One of my favorite people in the world (and partial originator of the ‘janicu’ nickname) came to New York City last week over Memorial Day Weekend. Besides our usual (the MoMA: all six floors, and then food), we visited Book-Off, which is at 49 W 45th St, just a a short walk from Grand Central.

This place is magical. Basically it is a used book store, but it’s a Japanese chain so there are a lot of Japanese books and manga there. There used to be a Book-Off about 10 minutes away from me in Hartsdale, NY but that was a short-lived venture – probably because there were a lot more books in Japanese than English and I don’t think very people really knew it was there. But this Book-Off, the one in NYC? It has plenty of English books. It has rows and rows of used DVDs and CDs in the front, a huge sale section in the back, magazines to one side, and then a floor below with Japanese books and manga, and an upstairs balcony with I think non-fiction (but don’t quote me because I was just glued to the fiction shelves, salivating and petting bindings). Also many books are on sale for $1. MANY MANY books. The books that are not on sale: about $2.50 for a paperback and $5 for a hardcover. It’s not too shabby. I also prefer it over the Strand when it comes to its selection of genre fiction: SF&F and Romance in particular. The Strand does have a bigger YA section and general fiction section, but I think Book-Off beats the Strand’s prices because all the books at Book-Off are used.

P1000839 P1000841 P1000838

You can open the drawers on the bottom of the shelves and there are more books!

Anyway, if you happen to be in New York City, I’m just saying this place exists.

NYC Library Way (picture post)

I had so many pictures of the Library Hotel Weekend that I had to break it up into two posts. This part is about the free celebration of literature on the sidewalk of East 41st Street, called Library Way. I took a lot of pictures, on both sides of the street (FYI some of these repeat, so walking a block should yield most of the quotes to see).

This is what the Library Way is (taken from Grand Central Partnership’s website):

“In 1996, GCP, along with the New York Public Library and New Yorker Magazine, convened a distinguished panel of literary experts and librarians to select the quotations from prominent works of literature.

These quotes have been brought to life by urban sculptural artist Gregg LeFevre in beautiful bronze plaques installed in regular intervals in the sidewalks along 41st Street leading to and from the Humanities and Social Sciences Library. The Library Way bronze plaque initiative was subsequently honored with an “Excellence in Design” award by the New York City Arts Commission in 1998.”

This is a image heavy post (there are 45 images of the plaques on the library way here), so here’s a preview. Click it or see after the jump for a gallery with bigger images!

Continue reading

The Library Hotel (picture post)

A couple of years ago I stayed at the Library Hotel in New York City. I waited for a deal on room prices and stayed one weekend while visiting the city. I took a bunch of pictures, and then somehow never posted them! So here they are.

front door

The front desk has a card catalog behind it

Our room number! Sixth floor, room 6 (or: 600.006 Health & Beauty)

The best “please clean my room/do not disturb” sign!

Junior suite – nice big bed with bookshelves on the side – unfortunately they were all non-fiction about health & beauty. I wasn’t excited.

Health & Beauty.. eh.

Suite sitting area

View from the window – Madison Avenue

guest lounge on the 2nd floor. Loved this place – snacks and coffee and tea whenever you want, plus books (fiction this time)

better picture of the bookshelves in the lounge

The hotel is about a block away from Grand Central, and in the other direction, a block away from the NYPL (Stephen A. Schwarzman building) and Bryant park

There’s also a really cool library walk on 41st street and I took a ton of pictures of that. But I think I’ll leave that for a second post.

I would stay here again mainly because it’s a really nice hotel in a VERY good location, but I didn’t think the library theme added much. The concept was a little gimmicky and not a reason to stay there by itself.

The Book Blogger Convention, Part 2

I had the second part of this written and it was a lengthy article of wonder. All ready to go for a cut and paste into the blog. What happened? Well I had it saved as a draft in gmail (which is where I write my posts so I can work in it on any one of my computers), but as I selected it all to copy, I hit control+v instead of control+c. And then gmail autosaved right then. And control+z? DID NOTHING!!! I had a mini breakdown. It started with numbness then pain, then anger and depression. 😛 Anyway, (sigh, the acceptance phase), here we go again.

