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At BookExpo America, authors' comments as pointed as their pens

LOS ANGELES — BookExpo America brought together almost 30,000 publishers, authors, booksellers, librarians and journalists recently to praise the book and bewail its declining role in American culture. • Also to party: The hottest invitation was to a private concert at Prince's Los Angeles home. Yes, Prince is writing a book. • Here's what some of the non-rock-star authors at BEA, the largest such convention in North America, had to say about their craft. Florida was represented by many full- or part-time resident writers, including Judy Blume, Dennis Lehane and Ted Turner.

"This is very liberating for me. Usually I have to speak after Dave Barry, and he makes everything I write about farting and leprechauns seem shallow."

Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox), children's book author

"I warn parents at book signings: Don't tell your kids these were your favorite books — you'll just turn them off."

Judy Blume (Going, Going, Gone! With the Pain & the Great One), bestselling author of kids' books for more than 40 years

"We're the first generation in the history of the world that will have to learn to think like Noah. . . . We are the flood, and we are the ark."

Thomas Friedman (Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution — and How It Can Renew America), New York Times op-ed columnist

"Everybody told me, no way minorities will pay $4 for a cup of coffee. We'll pay $4 for coffee. We just don't know what a scone is. So I got rid of the scones, put in sweet potato pie, pound cake, sock-it-to-me cake."

Magic Johnson (Urban Magic: 32 Ways to Succeed in Business), basketball star turned businessman, on how he runs his 116 Starbucks

"Now I'm pissed off. I want sock-it-to-me cake. They don't have sock-it-to-me cake at the Starbucks where I live on the Upper East Side. Those racists."

Alec Baldwin (A Promise to Ourselves: Fatherhood, Divorce, and Family Law), star of NBC's 30 Rock

"It's hard writing satire in America today. You're up against American reality."

Christopher Buckley (Supreme Courtship), novelist

"I started Daily Kos six years ago last Monday, so in Internet years I'm about 37,000 years old."

Markos Moulitsas Zuniga (Taking On the System: Rules for Radical Change in a Digital Era), founder of DailyKos.com

"You don't see as many bodies in the street as you used to."

Richard Engel (War Journal: My Five Years in Iraq), NBC Middle East bureau chief, on how the war in Iraq is going

"My book has a chapter on integrity. Ted Turner never got indicted, like all those guys at Enron. I never got caught cheating on my taxes. I can't say I never got caught cheating on my wives."

Ted Turner (Call Me Ted), billionaire

"The lowest-rated rerun of Two and a Half Men, the one where Alan gets hurt and Charlie has to handle it alone — more people will see that than will ever read The Kite Runner. The difference is no one will remember it. And they'll remember the book."

Dennis Lehane (The Given Day), author of Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone

Colette Bancroft can be reached at cbancroft@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8435.

At BookExpo America, authors' comments as pointed as their pens 06/08/08 [Last modified: Sunday, June 8, 2008 4:30am]

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