selling point.
The Good Sister by Wendy Corsi Staub: The description for this horror/thriller sounds like a killer (pun intended). The latest takes place in Catholic girl’s school where it all seems simple, bullying, online chatting dangers…. murder.
The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig: Mookie Pearl is a supernatural criminal hitman and his life gets flipped upside down when his daughter decides to not just defy him, but go against him. This book has one of the best cover images I’ve seen in awhile as well from Joey Hi-Fi.
(The following is part of the Super Pop! Super Summer Blog Tour and a review copy was provided by the publisher)
One of the best times I had at Book Expo America was sitting with artistic editor at Zest books, Daniel Harmon to discuss his upcoming SUPER POP!
It was a lively conversation where I got the inside scoop on the development of his funny, snarky, educational guide to movies and books.
The book came to him while listening to podcasts and hearing them do recommendations for various things. He realized there was a lack of the style of blogs and websites (such as mine) who took the time to find a way to speak in a commercial tone that curated the power of pop-culture through film, music, television and more. He wanted to create something that could actually teach teenagers what to be looking for without being lost in that big world of it all. An in print version of a Television Without Pity but with a Teen advisory board feel. So he set off on trying to figure out what type of book that would be and he landed on lists that would guide young people through the difficulties of life.
The first list he came up with was Surviving the Wild, with the 1997 film The Edge starring Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin in a tip topsy film which is exactly about surviving in the wild, amongst bears and much more that would spoil the film (although Harmon comes close to it in his overview, it is more about delivering information about a movie one should see to learn, not about the twists).
Designing the lists and writing the info took months and late late hours of research and writing. When he didn’t know as much about a book or film, he went back and watched it again to write about in a concise paragraph that equally tied into the subject of the list. Many things he felt deserved to be recognized or recommended ended up not making the book because of the list concentrations.
One of those biggest regrets that he couldn’t use because he decided to not do a “How to survive a Break-Up” list was CONTEMPT. Either the book by Alberto Moravia or the Jean-Luc Goodard film based on it.
Despite this lacking of certain entries and a few entries where I personally disagree with Harmon’s own assessment of the production (be it book, film, tv show, or song) he has found an excellent way to concisely put together pop-culture recommendations in an easy pick up, get a taste, put down, come back later style perfect for its demographic and a definite thing for folks of all areas of pop-culture expertise to pick up.
I want to mention that there shall also soon be an e-book edition which will provide youtube, imdb, and amazon links making it much easier to follow up on the recommendations.
One of the biggest things missing of any pop-culture references in the book is professional wrestling, which came from a lack of knowledge on Harmon’s end and figuring out what the list would be. During our conversation I figured out the BEST thing for this though. A way to educate all on the fun and foibles on the soap opera of wrestling as well as being a guide to surviving something they will maybe one day approach.
HOW NOT TO HAVE A WEDDING OR BE MARRIED
In no particular order here are some of the most exciting happenings in wrestling through the much exciting weddings that traditionally just go really weird, wonky or whatever.
Stephanie McMahon and Hunter Hearst Helmsley : During the ceremonies Triple H appeared on the large TV and proceeded to show a tape in which Stephanie was drugged, kidnapped by HHH and married to him in a drive-by chapel in Vegas. Stephanie’s father would challenge HHH to a fight to get the marriage annulled, during this fight, Stephanie attacked her father revealing that she had fallen in love with Hunter despite how they got married. A few years later, while the couple were having problems, Stephanie had a doctor lie to HHH and say she was pregnant causing them to renew their vows. Before the ceremony HHH found out but said nothing, going through with the whole event, then proceeding to beat up his father-in-law (AGAIN) and then telling his wife they were through! (in real life this couple are actually together, have two children and are very happy).