This is part 2 of 2 parts

The Marketing panel from very far away…
4) Marketing [2:00-2:50]
This was a panel consisting of Gayle [Everyday I Write the Book], Yen [The Book Publicity Blog], Ann [Books on the Nightstand], and Thea [The Book Smugglers]. Heather [Age 30+ Books] moderated.

The point of this panel seemed to be that to have a successful blog need to market it. You need to brand yourself, and have a particular niche. It sounds difficult, but really branding should be easy for bloggers – just be yourself and let the passion come through. Have a hook or an identity. The idea can rub people the wrong way, but it’s useful to have something, even if it’s a tagline, to say who you are. Anything can become your brand.

The panelists also said it’s important to spend time community building. For example, when The Book Smugglers first started, they responded to every comment.  All the panelists agreed about commenting. You can create dialogue by commenting on other people’s blogs as well. Another idea is to do guest reviews or have guest reviewers come to your blog. Having an event can also build community. Another Book Smugglers example is their event called Smugglevus which is based on Festivus and is basically a book love fest.  You could also create some kind of online book club.

Know who your readers are and go about finding them and connecting to them. There was some discussion of using social media like twitter and facebook to get readers, but not to spread yourself too thin. You don’t need to sign up for everything, just look at whats out there and choose a couple of things. If you are trying too hard it shows.

As an aside it was noted that if you have a blog, make sure your RSS is easy to find. Have a big ol’ link or icon so readers know how to add a subscription to your blog.

The discussion went to stats for a little bit. Publicists like to get stats so that they can decide whether a blog is popular and would reach a lot of readers. Many of the panelists felt like stats are an imperfect measurement (I don’t recall the exact wording here). A blog may have small numbers but hold a lot of sway over it’s readers in what it recommends. On the other hand, Thea from the Book Smugglers disagreed and said that they pay a lot of attention to their stats and are open with having a counter and with telling publicists their stats. [ How do I feel about this? I think it’s one of those hot button topics where people have strong opinions. Remember last year, the discussion after Katiebabs posted commentary on the Book Blogger Panel at BEA, 2009? Anyway, I personally have mixed feelings. I do want stats to go up so that I know people are reading my blog and I can have discussions with MORE people about books (yay!), but I also admit I don’t look at them all the time, and with three mirrored blogs, with different difficulty in getting stats from them (wordpress is good, vox is awful, LJ has stats for paid members and I wasn’t always paid), I usually find it confusing to figure out].

The final comment was that one of the panelists put up a survey to find out who their readers were and they were surprised by the results. They found out that they had a lot of readers who weren’t book bloggers or book publishing people. The recommendation was to know your readers. Survey them to find out who they are for example.

Blogging with Social Responsibility (sorry for blurriness. My camera’s zoom is awful)

5) Blogging with Social Responsibility [3:00-3:50]
Another panel with Zetta [Fledgling], Terry [The Reading Tub], Wendy [Caribousmom], and Stephen Bottum [Band of Thebes]. The moderator was Marie from The Boston Bibliophile.

In this panel, the two blogs Fledgling and Band of Thebes seemed to have a strong focus on their causes (race and LGBT in books respectively), while The Reading Tub and Caribousmom were book blogs which also tried to bring attention to causes important to them (Children’s literacy and pediatric cancer) but it wasn’t the main focus of their blogs.

I didn’t take notes for this panel so what I have here comes from memory. The main point of this session seemed to be that bloggers can affect change. The panelists brought up the recent outrage in the blogging community over the whitewashing in covers, and how bloggers got Bloomsbury to change its covers twice. There was a comment from the audience that sometimes bloggers don’t notice, such as the case when the cover for The Mariposa Club – where Latino characters were depicted as paler than the story described, and a fourth transgendered character isn’t shown at all. Zetta said she was disappointed in herself and in her community for not knowing about this, and said that bloggers need to use their connections and email other blogs to pass along this type of message. She also said it’s important to make alliances with other communities so that if there is overlap (like in this case where the LGBT and minorities are affected), they can work together in expressing their disapproval.

