Out on a Whim – My BEA books

/ posted in: Reading

I went into Book Expo America with a carefully crafted plan.  There were 34 books out of the hundreds on the list that I might be interested in.  Of that list I ended up getting 18 of those books.  I figured that there would be a few that I would pick up that I hadn’t planned on and that I would list these here.

Yeah, so I’m shipping home 86 books.

Apparently I am the freaking Queen on picking up books on a whim.

I’m not listing all of them here, but of the books that I have coming to me from BEA, what am I most excited about that I didn’t know about before I went to Chicago?
The Underground Railroad: A NovelThe Underground Railroad: A Novel by Colson Whitehead

“Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all slaves, but Cora is an outcast even among her fellow Africans, and she is coming into womanhood; even greater pain awaits. Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her of the Underground Railroad and they plot their escape.

Like Gulliver, Cora encounters different worlds on each leg of her journey…Whitehead brilliantly recreates the unique terrors of black life in pre-Civil War America. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage, and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.”

This isn’t the best description. He imagines the Underground Railroad as a real subway with stops in each state. Each state is a different world.


Believing in MagicBelieving in Magic by Cookie Johnson

“In her new memoir, Cookie Johnson, wife of NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, shares details of her marriage, motherhood, faith, and how an HIV diagnosis twenty-five years ago changed the course of their lives forever.

On November 7, 1991, basketball icon Earvin “Magic” Johnson stunned the world with the news that he was HIV-positive. For the millions who watched, his announcement became a pivotal moment not only for the nation, but his family and wife. Twenty-five years later, Cookie Johnson shares her story and the emotional journey that started on that day—from life as a pregnant and joyous newlywed to one filled with the fear that her husband would die, she and her baby would be infected with the virus, and their family would be shunned. Believing in Magic is the story of her marriage to Earvin nearly four decades of loving each other, losing their way, and eventually finding a path they never imagined.”


Grandma Gatewood's Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian TrailGrandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail by Ben Montgomery

“Emma Gatewood told her family she was going on a walk and left her small Ohio hometown with a change of clothes and less than two hundred dollars. The next anybody heard from her, this genteel, farm-reared, 67-year-old great-grandmother had walked 800 miles along the 2,050-mile Appalachian Trail. And in September 1955, having survived a rattlesnake strike, two hurricanes, and a run-in with gangsters from Harlem, she stood atop Maine’s Mount Katahdin. There she sang the first verse of “America, the Beautiful” and proclaimed, “I said I’ll do it, and I’ve done it.”

Grandma Gatewood, as the reporters called her, became the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail alone, as well as the first person—man or woman—to walk it twice and three times. Gatewood became a hiking celebrity and appeared on TV and in the pages of Sports Illustrated. The public attention she brought to the little-known footpath was unprecedented. Her vocal criticism of the lousy, difficult stretches led to bolstered maintenance, and very likely saved the trail from extinction.”


How to Get Run Over by a TruckHow to Get Run Over by a Truck by Katie C McKenna

“People often say, I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck. Katie actually was.
On a sunny morning bike ride in Brooklyn, twenty-four-year-old Katie McKenna was forever changed when she was run over by an eighteen-wheeler. Being crushed under a massive semi wasn t something Katie should have survived. After ten hours of emergency surgery, she woke to find herself in a body and a life that would never be the same.
In this brutally honest and surprisingly funny memoir, Katie recalls the pivotal event and the long, confusing road to recovery that followed. Between the unprepared nudity in front of her parents post-surgery, hospital happy hours, and the persistent fear that she would never walk again, Katie details the struggles she s faced navigating her new reality. This inspiring memoir follows Katie s remarkable journey to let go of her old life and fall in love with her new one.”

I started this one while at BEA. It is very good.


The Other EinsteinThe Other Einstein by Marie Benedict

“A vivid and mesmerizing novel about the extraordinary woman who married and worked with one of the greatest scientists in history.

What secrets may have lurked in the shadows of Albert Einstein’s fame? His first wife, Mileva “Mitza” Marić, was more than the devoted mother of their three children—she was also a brilliant physicist in her own right, and her contributions to the special theory of relativity have been hotly debated for more than a century.

In 1896, the extraordinarily gifted Mileva is the only woman studying physics at an elite school in Zürich. There, she falls for charismatic fellow student Albert Einstein, who promises to treat her as an equal in both love and science. But as Albert’s fame grows, so too does Mileva’s worry that her light will be lost in her husband’s shadow forever.”

Could there be a book that is more ME? Historical fiction about forgotten women in science?


Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness (Ethical Chiang Mai Detective Agency #1)Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness by David Casarett

“Ladarat Patalung, for one, would have been happier without a serial murderer in her life. Then again, she never meant to be a detective in the first place.

But while content in her role at the Chaing Mai Hospital in Thailand as the nurse ethicist, Ladarat couldn’t resist when police detective Kuhn Wiriya came to her with his dilemma.