“Macho Man” Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth: In real life, these two had been married for 7 years before finally being married on PPV in a ceremony which actually went off without a hitch. Although the road to that wedding despite being a real couple was quite bumpy. In the then WWF she was not introduced as his wife or even girlfriend, but just as a pretty woman who wanted to manage him. That happened and then later they became “a couple”. The first problems came when Savage thought she was cheating on him with Hulk Hogan. They “broke up” and Savage became a bad guy and started hanging out with Sherri Martel. Eventually though the two got back together, Savage asked for marriage and the wedding happened. At their reception things went crazy though, as Jake Roberts gave them a Snake as a gift and then the Undertaker knocked out Savage. This itself went awry as Jake then abused Elizabeth and then later on almost killed her only to be stopped by Undertaker. Before eventually divorcing in the real world quietly and without fanfare, the strains of their real and fake marriage got strained in a feud with Ric Flair. Years after the divorce, the couple reunited as exes still in love in WCW, but this was short lived and eventually Savage got married two more times, once to a porn star and then to a wonderful woman who was in the car with him when he died. Elizabeth ended up both in wrestling and in real life with Lex Luger and eventually also died (years before Savage) in an apparent suicide pact gone wrong from a pill/alcohol combination.
Kurt and Karen Angle: Just like Savage and Elizabeth, these two were married for many years before finally being a public couple on TV. Their marriage as it existed on TV and PPVs in Total Non-Stop Wrestling is a prime example of how not to have a wedding or be married. They started their on air marriage as a couple with problems, with this ending up only to be a ruse to trick an opponent into a flase sense of security thinking the wife at ringside was good for them and not the husband. From there it was a mess. When they did their marriage renewal vows through chaos and insanity, Karen ended up married to AJ Styles instead of Kurt. This turned into a war between Kurt and AJ that Karen eventually in storylines chose AJ over Kurt. In reality though, all this stress and insanity pushed Karen into the arms and an affair with Jeff Jarrett who had lost his long time wife to cancer only two years earlier. This controversy of Jarrett still being a recent widow and being with a married woman led to Jarrett being temporarily suspended. Eventually Kurt and Karen did divorce and Jeff and Karen got married. . In a wrestling vow renewal of Jeff and Karen while Jeff was feuding with Kurt over it all, Kurt destroyed the wedding set and laid out a guest. He then proceeded to beat Jeff in a loser leaves company match (so that Jarrett could actually do a tour of Mexico and later India representing the company) and that was the last we ever heard of Karen in TNA. Although she now accompanies Jeff in his Mexico storylines.
This is a listing of books gotten at Book Expo America 2013, with links to to the books and/or author where applicable as well as a photo shot at the show of various people met in person.
The Genius of Venice – Piazza San Marco and the Making of the Republic by Dial Parrott: Connecticut lawyer details the construction of the majestic Italian city.
What’s So Funny? My Hilarious Life by Tim Conway with Jane Scovell: The man behind DORF and years of humor teamed up with a regular autobiography cowriter for many a celebrity to deliver a memoir of his long career.
Jack Kennedy:Elusive Hero by Chris Matthews: To promote Mr. Hardball himself’s upcoming Tip and The Gipper, Simon & Schuster provided paperback editions of Matthews last bestselling biography of President John F. Kennedy
Facing The Music and Living to Talk About It by Nick Carter: Backstreet Boy & Reality TV star recants his experience as a drug abuser and rediscovering himself while also dispensing advice is this mix of memoir and self-help.
Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan: The much loved stand-up comedian and actor used his experience of raising five children (and somehow not killing them, mostly thanks to his wife Jeannie) to write a hilaruous assortment of essays on parenting along his non-credited wife who most know helps writes all his material.
Read My Lips by Sally Kellerman: A memoir by the enthalling, sexy singer and character actress who isn’t totally not as famous as she should be.
Poseur by Marc Spitz: The music critic, novelist and playwright explores his adventures in 90’s Lower East Side, a seedy world of clubs, alcohol, soon to be celebs, murder and more (a world I know all too well).
Guys Can Be Cat Ladies Too (Sampler) by Michael Showalter: The comedian has spoken about cats a ton in his act… there are pictures of him with cats. People know that Michael is a Cat Lady. Now he’s written a half funny not really serious, but maybe a little serious guide to taking care of a cat.
Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink: The Pulitzer winning article “The Deadly Choices at Memorial” about a hospital during the time of Hurricane Katrina is expanded into a full length novel. I found it hard to figure out where to put this. It is being promoted as a novel, but as it still a redone recounting by the same journalist I kept it here.
The Green Red Green: Collecting the best of three previous Red Green books, with minor updates and changes to make it slightly more timely/timeless, the star of the Red Green show stands tall.
A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming by Dylan Tuccillo, Jared Zeizel and Thomas Peisel: An actual study and development guide into lucid dreaming, while I particularly have mastered this years ago through the work of folks like Windsor WcKay and much later Rick Veitch, this is an invaluable book from the folks behind Dream Labs.
The Shadow King-The Bizarre Afterlife of King Tut’s Mummy by Jo Marchant: Combing years of research and text from articles written for many magazines, noted science journalist Marchant recounts the amazing history the discovery and remarkable aftermath of Tutankhamun.
An Appetite for Wonder-The Making of a Scientist by Richard Dawkins: The noted biologist, scientist, atheist and public speaker delivers a memoir of his life that brought him to the thinking delivered in his first book The Selfish Gene.
Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals by Caroline Wright: Designed as recipes for 4 people, it’s a nice resource full of great food photography and at $13 one of the least expensive cook books ever.
Big Appetities by Christopher Boffoli: A collection of awesome photography which combines food with little figures to tell really great stories. It’s hard to explain, his work speaks best for itself.
New York a la Cart-Recipes & Stories from the Big Apple’s Best Food Trucks by Alexandra Penfold & Siobhan Wallace: As the title states, this collection is quite compelling, giving a nice historical perspective of a part of current NYC life spliced with recipes one can do at home.
Cook like a Rock Star by Anne Burrell with Suzanne Lenzer: To promote her upcoming Own Your Kitchen, Random House provided copies of Anne’s last cookbook. It’s trove of recipes with notes before each in Anne’s wonderful voice.
My Book Expo America 2013 adventure began on Wednesday, May 29th to attend my first and probably last BEA Bloggers conference. This is not because I didn’t have fun or did not network, but because I went to hopefully gain some education and tips I had not yet previously figured on my own. While I did get a few notes that I found useful in one session, as a whole the education part wasn’t there.
I was luckily enough to at least find a few people whom I made a midpoint of a connection with to keep things entertaining, including Molly over at InsertGeekHere. Lunch was nice enough actually using the $15 coupon we received for food and drink, I actually was left with $2, but unfortunately no cash back. Hearing from Eric Smith from Quirk Books (who has an awesome book called The Geek’s Guide to Dating coming in September) was a definite highlight.
The keynote openers and ending speeches were by Will Schwalbe and Randi Zuckerberg and both those were enjoyable and funny. They weren’t worth the price of admission, but they were fun. After the event there was a reception where we could use a drink ticket, network a bit more and surprise surprise a ton of books. There were a few books that went really fast in the Young Adult Editors speack of the Blogger conference and there were not enough books for all, so this really made up for that. Got a few cook books, a huge sci-fi novel AND the newest from Jeff Hirsch, a book I planned to grab during the regular Expo but luckily I didn’t need to. Jeff also happened to be there, so that was a double plus.
I forgot to mention that I snuck (sic) out from the Blogger conference when both sessions available didn’t excite me (mainly the ethics session) and headed over to check out Sidelines. While there I did make a couple cool discoveries which I’ll be discussing in a side article.
Before heading downtown for events was able to swing by the Editor’s Buzz and was very happy to get a copy of The Facades by Eric Lundgren, a book high on my list to read.
From Javits I went down to Housing Works for the Bookrageous event, but after saying hello to long-time friend poet Guy Lecharles Gonzalez (now of the Library Journal) I headed over to CultureFix where I had only planned to say hello to friends Fritz Donnelly and Amy Van Doran, before finding myself pulled into being part of the event and dancing till late in the evening despite wanting to be at BEA early the next day.
