Skip to main content


September 12, 2013 Reader Valerie from Secaucus, NJ Reports on Hachette Reading Group Day

Posted by emily

After the success of last year's Hachette Reading Group Day, couldn't resist partnering with Hachette Book Group again to give readers the opportunity to meet some of their favorite authors and hear them speak about --- what else? --- books! Valerie of the Red Pages Book Club in Secaucus, NJ was one of the lucky readers who attended the event on Saturday, September 7th, and she was kind enough to share some of her experiences with Here, she talks about the panels she attended --- including her favorite, the New Adult/YA crossover, which featured effervescent authors A.S. King and Kate Locke --- some of the interesting things she learned about writers' writing processes, and all the free books she received (as well as the ones she couldn't help but buy). 


Hachette Reading Group Day was an excellent event. It was a beautiful day to be in New York. We arrived early and had a light breakfast provided by Hachette Book Group and their partners: Lighthouse International, McNally Jackson Books and --- I have to tell you the chocolate croissants were to die for. Greeting us was Karen Torres, Vice President, Account Marketing & Retail Operations, and her HBG task force who were friendly and very helpful.

Accompanying me were six members of my book club, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. Some members had joined me last year, and others will definitely be back next year. Surprisingly the day went by very fast --- 15 authors up, 15 authors done. Wow!

There were four panels of authors, with opening keynote speakers Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. They were so much fun, and made great partners, like Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin; they ended with you wanting more. They spoke of how they met, their early writing, their middle and their present writing WHITE FIRE, number 13 in their Special Agent Pendergast series. For those of you who have not read this series, this book stands alone and is definitely a must read. The closing keynote speaker was Elin Hilderbrand, and she was lovely, lovely, lovely, just like her books. Her new book, BEAUTIFUL DAY, is about planning a wedding, and everybody knows wedding planning can be difficult at times. Elin takes you on a touching journey in a family’s life as they ride the emotional rollercoaster of wedding planning. She makes you want to go back and reread some of her books to see all that you might have missed. Elin talked about how living on the small island of Nantucket is a big influence in her writings, although she never writes about her neighbors. The island is way too small for that; she leaves that up to the tourists. All the authors talked about how they process their ideas, very interesting and simply amazing. They sounded so effortless. And let’s not forget about the moderators, who were very good, great questions and awesome answers. 

Our favorite panel was New Adult/YA crossover, which featured authors A.S. King and Kate Locke. We just couldn’t get enough of them. Their personalities were so real and so much fun. Amy King talked about how she writes up to teenagers; she believes that they are smarter than some perceive. Amy’s a Printz Honor award winning author, whose books include EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS, THE DUST OF 100 DOGS, ASK THE PASSENGERS and her new book REALITY BOY, a story about a young teenage boy with bottled up feelings from his childhood on reality TV. I am a high school librarian, and if these are the authors our young adults are reading, then they’re in good hands. Kate Locke’s personality just lit up the room. Kate’s books include GOD SAVE THE QUEEN (Immortal Empire Series) and QUEEN OF THE DEAD, and although they are not my favorite genre, I would definitely recommend them to my students and adult patrons. I guess it’s true --- they save the best for last. King and Locke were so refreshing and entertaining.

We enjoyed George Pelecanos and Benjamin Percy, two very interesting authors. Pelecanos is a mystery author, and as mysterious as his character Spero Lucas. His new book THE DOUBLE --- set to be published in October --- is said to be one of George’s most explosive thrillers. His main character, Spero Lucas, makes his career at finding what’s missing and doing it quietly. Pelecanos’ style is dark and exciting --- definitely on my reading list. Benjamin Percy, a writer of literary fiction, had this deep baritone voice that was surprisingly unbelievable. So amazing that I searched for his audio book RED MOON to find out he is the narrator, and so you know what I will be listening to real soon: RED MOON over my speakers!

It was wonderful to see familiar authors such as Preston and Child, Pelecanos, Chris Culver, Lily Koppel, Kathleen Kent, A.S. King and Elin Hilderbrand. Meeting, listening and speaking to the authors I was not so familiar with was like candy, sweet and leaving me always wanting more. Lunch was sweet, too --- good food, good company --- a book lovers dream. It gave us some time to talk to other book clubs. We shared ideas, current readings, where our clubs meet and compared how we run our book clubs.

McNally Jackson Book Store was there on hand selling books at discount prices. Even though we received a tote bag full of free books, such as Preston and Child’s WHITE FIRE and TWO GRAVES, Pelecanos’ THE DOUBLE, Nicholas Dawidoff’s COLLISION LOW CROSSERS, Joanne Lipman’s STRINGS ATTACHED, A.S. King’s REALITY BOY, Elin Hilderbrand’s SUMMERLAND and more, we book lovers can never have enough! I purchased a few more books myself, and can’t wait to read THE MAID’S VERSION by Daniel Woodrell.

I want to thank Karen Torres, her partners, and her task force for giving us a delightful day. They satisfied our thirst for reading and expanded our minds with new authors and new books. I took many pictures of the event, and maybe next time we could have a photo op with the authors. That would be the icing on the cake, or should I say the cover on the book.

Thank you and so looking forward to the next time…

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” 
― Haruki Murakami, NORWEGIAN WOOD