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U.S. Book Show - May 25, 2021 Report

I'm beyond impressed with the inventive set-up for Publishers Weekly's all-virtual U.S. Book Show. The festivities began bright and early this morning with numerous Exhibit Halls filled with publishers, publicity orgs, and other book-publishing-related groups. I snagged some early galleys of fall releases (yay!) and listened to keynote speaker Oprah Winfrey discuss her new book with co-author Bruce D. Perry, as well as Keanu Reeves share what drew him to creating his own comic. I sat in for two of the publishing industry panels, including ones about inclusivity and diversity in the publishing industry and the future of the publishing office, particularly how employers can help their employees go "back to normal" after such a challenging year.

Oprah's keynote was, as expected, wonderful. She spoke about her deep love of books and how she considers authors "her rockstars." Oprah's Book Club turns 25 this year and Oprah shared why she started it, saying it was, “Born of [her] desire to connect with other authors and readers around books [she loves].”

"Great books have the power to open minds." --Oprah

She also spoke about her recent collaboration with renowned brain and trauma expert, Bruce D. Perry for the book, What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing. In this book, she reflects on traumas in her own childhood to reframe the question that opens the door for healing. Dr. Perry suggests we ask not, "What is wrong with you?" but instead, "What happened to you?" This subtle shift in thought helps open the door for truly understanding people, behavior, and ourselves.

Keanu Reeves spoke at a panel discussing his new 12-part comic series BRZRKR. Co-written by Keanu and Matt Kindt, with illustrations by Ron Garney, this comic features B., a half-mortal half-God who is compelled to a life of violence. Official description below...

A WAR WITH NO END. The man known only as B. is half-mortal and half-God, cursed and compelled to violence...even at the sacrifice of his sanity. But after wandering the world for centuries, the Berzerker may have finally found a refuge – working for the U.S. government to fight the battles too violent and too dangerous for anyone else. In exchange, B. will be granted the one thing he desires – the truth about his endless blood-soaked existence…and how to end it.

Keanu spoke about loving comics while growing up and how he enjoyed collaborating with Matt and Ron to bring this story to life on the page. He's a true original and I loved how excited and animated he was speaking about an art form very close to his heart. Books 1-4 are already available and the guys teased a possible continuation after the 12th book. I'm not usually into comics/graphic novels, but this one really does sound intriguing (and it definitely gives me John Wick vibes).

Below are some of the books I snagged galleys for or saw highlighted at the exhibit booths. omorrow's report should be longer, since the day features several genre-specific panels (mysteries/thrillers, literary fiction, picture books, biography/memoir) that showcase fall book releases. I can't wait!

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