Editors’ Picks: Top Titles from Top Publishers | Day of Dialog 2018

“It’s ALA on the Hudson; 75 percent of the people I see here are librarians,” proclaimed a publisher at BookExpo, and many of them landed at LJ‘s Day of Dialog, with 228 librarians packing the auditorium at John Jay College of Criminal Justice auditorium on May 30 for the event’s 20th anniversary. The tightly scheduled day opened with  “Editors’ Picks,” moderated by LJ Prepub Alert editor Barbara Hoffert and featuring books that defined the sensibility of each publisher while capturing the direction of publishing today.

For instance, while Norton VP and Editor in Chief John Glusman wrapped up with Andre Dubus III’s edgy new novel, Gone So Long, he opened with three deeply researched nonfiction titles—Benjamin Balint’s Kafka’s Last Trial: The Case of a Literary Legacy, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Avis Land’s Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military, and James M. Scott’s Rampage: MacArthur, Yamashita, and the Battle of Manila—signaling the strong fall nonfiction lineup evidenced by panels later in the day.

Reaffirming support for her big-thrill franchise authors, Putnam VP and Editor in Chief Sally Kim said she was also “looking for upmarket titles,” as exemplified by Chloe Benjamin’s recent No. 1 Library Reads pick, The Immortalists, and other books she cited, e.g., Delia Owens’s coming-of-age, marshlands-set Where the Crawdads Sing, debut fiction from a much-published naturalist, and now-in-hardcover Natasha Solomons’s House of Gold. Knopf senior editor Diana Miller highlighted three titles sure to be literary fiction hits: Man Booker short-listed Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black, National Book Award finalist Elliot Ackerman’s Waiting for Eden, and Preti Taneja’s We That Are Young, a King Lear–like debut set in contemporary India and claiming stellar UK reviews.

Having moved to the other side of the desk after working at Amazon, PW, and O, the Oprah Magazine, HarperCollins VP & Executive Editor Sara Nelson offered her first list, which ranged from Heather Morris’s The Tattooist of Auschwitz (based on a real-life individual and that rare Holocaust novel with an upbeat ending) to America-born, British-based Jessica Barry’s much-raved-about literary thrillerish Freefall. Publishing veterans launching a new Macmillan imprint, Celadon president/publisher Jamie Raab and senior VP/copublisher Deb Futter enthused about their new list, which ranged from Alex Michaelides’s The Silent Patient (“the debut thriller of 2019″) to Patricia Marx and Roz Chast’s laugh-out-loud Why Don’t You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It? A Mother’s Suggestions.

Finally, Grove Atlantic VP & Editorial Director Elisabeth Schmitz offered three distinctive titles: library-beloved novelist Leif Enger’s Virgil Wander, Samantha Harvey’s 1491-set The Western Wind (presaging “Top Historical Fiction”), and Lisa Brennan-Jobs’s Small Fry, recalling life with her artist mother and father Steve Jobs (presaging “The Art of the Memoir”). For a full list of titles, click here.

Photos ©2018 William Neumann

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @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.

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