Another point I remember was that someone asked if anyone encountered any negative commenting on their posts because of their causes. Stephen Bottum said he didn’t have any angry commenters, and Zetta agreed that in her personal blog other commenters were good about redirecting the conversation back to the topic on hand, but when she posted on The Huffington Post she had more nasty comments and doesn’t post there anymore.

I liked this panel. I think that many people have a cause that they feel strongly about and that blogging is a good away to put it out there, even in a small way. Actually, at the BBC there was a blogger who mentioned wanting to do something for the schools in Nashville, who lost a lot of books due to the flooding, and here’s a link on how to help. (I made buttons, will post later)!

6) Impact of the Relationship between Author and Blogger [4:00-4:50]
This was another panel with Amy [My Friend Amy], Bethanne [The Book Studio], Kristi [The Story Siren], Beth Kephart [Beth Kephart Books], and Caridad Pineiro [Caridad Pineiro’s Blog]. It was moderated by Nicole [Linus’s Blanket]

I didn’t take notes on this panel either. So this is from my memory again and is basically a vaguely remembered summary. I think the first part of this was about how as people use social media and spend time online, they begin to develop relationships and sometimes this can put you in an awkward place when talking about a book written by someone you have a relationship with. The two authors said that they don’t review books. They may pimp their friend’s books, and say why they liked the book, but won’t say anything negative. Beth Kephart said that if she didn’t like a book she won’t say that, but she doesn’t lie either – she would just discuss why she likes her friend and describe the book they have coming out. The authors on the panel also said that authors should not engage with a reader who has written a negative review. Kephart says she tries not to read reviews, but occasionally reads reviews friends have sent her that were positive and she appreciates the time reviewers take to write reviews. There was an audience member who said they wrote reviews but wanted to become an author, and asked for tips regarding doing that. It seemed like there was no real answer for how to be an author and a reviewer at the same time, but the authors thought it was possible.

The book bloggers said that if they had a relationship with an author they would disclose this in a review (I think this was the Story Siren), but also said if they tweeted to the author once that they were reading their book, this didn’t count as a relationship (also – don’t tweet your review to an author if it’s a negative one!). Amy from My Friend Amy said that if she likes an author and has a relationship with them online, but then does not like a book, she may end up not reviewing it. It seems to be up to the blogger how they want to handle that situation. Some people still review the book, others find it too awkward and don’t.

So there you have it. As you can see there were a lot of panels, but I was happy to be sitting down after walking around with 20 pounds of books for two days. For improvements, I think that I’d like to have had a longer break around 3 when I  started to flag, rather than having the small 10 minute breaks between sessions. Also I’ll bring a jacket next time – it was freezing in the conference room. Another thought is I’d like to see more genre fiction bloggers (romance for instance). Although it looked like the organizers tried to have diversity in book bloggers, there were more general fiction and children’s/young adult book bloggers than anything else (but then, there are more of those kinds of books at BEA).

Overall I was impressed with the organization and look forward to see it grow next year (which I think it will).

The Book Blogger Convention, Part 1

Aha, I bet you thought I was done talking about BEA and the Book Blogger Convention didn’t you? Well I took a bunch of notes on the panels for the Book Blogger Convention and laziness prevented me posting about it sooner. I do want to use these notes though because it used a lot of my phone battery to take them and it almost didn’t last the night (making me concerned that I’d have to call my ride from the train station via payphone). So in honor of that phone battery that could, here we go.

By now there have been a couple of good wrap-ups of the BBC in my google reader, so I will point you to them as well:

  • Fantasy Cafe – did a very good overview which summarized the BBC panels and highlighted interesting points the panels made.
  • The Book Smugglers – A detailed breakdown of the panels at BBC plus commentary on each.

This is part 1 of 2 parts (I wrote up a post that was ridiculously long).

