Saturday, June 4, 2011

The long awaited BEA post

the entry into the party
Alright, now some of you are likely to be sick to death of all the BEA recaps at this point, but seeing as some of you don't follow anyone else who BEAed, I'm just going to go for it.  So welcome to the mammoth BEA post.  I'll try to make some identifiable breaks so you don't have to kill yourself reading it all in one go.


The trip got off to a slightly stressful start.  I had dressed, at 9am in the morning, for both the trip as well as the possibility that I might have to head directly to the Random House tea I'd been invited too.  The plan was to arrive, check in, and flit off to the tea in fairly short succession, with ample time to
change should the need arise.  But I'm a practical girl and I realize that if I'm flying, then something is bound to go wrong.  It's Murphy's law that if you need to fly somewhere on a tight schedule and look nice then you're going to  sully yourself in multiple places using many imaginative techniques, as well as have delays.  So we soon found our flight an hour behind schedule with more and more unpleasant brown spots cropping up all over my outfit as we waited to leave the tarmac (of course they all looked like pooh, or chocolate, but since I'd been nowhere near either, who knows what they were?!).

the tea station
Lucky for me our luggage came way before everyone elses (there was some crazy obnoxious high school group on our flight who were taking over the entire airport the longer we hung around) and our cabbie was an almost super pro at dealing with unmoving traffic, and despite the odds I made it in excellent time to the Random House party (without changing or going to the hotel alas).

Every picture I took of Lisa was like this. Sorry Lisa!
Since it turned out to be the perfect way to start the book lovers marathon that was our week, I couldn't be happier I was both invited and able to make it!  Set up like a quintessential tea party the room at Random House's head offices was packed with books, delectable treats and book lovers of all sorts.  There were little sandwiches, cocktails and both hot and cold tea but the highlight of the munchies were the trays of Macaroons! mmmmmm, yum!

The yummy spread
Lisa See was the author for this event, and after snacking and perusing the Random House book club picks set up for the goodie bags, Lisa regaled us with stories of her son's wedding, how everyone told her nobody would want to read Snowflower and the Secret Fan and how everyone who did read it would think she was a lesbian. She wrapped things up by signing the sequel, Dreams of Joy, and sent us back to the food tables and mingling.

I met a few fine folks, ate a couple more macaroons and then wandered down to the hotel to catch up with the hubby who'd meanwhile picked up our BEA badges and checked us into the hotel (that hubby sure is handy).  For the evening we strolled the hood and found some scrumptious Turkish food (mmmmm lamb done 4 different ways! heavenly) then discovered I have an unerring memory for direction as, on a crap shoot wander, I led us right to the door of the Strand!  All I have to say is thank god we didn't succumb and buy any books the first night.


Ashley Spires
Tuesday morning was the official start of BEA, and the hubby and I arrived just as the doors were opening and were immediately swept away by it all.  I had RSVP'd for the speed dating with children and YA authors for 10:30am  and so didn't get too carried away on the floor before I had to trundle off, but somehow we already had a handful of books (and I was honestly trying to be sooo good!).

The Speed dating was awesome, in an hour and a half I met 19 children/YA authors and had a pitch about their forthcoming books.  To my great delight I arrived a bit early and got to sit with Laini Taylor and her editor Alvina and chat a bit before hand.  Since Laini and her book The Daughter of Smoke and Bone were in the top three things I was excited about for the week this was definitely one of the highlights of my trip.  We talked about Laini's super star daughter, the cutest thing since kittens and puppies were invented, Clementine, and about driving on the wrong side of the road in England.  I couldn't have been happier.

James Dashner
Carrie Jones
The event was a great way to hear about books, straight from the source, before heading out into the melee of BEA.  Six of the books hadn't been on my radar which all sounded too good to pass up, and which I might not have run across otherwise.  The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman, by Meg Wolitzer,  Binky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires, The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch, Aliens on Vacation by Clete Smith, After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel, and Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi.

the beautiful drop set up for Dark Eden
After the Speed dating I hooked up with the hubby who'd found loads of great books while I was chatting up authors and booksellers. We had a quick lunch before he jetted off to the American Natural History Museum to meet his uncle and I went back to line up for the books I was now stoked about from the morning chats.  By 4:30pm I was running back to the hotel to drop off some more books and jumping in a near death cab experience (we made it more than 25 blocks in 7 minutes, I think it was the craziest NYC cab ride I've had in all three visits to the city) to meet the boys for dinner on the upper east side.   Yummy pizza ensued, with a stroll to Times Square and the Hershey store, on the way home,  for a much needed chocolate treat before some serious Wednesday planning and bedtime.

Now it needs to be said, I had carefully scheduled my three BEA days based on the schedules listed early on the BEA site, only to discover over the course of Tuesday that they were largely inaccurate and almost everything had either changed times, changed venues or both.  I also discovered Publishers Weekly is published daily over the course of the Expo and often contains some of the non scheduled or "surprise" events and drops. So Tuesday night I made up a whole new schedule based on the BEA guide and the Publishers Weekly info and then I made sure to arrive a bit early so I could check out the next days PW in line and be up to the minute on all the happenings.


Lauren Kate
Ally Condie
Eoin Colfer
Wednesday was the BIG day, with probably 80% of the signings and drops all happening over the course of the day and most of them either at the same time or overlapping.  This is when the hubbies secret potential was fully unleashed.

I had  resigned myself to the fact, it would be impossible to do all the things on my list for Wednesday, there was just no way I would be able to be in multiple places at the same time.  Turns out having two people was the perfect way to do it all!  Especially when one of them is super into the hunt.  While I was stranded in some mega line somewhere, chatting up authors and librarians about all things bookish , the hubby would be trundling off and discovering coveted surprise signings and book drops all over the place.  Then he'd saunter back and casually hand me something like Lauren Kate's latest book Passion, signed no less, and make some major understatement such as "You're reading this right?", while everyone in line around me died of jealousy.  In the end we did all the things on my wish list on Wednesday except the talks, which were so wildly over packed they just weren't worth suffocating over.  Luckily they're all posted as podcasts now, so not only can I hear them properly but I can be completely comfortable while doing so!
Bill Willingham

Some of the highlights included getting signed copies of Goliath, by Scott Westerfeld, Crossed by Ally Condie, The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan, Passion by Lauren Kate, Plugged by Eoin Colfer (number two on my top three things for the week, and although I got totally fanstruck and only managed a lame "I love Artemis Fowl", the hubby had enough fortitude to make the conversation happen without me), as well as unsigned copies of The Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor, and Lisel and Po, by Lauren Oliver. Not to mention a large number of books I hadn't heard about before but looked like they had great potential.  Needless to say we were both thoroughly worn out by the end of Wednesday.  We ate some delicious and really unusual sushi (Aoki Sushi), I bought some Benadryl for my sleeping issues (endless thanks to Steph of Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust for that excellent suggestion) and we headed back to our hotel to plan, rest and get off our aching feet for awhile.

Don't let anyone fool you.  No matter how comfortable your shoes, how padded your soles, nothing will stop your feet from aching at the end of a long day of walking and standing in lines. Nothing but getting off said feet, and babying them up for the next days abuse.


By Thursday, the BEA had quieted down considerably.  I wasn't so crazy I needed to camp out for the entire morning for Melissa Marr (her books are in my TBR eventually list after all, so I thought I'd leave the line to the die hard fans),  and the only really long line of my day was for Frost, which got cut off one person in front of me, so saved me standing around!  We called it a day around 3pm and headed out to the Shake Shack for late lunch burgers and shakes on our way down to scholastic for Libba Brays signing with Meg Cabot and Maggie Stiefvater.

The burgers were insanely delicious as usual, damn that shake shack! Why don't they branch out into Ontario?  And of course the ladies were hilarious.

While Meg Cabot regaled us with advice (keep a diary if you want to write someday, and then name all your evil characters after those who were mean to you), Maggie regaled us with all the ways a wolf could die in the wilderness, and Libba, meanwhile, pranced around in a Be Big, a Clifford the Big Red Dog poster and told us about how David Leviathan gave her the idea for Beauty Queens.

They were so amusing even the hubby found them funny, and I'm pretty sure it was one of the most amusing author talks I have ever been too.  I truly would have bought all three of their books to be signed if I wasn't already slightly panicked about how to get the close to 80 books back at the hotel into our luggage and home.