Two nights ago, a young woman brought her husband to the emergency room, where he passed away. Now someone remembers her coming in before, with a different husband (who also died). Is there a serial killer on the loose? One who likes to murder her husbands? And what else can one lone nurse ethicist do about it, but investigate?”


Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water LiliesMad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies by Ross King

“Mad Enchantment tells the full story behind the creation of the Water Lilies, as the horrors of World War I came ever closer to Paris and Giverny, and a new generation of younger artists, led by Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, were challenging the achievements of Impressionism. By early 1914, French newspapers were reporting that Monet, by then 73 and one of the world’s wealthiest, most celebrated painters, had retired his brushes. He had lost his beloved wife, Alice, and his eldest son, Jean. His famously acute vision–what Paul Cezanne called “the most prodigious eye in the history of painting”–was threatened by cataracts. And yet, despite ill health, self-doubt, and advancing age, Monet began painting again on a more ambitious scale than ever before. Linking great artistic achievement to the personal and historical dramas unfolding around it, Ross King presents the most intimate and revealing portrait of an iconic figure in world culture–from his lavish lifestyle and tempestuous personality to his close friendship with the fiery war leader Georges Clemenceau, who regarded the Water Lilies as one of the highest expressions of the human spirit.”


You Negotiate Like a Girl: Reflections on a Career in the National Football LeagueYou Negotiate Like a Girl: Reflections on a Career in the National Football League by Amy Trask

“The Princess of Darkness. Former NFL team executive Amy Trask has held many titles during her career – including chief executive, analyst, and author – but this nickname is what she is first and foremost known by to Raiders fans. Trask joined the Raiders as an intern during law school after the team moved from Oakland to Los Angeles – the position the result of a cold call she made to the team. From there, she worked her way up through the ranks of the organization, to the post she would eventually hold as chief executive.”


The NextThe Next by Stephanie Gangi

“Is there a right way to die? If so, Joanna DeAngelis has it all wrong. She’s consumed by betrayal, spending her numbered days cyberstalking Ned McGowan, much younger ex, and watching him thrive in the spotlight with someone new, while she wastes away. She’s every woman scorned, fantasizing about revenge … except she’s out of time.

Joanna falls from her life, from the love of daughters and devoted dog, into an otherworldly landscape, a bleak infinity she can’t escape until she rises up and returns and sets it right – makes Ned pay – so she can truly move on.

From the other side into right this minute, Jo embarks on a sexy, spiritual odyssey. As she travels beyond memory, beyond desire, she is transformed into a fierce female force of life, determined to know how to die, happily ever after.”

This description sounds like a horror book but it is supposed to be funny.


A Deadly AffectionA Deadly Affection by Cuyler Overholt

“New York City, 1907. At the dawn of the twentieth century, Americans believe that science, especially the medical sciences, will soon conquer all of mankind’s ills. For a brief time medical schools open their doors to women, allowing them to join the scientific crusade. Genevieve Summerford is one woman who answers the call….

After a past family tragedy for which she holds herself to blame, Dr. Genevieve Summerford wants nothing more than to succeed in her new career as a psychiatrist, and win back the respect of her family and peers. That goal is thrown into jeopardy, however, when one of her patients is arrested for murder – a murder Genevieve fears she may have unwittingly provoked. Desperate to prove to herself and the authorities that her patient is innocent, she is forced to enlist the aid of an influential Tammany captain who once worked for her family as a stable boy, and whose motives for helping her now are open to doubt. Forging an uneasy alliance, the two uncover an astonishing secret about one of the city’s most powerful families: a secret which, should Genevieve choose to reveal it, could bring down catastrophe on those she cares most about, but which, should she let it lie, will almost certainly send her patient to the electric chair.”


But what is my favorite new book?

Hands down, no questions, Shambhala Publishing for the win!
Icy, Creamy, Healthy, Sweet: 75 Recipes for Dairy-Free Ice Cream, Fruit-Forward Ice Pops, Frozen Yogurt, Granitas, Slushies, Shakes, and MoreIcy, Creamy, Healthy, Sweet: 75 Recipes for Dairy-Free Ice Cream, Fruit-Forward Ice Pops, Frozen Yogurt, Granitas, Slushies, Shakes, and More by Christine Chitnis

“With 75 recipes for a full range of frozen sweets, you’ll find healthy treats that use fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs, that are free of refined sugars, and that include vegan and dairy-free options. The results are flavorful, unique, refreshing, and healthy—making the whole experience a little sweeter.”

DAIRY FREE ICE CREAM!!!!!  I got quite a few books to give as prizes for Foodies Read but no one is getting their paws on this one.  This one is mine!


Overall, I found a lot of great nonfiction and historical fiction. I was disappointed by a lack of urban fantasy. In fact I only got a few books that would be considered fantasy at all.

I’ll be writing more this week about BEA.

I also wrote posts for Armchair BEA: