NOTES FROM BEA: Lots of babies...and what to do when the galleys are misprinted

I had a great but crazy, brief visit to the Book Expo in New York yesterday. I arrived Saturday evening and went straight to the Strand for their 80th birthday party. As I emerged from my cab, Rene Steinke appeared and we talked on the street. She pulled out pictures of her curly headed two year old, and then she was off to get home to Brooklyn, which is where everyone who used to live in Manhattan lives. Catherine Texier arrived, and we went upstairs, where I immediately ran into Francine Prose and Howie Michels. They are new grandparents, and Francine talked of nothing else. The books editor of Time Out came by, and then I began to hunt frantically for food.

Catherine and I ended up walking back to the east village, had some great food at one of the newer little restaurants on Avenue C (Esperanto was too long a wait), and then met a gorgeous pit bull on the way home. "I see that dog every day--I had no idea it was a pit bull!" Catherine said as I made out with the dog.

In the morning, I was off to the Book Expo at the Javits Center, where I ran into Sophie Cotrell supervising the line for galleys of Alice Sebold's new novel. "I don't go to anything anymore," Sophie said. "I just had another kid." How many do you have, I asked. "Three, I think."

I picked up galleys for the new Junot Diaz novel. Actually, I took two. And a few bags of other goodies. Then I headed to the Globe Pequot booth for my own signing. We gave out 200 galleys of my new book, along with chocolate bones with the title on the wrapper, all under the watchful eyes of a giant poster of my dog Brando. Very surreal.

Then I hopped on a plane home. And this morning--gasp!--I looked at the galleys for the first time and discovered that there was a major error in the formatting of the book. Gulp! For anyone who actually has the galley, here's the secret to making sense of it: There are chapters in which I tell stories of dogs I have met (hence the title) alternating with brief letters from actual people in their own voices. The letters are meant to be chapters on their own, little palate cleansers between courses of dogs. But as they are now, they appear at the end of each chapter as if they are part of the chapter itself. Insert an imaginary break, please.


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