So what is the Book Blogger Convention? It’s pretty much what the name suggests – a convention for book bloggers. A few bloggers got together and decided to have a small convention close to the same time as BEA (probably knowing a lot of bloggers would be at BEA anyway). At first the convention had an upper limit to number of participants, but after the BEA organizers learned about it they offered space at the Javits Center (along with tickets to BEA for the bloggers). Now it’s affiliated with BEA. The website says that it’s goal is “to provide support, instruction, and social time for people who blog about books”.

I was pretty impressed by the Book Blogger Convention. For a convention in it’s first year, there was a big turn out. Lots of publishers and PR and authors knew about it and showed up the day before for a meet-and-greet. And the organization that probably went into the food, the goodie bags, bringing in the speakers, and the websites (both the main one and an online auction site) was staggering. It’s amazing what a handful of bloggers managed to do.

The Book Blogger Convention was a one day event (Friday, May 28th) which was simply laid out as a series of panels related to book blogging:

1) Keynote speaker (9:00-10:30)
Maureen Johnson started it all off as the keynote speaker. She was hilarious. I had heard her name before as I think she’s a pretty well-known young adult author and I’ve been meaning to read Suite Scarlett. After a speech which had me laughing so hard I could have cried at one point (and that’s not easy), I was really glad that Suite Scarlett audiobooks were part of our BBC goodie bags. She talked about becoming a writer, New York City, social media (likes twitter, hates facebook – I concur), book bloggers and more. It was 90 minutes long, but I was entertained the whole time.

2) Professionalism and Ethics in Blogging (10:45-11:45)
Ron Hogan of was the speaker for this session. His presentation is available online here.

He said that bloggers should not let journalistic ethics be imposed upon them. The situations are different, and what may apply to journalism may not apply to blogging. He discussed how ethics are more about questions you’re asking rather than set of principles, and that you have to establishing rules of thumb by talking to people and seeing the situation. From his site he summarizes it thus: “just as I argued that bloggers shouldn’t be judged by somebody else’s standard of professionalism, they shouldn’t be compelled to accept somebody else’s code of ethics in order to be deemed trustworthy. I’m not a big fan of declaring adherence to a code of ethics as a shortcut to credibility”.

The example he presented for that was last years brouhaha about the FCC guidelines. Newspapers don’t have to say where they got their books from, and now the FCC doesn’t say bloggers need to say where they’re from. Some people still reveal where they got a book. Some don’t. In Hogan’s opinion, if you don’t say where a book is from, it doesn’t mean you’re secretive. It’s just not an important part of the conversation to you. It is not a hard and fast rule.

There was a brief question/answer session. Books on the Nightstand commented that people should get away from the words “free books” in terms of review copies that are sent to bloggers. They are not free when bloggers spend so much time and effort reading and reviewing the books. This was a good point. Another interesting point was a publisher who said that they were happy when bloggers couldn’t review something and gave them away to someone who would read it. I think the thought is that it’s going into the hands of someone who would appreciate it, not to say that they were OK if a blogger *never* reviewed a book they received.

I thought it was an interesting session. I’m not sure I agree completely that there are never hard and fast rules, but it gave me something to think about. To be honest, this was one of the sessions where the title itself made me think, “This could go badly.” I mean, book bloggers write reviews. Reviewers are opinionated. Telling people who have opinions about doing things professionally and ethically may not go over well. I also think that things can get misinterpreted online. I wasn’t surprised to see people criticizing some of his points, but I think putting video and audio online cut down on secondhand misunderstanding at least.


3) Writing and Building Content (1:00-1:50)
This was a panel with Amanda [The Zen Leaf], Kim [Sophisticated Dorkiness], Betsy [A Fuse #8 Production], and Christina [Stacked], moderated by Rebecca [The Book Lady’s Blog].

This was a panel regarding coming up with interesting ideas for blog posts. I think I enjoyed this one just because it was like peeping into a window and seeing how other people work on their blogs.  They suggested a lot of different things to kick start your creativity but they all agreed that a blogger’s voice is unique and although it’s the usual first date cliche, people should “Be themselves”. Each person brings own expertise from their lives,  jobs, and experience. They also commented that your voice changes as you evolve. Just don’t try to be something you aren’t because if you force it, it will show in the writing.

