This past weekend I went to BookExpo America, or BEA. It was, as always, a book lover's dream. I know I'm supposed to go for networking or whatever, but people, come on! An ENTIRE conference center filled with free books? Bring on the swag, baby!
Anyway, a brief recap. My husband and I arrived in New York on Thursday afternoon. We'd left in plenty of time to get to the hotel, check in, and then I was going to head up to a reading at the Borders in Columbus Circle. (I'm not sure I get the point of Columbus Circle, as Manhattan needs a mall why? Though it does have an impressively ginormous Whole Foods)
Of course, in getting to NYC, we didn't account for the NJ Turnpike, with its DC-like traffic jams that occur for inexplicable reasons. Naturally, we got stuck in one, and made up reasons why we were stuck as we waited.
Our favorites were:
1. Leprechauns loose on highway!
2. Bumper bump fist fight! (I have actually seen this happen. Once I was driving into work when one guy cut off another guy. When we all stopped at a traffic light, the guy who got cut off got out of his car, the other guy got out of his, and they proceeded to pummel each other until the light turned green and everyone honked for them to get going. Which they did! Ah, the magic of DC traffic!)
And, our favorite:
3. Someone was giving away a billion dollars to the next beat-up green car that passes! (Guess what kind of car we drove to New York)
Anyway, there were no leprechauns or fights, and sadly, we are not a billion dollars richer.
But we did make it to New York! And after running around like a chicken with my head cut off, I managed to change, make some frantic phone calls to a few people, and then race up to Borders. Where I would see Bennett Madison read! And Maureen Johnson! And others!
Of course, by the time I actually GOT to Borders, I'd missed about 2/3 of the readings, and just caught the tail end of Maureen Johnson's reading (and yet never actually saw her! I was in the back, in a corner that offered me a view of celebrity biographies and not much else.) But! I heard Maureen Johnson read, and she's just as funny in person as she is on her blog and I totally heart Girl At Sea. (And Devilish! And The Bermudez Triangle! And Keys to the Golden Firebird! I'm basically a Maureen Johnson fan girl, and if I ever meet her, I will probably turn bright red and mumble and then run away.)
Jenny Pollack read from her book, Klepto, next, and I sighed with fondness because I read Klepto while sitting in one of the ten thousand enormous open areas at that wacky hotel during the ALAN conference last year, and spent the next two days wishing I lived in New York in the 1980s. But where I grew up was cool too. We had cows! And sometimes they would get out when the fence busted and we'd have to get up in the middle of the night and heard them back into the field. I'm telling you, you haven't lived till you're in a forest, nudging a cow to get her moving a 4 AM!
Anyway, after Jenny read, Bennett Madison read--but instead of reading from his book, he read an amazing short story from an upcoming anthology. The last sentence was a killer, and I loved that he just went ahead and read something else. It was like Book Reading Improv!
My friend Amy showed up during the reading and spotted John Green, who I sadly hadn't noticed even though he does a whole video blog thing AND was a keynote speaker at the ALAN conference last year. And was about two rows in front of me. But once she pointed him out, I saw him, and so felt I was truly in New York. I was at a reading! With famous people not only reading, but attending!
After the reading was over, Amy and I checked out the rest of the store, and what do you know--they had Bloom
up front, in the Original Voices section! We took (all right, she took) photos to celebrate the moment:
See! It's really there! This was actually really exciting for me, as a couple of the Borders near my house have chosen not to display it in the Original Voices section.
And here I am oh-so-innocently moving a copy up to eye level! See what a master of low-key expressions I am? (And, in the interest of full disclosure, I did move the book back. Amy and I just thought it would be funny to have a picture of me stealthily moving the book. Especially since I can't be stealthy)
Then it was Friday, and BEA. It was held in the Javits Center, which is a fancy name for "large building that is difficult to get to." Oh, and it had a glass roof in places, which captured heat nicely. And let me tell you, on Friday, when it was packed, it got so hot I actually thought I was going to pass out at one point. (I have a history of fainting when I overheat--one of my family's favorite stories about my proclivity for passing out is how, when we all went to New Orleans when I was about ten, I fainted right at the top of a staircase and missed falling down in by virtue of the fact that my mother yanked me backwards as I started to crumple. And then fell over herself, with me on top of her, and my brother and father didn't notice until someone said, "Um, sir, is that your wife and daughter lying on the ground over there?")
I spent most of Friday with a good friend of mine (my husband hit the floor, grabbed books, and went off to see friends of his), and we walked around and grabbed books and gossiped. I also saw the lovely S&S marketing people, who have been so great to me, and waited in line for a couple of authors in the autographing area, including the fantabulous Melissa Marr, whose Wicked Lovely comes out soon. And I have my very own copy! And it's signed! I am using it as a reward---if I finish my work today and tomorrow, I get to read it. And I can't wait!!
On Friday afternoon, I met up with my HarperCollins editor, and we chatted and went out for a drink. I LOVE my Harper editor--she's smart, she's funny, and I could spent hours talking to her. (Which I did!)
On Saturday, I went back to BEA, which was marginally less crowded. Thank goodness! I ran into Claudia Gray, who has a new series, Evernight, coming from HarperCollins next summer. It's going to be HUGE, and I can't wait for it to come out! I also saw my fabulous agent, which made a great day that much better. I also--naturally--picked up more books.
On Sunday, I--you guessed it--went back to BEA again. Sunday is a good day to go--obviously, Friday and Saturday are key, as that's when a lot of the really huge books are given out, but on Sunday most people don't bother to go, and so it's a lot less crowded. I ended up getting a ton of books I missed on Friday and Saturday, and picked up some others. Then I spent the rest of the day with my husband, and, um, went to a bookstore (okay, bookstores) and brought more books. But I couldn't help it! And besides, everyone knows books purchased in out-of-town bookstores don't count. I was just doing my part for tourism!
Over the weekend, I also saw the lovely coffeeandink
, who twisted my arm and got me to buy a few more books. (Okay, so I suggested going to the bookstore, and asked her to help me pick out some books. What can I say? I'm weak when it comes to books. VERY weak.)
And then it was Monday, and we drove home, books shoved into every available space in the car. In other words....Bliss.