Wednesday, May 25, 2011

BEA Recap- The Authors & The Books

It was a wonderful day at Book Expo. As I mentioned, I didn't plan ahead for my time at BEA. I basically just wandered around. Saw what there was to see. I chatted with book lovers on long lines for autographed books. I got flustered when I reached the front and couldn't think of anything witty or intelligent to say to authors. I spent a lot of money on lunch. I sat and listened to some panels. I didn't see anyone I knew in the crowds. My feet hurt as I traversed back and forth on the Javit's floor. The usual.

So that's the short version. Read on for the long version.

Last year, I was a a BEA psychopath, getting my hands on as many books as I could, because I couldn't quite get over the fact that people were just giving books away. This year, I still couldn't get over that fact, but I used a lot of restraint. Because, er, I still have a stack of unread books from last year's expo. I look at some of them and I think 'huh'? I really have zero interest in them. So I thought it best not to get carried away.

The day began with signings for the only 2 books I really cared about getting at BEA. Lauren Oliver's new middle grade book Leisl and Po and Beth Kephart's You Are My Only. Of course their signings occurred at the exact same time, but I managed it, only once or twice calling it 'a situation', because the hour I spent on Lauren Oliver's line was really infringing on the block of time I would be able to get to Beth Kephart's signing. This is becoming 'a situation' I kept telling the dear librarian standing next to me, who was kind enough to listen to my neuroses.

I guess there are worse things in life than worrying about whether you will get two free autographed books from your favorite authors, but...ya know...first world problems...

Like I said, I managed it. And I can't say enough wonderful things about Beth Kephart, I just can't. But I'll guide you to her blog and to her books and ask you to read them so we can hold them up to our hearts and talk about them because that is what I would like to do.

After that, I found Elizabeth Scott who I consider the discovery of the week because I didn't know about her books and she has popped up everywhere in my life this week: in blogs I read, at events I attended, on the BEA floor when I didn't even know she would be there. I like her wild blond hair and her warm personality. She said she liked to give her readers hugs and I obliged, so there's that. Her book, Between Here and Forever, is out right now.

Then, I don't really remember what happened, but I wound up meeting James Dashner, author of The Maze Runner series. He was so ridiculously nice, I just feel I should share that. I wanted to buy him a cake, he was so nice.

At this point, I had a series of Brooklyn encounters.

Somehow, I wound up getting this book called Bedbugs by Ben H. Winters, author of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. Gotta tell ya, with bedbugs being such a terrible epidemic in New York City, I'm not so into the book idea. But he sold me because it takes place in my neighborhood in Brooklyn and some scenes take place in a coffee shop nearby.

Then, I truly stumbled upon a signing for Say Her Name by Francisco Goldman, which I remembered hearing about in Beth Kephart's blog (did I mention you should read her blog?) And boy am I glad I did because he was such a kind and genuine person. When I asked him why he signed his book with a sunflower, he told me it was 'Aura's favorite flower'. The book is about his wife, Aura, and her tragic death in a freak accident, and just the way he said that was so heartfelt, I nearly started crying right then and there. Which would have been really attractive. Then, I learned that he is my neighbor! He lives just a few streets away from me in Brooklyn. He told me that if I ever saw him, he hopes I stop him on the street to chat. And I believed that. He seemed like just that kind of guy.

Those are the books and authors that made an impression. I hope to talk a little bit more about the experience, especially the panels I sat through in the afternoon. But this post is already getting much too long.


  1. Don't worry if this is a long post. It's full of enthusiasm, and that's the kind of post I want to read! Unfortunately there aren't any book expos here, so your post is the next best thing. It must have been exciting to meet all of those authors!


  2. I SO loved meeting you, Melissa. And yes, you are right! It's the hair — up and not down. AND YOU MET FRANCISCO GOLDMAN!!!!!!! I can't believe it. You lucky, lucky lady. You have to let me know what you think. You must have also then met Lauren Wein, one of my favorite editors in New York City.

    I posted a bit about my yesterday (and you) on my blog just now. I was coming over here to tell you that when I discovered your kind, kind words here. Thank you, Melissa.

  3. I wish, wish, wish that I could have been there. I know that I would have been totally wowed and overawed. You describe it all brilliantly and I could sort of pretend that I was there, too.
    Thank you for this post!

  4. Thanks for sharing your highlights of BEA. I've never been, but I really hope to some day!

  5. In my own bout of #firstworldproblems, I would totally have been freaking out about missing one favorite author's signing while standing in line for the other! Still, sounds like BEA was a great time.

    I showed remarkable restraint this year, too. Though I only attended the BBC, I forced my fingers not to get itchy and start grabbing every "free" book within sight. After schlepping an overflowing bag around the entire city last year, I learned my lesson the hard way... and yes, I still have unread books from last year on my shelves, too!

    P.S. I saw Tyler on his panel at the BBC -- great fun! I sort of wanted to walk up and say something embarrassing about how I know you, etc., but I was worried he might think I was deranged. Plus, that late in the day, my hair had frizzed beyond manageable levels and I was starting to look deranged.

  6. Not jealous...Not jealous...Not jealous! (Maybe a little bit.)

    I'm glad you had a good time and soaked up as much as possible. Sometimes I think too hard at conferences etc...and it takes away from the experience.

  7. So envious of this. I am going to Printers Row in Chicago this weekend but it isn't the same. Good for you for waiting so patiently!

  8. I love that you marked that as a #firstworldproblems; I'm obsessed w/ that twitter feed!

    I've been hunting through my blog feed for wrap ups on BEA, so thank you for sharing! I had not heard Lauren Oliver wrote a middle grade book. I love the cover. I just recently heard of Between Here & Forever and marked it on my amazon wishlist. I can understand why you needed restraint; it must be tempting to take as many books as given out. I hope you share what you think of the books you got there.