They suggested that for new bloggers, memes are a good way to get your name out there and meet new people, but once people get to your blog, they need a reason to stay. One suggestion is to have series (one example was a series on bees, another was a series of 5 books that fit a particular topic), which is a way to keep readers interested in a topic, and pull them into your blog. One blogger in the panel says she has a series where she compares Harry Potter in hardcover to paperback and the UK versions and lists each minute difference.

No idea what to write? They suggested having a go-to type of post for these situations (examples were posting about chatting with their husband at bedtime, and a saved file with future releases to post about). A couple of the panelists said they had posts scheduled weeks out or were usually 3 weeks ahead in reviews (Uh… making me feel inferior), so they work on the timing when they’re not able to blog. Another suggestion is if you’re reading a long book, to break it down into many posts instead of just one.

All of these bloggers wrote long posts and most agreed they wrote down their thoughts on a book in a notebook as they read to help them with reviews later (I tried this last year by the way… I stopped because it takes too long. I’m more of a write what I remember reviewer).

BEA and the Book Blogger Convention: The People

I had so many pictures to post that I had to separate the posts!

The Authors:
I met so many authors in their signings, but I didn’t really try to ask for pictures until the second day of BEA.  So here’s a few pictures of me and a few authors that were there.

Deanna Raybourn

I was really looking forward to meeting Deanna Raybourn since I’ve been loving her Lady Julia Grey series. Her signing for The Dead Travel Fast was the only book I had in all caps on my itinerary. I was so worried about the lines for the Harlequin signing Thursday morning, because the signing the day before was mobbed, I left another signing to wait early.

Me with the big grin and Deanna Raybourn

Me and Kevin J. Anderson

Actually Kevin J. Anderson is an author I haven’t read. I was going to see if I could pick up his book for someone but wow, they were popular and were all gone by the time I got there! The author was still there so I asked for a picture instead. 🙂 I need to try out his series one day.

Me and Jeri Smith-Ready

OK, my eyes are partially closed in this picture. Jeri Smith-Ready was the other author on Thursday I really wanted to meet since I’m a fan of her WVMP Radio series. She was signing for her new young adult book, Shade, at the Romance Writers of America booth, and I’ve heard good things in early reviews about it so I wanted to snag a copy and meet her. Another case where I had to make a choice and leave another line so I wouldn’t miss an author! This line was deceptive – it wound behind booths and looked shorter than it was. And Jeri Smith-Ready recognized me! 😀 Shocking.

The Bloggers:

I met so many people at BEA and the BBC that I’m afraid I’m probably going to forget someone. Let’s try (If I forgot you.. I’m so sorry!):

Wednesday night was a dinner with Stacey and Angie, then the A Celebration of Book Bloggers where we sat at a round table at the Algonquin Hotel and talked. The BookSmugglers have a picture of that.

Thursday was another dinner with book bloggers over at The Volstead. *pointing a the Book Smugglers picture again*. That was a lot of fun, and I stayed a little longer this night than the night before. Kristen from the Fantasy Cafe and I spent some time at a B&N before the party, which was nice. We had a weird cab ride where the cab driver was ARGUING with us over where we wanted to go, but he eventually decided the traffic wasn’t as bad as he thought.

Friday was ANOTHER dinner. I’ve been DYING to eat at Ippudo for months but my friends keep going without me! *shakes fist at them alllll*. Anyway, Angie and I made plans to finally eat there and Kristen, and Ana and Thea. Ah, the food was excellent. I recommend their pork buns and the Akumaru Modern Ramen which is what I ate. I was so happy to be finally tasting it, but let me tell you – if you ever go, be prepared for a longgg line ( I think we waited an hour and a half). Being exhausted kind of doesn’t help.

