For the last several years I've been experiencing a more-than-passing longing to attend the legendary Book Expo America. It all started back when I used to frequent a lovely place known as Readerville. I met so many wonderful people there and a few of them used to regale us youngsters with tales of floors of bookish sorts, rows of publisher booths, stacks of free galleys, and line after line leading to authors willing to talk to you and smile at you and nod patiently while you tell them you love them. My longing grew. Soon I began plotting how to get around the minor obstacles of lack of funding and a location nowhere near New York City.
Well, this year everything just fell into place. It should be noted that it helps to have a husband willing to keep the kids and garden alive while you go off gallivanting with a few thousand other hopeless bibliophiles. And every time you call to check in he tells you everything's under control, everyone's happy, and go back to enjoying yourself already. It should also be noted that it helps to have a friend willing to let you crash at her place, tag along with her to various publishing events, and keep her up late talking when she has a host of other important things to do. If you do not have these two sorts of people in your life I highly recommend acquiring one or both.
There's so much I could tell you that, if I let it, it would bleed over into a string of increasingly rambling, gushing posts. Add to that the fact that there are literally scads of BEA reports out there you can read to your little heart's content, and I think I'll settle for a list of things I learned at my first BEA (with accompanying art).
• Deanna Raybourn is as luminous and lovely as Lady Julia Grey herself. I actually had to restrain myself from asking her if there's a real Brisbane out there somewhere as well.
• When four YA authors get together to form a rock cover band (particularly when one of them is Libba Bray) the results are simply awesome.
• Neil Gaiman doesn't just sign a book, he draws a picture of your gravestone above the signature while chatting charmingly in a voice you could listen to all day long.
• Sitting in the cupcake cafe at Books of Wonder and reading is one of the most relaxing things you can do while in NYC. Particularly when the book you're reading is a galley of Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater.
• Librarians make the world go round. No joke. I talked to one who works full time at her high school library and part time as a YA librarian at her local library. She literally spends every hour of every day fostering a love of reading in her patrons. It's a labor of love and that's all there is to it.
• If you've never been to the Statue of Liberty before, it really is worth a trip. It certainly was a (non-book-related) highlight of mine.
• All those bloggers you converse and correspond with on a daily basis but have never actually "met" before? They're just as cool (if not cooler) in person as their virtual personas lead you to believe.
• Scott Westerfeld is a funny man. He is also fond of midnight blue velvet blazers, zombies, and Lindy Hopping in the street.
• Being able to periodically stop in at the shipping center and drop off your latest haul in a box with your name on it throughout the conference is ideal. Having to tape up the box, let UPS haul it away, and cross your fingers it actually arrives is less than ideal. It's not that I don't trust the strapping UPS dudes. It's just that there's a copy of Catching Fire in that box. And Forest Born. And Fire. And, well, you get the picture...
• Having people come up to you and tell you they love your blog, they read it every day, they think it rocks? That's the kind of mind-blowingly awesome experience for which I was completelty unprepared and which, for the record, I will never forget.
So. That's it in a nutshell. Walking out of the conference center was a surprisingly difficult thing to do, only slightly mitigated by the knowledge that it'll all happen again next year. Of course, leaving TMUAGOBPE is much easier when you have this bundle of awesome to come home to:
So I decided I had to come out of the lurker shadows to comment on this post. I'm so thrilled and jealous that you were there! Please let us all know when that package arrives. I'll be relieved for you. And Ballad?! *Drooling*ReplyDelete
What an experience! I'm dying to go next year when I'll be only a few hours away.ReplyDelete
Oh, I'm so jealous!!
Oh the envy the envy!!!!ReplyDelete
My only consolation is that I'm going RWA this year :grin:
Angie- I am jealous! Adam told me you were out and about in NYC and I have loved reading all about your adventures! By the way...I loved the third Julia Grey novel, I'm currently reading King of Attolia and I'm in desperate need of the rest of the Ivy League books because that first one was splendid. You rock!ReplyDelete
That is such a cool account and the first one I read that even mentions that Neil FREAKING Gaiman was there. Now THAT makes so super jealous.ReplyDelete
I would like that cupcake. :)ReplyDelete
It was great meeting you -- you're terribly cute in real life.
Haha, is that your son? How adorable! I wish I could go to BEA but *sigh* I'm only 15..ReplyDelete
Sounds like you had an amazing time.
That last pic is adorable:)
Holly, delurking is the hardest step. You're gonna be fine. ;) I'm expecting the package on Monday and I'm sure there will be an ecstatic post w/picture proving they arrived safe and sound.ReplyDelete
Janssen, you should totally go when you get to Boston! It's an experience not to be missed.
