I had a wonderful sort of field trip on Friday, observing books in the wild. Breakfast with Candlewick, who showed off some highlights from their fall list including–wait, is it too soon for me to start flogging this horse? NO–Martha and my A Family of Readers: The Book Lover’s Guide to Children’s and Young Adult Literature, out in September. Our editor Hilary Van Dusen (who worked on the book alongside Marc Aronson, himself opining in the NYT this weekend about the very topic that consumed most of our discussions, permissions) said nice things about the book and the food was good.
Then I went over to Porter Square Books for the first time and spent more money than I had and less than I wanted to. The trick is to pick out four books and then virtuously put one back. I bought Ha Jin’s Waiting for Richard, Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea for me, and Michael Gruber’s Night of the Jaguar for both of us. (Has anyone read Gruber’s mystery trilogy starting with Tropic of Night? Set in steamy Miami, it’s great warm-weather reading.)
Then lunch, with Barefoot Books marketing man John Bigay. Their office looks just like their books, all greeny purply jungly batiky, so the shrimp and grilled pineapple salad I had (at the restaurant downstairs; why is MY office in the middle of a food desert?) seemed just right. Like overgrown geeks everywhere that day, we mostly talked about the iPad, which I won’t buy until I can see it as something other than an oversized iPod Touch, which I adore for the way it makes me feel like I can hold my brain in my hand.