This afternoon, as Book Expo America begins, Tina Brown and Doubleday hosted a luncheon at MoMA's The Modern to celebrate the release of The Diana Chronicles. In the back room, like dwarves, each of the seven tables came with an adorable author of note. Ian McEwan, Kate Christensen, Jeffrey Toobin, Sebastian Faulks, Valerie Martin and Dan Wallace were the literary set pieces and their books, except Brown's (it's still unpublished, though excerpts will be in next week's Vanity Fair), were liberally distributed throughout. We counted two seersucker suits and more than one pair of Converse. The group could choose between sea bass with coco beans and spring vegetables "au pistou" or beef strip loin with morels, wilted lettuce and yukon gold salad. Tina Brown was fashionably late.
Jeffrey Toobin, however, most recently author of The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court was one of the first guests. "This is the only party I've been invited to," he said and shrugged. Asked who he thought a good Supreme Court justice might be, he said, "Barack Obama. You heard it here first." Then he went to sit between the Times' Motoko Rich and, guess who, the Post's Keith Kelly.
Nearby Karen Holt, Deputy Editor of Publisher's Weekly, was chatting to Doubleday PRbot Alison Rich about the surfeit of parties she'd be attending. "The Workman party is gonna be a BBQ and Google's party is supposed to be catered by Blue Smoke. I'm the only woman who eats at parties," she said. "That's why I work at PW."
Behind her, "Brooklyn author," as she is frequently billed, Kate Christensen stood talking to some dude with a goatee, a brown suit and brown Chuck Taylors about the Iowa Writer's Workshop. Ms. Christensen, it must be said, is cute and she lives in Greenpoint. She used to live in Williamsburg, but when she turned 40, she thought, "I"m too old to be living off the L. Better to live off the G—G for Geriatric." What, she's already turned 40? And here's to you Mrs. Christensen.
And then Tina Brown walked in. How much like Princess Di is she? "Well let's just say, if I had legs like hers I'd be wearing skirts that get shorter and shorter—not longer and longer," she said. The skirt of her tan suit fell just above the knee. "Plus," she said, "I've never perfected my sidelong glance." We pressed on. "C'mon, TB, show it to us!" She did. Her saucer eyes glistened in the weird light reflected off the Richard Serra sculpture in the nearby courtyard. She gave a little regal wave and drifted off.