Books That Buzzed at BEA

So many books, such little time. But having trekked the halls with bags of galleys and chatted IMG_scally1with publisher friends, I have an idea of what titles at some of the most sought-out publishers provoked the greatest interest. In some cases, there weren’t even galleys to fly out of the booth, just urgent questions from BEA attendees. From big-name authors to fresh debuts to Star Trek pop-ups, below is a quick and inevitably selective list that should give you an idea of how the fall is shaping up.

Akashic Books

  • Gina B. Nahai, The Luminous Heart of Jonah S., the story of a Jewish Iranian family in Los Angeles, from the Orange Prize & International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award finalistluminous
  • Salar Abdoh, Tehran at Twilight, about a man who returns in 2008 to a shadowy and corrupt Tehran

Bellevue Literary Press

  • Michael Coffey, The Business of Naming Things, a first collection of stories from the poet and former co-editorial director of Publishers Weekly
  • Sharona Muir, Invisible Beasts, a fable-like accounting of critters not seen by most of us
  • Norman Lock, The Boy in His Winter, a reimagining of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn that spans centuries.


  • Kathleen Winter, The Freedom in American Songs: Stories, a collection from the author of the riveting Annabel, a story about a boy’s shifting sexual identity in a small Canadian town

Cinco Puntos Press

  • Harvey Araton, Cold Type, a first novel from the veteran New York Times sports columnist about the newspaper worldamado
  • Desiree Zamorano, The Amado Women, a Southern California–set debut about middle-class Latinas eager to move on up
  • Diane Lawson, A Tightly Raveled Mind, a debut about vivacious psychoanalyst Nora Goodman, contending with both patients and family

City Lights

  • Thomas Page McBee, Man Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness, and Becoming a Man, a memoir of McBee’s recounting the author’s childhood abuse by his father and a confrontation with a mugger to answer the question, What does it mean to be a man?

The Feminist Pres

  • Ana Castillo, Give It To Me, about a woman wrestling with family secrets, from a leading voice in contemporary Chicana literature

Nicholas Brealey

  • Nick Hunt, Walking the Woods and the Water: In Patrick Leigh Fermor’s Footsteps from the Hook of Holland to the Golden Horn, travel writer Hunt’s tracing the celebrated Fermor’s past journeys


  • Kerry Howley, Thrown, a debut by a young woman who follows two cage fighters around the Midwest for three years as they struggle to make it into the Ultimate Fighting Championship

Theatre Communications Group

  • Eric Bogosian, 100 (monologues), the iconic performer’s monologs, originally presented as part of his six off-Broadway solo show
  • Tracy Letts, Killer Joe, the first play by the author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning August: Osage County
  • Annie Baker, The Flick, this year’s Pulitzer Prize winner in drama


  • Malcolm Brooks, Painted Horses, a 1950s Montana–set tale about the changing West
  • Lily King, Euphoria, inspired by Margaret Mead’s early years and blessed with a rave review in of the Sunday New York Times Book Review, June 8euphoria
  • Brian Moynahan,  Leningrad: Siege and Symphony: The Story of the Great City Terrorized by Stalin, Starved by Hitler, Immortalized by Shostakovich, the story of a symphony and an embattled city—and not just during World War II
  • Roxane Gay, An Untamed State, about the kidnapping of the daughter of a wealthy Haitian
  • Elizabeth Mitchell’s Liberty’s Torch: The Great Adventure to Build the Statue of Liberty, the real story behind Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi’s iconic statue


  • Laird Hunt, Neverhome, whose heroine is slow to return after leaving her husband to fight for the Union cause
  • Melissa de la Cruz, Vampires of Manhattan: The New Blue Bloods Coven, featuring upper-crust immortals and likely to grab fans of the hit TV series Witches of East End, based on the author’s novels
  • Sara Blaedel, The Forgotten Girls, the next Det. Louise Rick and journalist Camilla Lind chiller from one of Denmark’s top crime writers
  • Christopher Scotton, The Secret Wisdom of the Earth, about a boy sent with his mother to his grandfather’s Appalachia home after witnessing the death of his younger brother, justifying its huge first printing.


  • Adi Alsaid, Let’s Get Lost, a young adult novel, great for crossover reading, that interweaves  tales of characters helped by one questing young woman in a cherry-red car
  • Jeaniene Frost, The Beautiful Ashes, a New Adult title launching the “Broken Destiny” series
  • Mary Kubica, The Good Girl, a debut thriller about a young woman whose abductor decides to hide her from both the police and the bad guys who arranged for her kidnapping


  • Lauren Oliver, Rooms, the YA author’s first adult novel, about inheriting a house full of querulous ghosts
  • Jessie Burton, The Miniaturist, a tale of a young wife’s disquieting sojourn in 17th-century Amsterdam that rocked the 2013 London Book Fair
  • Dennis Lehane, The Drop, a return to the setting of Mystic River, as two lonely people bond, then cross paths with the Chechen mafia
  • Katy Simpson Smith’s The Story of Land and Sea, a quietly affecting debut novel about love and death in the Revolutionary era
  • Erika Johansen’s The Queen of the Tearling, a fantasy debut with a decidedly different heroine
  • Alix Christie’s Gutenberg’s Apprentice, gorgeously packaged historical fiction about an era of huge technological change
  • Caitlin Moran’s How To Build a Girl, a venturesome coming-of-age debut novel following the best-selling meditative polemic, How To Be a Woman
  • Alan Cumming, Not My Father’s Son, not a celebrity memoir but a break-your-heart story of  familial abuse, surprising secrets, and final triumph
  • Ilona Andrews, Burn for Me, the launch of a new romantic urban fantasy series


