BookExpo 2018: Hunting ground for Democrats

Bernie Sanders at BookExpo 2018 (Photos by Sujeet Rajan)

NEW YORK – One could be mistaken for thinking one was in the midst of a roaring Democratic National Convention, or a major campaign rally for liberals and progressives. Prominent huge cutouts and hoardings of President Bill Clinton and former First Lady Michelle Obama is hard to miss, positioned as they are at the entrance of the Jacob Javits Convention Center, in New York City.

And if one were amongst the 1,000 or so people lucky enough to get a ticket, one could hear Sen. Bernie Sanders give a rousing speech, and plenty of hearty cheering by his supporters. It was clear, though he may not say so, but the man’s ready, come 2020, for another shot at the Presidency.

Welcome to BookExpo 2018, the largest meet in North America for book industry professionals, which ran from May 30-June 1.

It’s not hard to discern walking around the center, through the book stalls, that the mantra at the moment for publishers to quickly shoot a book up the bestseller list is anything political in hue, vicissitudes and faux pax at the White House and beyond being the frontrunner, with insight and analysis of some controversial moments equally welcome.

Sanders, the Independent Senator from Vermont, was the star of the Book Expo, drawing more crowd to his speech on Day 2, than perhaps all the authors combined who attended the annual extravaganza. His forthcoming book, titled ‘Where We Go From Here’, is scheduled to be published a week after the 2018 midterm elections, according to St. Martin’s Press.

A poster of Michelle Obama

In his speech, Sanders lashed out at President Trump, saying, “Day by day the nation is moving to an oligarchic society.”

The book’s press release says, “Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign was a beginning, not an end. In his new book, America’s most popular political figure speaks about what he’s been doing to oppose the Trump agenda and strengthen the progressive movement and how we go forward as a nation.”

Sanders explained in his speech that he has been busy after the election, visiting 28 states, most of them that Trump carried in the 2016 elections.

“I have been telling the people there that Trump lied to you, that he lied to working families in America,” he said, pointing out that today, 32 million people are off healthcare, his pet subject.

Sanders talked also about the growing racial intolerance in America, and the horror of school shootings which have become the new normal in society.

“What is so horrible (school shootings) is that children are going to school, and parents are sending them to school, and worry about it,” he said. “Guns should not be given to people who should not have it,” he said, addressing the issue of mental health problems, with people who are suicidal and homicidal still managing to get hold of guns.

Promotion of Roshani Chokshi’s novel ‘Aru Shah and the End of Time’

Though she didn’t attend the BookExpo, there is much anticipation for Michelle Obama’s forthcoming memoir, ‘Becoming,’ scheduled to be released on November 13. It will be published by Crown, a Penguin Random House imprint, which acquired world publication rights of it along with a book by former President Barack Obama in February. The Financial Times reported the deal to be worth $65 million.

One of the most anticipated books of the year is also ‘The President Is Missing,’ by James Patterson and Bill Clinton. The novel is a high-concept thriller in which the US president has disappeared. It is being co-published by Alfred A. Knopf and Little, Brown and Co., and goes on sale June 4. Don’t be too surprised if a movie based on the book hit the screens next year or later.

It was great to see at the BookExpo promotion of Roshani Chokshi’s novel ‘Aru Shah and the End of Time.’

Chokshi is the author of the young adult novels ‘The Star Touched Queen’ and ‘A Crown of Wishes’. ‘The Star-Touched Queen’ was a finalist for the 2017 Locus Award for Best First Novel and for the 2017 Andre Norton Award.

(Sujeet Rajan is Executive Editor, Parikh Worldwide Media. Email him: Follow him on Twitter @SujeetRajan1)



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