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The Book Expo Top Ten: Madeleines, Buddakan, and Rosie O'Donnell

Photo: Algonquin Books (Arsonist's Guide); Boris Kachka (Strand party); Getty Images (O'Donnell)


1. Best literary catfight: Believer editor Heidi Julavits versus Philadelphia critic Carlin Romano et al at the "Crisis in American Book Pages" panel.

Julavits: "I think a 650-word book review is bullshit. I see reviews as essentially becoming consumer-reports guides."

Romano: "We're on the same side. I could say that the Believer is McSweeneys on McSweeneys, Eggersphere on Eggersphere, that it's public relations. But that wouldn't be fair."

2. Marisha Pessl Award for Potentially Confusing But Somehow Catchy Title: The Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England, Algonquin's big fall debut by Brock Clarke.

3. Funniest line not uttered by Stephen Colbert: Daily Show executive producer Ben Karlin on why he wrote a book: "What can I do for less money and less recognition and will require me to be at the Javits Center at 8 a.m.?"

4. Longest signing line not for Stephen Colbert: "Puff the Magic Dragon" composer Peter Yarrow — complete with in-line sing-along.

5. Party venue the majority of attendees could least afford as civilians: Buddakan, for HarperCollins's splashy shindig. In the words of a bouncer, "For these big corporations, I guess it's a drop in the bucket."

6. Party venue that made you most feel like a civilian: The PW-sponsored 80th-birthday party for the Strand: overhead fluorescents, minimal AC, catering by Katz's, Ed Koch singing — and oh, yeah, free Trump Vodka.

Photo: Boris Kachka

7. Tastiest promotional snack: Buttery madeleines, labeled Proust Was a Neuroscientist — for a Houghton Mifflin book by 25-year-old Jonah Lehrer. Perfect for midmorning ambulatory sustenance.

8. Most misguided (and unnecessary) galley-giveaway pitch: "Urban sophisticated thriller here!" shouts a book marketer, holding out a copy of James Collins's Beginner's Greek. Upon seeing our press badge: "Come on, how many New York books are you seeing?!" Um, a couple thousand?

9. Best off-the-cuff editor's remark: Ecco's Dan Halpern, explaining why he prefers it when Book Expo's not in New York: "Here, you're working two jobs, you got your family on your back. I want to leave town. There's nothing like that moment when you go into your hotel room and you're alone. Well, almost alone."

10. False Self-Deprecation Award: Rosie O'Donnell, just before she ditched Sunday's author breakfast — which she was supposed to be hosting — early: "I don't know if you've heard, but I'm not going to be on The View next year. Instead I'm going to be auditioning for The Apprentice. Here's hoping." —Boris Kachka