BEA: Author's Breakfast

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My husband and I both agreed that one of our favorite parts of BEA was attending the author breakfast. I had gone back and forth on this one, and at one point I was told it was sold out! But then after that I found out other people were able to get tickets so I called and found out they added seats. Thanks for the notice, BEA, lol! Anyway, I called and got tickets.

The breakfast was hosted by Jon Stewart of The Daily Show who has a book coming out called Earth. As he was the host, his book wasn't discussed much so I really don't know too much about it. However, I have to say Jon Stewart was hilarious. He made fun of the "muffin bucket" we were served for breakfast and said something about how it's always great when your meals can be served in a pile, lol. Jon also poked fun at some of the audience members who asked questions.

The first book that was discussed was Condoleezza Rice's upcoming A Memoir of my Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me. Whether you're a republican or a democrat I think this story will likely amaze, inspire, and fascinate any reader. Hey, even Jon Stewart responded to her talk by stating, "Don't... make... me... like.... you...." LOL. Because after she spoke, how could you not like her? Her love for her family is so apparent, and I was heartbroken to learn that both her parents passed away before she even left for Washington. She had accomplished many successes by then, but they never got to see how far she actually went. Condoleezza (who's adorable in her picture on the cover!) grew up in Birmingham, Alabama during the 1960's civil rights era. Having recently read a few novels that took place during this era, I am wholly amazed at what Ms. Rice overcame to end up where she is today. She talked about how her parents were such strong advocates for education; when one of her teachers told her she wouldn't do well, Condoleezza practically laughed it off because her parents had instilled and nurtured such a healthy self-esteem in her. I'm very much looking forward to reading this memoir!

The next speaker was John Grisham. His newest book isn't yet complete, but the scheduled release date is in late October. He talked about a past non-fiction book he wrote called The Innocent Man. (I have this on TBR but still need to read it!) Anyway, he spoke about how this fueled in him an interest in learning more about wrongly convicted individuals who are still sitting on death row. It's a subject he has become passionate about; and though he reportedly doesn't think about a book again once he's done, he was unable to get The Innocent Man out of his mind. In fact, he's been working ever since with a group that helps try to get these wrongly convicted individuals off of death row through new types of evidence. And so The Confession was born. In it, a man murders another. He then sits back and watches as another man takes the fall for the crime; as the police chief and officers proudly announce the arrest at a press conference; sits in court as the trial progresses; as the prosecution shouts about the horrific crimes that the defendant perpetrated; and as the other man is sentenced to death. Time passes and it's days away from the day of execution. And what does the murderer do? Does he do the right thing? Or let an innocent man fall for his crime? Sounds intriguing, doesn't it! I'm hoping to try to read The Innocent Man before this one.

And last, but certainly not least, Mary Roach spoke. After enduring Jon Stewart's jokes of not knowing who she was, she joked about the initial flyer she saw regarding the breakfast: Jon Stewart, Condoleezza Rice, John Grisham, and more... haha! So she made a couple more jokes by referring to herself as "and more" and then talked a little more about her book. I can't believe it now, but I have never read one of her books! I didn't even realize who she was. Well, she wrote a few prior books, Stiff (about human cadavers), Spook, and Bonk (for which she and her husband had an ultrasound during sexual intercourse. Really!) Well, I didn't initially think I'd be interested in a book about space because it's just not one of my most interested topics. But, Mary takes quite a different look at the "life in the void". For instance, what is it like going that long without having sex? And dandruff... does it just float off your head into the confined helmet air? She talked about the extensive research NASA did in trying to create an outer space toilet. And really, have you ever thought about what happens when an astronaut needs to use the bathroom? (Well, not since the astronaut love triangle, right, hehe). No, but really. She poked fun at NASA engineers who insist on creating their own formula for inducing bowel movements rather than asking researchers of baby diapers. She described the process of researching the depletion of excrement from the body. An actual person has to enter a space stimulated machine and has a 22 second window during which he has to let go the excrement. NASA workers stand around and cheer him on and are sorely disappointed when he isn't able to produce the product. She also talked about gravity and "plop", because as you can imagine, this phenomenon is lacking in outer space.... yup, this was all during our breakfast of "muffin buckets"! Fun stuff! Anyway, she was hilarious and I think I will be reading this book as well!

I hope the author lineup for next year is as good as this one!


Amy said...

The author breakfasts are always a highlight for me as well. ;)

Mary said...

I'm glad you were able to get tickets for the author breakfast. Sounds like a wonderful event. Thanks for blogging about it!

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I'm glad you got to go to the breakfast!

When I went to BEA in LA (2008), I missed out on lots of fun stuff because I didn't plan ahead enough.

Not doing that again!

Trisha said...

I'm really sad I missed Mary Roach; I love her first three books and I'm looking forward to this one as well. I'm glad you were able to get tickets!

Lynne said...

I read Mary Roach's book Stiff not too long ago and absolutely loved it. Can't wait to read the others.

Great post about the breakfast. I stayed home and did the Armchair BEA thing. Fun, but not quite the same as being there. Hopefully next year...

Jenny said...

Amy -- Can't wait till next year!

Mary -- I had fun remembering it. =)

Laurel -- yeah as much as I planned, I learned that much how important it is!

Trisha -- I'm really surprised I hadn't heard more about her other books!

Lynne -- start planning and saving now! =)

Carin said...

Mary Roach's books are so friggin funny, but Stiff is the best. I haven't gotten my hand on this new one yet but the other three are all great.

Meg said...

Sounds like such a fun morning! I'm really interested in Mary Roach's books -- especially the way people describe her as taking a subject of mild interest and turning it into wildly entertaining, educational fun. Not that sex is boring, but... you know. :) A different take on things is always great!

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