Where do I even begin?
The last few days have been incredible — and I know my tendency to blather on about things I find exciting, but I’ll try to keep my gushing to a minimum.
This year, I had the wondrous opportunity to attend BEA – Book Expo America – which, I’m convinced, is where all my dreams come from. My favorite wordsmith, Jane Yolen, along with her daughter, Heidi Stemple, ushered me to the convention as Morpheus and Hypnos would upon a dark steed (or in this case, their black Hyundai), through the perilous nightmares of New York City streets.
36 books, 21.5 miles, 3 car jump starts and 1 sippy cup later (and only one caffeinated beverage!), I’m back home, still reeling from how much was packed into the last three days.
My biggest take-aways from my first BEA:
The hype is real and it’s a lot of fun! Now, here’s what I’m going to tell you… because somehow I missed this in all my preparations… What I failed to gather was an understanding as to just how much time I would spend standing in line.
My first stop was waiting in line for Neil Patrick Harris. Letdown #1: a billion other people thinking the exact same thing. Letdown #2: He might not get to sign for everyone. Letdown #3: Rather than a full galley copy, he was signing a sample. Whoa, whoa… a sample? What is this?? I stood in line for 45 minutes for someone to hand me a 30 page pamphlet? Why would I want this signed? That’s when reality set in. I ditched the line.
Til I got sucked in again when I saw Anjelica Huston. (At least this time, it was a hardcover copy of the full book!) And again for Marie Lu. And Rainbow Rowell. And Lev Grossman. And Tim Federle. And Ally Condie… Though there were so many I missed! Garth Nix, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, David Levithan, R.L. Stein, Stan Lee, A.S. King, Alan Cumming, Jane Lynch, Gregory Maguire… and Grumpy Cat 😦
Luck was not on my side when it came to any author in the autographing area. Each attempt was thwarted by a early closed line, or a mile-long line of squatters. Squatters. You know, the folks that decide to sit down because they’ve been waiting in line since the night before the universe was created. That kind of patience extended ell beyond my threshold for this event. Whether I arrived an hour before a signing, or ten minutes before a signing, I never stood a chance. That’s another thing: expect your plans to be changed. All of the authors mentioned above were those I intended on meeting, but then again, I suppose meeting 1/3 of my list isn’t too bad.
Instead, I found my biggest rewards at book drops. That’s where a publisher births about 100 ARCs on a tabletop while people rush by and swoop them up. These lines, though also rather long, rush through rather quickly, usually yielding a satisfying three or four ARCs at a time.
What I missed out on the most were the author panels (many took place on Saturday, the day after I left when BEA became open to the public) but also on the conferences and talks. I inadvertently bypassed so many networking opportunities with other bloggers. Though, I should point out, the few that I met while waiting in lines were all lovely! Here’s to hoping I’ll get to attend next year!
In the meantime, I submit this list of acquisitions to my Sickness. These were not purchased! So based on my original rule set, they’re acceptable additions. With all of these new ARCs, I will need to revisit and reformat how to account for them… But until then…:
- Trial By Fire – Josephine Angelini
- Miles to Go – Connie Bailey
- Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas – Stephanie Barron
- Witch Island – David Bernstein
- The Iron Trail – Holly Black & Cassandra Clare
- Atlantia (sample) – Ally Condie
- The Emissary – Patricia Cori
- So We Read On – Maureen Corrigan
- Not My Father’s Son – Alan Cumming
- Hell to Pay – Garry Disher
- Endgame: The Calling – James Grey & Nils Johnson-Shelton
- The Magician’s Land – Lev Grossman
- Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography (sample) – Neil Patrick Harris
- Skink– No Surrender – Carl Hiaasen
- Bombay Blues – Tanuja Desai Hidier
- The Devil’s Intern – Donna Hosie
- Flying Shoes – Lisa Howorth
- A Story Lately Told – Angelica Huston
- Mastering Toby – Jan Irving
- Evil Librarian – Michelle Knudsen
- Amulet: Escape from Lucien – Kazu Kibuishi
- The Young Elites (sample) – Marie Lu
- On A Clear Day – Walter Dean Myers
- Last Winter We Parted – Fuminori Nakamuri
- Young Houdini: The Magician’s Fire – Simon Nicholson
- Clariel – Garth Nix
- King Dork Approximately – Frank Portman
- Mort(e) – Robert Repino
- Jackaby – William Ritter
- Landline – Rainbow Rowell
- Dataclysm – Christian Rudder
- I Became Shadow – Joe Shine
- Sway – Kat Spears
- A Sudden Light – Garth Stein
- Sisters – Raina Telgemeier
- The Black Butterfly – Shirley Reva Vernick