ALady, I would love to go to RWA...I definitely blew my wad on BEA this year. You'll have to let me know how it is.
Alicia, SILENT ON THE MOOR is a nice payoff, isn't it? I loved it, too. I'm so glad she's writing more Julia & Brisbane. Sounds like you need to drop by and borrow the other 3 Ivy League Novels. Because they are simply diviiiiine. :)
Ana, I think a lot of people didn't realize he was gonna be there. I was SO excited to meet him. Also, he wrote on me.
Maggie, the cupcake was indeed yummy. Though not nearly as yummy as BALLAD. I was glued the entire plane ride home. Also, James rocks. So hard. I miss him now...
Emily, yep, that's my son. He's a riot. Only a couple more years and you could hit BEA up right nice.
Mandi, thanks! It really was an unbelievable time. Like I'd died and gone to heaven.
I was terrified to ship my books back too. I actually kept my copy of Catching Fire with me cause I didn't trust it. Got my delivery yesterday! But I finished Catching Fire days ago. It was nice to meet you there. I think Tiger Beat was a highlight for me too!ReplyDelete
YAY! I was hoping you would like him. :)ReplyDelete
I'm so so so happy you had such a rewarding (and very cool!) experience at BEA! :)ReplyDelete
...but am also kind of sad that we... I mean, I, wasn't able to coordinate meeting up with you. I nearly pulled my hair out when I saw your Statue of Liberty photo. I'm only 20 or so minutes from the NJ side! Gaaaah!!! Next time, ok?
First, your blog totally rocks, and second, I am oh so jealous. Of all of it. But it's wonderful to hear that you had such an amazing time. (I'm keeping my fingers crossed for next year.) Now I'll be waiting on all those reviews! Ne pressure or anything. :)ReplyDelete
Jen, I'm glad yours came already! I opted to keep Kristin Cashore's FIRE with me on the plane. I've been really looking forward to that one. It was really great to meet you!ReplyDelete
Maggie, "like" isn't quite the word I would use. :)
Christine, I'm sad too! But I am definitely going to try to come back next year and we will have to meet up. Hope the dance recital went well.
Chelle, aww...And don't worry. I'm on it. Reviews to come and I'm thinking a SHIVER giveaway, too...
You'll have to tell me all about it this summer. I need more details. I am counting down the minutes till next Friday when we cross the border into Idaho.....sigh.....I need my Idaho fix and quick!ReplyDelete
Hehe, loving your BEA pictures, but the last one is best!ReplyDelete
And Scott Westerfeld! I got his signature too, which means we were probably in the same line and didn't know it! :O Gasp.
BEA was a wonderful madhouse.
Ah, you were in New York City soaking up your obsession...with a cupcake on top.ReplyDelete
Sigh, jealous. Alas, loner Penguin receptionists are not invited to such exclusive publishing events. I can't wait to read the book reviews.
Books are Heaven.
What a great post! :) Love all the pictures. Your personal notes are great. I doubt I'll ever get to go to BEA, since school will always be ending around this time, but I can thankfully enjoy it through so many of you who do go and share it with us!ReplyDelete
Liz, I will be full of details when we meet up in Malad. You're almost there...you can make it!ReplyDelete
Janice, lol. He just comes out all costumed up like that and it's such a struggle not to burst out laughing while we're snapping the picture. I can't believe we didn't see each other in the Westerfeld line! A beautiful madhouse indeed...
Kos, I wish I'd had time to hook up with you. Are you at Penguin permanently now or temping still? Books are definitely heaven. What good ones have you read lately?
mjmbecky, I'm glad you enjoyed the report. Maybe someday they'll move the dates a bit so you can fit it in. It's funny because I doubt I'll ever get to Hawaii so I look forward to sharing it vicariously through your descriptions and pictures. :)
Ballad! I can hardly wait for it to come out in October! I just finished Lament (due to your review) this week.ReplyDelete
I'm so jealous. I live in downstate Illinois in the middle of farm acreage. The closest thing to BEA that I'm going to see is here on the internet.ReplyDelete
Sure looked like a blast!
Love the pics, all looks great! Especially the little Prince Warrior!
Taryn, I'm so glad you read (and liked?) LAMENT! I can tell you now, BALLAD does not disappoint.ReplyDelete
Dottie, it was a true reader's paradise. The little Prince Warrior was defending the homestead while I was gone. ;)
Hey, so you're from Utah County? Me too! Yay!!!!ReplyDelete
Emily, guilty! So many more book bloggers around these parts than I was aware of.ReplyDelete