Scholastic threw an excellent This is Teen event, which we needn't have arrived so ridiculously early for because it didn't overfill until the last minute, and I would highly recommend hitting it up on it's tour run if it arrives in your hood.  

I've had my little swoon over how incredibly wonderful Libba was in person (so satisfying when you've adored someone from afar for so long).  But I'll say it one last time (well likely not last since I'm reading Beauty Queens as we interweb), she's funny and lovely and she knew my blog!  I nearly floated out of Scholastic, and it was certainly one of the biggest highlights of an amazing trip.

We proceeded to have divine lasagna at a restaurant we discovered on our last visit (amusingly enough called Ristorante Lasagna), while I mooned a little more about the signing and then went back to the hotel to crash.  By this point in the trip my feet had begun to swell hideously and out of control (no idea why), so it was a great relief to finally lay down that night and not worry about a super early alarm clock wake up.


Because my feet were the size of watermelons, I decided to take it easy on Friday and headed over to the Book Blogging Convention in time for the first session and skipped the keynote and breakfast.  I checked out some great panels, but was a bit bummed I couldn't do both of the first two sets of panels since they were interesting enough it was hard to choose between them.  The final panel of the day was a bit of a disappointment, so as soon as it was not rude to do so, I crept out.

I headed to the hotel and put my feet up for a bit while the hubby headed out to pick up his old high school buddy and his girlfriend who had just pulled into NYC from Boston for a visit.  Once they were settled they came to pick me and my gruesome feet up and we headed out for the night.  We had an awesome time down in Soho and although I had to bail a couple of hours before they were done for the night (I could barely walk by 11pm and it looked like one wrong move and my stupid feet might actually have popped), they managed to carry on and even bump  into Jim Belushi!


Now was the scary part.  We had to Pack.
All. Those. Books.
Turns out the hubby is also a super packer under pressure.  While I fussed and fumed he got down to business and packed all 84 books in such a way we didn't even have over weight luggage!  I know! amazing right?  His comment on his mad packing skills- It's like Tetris, but harder.
Three checked bags and two carry on's later (oh and there were a couple of books stashed in my purse too), and we were ready to check out of our awesome hotel and spend our last few hours in NYC.

My feet still were in pretty sad shape but the up side is it led to some interesting amusements for the day we might not have thought of otherwise.  We met up with Lance and Erika again, and started heading towards Central Park.  We found a Mexican restaurant with a bottomless mimosa included in brunch and settled in to enjoy.  Afterwards we hit Central Park and discovered some of what makes NYC such a great city.  Two words, Roller-skate Dancers.
Well, and turtles.

Did you know there are turtles in the Central Park pond?  There are.  A lot of them.  And they're pretty friendly.  Especially if they think you might feed them.  We didn't, but we didn't tell them that.

Now back to those Roller-skate dancers.  Not only do they dance on old school retro roller-skates, but they have a DJ, skates that you can borrow and join in, and the best part?  They're there every weekend, because they're an association.  It was awesome, a mix of 50 year old figure skaters, guys who were obviously still using their moves from the '70's and wearing the same outfits too (even though they were now 30 pounds heavier), some ripped young black guys who were doing some crazy moves, and one strange old guy with no skates who just danced in the middle.  It was fun, funny and somehow quintessentially New York.

And suddenly it was time to grab the luggage and head home.
I had an awesome time, I met some wonderful bloggers, authors and publishers.  The weather was stunning, and the hotel was perfect.  I came home totally exhausted but thrilled with how much fun me and the hubby both had.  I can't wait to do it again next year!


  1. Sounds like you had a great time! And what a great hubby to track down all those awesome books for you!

  2. Wow, great recap. I'm glad you had such a fantastic time :)

  3. It was so nice meeting you at the BBC lunch. I never get tired of the BEA posts. When I read what other people did, it's like we were at different events! So much to do!

  4. Sounds like you had an absolute blast, I'm jealous you got Crossed and Passion. Crossed is top of my want list.
    You're hubby sounds like a legend! :D

    SO hope I can go next year, it sounds better with every post I read. Great recap thanks.

    p.s. awesome photos too. thanks.