  • Rainbow Rowel, Landline, an adult novel from the YA author that uses phone magic to repair a fraying marriage
  • Kate Funk, The Best Cat Book Ever: Super-Amazing, 100% Awesome, absolutely fitting, giving the lines at the Chronicle booth to get a picture taken with Grumpy cat


  • William Giraldi, Hold the Dark, about a remote Alaskan village where child snatching by wolves mask a dark human secret
  • Caitlin Doughty, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory, from the host and creator of the “Ask a Mortician” web series
  • Nicholas Carr, The Glass Cage: Automation and Us, what we’ve gained—and lost—since engaging with machines from hunting-and-gathering time
  • Jules Feiffer, Kill My Mother, the venerable cartoonist’s first graphic novel; quintessential noir that still feels up-to-date
  • Ann Hood, An Italian Wife, the story of one immigrant woman and the generations that follow
  • David Arnold,  Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail
  • Jesse Frohman, Kurt Cobain: The Last Session (Thames & Hudson), 90 photographs taken  in August 1993  when Nirvana was playing New York’s Roseland Ballroom and Cobain’s final formal photo shoot; huge interest
  • Mike Pitts, Digging for Richard III: The Search for the Lost King (Thames & Hudson), with Anglophiles carting off all the available copies
  • Courtney Watson McCarthy & Martin Howard Dalí Pop-Ups(Thames & Hudson)startrek
  • Courtney Watson McCarthy & others, Star Trek Pop-Ups (Thames & Hudson)


  • Joel Dicker, The Truth About Harry Quebert, an international best seller in paperback original about a blocked writer trying to exonerate his mentor—and get a best seller for his efforts
  • Azar Nafisi, The Republic of Imagination, a study of watershed works of American literature by the author of Reading Lolita in Tehran
  • Liane Moriarty, The Husband’s Secret, complex stories of three women in turmoil kicked off by a wife’s discovery of a painful secret
  • Deborah Harkness, The Book of Life, wrapping up the “All Souls” trilogy with witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont returning to the present and continue hunting for Ashmole 782
  • Lev Grossman, The Magician’s Land, wrapping up “The Magicians” trilogy with Quentin Coldwater back on Earth but finding ways to rescue the land of Fillory
  • Jonathan Tropper, This Is Where I Leave You, with enthusiasm inspired by the film, forthcoming in September


  • Richard Brookhiser,  Founders’ Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln, from the National Review senior editorlincoln
  • Chris Taylor, How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise, so popular that booth staff saw it in a category by itself


  • Jodi Picoult, Leaving Time, about a daughter’s desperate search for her vanished naturalist mom
  • Carl Hiaasen, Skink–No Surrender, the adult author in children’s mode
  • David Mitchell, The Bone Clocks, six narratives in the past, present, and future tied together by a hunt for soul-decanters
  • Hampton Sides. In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, exhilarating polar exploration turned brutal survival test in the late 1800s
  • Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography, whose author drew an enthusiastic crowd even without galleys


  • Matthew Thomas, We Are Not Ourselves, a deftly detailed, much-touted debut about a mid-century Irish American couple’s differing views of the American Dream
  • Anjelica Huston, A Story Lately Told, anticipating her second memoir, Watch Me, coming in November and very hot
  • Billy Idol, Dancing with Myself, from the longtime rock star—and the lines were long, too
  • Garth Stein, A Sudden Light, about a boy embracing his family’s legacy, following up The Art of Racing in the Rain and with the same touch of magic
  • Cary Elwes, As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride,
    drawing flocks even with chapbooks
  • Danielle Fishel, Normally, This Would Be Cause for Concern, a memoir from the star of the 1990s sitcom Boy Meets World.


  • Dylan Landis, Rainey Royal, a novel about a not-so-easy coming of age in 1970s Greenwich Village
  • Mette Ivie Harrison, The Bishop’s Wife, events-based mystery from a practicing Mormon that really popped at this boothbishopwife
  • Ed Lin, Ghost Month, with sleuthing by a guy who runs a food stand in the Taipei Night Market; long lines for signing


  • Greer Macallister, The Magician’s Lie, a big debut featuring a celebrated female illusionist who may have committed murder
  • Anne Geddes’s Anne Geddes Little Blessings, a picture-perfect exploration of the relationship among mother, father, and baby.


  • Michele Raffin, The Birds of Pandemonium, about Pandemonium Aviaries, a conservation organization dedicated to saving and breeding birds at the edge of extinction
  • Mimi Sheraton, 1,000 Foods To Eat Before You Die: A Food Lover’s Life List, from the grand dame of cooking.




Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.


  1. Denise Kolber says:

    Thank you, Barbara. I attended Friday, but there is just too much to see and do in one day. This will help!

  2. Thanks Barbara, for all the wonderful book suggestions, and all the love shown to Consortium publishers!

  3. Stacey Lewis says:

    Appreciate the inclusion!
    Stacey and all at City Lights