Both author breakfasts at BEA10 were terrific. The masters of ceremonies and the authors were incredibly enthusiastic and well spoken. Although I will likely not read every book introduced, I have the feeling each one will be hit.
Take a look at the eight books presented at the BEA10 breakfasts and decide which ones you need to read.
Children's Book & Author Breakfast (Wednesday)
The children's author breakfast was hosted by Sarah Ferguson, duchess of York. Each entry in her Helping Hands series deals with a specific topic important to young children. Here's the summary for Emily's First Day at School:
What a big day: Emily's going to school for the first time-and she's a little nervous. Soon, though, Emily meets new friends, and learns that school can be fun. Children will see exactly what to expect on their first day, and parents will find out how to prepare their child for this important transition.
Cory Doctorow's For the Win starts with the popularity of interactive, worldwide gaming and takes the phenomenon into new places.
At any hour of the day or night, millions of people around the globe are engrossed in multiplayer online games, questing and battling to win virtual “gold,” jewels, and precious artifacts. Meanwhile, others seek to exploit this vast shadow economy, running electronic sweatshops in the world’s poorest countries, where countless “gold farmers,” bound to their work by abusive contracts and physical threats, harvest virtual treasure for their employers to sell to First World gamers who are willing to spend real money to skip straight to higher-level gameplay.Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins addresses real-world oppression in Burma. This novel is my top pick from Wednesday morning's panel.
Mala is a brilliant 15-year-old from rural India whose leadership skills in virtual combat have earned her the title of “General Robotwalla.” In Shenzen, heart of China’s industrial boom, Matthew is defying his former bosses to build his own successful gold-farming team. Leonard, who calls himself Wei-Dong, lives in Southern California, but spends his nights fighting virtual battles alongside his buddies in Asia, a world away. All of these young people, and more, will become entangled with the mysterious young woman called Big Sister Nor, who will use her experience, her knowledge of history, and her connections with real-world organizers to build them into a movement that can challenge the status quo. . . .
Narrated by two teenaged boys on opposing sides of the conflict between the Burmese government and the Karenni, one of Burma's many ethnic minorities, this coming-of-age novel takes place against the political and military backdrop of modern-day Burma.Richard Peck's Three Quarters Dead focuses on teenage girls and that all-powerful desire to be part of the popular group. But this isn't your usual story -- it's "a new kind of ghost story":
Chiko isn't a fighter by nature. He's a book-loving Burmese boy whose father, a doctor, is in prison for resisting the government. Tu Reh, on the other hand, wants to fight for freedom after watching Burmese soldiers destroy his Karenni family's home and bamboo fields. Timidity becomes courage and anger becomes compassion when the boys' stories intersect.
Kerry thinks life has finally begun when she is noticed by the three coolest girls int he school. For once she's in on the jokes and sitting at the right table, and she is willing to do whatever it takes to be part of their clique.Adult Book & Author Breakfast (Thursday)
But how much will it take? And after her life with the popular crowd starts to feel as cruel as death, what will she decide to do about it?
The adult breakfast was hosted by the wonderful and funny Jon Stewart. What a treat! His newest book is Earth (The Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race. I'm sure it will be a winner.
Where do we come from? Who created us? Why are we here? These are questions that have sporadically interested people since the dawn of time, but whose answers have continually eluded us. Now, in a new book, Jon Stewart and The Daily Show writing staff tackle these questions and more with their trademark wit, irreverence and intelligence. In it, they will take us on an intellectual voyage through time—a quest back to the very moment of creation—that will maybe, just maybe, help us to figure out exactly how and why everything got so irretrievably f***ed up. . . .Everyone knows who Condoleezza Rice is, but do you know how her family became Republicans? Do you know anything about her parents and how they managed to help their daughter become world famous? Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family is an American story, crossing political boundaries.
It's a heckava place. And who better to be our guide to this endlessly fascinating planet than Jon Stewart and his team of writers, as they answer all of life's most hard-hitting questions, completely unburdened by objectivity, journalistic integrity or even accuracy.
. . . This is the story of Condoleezza Rice that has never been told, not that of an ultra-accomplished world leader, but of a little girl trying to find her place in a hostile world and of two remarkable parents--and an extended family and community--that made all the difference. On the shoulders of individuals both black and white, young Condoleezza Rice stood and looked out on a world where anything was possible--and in a way that is singularly fascinating, Extraordinary, Ordinary People takes us not just through Rice’s childhood but, also, her twenties and thirties as she builds a record of achievement that positions her for involvement in world-historical events.
Okay, confess (yeah, I had to go for it): You have read at least one, if not several of John Grisham's books or you have at least seen one of the many movies based on his work. The Confession (no cover image shown) is his newest, and it's based on the idea that a man is about to be executed for a crime he didn't commit. All through the trial and appeals, the real criminal watches with increasing amusement and satisfaction that he has truly gotten away with murder. But can he let an innocent man die in his place?
I love Mary Roach's sense of humor, her curiosity about how things work, her research abilities, and her writing style. Her Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void is my top pick in this group of wonderful titles. I am a fan of her earlier books and I know that I won't be able to put down Packing for Mars.
Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can’t walk for a year? have sex? smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour? To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations. As Mary Roach discovers, it’s possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth. From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA’s new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), Roach takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.Two absolutely fabulous events. We were entertained and informed while being exposed to eight must-read books being released in the next six months or so. Which ones will end up on your reading list?