A clown, a man in a banana suit, and Bernadette Peters walk into a bar . . .
. . . or, in this case, Book Expo America, three of the lasting images from Day Two, the final day of the show.
I have no idea which book the clown was promoting, but he was clearly exhausted, his frown in a facial death match with his painted smile. Banana Man was promoting a forthcoming book on juicing, and seemed far too excited about it. And Bernadette Peters, well, she just walked by my booth, flanked by two perky publicists, and gave me a quick smile and a toodle-oo finger wave that left me near breathless.
Traffic in my booth was far less than Day One, so I had a chance to stroll around and pick up a free book or two. Needless to say, all the good books and freebies had already been swept up by the early-morning rush of the booksellers, so I had to settle for a book about alien DNA among us and a replica edition of a physician's handbook. Um, let the excitement continue.
The autograph queues around the show floor were too long to tackle, but I did catch a glimpse of an author or two, none known to me, whose jacket photos did not remotely match the faces of the people actually signing the books. An exercise book featuring a lithe, sexy blonde on the cover was apparently written by a leather-skinned woman of questionable fitness. Go figure. Or go, figure.
These were just a few of the things I saw. I didn't see Jon Stewart and Condie Rice at the Booksellers Breakfast, or Fergie, or Whoopi Goldbergh, or any of the famous authors in attendance. But someone did. My story is just one of 30,000, the estimated number of booksellers, publishers, and authors walking, galumphing, truckin', and otherwise mingling on the show floor, in the autograph queues, and at invitation-only parties.
If you were unable to go this year, I hope you'll be there next year, May 24-26, 2011. I plan to be there, even if I have to be Banana Man or Cucumber Boy.