Living up to being a nomad reader:
I'm back home in Albany after a whirlwind two weeks away. One of my closest friends from college got married in northeast Iowa the weekend before BEA, and Mr. Nomadreader and I drove out for the festivities. We stopped to see a close high school friend in Ohio for a couple of nights, my parents in Des Moines for one night, then spent two nights at the wedding festivities. On the way home, we spent one exhausted night in Buffalo and had sixteen hours at home to unpack, do laundry and repack for New York City. Whew!
New York City:
New York was wonderful. We rented a small studio apartment, through AirBnB, a wonderful site I discovered through the Frugal Traveler. It felt like I was living in New York again because I had an apartment where I could cook my own meals or easily order delivery. It was delightful. The downfall was that I didn't spend
Book Expo America (BEA) was delightful, chaotic and overwhelming. I went in with a list of signings I wanted to see. I didn't make it to all of them, and I spent a lot of time waiting in line and meeting wonderful book bloggers, librarians and publishing industry professionals. I focused on getting upcoming books, and I was mostly successful. The one I wished I hadn't missed is the new Steve Martin novel, An Object of Beauty.
As a BEA newbie, I thought I did my research, but I was still lost. As I said, I spent most of my time in autographing lines. I didn't particularly care about getting most things autographed; I wanted the books. I wished I knew that publishers kept extra copies in their booths. Many authors had a few minutes or seconds to chat while they signed, and I really enjoyed that one-on-one communication time. I had a long list of booths to visit and authors to see, but I foolishly wrote down authors and booth numbers, as I assumed every booth would list their number like an address. When they didn't, I had to do some investigation to figure out which authors went with which publishers. Next time, I'll list everything by name instead of number.
The highlights for me were meeting Rob Sheffield, author of Love is a Mix Tape, one of my all-time favorite books and the upcoming Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, and Mo Willems, who signed Knuffle Bunny posters and distributed Knuffle Bunny Free. It was also wonderful to (finally!) get a copy of The Passage by Justin Cronin. He knew who I was and high-fived me at the Random House book. It was divine!
Here are some of the books I picked up:
Book Blogger Convention:
The organizers did such a wonderful job creating and organizing this event. It was wonderful, but I still felt like I didn't get a chance to talk to most of the people there. Most of the conversations I had were with bloggers I was not familiar with, and I discovered some great new blogs!
If I had one wish, it would be to have part of it be more interactive. Looking around the room with so many accomplished bloggers, I wish there were a way for all of them to share their insights with the group. The panelists were great, and the questions were great, but I know there was so much knowledge in that room left unshared. There were so many bloggers I admired in the audience learning, but I also wanted to learn from them (and many of the organizers). Granted, I have no idea how to logistically incorporate small groups in such a large group, but as this event continues in future years, I hope different panelists are featured each year to help ensure diversity of experience.
So many people were already making plans for next year. I finish graduate school in December, and I hope to be employed next May. As Mr. Nomadreader and I have no idea where we'll be working or living next May, it's hard to plan on attending. Going forward, I don't know that I'll need or want to attend BEA. The entire week was exhausting and chaotic. The pile of books is wonderful, but the two days passed so quickly and I was constantly feeling as though I was missing out. It was crowded, especially Wednesday, and I think it's fair to say some attendees had an excessive sense of entitlement. I am grateful for the connections I made with authors, bloggers and publishers, but I'm also cognizant of how little I was able to do in two days.
Were you at BEA and BBC? What were your thoughts?
Happy Sunday and happy reading!
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