OK, as a lot of book bloggers are aware, Book Expo America (BEA) is a huge trade fair for the book industry. Every year librarians, authors, book sellers, publishers, and other book-related professionals gather to network, attend panels, do business, and pick up new books.
Can you believe I’ve been going to BEA since 2009? That makes me sound like an old hand, but every year I get very excited the night before and can barely sleep. This year was the same, but at least this time I was able to sleep fine after day 1 (which was the BEA Blogger Con). I am clearly getting used to this. The one big difference for me this year was in the number of books I picked up at the BEA floor. I’ve finally gotten to the point where (gasp!) my willpower is stronger. I think in the past I’ve had the “well, it’s free and maybe I’ll like it” mentality. This year I was tough! I was strong! Most of the books I got were ones I was really excited to read, and so I think my average was 9 books each day. It was 20 books per day in the past.
- Because It is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin (signed)
- Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch – One of my two impulse pick ups for the day. It was so shiny. “On one side of the Rift is a technological paradise without famine or want. On the other side is a mystery” — sounds vaguely dystopian.
- The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde – a YA by Jasper Fforde – I’m in!
- The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce (signed) – like I’ve said, I’m a fan of the animated short that won the Oscar.
- The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
- The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne Valente (signed)
- The Ruins of Lace by Iris Anthony – this was my other impulse pick up for the day. I just love the cover. It’s a historical fiction surrounding the illegal lace trade of the 1600s.
- The City’s Son by Tom Pollock (signed) – The blurb sold me with these two lines: “graffiti artist Beth Bradley is looking for sanctuary. What she finds is Filius, the ragged and cocky crown prince of London’s mystical underworld.” – Mystical underworld? Cocky crown prince? Yes!
- Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson – A new urban fantasy with a werewolf protagonist.
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (signed)
- Paris in Love by Eloisa James – this is a autobiography that was in the goodie bags at the Random House breakfast. I actually didn’t pick up a goodie bag (tough executive decision), but another blogger was going through their bag and gave this to me.
- The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin (signed) – one of my most anticipated fantasy books of this year.
- Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (signed) – teenaged assassin fights as royal champion until a new royal assassin can be chosen.
- Eventide by Tracy and Laura Hickman (signed) – Sounds like a fantasy version of 1001 Nights with a dragon instead of a king. Also – that’s right, I met Tracy Hickman of Dragonlance fame!
- Breed by Chase Novak – Horror, so a gamble for me. Adore the tactile, rubbery feel of this cover though
- Saving June by Hannah Harrington – YA roadtrip and loss story. I won this on Pirate Penguin’s Reads and Sandy handed it to me while I was at BEA.
- Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi – Another book from last year’s BEA which Kate from Babbling about Books, and More brought for me (thanks Kate!)
TIME WITH BOOK BLOGGERS
While new books are nice, the highlight for me really was seeing old and new book blogger faces. I mentioned meeting some bloggers at the BEA Blogger Con, but unfortunately, while I kept tweet-asking certain people where they were, it was difficult to go find and socialize with them. Some people were simply going to BEA rather than the BEA Blogger Con. The way to go turned out to be exchanging cell phone numbers and texting people to find out where they were (and I’m thankful I have Verizon – better reception at the Javits than other carriers).
Can I point you guys at this awesome post at Book Harbinger that I feel captures the fun of meeting booknerds?
I don’t know if I can name every person I saw and met for the first time so I’m sorry in advance for forgetting some people. I enjoyed texting with Sandy of Pirate Penguin’s Reads while both of us were commuting in by train and finally meeting in line for an autographing. I ran into Memory (Stella Matutina), Grace (Books of Love), Jessica (Read, React Review), Jane (Dear Author), Ana and Thea (The Book Smugglers), and Elizabeth (Gossamer Obsessions) a few times. Holly from Book Harbinger and Angie of Angieville and I had a good bowl of ramen after the BEA Blogger Con, and I saw them a couple more times on the floor. I also spent a few hours with Kristen of Fantasy Cafe – just sitting and relaxing for a bit. Later we had an adventure walking in the rain with a bunch of books and one umbrella. I finally got to meet Heidi of Bunbury in the Stacks (texting – the way to go) while we were in line for N. K. Jemisin’s signing (and discovered we were in at least 3 other lines together). I met a few people at the Apocalypsies event as well. I reconnected with Romance lovers Kate (Babbling About Books and More), @nystacey, @KwanaWrites, and @marireads. Christine from The Happily Ever After came into the city and carved out time for a snack with Kristen and me before we had to head out for the NYPL event. And I also finally met Lisa of Starmetaloak at the Random House Breakfast and got to mingle with her there. I also met new-to-me bloggers Donna (Bites) and Grace (Books Without Any Pictures).
RANDOM HOUSE BREAKFAST
On Wednesday morning was the Random House Power Reader Breakfast. I have to say I was really impressed. The event space was really lovely, and the food was amazing (there was even a coffee station) – I couldn’t help comparing it to the breakfast at the BEA Blogger Con, and Random House came out looking better by leaps and bounds. There were short speeches by Nate Berkus (The Things That Matter) and Charles Duhigg (The Power of Habit). I thought they were both speeches that were respectful and not pushy towards book bloggers. There were probably 100 book bloggers there and we got to socialize amongst ourselves as well as talk to Random House authors, editors, and publicists. I took several pictures, but Random House has a more lovely set on Pinterest here.
READINGS AT THE NYPL
Wednesday evening the New York Public Library hosted a “Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Musical Improv” from 6pm to 7:30pm at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. The website said: “Join Lev Grossman for an evening of literature and lyrics, featuring readings by Kristin Cashore, N.K. Jemisin, Naomi Novik, and Catherynne M. Valente”. Thank you to Kristen of Fantasy Cafe for giving me a heads up on this! There were a few things going on in the evenings after BEA but this was definitely on my to-go-to list.
I was expecting a crowd but the auditorium had a surprising amount of empty seats given who was speaking! It was a really nice evening. Lev Grossman introduced the authors after a nice speech in honor of Ray Bradbury’s passing, and then we were treated to readings set to live improvised mood music! Kristin Cashore, N.K. Jemisin, and Catherynne M. Valente read from their just released or to-be-released books (Bitterblue, The Shadowed Sun, and The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland respectively), and Naomi Novak chose to read from the first of her Temeraire books (His Majesty’s Dragon). Afterwards, there was a nice question and answer session. I really enjoyed it and am still not over the fact that there weren’t more people there!
And those were the highlights of Tuesday and Wednesday of BEA for me this year. I went back to work on Thursday so I missed that day, but.. yeah, I am spent.