Kristen, Angie, Thea, and Ana


BEA and the Book Blogger Convention: the Haul

This year Book Expo America and the Book Blogger Convention happened in the same week in New York City. And I’m lucky since I live a short 40 minute train ride away from Grand Central (so convenient), so of course I went! I attended BEA on Wednesday, May 26th, and Thursday, May 27th, and then BBC was the day after that – Friday, May 27th.

It was really, really exhausting. I woke up at 7am, caught a train at 7:34, got to Jacob Javitts center at about 8:30, and then it was about 8 hours of being on my feet with about twenty pounds plus of books. Repeat for 2 days, then one day at BBC which involved more sitting, thank goodness.I knew about the pain because of going to BEA last year so I was armed with Ibuprofen and comfy shoes, but this year I also went to dinners after the conventions, which was lots of fun, but made each day longer! I got home between 9:30 and 11:30pm every day. 😀 But – would I do it again? YES. My mind may have been slow by 5pm, but I was comforted by the fact that most people were in the same boat, and this year I’m glad I got to spend some time just sitting and talking to people. I have pictures of some of the bloggers and authors I met which I will post later.

After last year, my goal was to try not to get as many books. I’m not really sure I succeeded. I believe I got 40 books last year in two days. This year I got 38 in three, plus another 4 picture books I got for my niece and nephew. I’m not counting sample chapters (2), comics (2), ebooks (2), or pop-up samples (2), and other stuff (bags, bookmarks, catalogs) to that count. I apologize in advance for the image heaviness of this post.

Day One:
I did SO WELL in the first day. I had willpower.

These are all the books I got signed – Zombies Vs. Unicorns (4 signatures: Scott Westerfeld, Holly Black, Justine Larbalestier, Alaya Dawn Johnson), Leaving Paradise, and Return to Paradise (both by Simone Elkeles, a YA author I have not tried but hear very good things about), Lady Lazarus (Michele Lang who explained that this book was fantasy rather than science fiction, but she described some very interesting historical elements), Jekel Loves Hyde (Beth Fantaskey – another YA author I’ve been recommended), Ascendant (Diana Peterfreund, second book of her series about killer unicorns, and an author Angieville recommends. I need to read her Secret Society Girl series too – something about a dude named Poe?), My Soul to Keep (Rachel Vincent. I must admit that I wasn’t blown away by the first book in the series, but maybe this book will be better),  Inside Out (Maria V. Snyder. A book I read and really liked),  and Dreadnought (Cherie Priest – this was an ARC copy so the type was black, not the brown of Boneshaker. Priest said she wasn’t sure whether the brown font would continue).

These are the books I didn’t plan on getting. Married with Zombies by Jesse Peterson and The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron were both from the Orbit booth and look great. One is about a married couple, on the verge of divorce who have to fight zombies together to survive. The other is a fantasy about a man named Eli Monpress who is both a thief and a wizard, and the blurb hints at a surprising plan to steal a king. Both look like promising first books in a series.

The L. Ron Hubbard and Michael Chabon books were given to me by a publicist and at the A Celebration of Book Bloggers by HarperCollins.

Sample pages from a Super Heroes pop-up book by Matthew Reinhart.
ebooks of Ascendant and Paranormalcy, and sample chapters from The Black Prism and White Cat.

Day Two:
My willpower went to pot this day. I blame Ana and Thea of The Book Smugglers who I walked around with in the morning. Girls – I shall send you my chiropractic bill.

This is the signed pile. Shift by Rachel Vincent, Salamander by Nick Kyme (Thea’s fault, but I must say – Space Marines? Sold), Hard Magic by Laura Anne Gilman (I need to catch up with this series), Fat Vampire by Adam Rex (a YA about a 15 year old, chubby kid who becomes a vampire – Ana and Thea’s fault.. It was a popular book though – a huge line for a debut author), The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea M Campbell (she had cool embossers for Heroes and Villains depending on what readers said they were. I said “I have no idea” and got the Renegade” stamp! Makes me sound dangerous), Shade by Jeri Smith Ready (!!!) , Unraveled by Gena Showalter (this was an impulse one), The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn (!!!! ) and Firelight by Sophie Jordan (has an amazing cover). I was the MOST excited about meeting Jeri Smith-Ready book and Deanna Raybourn. In fact I left lines for other authors so I wouldn’t miss them.

