Highlights of BEA 2012: the Haul, the Bloggers, the External Events

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.


Day one:

  • 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 byΒ CatherynneΒ  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.

Day two:

  • 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. πŸ™‚
  • 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!)

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).

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.

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.

33 thoughts on “Highlights of BEA 2012: the Haul, the Bloggers, the External Events

  1. It was nice to meet you too! πŸ˜€
    I admire your resolve on picking up so few books. I ended up with a lot. It was my first BEA, and I’m still getting used to the idea that people want to give me books to read and review instead of me having to buy them.

    • Don’t worry, it took me years to get to this point. I’d be like, “This year! This year I will hold back!”, and then the willpower would dissolve and I’d come home with heavy bags and my husband would ask me where I was planning to put all those books.. This is the first year I really was good. And after 4 years? Yeah it took me a while.

  2. I still can’t get over how few people there were at the NYPL event, either! It was such a great lineup of authors, and it was fantastic! There must have just been a lot going on with all kinds of BEA stuff that evening.

    The Random House breakfast was great, and I agree it was handled much better than the blogger conference. I loved their espresso bar and they had all kinds of good food, plus the author talks were decent and not overbearing.

    I agree, the highlight of BEA is getting to see people. It was great to see you, and thanks for sharing your umbrella on the rain adventure!

    • I so happy we got there on time so we didn’t miss anything! (Stupid rush hour and cabs that wouldn’t stop).

      Yes, and the donuts were so pretty. Next time maybe I’ll actually eat one.

      No problem! πŸ™‚

  3. Still kicking myself for not having gone to that NYPL reading! I can’t believe how few people were there given the amazing line-up. Maybe next year I’ll be good and show your sort of restraint so that I can stand to carry my book haul around a bit longer. The ones you got look pretty fantastic though! I was sad I didn’t see Flux’s schedule online till after Tuesday, so I missed City’s Son. I was really interested in Ruins of Lace as well! Excited to read your thoughts when you get to them. It was so nice to finally meet you!

    • I think not strictly being a YA reviewer helped with the restraint too – there’s a lot of YA at BEA. I’m rereading what I wrote about the NYPL thing – I sure put a lot of exclamation marks in there (evidence I liked it).

      Well say the word and you can borrow them. I’m iffy on RUINS OF LACE because I’ve discovered it has multiple points of view and I don’t tend to be able to get into those – so that may become yours entirely.

      It was nice to finally meet you too!

      • You’re right, there was a LOT of YA at BEA. I wish I’d seen more strait up fantasy/sci fi. After my complete YA burnout, I’m becoming much more selective in what YA I actually read, and looking to go back to what I used to read more. It may feel great to polish off a book in one or two evenings, but when I don’t enjoy it as much, it’s worth the time to read something else.

        I may have to borrow them after I get through a chunk of my own haul! I can do multiple points of view, but don’t love it, and it’s becoming less and less appealing to me the more they do it. Seems YA is all about the alternate PoV every other chapter these days.

        • I know. So this is the strategy with SFF: you must check the TOR blog, the Orbit blog, and SFWA before BEA. I think Kristen is smarter than me: I think she looks at the exhibitors, finds the SFF ones then makes a note to visit those. I have to do that, and also check websites just in case they’re doing something for BEA. Usually I just know Orbit will be in the Hachette area, make sure I visit them to see what they’re up to, and then kinda walk around and see who else is about. *not very efficient aura*.

          *nod*. πŸ™‚ Yep. Me too (must read through some of this BEA haul — they all come out in Sept/Oct, so how fast you read also depends on how you feel about posting a review uber early also). Yeah, I think I haven’t been a fan of the alternating POV in the last couple of YAs I ran into that had it. RUINS OF LACE looks like it has even more than 2. We shall see how I feel about that.

          • Good advice! Will certainly be following it for next year, especially now that I know the scale of the place and realize how easy it is to miss things.

            And yeah, everything comes out in Sept/Oct. I’ve already acknowledged I won’t have time to read the bulk of them early, but there are some I’m really antsy for that I’ll be prioritizing.

          • Yes, the best thing to do for SFF is make sure to check TOR and Orbit’s blogs! Some of TOR’s signings are on the BEA site, but sometimes there are a few more they post on their blog. They at least usually post these in advance. Orbit ONLY has posted their signings on their website since I’ve been going, and this year they only posted them the Friday before BEA.

            I think this may have been the first year SFWA had a booth. I wish I’d had a full list of their signings; I think I missed a lot of them. If I go next year, I’ll be sure to pay attention!

            I’d also like to see more straight up SF/Fantasy at BEA. There’s always some I miss; I actually think I have to do a better job of not just following my schedule to find them.

