BEA Highlights

Author Bob Shea

Author Bob Shea

I attended my first BookExpo America (largest annual book trade fair) this past week in New York City. For this literary nerd, it was pretty close to nirvana. I had never gotten a chance to go as a bookseller so I wasn’t about to let my first year as a Librarian pass me by. I knew from research that it was to be a haven of publishers, authors, FREE BOOKS, exhibits, presentations & parties. Now before you assume that this conference wouldn’t be open to you, you are wrong. BEA has embraced all the non- industry book lovers/avid readers and created a special day just for them called Power Readers day that falls on the last day of the conference.

I would encourage anyone who is a lover of books to investigate attending this conference. Here are some highlights and I’ll post my top tips later this week.

Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket

  • Attending a party where 8 authors were bartending their own stations & mixing cocktails. 
  • Walking along The High Line which Peter Brown so beautifully writes about (and illustrates) in The Curious Garden.
  • Trading music festival tips with Rob Sheffield while he signed his new book, Turn Around Bright Eyes:The Rituals of Love and Karaoke.
  • Talking tattoos with the winsome Obert Skye, of Potterwookie & Wonkenstein books.
  • Being completely charmed by the talented Greg Pizzoli & loving The Watermelon Seed.
  • Acting like a ‘fan girl’ while getting FaNGIRL signed by Rainbow Rowell, gushing about Eleanor & Park.
  • Attending the Children’s Author Breakfast with Mary Pope Osborne, Rick Riordon, Octavia Spenser & Veronica Roth. photo (20)
  • Zola Books FINALLY a brillant alternative to Goodreads. Can’t wait until the site if fully operational next month but go play around right now!

As promised, books & more books

I’d be happy to talk books all day – fiction, biographies, YA, Middle Grade, picture books – I’m an equal opportunity reader. But before I get into some of my favorites from last year, I’m going to recommend that you sign up on It’s a great place to not only track books that you’ve read, but also books you want to read. Friend me, I’ll happily accept. Now, in no particular order:

Malice of Fortune – A delicious masterpiece of historical fiction set in 1502 Italy that brings together Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolo Machiavelli, a polished courtesan & a Borgia Pope. Click on npr to hear Lynn Neary & I discussing it on All Things Considered.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – Loved this book. I’ll admit I’m attracted to people who are amusing, smart but also a little nuts so I fell hard for Bernadette.

Wonder – Loved absolutely everything about this wonderfully character driven, heart tugging, quit feeling sorry for yourself PERFECT (middle grade) book.

Gone Girl – Really? You haven’t read it? Seriously?! What are you waiting for – go read this book but make sure you have plenty of time because you won’t put it down.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home – Beautiful story of family, loss and all the right & wrong kinds of love. Story takes place in the 80’s so I completely identified with the time period & family dynamics.

Heads in Beds – Easy, entertaining read about life in the hotel industry. Makes me want to go find Jacob “Tommy” Tomsky and ‘slip him a brick’ for so much of the crap he’s had to endure and then I’d like to go have some drinks and hear more!

The Legend of Cowboy, Ninja, Bear – Great new take on rock, paper, scissors. Kids will love it.

And if you are looking for MORE, check out my earlier BOOK posts or head over to Books on the Nightstand, a brilliant literary podcast that keeps my ‘to-read’ list growing & growing.


The Butterfly Effect

There are many complex definitions of the butterfly effect, but essentially it means that one small difference in one part of the world can create huge changes in another location. This has been debated and proven across images give a littlevarious platforms, but for my intent today, it has to do with giving. Wendy Smith wrote an incredible book called Give A Little: How Your small donations Can Transform our World. If you’d like to add it to your summer reading, great; but if not, here are the highlights – from me to you.

“*It takes all of us to fix the world. That means you and me-doing good, lifting lives, remaking the world.

*Organizations use small contributions from everyday donors to address four critical issues related to poverty: (1)hunger, (2) health, (3) education and (4) access to tools, technology, and infrastructure.

*This is not in lieu of where you may already make donations to your favorite causes and charities, but to add to your current giving with a few modest donations this year. ”

Give a Little provides a host of organizations, certified and accredited, where you can start. I’m going to start with a $10 donation to Heifer n136299005939_106International for a share of a sheep and if 11 others do the same, we’ve bought a sheep for a family. If you aren’t familiar with Heifer International, Read the rest of this entry

24/7 = 168 Hours

I don’t quite remember when the phrase 24/7 entered into my vernacular but I probably overuse it as much as I do the word literally…literally. Wikipedia claims that there was a popular song of the same name in 1989 by Dino Esposito or another early known use of the term is attributed to Raymond Sandoval who first used 24/7 during a business presentation. Regardless, a new book by Laura Vanderkam called 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think is moving beyond the 24/7 day and moving us into the 168 Hour week.

images 168I’ll admit that I was equally intrigued and annoyed by the title. The last thing I need is someone else telling me how to better organize my time or my life. However, after getting past the Intro (skim it or skip it, ugh!), I decided that anyone & everyone could benefit from this book. Male, female, grad, Dad, corporate executive, stay-at-home mom…it’s an easy read that provides simple steps to assess how you spend your time.

I didn’t do an entire week but even after a 3 day review, Read the rest of this entry

Pappa Don’t Preach!

If you’ve been stuck in the grilling and tie rut for the past few Father’s Day, here are some suggestions for this upcoming June 20th.

For the man in your life who enjoys his spirits, try these Eisch Vino Nobile Breathable Multi-Purpose Red or White Wine Glasses. A wine poured into a breathable glass for just 2 to 4 minutes will show signs of aeration equivalent to the same wine that has been decanted and aerated for 1 to 2 hours. For hard liquor, specifically bourbon or whiskey, try these fantastic whiskey stones that keep your drink cold and neat without ever getting watery.  “Have drinks with a cool story to tell” with these great recycled windshield beer or wine glasses. I’m also a huge fan of the book Barguments: a debate with no right or wrong answer that must be uncomplicated enough to discuss after three beers.

Got a sport’s enthusiast? Gift him 4 crazy golf balls that each do something ludicrous when you hit them; one blows up into a spectacular cloud of billowing white dust, one basically vanishes on impact into a watery mist, one ejects 15 feet of spiralling streaming ribbon when thwacked, and the last one simply won’t go in a straight line on the green. If he loves hoops then get him a picture frame, mirror or wall shelf all made from reclaimed gym floor decor. The cyclist? Check out this modern bike chain business card holder or if his sport is more mental, check out this LED light up chess set.

Have a funny fella in your life? Read the rest of this entry