THURSDAY, May 30th
A quick bounce after was over to Nicole Polizzi, some exploring, then over Autographing once again for These Broken Stairs and Ridley Pearson’s second Risk Agent. A little more exploring and then I had a scheduled sit down interview with Vivek Tiwary about his upcoming Dark Horse graphic novel The Fifth Beatle (more to come on that very soon). A lot more walking and exploring followed as well as grabbing books before heading to autographing again for Richard Dawkins and others, and along the way stopping at surprise guest Tim Conway. Back to the floor to explore, then another designated signing, this time with Paul Pope, which I could have skipped as the next day I hit another signing and got a shirt too.
From there though it was for a serious line of length and time killed. I thought the line for Snicket was long, but nothing compared to Chuck Palahniuk and that was still tame to what Grumpy Cat would get or Neil Gaiman would get later in the week, but still. Was very happy to my hands on DOOMED, sequel to DAMNED. I was able to get the new John Rocco children’s book after as well and explore the show more before deciding to head home. Knowing I partied Wednesday and would be partying definitely hard on Friday I wanted one calm evening.
FRIDAY, May 31st
First up was Matt Phelan’s Blufton and then online to grab a copy of FROG TROUBLE, an awesome book/CD which I will have more to say about for sure. It was then a whirlwind of booths and autographing, back and forth. Obert Skye, Jason Mott of The Returned (debuting as Ressurection on ABC this Fall), Ridley Pearson. Trying to hit as much as I could before my 11:30 interview which I still ended up late to because I was right at the front of the line for Giada Di Laurentiis with steps away and to leave the line at that point would be crazy. If I wasn’t steps away and also two booths from my interview, sure… but… yeah.
That 11:30 was with Dan Harmon, editor at Zest and writer of the upcoming Super Pop! . It was a really fun interview where lots was discussed and next week as part of a scheduled blog tour will be reviewed, have an interview and even a special top 10 list of my own devising thought of at the interview.
Because of how my Friday schedule landed there was nothing specific other than getting Family Whipple as well as the Anne Burrell signing so a lot of show exploring was done. If I could remember what booths I hit in order, who I spoke to, etc. I would tell you. I know at a point I specifically went to the Macmillian booth to get a BATTLING BOY t-shirt. I also saw Red Green, and Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. of America’s Got Talent fame and I hung out with Gugar of the upcoming book The Creature Department.
After all was said and done I hung out with Torsten Adair for a bit as I backed my luggage and then I made my way slowly over to Columbus Circle with actually some Subway snafus, which was… “fun” with the luggage. I made it though, stopped in at O & Co. and said hello to my short time co-workers. Then I headed upstairs to Landmarc where a very calm and casual affair was had. Plenty of delcious food, excellent guests, including Red Green and a slightly rude Robbie Robertson. I had a really good time, but I also needed to get all the way to the World Financial Center for one of my best friend’s birthdays on a boat. That was… well, the evening ended on top of a roof with a pool and involved nudity and that’s all I’ll say about that. I got home around 4 AM and still planned to go to Expo again the next day for Jim Gaffigan, Representative John Lewis and a few loose ends tied up, including the “What aren’t you packing up?” part of Saturday which is always exciting and fun.
SATURDAY, June 1st
Eventually I was able to make it over to where John was signing and had a wonderful talk with him and also throughout the show spoke to some great publishers, writers, publicists and more and walked away with so many books. Way more than I thought I would on a Saturday. I wasn’t planning on such a haul. I chose to not even bring my luggage, which was a big mistake. I barely made it home as my bag ripped on the trip back. Still what an experience!
Following this report will be a collection of photos I shot or were taken of me and author/celeb, as well as a listing of every book I got with links and mini info.
Later in the week and months look forward to reviews, interviews and more!
Book Expo America 2013 approaches Thursday and for me it begins tomorrow with my first BEA Bloggers.
