by Executive Editor Ali McCart

Fall is trade show season in the book world, and as much as I hate to see the days get shorter, the temperatures fall lower, I love to see new books introduced to readers.

For the past ten years, I’ve had the good fortune to work at the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association trade show, one of the first places many new books appear. As always, this year’s show delivered a fantastic showcase of new books.

Here’s a sampling of just five featured books that wowed me at PNBA and quickly found their way onto my to-read list. Some have recently been released, and some you’ll have to wait for, but mark your calendar now!

Falling from Horses, Molly Gloss
October 28, 2014, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
For years, Molly Gloss has enhanced the Western genre with a fresh perspective that so many of us are thirsty for. In her presentation at a PNBA breakfast event, Molly explained that as a young reader, she had to imagine herself a boy or young man to enjoy Western novels. As a writer, she didn’t want to do that anymore. With The Jump-Off Creek, she gave us the perspective of a woman on the frontier. Now with Falling from Horses, she gives us another fresh point of view: an old man looking back on having been part of Hollywood’s presentation of the Wild West.

May the Stars Drip Down, Nikki McClure
March 2014, Abrams
Nikki McClure has been a favorite illustrator of mine, as well as of Northwest booksellers, since she first came to PNBA in 2008. Her cut-paper illustrations provide a unique style to children’s books that kids and adults love. May the Stars Drip Down stands out as my favorite, though. This book is adapted from the song “The Stars Drip Down” by indie rock band Cub Country and tells the story of dreamland adventures. An audio download of the lullaby is included in each copy of the book, which Nikki says makes reading easy because all you have to do is press play and then turn the pages. Lovely song, lovely book, lovely dreams.

The Forgotten Girls, Sara Blaedel
February 3, 2015, Grand Central Publishing
Thriller writer Sara Blaedel has earned reader loyalty from an astounding 20 percent of the population of her native Denmark and is considered a favorite in eighteen other countries as well. The reason why, her editor Mitch Hoffman says, is that “Sara creates page-turning thrillers with a beating heart.” Readers want investigator Louise Rick to succeed not only in her cases but also in her love life, with her friendships, and among her family. The Forgotten Girls is Sara’s third novel published in America.

The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books, Azar Nafisi
October 21, 2014, Viking Adult
Azar Nafisi brought us Reading Lolita in Tehran, a million-copy bestseller that told her story of teaching classic literature in Iran. Now she’s back with so much more to say. Azar has become an American resident, and as she explained when she spoke at a PNBA breakfast event, we complain about the things we love. She loves America, she admits, and she also has some complaints about it, which she discusses in The Republic of Imagination. As is her way, though, Azar presents her perspectives against the backdrop of literature, this time specifically The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Babbit, and The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. Her talk garnered a standing ovation from PNBA attendees—the only one I’ve witnessed in ten years of attending the show.

The 12 Bottle Bar, David Solmonson and Lesley Jacobs Solmonson
August 2014, Workman Publishing
If your book is ever scheduled for a trade show that you can’t personally appear at, you might consider doing what these authors did: have the material appear for you. That tactic works especially well when the material is a delicious alcoholic beverage. David Solmonson and Lesley Jacobs Solmonson are the authors of The 12 Bottle Bar and have crafted more than two hundred craft cocktails from a liquor cabinet of just twelve bottles. The Brown Betty McDonald was featured at PNBA’s First Night Dinner at the King’s Table, and judging by the speed that the drinks—and books—flew off the table, attendees loved the brandy, ale, and spice mix.

Of course, these are just five of the nearly one hundred fantastic books featured at PNBA events, not to mention the hundreds more featured in exhibits. I encourage you to follow the book news at NW Book Lovers, PNBA’s blog, to learn more about other featured books and publishing announcements.

When she’s not editing, Ali McCart spends her free time…well, you already know she spends it reading or scouting for new books to read. Her next trade show will be SCIBA—Southern California Independent Booksellers Association—later this month. Until then, you can find her in her reading hammock!