I go to the occasional book release party here in New York. It happens. Folks are nice and invite librarians and bloggers and such to their big release shindigs. Maybe they feel sorry for us, sitting in our too small offices, living in perpetual fear the our stacks of picture books swaying on our desks will someday fall and crush us unexpectedly. Or maybe they know how good we are a Texas two-step and wish to utilizes our natural abilities to hoe down.
Whatever the case, I don’t tend to blog book release parties because it’s time consuming and awkward. What if I highlighted one author and not another? And, of course, there’s the fact that I go to a lot of release events for books I’m never going to review because if I report on a party then I’m too close to the material to ever review it. Such is the case with today’s book, alas. Still, there are some parties you want to record for posterity. This was one. And it’s funny but I don’t think I’ve covered a book release party since Lemony Snicket’s The End. Clearly the time was nigh.
You may recall that not too long ago I interviewed Jenny Boylan, professor, author, and celebrity. She had a book release party here in town for her fantasy middle grade novel Falcon Quinn and the Black Mirror, so I attended. And who, you might ask, hosted this charming event? Why, none other than the book’s original editor Brenda Bowen in her fantastic Manhattan abode! Here is the scene one found upon entering.
Yonder fellow behind the table is Timothy Kreider, who (according to Jenny Boylan), “will be famous in about 2 years; his book of essays and cartoons, WE LEARN NOTHING, will–this is my guess– make him the next David Foster Wallace. Only funnier.” I mistook him for Brenda’s husband for a good ten minutes at the start of the evening. Is what I do. Once the confusion cleared we had a lovely conversation on a variety of topics. He would later send me a link to an article of his from the Baltimore City Paper entitled When Books Could Change Your Life: Why What We Pore Over at 12 May Be the Most Important Reading We Ever Do. Check it out, if you get a chance.
Now the title of today’s post isn’t just a declaration of my love for all things cake. There is a precise moment in Falcon Quinn concerning cake and the degree to which students should cheer for it. The cake for this particular party became my focus for most of the evening. As you can see . . .
Hooray indeed! There were also some themed drinks. Playing the part of the Sicko Sauce (a beverage that has a tendency to bring out one’s monstrous tendencies) was a delightful concoction featuring more than a dollop of Pims.
People shuffled in slowly. Some were librarians and publishing folks I could recognize. Some were . . . well . . . celebrities. I mean, they were. For example, there was author Augusten Burroughs. Some folks were probably intimidated by the presence of the man. I did not have this problem, however, as I had no clue what he looked like. So really, it was win-win. This pattern would repeat itself throughout the night. See, check this out. Do you know who these folks are?
If you said, “Why that’s Augusten Burroughs, filmmaker Kimberly Reed, and Obama’s Commerce Dept. appointee, Amanda Simpson!” then you win a cookie. I did not win a cookie. They just seemed like nice folks. Or here’s a harder one:
Answer: Richard Russo, Edward Albee, and Augusten Burroughs. Note the camera around Mr. Burroughs’ neck. With that very instrument he took this shot of Mr. Albee:
I wonder what it’s like to casually take photographs that could be professional portraits or author photos. Must be delightful.
But I neglect our hostess! Yes, Jenny was there, and working the room. In time she stood to read a selection from her book and give credit to her publisher. Here you can see her alongside editor Katherine Tegen.
And here’s a shot of the audience. It is the only shot where you can almost make me out.
Then came the ceremonial cutting of the castle cake alongside Brenda Bowen herself.
Reader, it was delicious. Particularly the kraken arms. All in all, a lovely time was had by all. Thanks to Jenny and Brenda for putting on quite a show. Thanks too to Jenny Boylan and (I can’t believe I’m writing this) Augusten Burroughs for the images.