  4. Congrats on your restraint! I think it’s hard to just grab books that you’re really interested in when so many review copies are available. And you got to meet so many book bloggers, wow! Can I just Photoshop myself in that picture of you with Holly and Angie? πŸ˜› I’m a big ramen fan too. If I ever get to go to BEA, the highlight will really be getting to meet fellow bloggers and authors in person. Too bad about that NYPL event, weird that it wasn’t full of people. It sounds like the kind of event I’d enjoy.

    • *bows*. It took me years to get to this place of restraint. πŸ™‚

      Haha, yes you may. We were saying how we wished you were there too. And yes, ramen is good stuff. It is a lot of fun to meet book bloggers.

      Yeah, too bad people were missing out, but I got to feel like I was in on some cool club for being one of the few (I’d say maybe 20-30 people where there in the audience? you can see how the rows in front of me had plenty of seats) who were actually there.

      • We were saying how we wished you were there too. And yes, ramen is good stuff. -> Aww, that’s such a nice thing to say! Well, who knows, I might get to attend some other year. Still need to work on getting that US visa.

        I know, there were a lot of empty seats in front of you. I don’t understand why the place wasn’t full, maybe it wasn’t publicized well?

    • You’re welcome. πŸ™‚

      I just told myself that other people would appreciate them more than me. If I had any misgivings (this may be too MG for me, this looks like it has a love triangle, I didn’t LOVE this author’s earlier work), I put it back. I hope this restraint continues next year!

    • It was really nice seeing you again too. I always wish we had more time to talk to other bloggers at BEA but it’s pretty hectic and everyone is going in different directions (or me at the end of the day: pooped and not wanting to go anywhere). If people decide on a day for a Strand outing, I’m definitely in!

      I’ve been reading your posts about the books you got at BEA. I love how you’re highlighting each one, and you were much smarter than I was about taking pictures, so I’m enjoying those (Captain Underpants!)

  5. I so would have parked my rear in the seat next to you for that NYPL event. I mean, that lineup! (Even though I’ve met Cashore, Valente and Jemisin, I would have loved to hear each read from their new books.)

    Looking forward to your reviews of the Fforde title, Magisterium, and your thoughts on Joyce’s book. (Is it as gorgeous on the inside? Because that cover is amazing.)

    • And let me tell you, sitting in a nice chair in a nice room after being on your feet all day? While authors read you stories and lovely music plays in the background? BLISS!

      The Joyce book has images very similar to the short. But these aren’t stills from the animation – they were done by hand (this was a question when we met Joyce at the BEA blogger con)

      ETA – Also Joyce has an awesome signature. It has little monster teeth! *adores it*.

    • That’s pretty cool. Thank you for the link! I like that the NYPL does these things at the same time as BEA (I didn’t know this really until this year). I came close to going to the YA one as well, (I think I saw notices about a teen author carnival at NYPL), but I was worried about needing to conserve my strength, hah. πŸ™‚

      • No problem. The teen author carnival happened last year too, I think, but I remember picking that panel instead – it sounded more manageable – the carnival had like 30 authors? BEA does sound time consuming, so yeah you probably would need to be picky on attending other events.

  6. I have to admit, your breakfast at Random House was a LOT better than ours. (For the record I think we were served the leftover muffins and bagels from Bloggers Conference.) Nice recap! And thanks for the mention. πŸ˜€ Looks like you met a lot of bloggers – many more than I did. I wish I could’ve made it to the NYPL event, and that my books were here already! UPS tracking says tomorrow. Crossing my fingers that’s true, and they’re not lost!

    • Wow, leftover muffins and bagels? Blergh. But at least it sounded like a good time, despite the food. Thank you, I really enjoyed your post! I think I met more bloggers only because I was seeing some of the same people from previous years. πŸ™‚

  7. Pingback: Book Expo America 2012 | Fantasy Cafe | Reviews of Fantasy and Science Fiction Books

  8. Yay for will power! I love seeing other people’s hauls because they show just how wide the selection was at BEA. I think I came away with two of the same books you did.

    The Random House breakfast really was lovely. And everyone I talked to from RH just seemed happy to chat with all the bloggers that were there.

    Like you, my favourite part of the week was meeting other bloggers. It’s too bad we didn’t meet, though! Especially since we were at so many of the same events.

    • We’ll met one of these days! πŸ™‚ I agree, seeing the selection is one of the things I like that about the hauls too. Also, who doesn’t like the look of a nice pile of books? What were the two books we have an overlap with?

      • Magisterium and Paris in Love. My husband started Magisterium before we left NY and he said it started off really great. Unfortunately he hasn’t had time to continue with it since returning home.

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