Over the last few years I’ve written regular prepping for BEA articles, pre-press of exciting titles being promoted, all that jazz. Each year before the show begins I want to have at least ONE article prior to the show that expels my excitement, lets fellow attendees, new and old know what to expect if they haven’t done the same amount of research I’ve done or something.
Each year this gets harder and harder. For the last couple weeks I’ve been collecting many links. Links of other folks prep articles, official websites of books that catch my eye, publishers schedules, events and more. I feel for this year it might be best for me to just share those actual links and let people pour through it as BEA 2013 looks to be pretty big and crazy especially with a Saturday packed to the gills of Neil Gaiman, Robbie Robertson and Jim Gaffigan. I guess for those Power Readers though they wanted to go ALL OUT!
BOOKS THAT I THINK HAVE ARCS or PROMOS or WHATEVER that look cool
Fantastic Family Whipple by Matthew Ward
Guides, Publishers Signing schedules,
This is of course nowhere a near complete list, it’s not even EVERYTHING I’ve gathered, but I’ve got to keep some of my fun to myself or at least to in person sharing.
I personally can’t say that is something I’ll ever get to experience. Seeing the world for the first time as an adult, since my parents starts making me my own man at a young age, I learned the appreciation at a young age as well. The not knowing what you have till it’s gone or once having it realizing it wasn’t what you wanted. That all came to me young, long before I ever had to consider it or worry about it. Not to say I faltered here or there, but luckily I’m also quite smart. Not to try and sound egotistical even, I have a good brain. I catch on quick, I know what’s happening, I’m aware of my surrounding.
Unlike some classic fictional characters who have been both locked in their own world and not very smart till the world hits them head on. The most notable of these of course would be Winston Groom’s Forrest Gump, but to completely use him as a reference to discuss Antoine Wilson‘s PANORAMA CITY would give its protagonist disservice.
Oppen Porter is definitely not the smartest guy in the world, he’s quite naive indeed and it takes him awhile to process things, but he’s not completely a lucky clueless fool. In a shirt time he experiences what to some would be years of experiences. Love, heartbreak, religious awakening, spirtual founding, job promotion, switching careers, oppression, new friends, old friends, losing friends, death. All in less than two months, two tumultuous exciting months that he relays to his unborn child through tapes.
This device of first person narrative through what could be conceived as transcripts is a clever way to get pulled into Oppen’s viewpoint while also feeling like a listener who knows that it is only one viewpoint. This is a theme of everything Oppen tells his future son though, varying viewpoints and how no one way is right or wrong, they just are.
Life in many ways always seems to work in circles, but not perfect circles. Circles with spikes and protraction. I was reminded of this throughout PANORAMA CITY and yet it also gave me a feeling of hope. Antoine Wilson’s wordplay and semblance of sentiment and wonderment through Oppen causes one to see the world with new, more open (slight pun intended) eyes and a desire to live life to its fullest whatever that means for ones self.
The book also really made me want a bicycle more than ever.
Here’s an original drawing of a bike by the author Antoine Wilson.
This is all the non-fiction, memoir, autobio, biography & cookbooks. Looking forward to America, You Sexy Bitch a ton, as well as Kevin Pollak’s memoir and Damien Echols. Hoping to use Angelo Sosa’s cookbook a lot.
These are the Young Adult/Teen/Young Reader’s titles. Not sure what I’ll jump into here first but very excited about Scott Nash’s Blue Jay and James Patterson’s first attempt at combining his adult contemporary with his teen work.
Comics & Graphic Novels. Excited by everything here. The “Bible” books were a nice discovery, the AMULET galley was an excellent surprise, the two books here I wanted specifically were DRAMA and THE HYPO.
An assortment of children’s books, graphic novels, cds, and assorted promotional pieces such as totes, stickers, etc.
Children’s Books and Graphic Novels. Look forward to pouring through Captain McFinn, but everything here is the awesome.
The Adult Fiction. Currently reading PANORAMA CITY by Antoine Wilson. MEMOIRS OF IMAGINARY FRIEND might be next, but who can say. We’ll see where the mood takes me.
So much to read and write about, never enough time, but I’ll make it work!