The Book Girl and the Suicidal Mime by Mizuki Nemura (Yen press book with a manga cover but it’s not a manga. It’s a short novel with some manga style pictures about a girl who is actually a demon who eats books – so I had to get it), Mostly Good Girls by  Leila Sales (a YA novel, The Book Smugglers fault), Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles, Beautiful Darkness by Cami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (sequel to the YA novel,  Beautiful Creatures which is still in my TBR. I seem to be a sucker for the covers), The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (recommended by a lot of speculative fiction readers I follow, so I got one), and Hero by Mike Lupica (Book smugglers fault).

I think I need a code for It Was the Book Smugglers’ faults. So lets go with “TBSF”. Drakula (handed out by a publicist at Sourcebooks. It’s a a YA version of Dracula, where everything is in texts, webpage views and emails), The Daughters Break the Rules by Joanna Philbin (TBSF), Dust by Joan Francis Turner (TBSF – I was interested since it’s a YA from the POV of zombies), The Sherlockian by Graham Moore (mystery related to the Sherlock Holmes books), Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (I picked it up because it was pretty!), The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima (TBSF), Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (so many people were anticipating this so I decided to get one too. There was a stampede for it), and Mansfield Park and Mummies by Vera Nazarian (OK, I KNOW .. I did have that rant about monster mash-ups, but this was offered to me at a blogger dinner, and after two people recommending I try this I feel like the universe wants me to read it. I will keep my mind open).

These are the books I got for my niece and nephew. My niece is a HUGE Fancy Nancy fan so it was worth waiting in line for a looonnng time for the author’s autograph. Angie from Angieville recommended Library Lion, and the other two picture books looked charming so I got them signed for the kids too.

Sample pages for another pop-up book – A Christmas Carol, designed by Chuck Fischer

Comics. I picked up Killing the Cobra because of Mario Acevedo’s name attached to it.
Sense and Sensibility was a no-brainer. And I like the art in this one better than the
Pride and Prejudice comic.

Day Three:

I wasn’t expecting MORE BOOKS, but that’s what happened at the Book Blogger Convention. We all got a goodie bag that was full of books. There was also a cute booklight.   I’m not sure if I’m going to read any of these except Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti, which Angie of Angieville said was very good.

I’m also excited to listen to this audiobook (Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson) which came with our goodie bags. An author I’ve been meaning to try, and she was the keynote speaker at BCC. She was hiliarious.

NYC is for Bibliophiles: BEA and the Book Blogger Convention

BEABook blogger convention

I just wanted to point out that there’s a lovely book blogger tour going on right now for BEA and the Book Blogger Convention which will be happening in May in New York City.

If you are a book blogger, I had a really good time at BEA
last year so you should seriously consider coming (and if you do, hey,
let me know so I can look for you!). Last year I went in sort of scared
of the whole thing (“Who can I hide behind, crowds are not for me!”)
but it turned out to be awesome, because I swear, I FOUND MY PEOPLE.
And I was surrounded by books. Many, many books. 😀

Katiebabs of Babbling about books and more!, Angie of Angieville, and Jess of Book Reviews by Jess had some good tips on how to prepare for BEA and what to do when you were there. One of the best tips I got (from Wendy the Super Librarian)
when I was a newbie last year was to wear comfortable shoes. You will
be doing a lot of walking, and you will also be carrying a lot of
books.  Um.. she also recommended having some Advil handy I think,
which was again – true (the pain of carrying 40 books around all day
was worth it though).

OK, since many people have already covered what to do at BEA, I am
going to add some bookish things to do around the city if you have some
extra time around BEA and the Book Blogger Convention:

1) The Library Hotel – I’ve
never stayed here but I want to. This is a boutique hotel near Grand
Central station which has rooms full of books. And it’s based on the
Dewey Decimal system!

“Each of the 10 guestroom floors honor one of the 10 categories of the DDC and each of the 60 rooms are uniquely adorned with a collection of books and art exploring a distinctive topic within the category it belongs to.”

