Notes From a New York Trip

piglet-signThoughts on the flight home from a whirlwind trip to Connecticut and New York for publishing business, centered around attending Food52.com‘s Piglet party, at which Little Flower was honored as one of the best cookbooks of 2012:

Manhattan’s food-journalist elite are astonishingly petite. Food52 folks, how do you all do it? Please send tips.

I personally witnessed some of the aforementioned wispy foodies stashing extras of Little Flower’s amazing brown butter shortbread in their purses for later. I even encouraged such behavior.

You have never seen more piles of books and empty book boxes stacked hither and thither than at the editorial offices for Library Journal. I came away with mountains of empathy for those hard-working folks—I will never again complain about how much I have to read now that I have the vivid image of what 1,500 books a week—yes, that’s what they have to process—looks like.

yotelroomThe Yotel is the coolest hotel ever, especially if you’re only fitting one person in a “cabin” (aka room). See the photo at right, but know that it doesn’t do it justice. An amazing use of a wee amount of space, with every creature comfort, at a great price…especially if you get it on Hotwire like I did ($110—yes, I’m very proud of myself).

A visit to Kitchen Arts & Letters again made me marvel at how such a little bookshop can be so influential. What a great place.

Speaking of bookstores, kudos to Diane’s Books in Greenwich for being the most civilized retailer out there—it closes at 5 p.m. and is closed on Sundays. That meant I was unable to visit like I hoped to, but I still give them props for being such an influential bookseller while keeping an old-school work-life balance.

I really have to get some more stylish outerwear. In LA I need it so rarely that I’m fine with my big-shoulders coat from the ’80s. But walking down Lexington, I felt like a dope.

greenwich-libraryI finally visited my old friend Michele Martin’s workplace, the Greenwich Library. Wow! If you haven’t been, you must go. It’s a gorgeous César Pelli–designed building (see the exterior of the Jewel Room at right) with fantastic light and woodwork and space. She’s lucky to get to work in such a physical environment every day. Plus the book collection is fantastic.

Ain’t nothing better than the duck confit and the chocolate pot de crème at Balthazar. Great fun to celebrate there with Little Flower author Christine Moore and her wonderful pals.

Finally, a shout-out to the agents with whom I caffeinated. Perhaps the most unexpected development in my journey as a publisher is how much I’ve come to value—and like—agents, who are often viewed as our adversaries. We’ve had some great experiences with the agents we’ve worked with, and on this trip it was an absolute delight to get to know Chris Kepner, Yishai Seidman, and Allison Cohen, all young, all smart, all totally devoted to the art and craft of publishing. It’s nice to have such partners in this adventure. (But we’re still holding firm on those e-book royalties….)