This is not exactly the cheapest hotel but they have specials
if you book ahead, and this week (Feb 12th to 19th) there is an extra
25% off their special rates. You just have to know what days you are
staying and the reservation would be non-refundable.

2) The Morgan Library and Museum
– The Morgan Library is also near midtown at Madison Ave. and 36th
Street. It was donated by J.P. Morgan Jr. and houses the library of
Pierpoint Morgan.

I am IN LOVE with the “Mr. Morgan’s Library”. It is beautiful.
Old books encased in gorgeous bookshelves in a huge, three story room,
complete with giant fireplace, amazing ceiling-work and one of a kind
manuscripts? I died and went to heaven. I could probably just stay in
that room, staring at the shelves for hours! Cool things: several
bookshelves devoted to bibles in different languages, a shelf full of
the Robinson Crusoe, and several illustrated manuscripts. Did you know
that the Morgan has three Gutenberg bibles? THEY DO. Anyway, I just
loved this room. The architecture and design of it are amazing.

Right now there is an exhibition featuring Jane Austen called “A Woman’s Wit: Jane Austen’s Life and Legacy“,
but it ends March 12th, long before BEA, which is unfortunate. I went
to see it 3 weeks ago. It was slightly crowded but with a little
patience you can spend a lot of time staring at some of Jane Austen’s
letters. I found it interesting that someone had painstakingly cut out
certain lines from her letters – probably her family removing something
that they deemed inappropriate from public view, and how she used every
free space on the paper to write in. Sometimes she would turn the page
90 degrees and write on top of what she’d already written. She had very
nice handwriting but I found it hard to read – I preferred her sister
Cassandra’s writing in terms of being readable to me. I would haven
taken pictures, but none were allowed. I ended up buying a postcard of
a letter Jane wrote to her niece – each word spelled backward. More on
this exhibit at Austenacious.  If you miss it, I am sure there will be something else for a book lover to see by May.

3) Strand bookstore – Strand
books is the East Coast Powell’s. It’s a very large independent
bookstore with “18 miles of books”. They sell a mix of new and used
books (more new than used I feel), and there are ARCs for sale in the
basement. I haven’t been too impressed by their romance section (it
doesn’t seem to exist), but their YA section is big and impressed me.
Anyway, I’ve been there a few times, and I think if you love books you
should go there at least once.It’s at 828 Broadway and 12 Street in the East Village.

4) The New York Public Library (main branch/Steven A Scharzman building)
– You know, I’ve never actually been inside the main branch building of
the NYPL? I have walked by it a lot though! It is on my to-do list.
This building is located on Fifth Ave between 40th and 42nd streets,
next to Bryant Park, and it’s the library with the lions out in front
(their names are Patience and Fortitude). This library houses special
(non-circulating) collections. Ongoing exhibits incude the Gutenberg Bible, Winnie-the-Pooh and friends: the original toys, and the Jill Kupin Rose Gallery. There are interesting things happening there every day, and then there’s the stunning main reading room. The room is nearly 2 city blocks: 297 ft long, 78 feet wide, 51 feet high with ceilings that have murals of the sky. Wowza.

5) Kinokuniya Bookstore
– This is a little different since it’s a japanese bookstore. This is
the best place to go to if you love anime, manga, stationary and
japanese magazines. I have been here a few times, and I always find
something cute as hell to buy, be it a FRuITS magazine
or colored pens. And they have a cafe that sells bento boxes for nice
prices. Come on! There aren’t many japanese bookstores like this in the
U.S. so it’s special (I’m sad they closed the Kinokuniya branch in
Westchester). I’ve also been to the San Jose and San Fransisco branches
– all nice!

OK that’s what I have to begin with. There is much more. If you have
any favorite bookish places in the city, please comment with them! I
live near it and want to hear about it. 🙂

And if you go to BEA/the book blogger con and see me, please say hi! I
will be the half-asian girl with a black and red backpack, lots of bags
and comfy shoes. And an expression of bliss on my face.