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Book Expo America Update

BEA

Many of you know that I’m away at BEA this week. This year the expo is in Chicago so I flew out here on tuesday and since I’m too tired to socialize tonight (gathering books is surprisingly exhausting), I thought I’d write an update.

Wednesday I spent the majority of the day at the bloggers conference but I did sneak out for a few hours to collect galleys and to snag a signed copy of Mo Willem’s Elephant and Piggy Thank you Book for my daughter who is obsessed with pretty much everything Mo Willems writes. I won’t bore you with too many details about the bloggers conference other than to say it was interesting and nice to meet a few people whose blogs I have read.

Today, I spent all day on the exhibit floor, grabbing galleys, visiting booths, and attending a few author signings. I’ve collected about 60 books so far. Overall, I have found the expo to be very YA heavy and I’ve had to dig around to find the relatively few literary fiction folks. I don’t hate YA, it’s just something I that I don’t usually read, so I was a little disappointed to see so much of it all around me. On the plus side, while lots of people were pushing and shoving in line to get to see the YA authors, I was having a more leisurely time lining up for my preferred authors. Here are a few of my favorite finds (even includes one YA):

BEA books

I met the following authors during book signings: Jonathan Safran Foer, Nathan Hill, Colson Whitehead, George Saunders, Amor Towles, Emma Cline, and Mo Willems.

Highlights: Nathan Hill and Mo Willems signings. Nathan Hill was one of the featured BEA buzz authors and I heard him speak about his book before the signing. His book, Nix, sounds incredibly interesting, Nathan was eloquent and highly intelligent and he was the one of nicest authors I met during the expo. His book signing line moved at a snail’s pace but that was because he chatted with everyone in line. His book wasn’t really on my radar until the talk and after meeting him, it has moved up on my TBR.

Mo Willems is awesome and even though I was really trying to snag a book for my daughter, I love his books and I couldn’t help but love him. I got some awful pictures (of myself) with him because he kept cracking jokes and I kept busting out laughing (as did the person taking the photo).

mo willems

Lowlights: Jonathan Safran Foer signing. This was all my own fault. Jonathan was extremely nice and took the time to chat with people in line rather than just sign his books. The problem was that I simply just froze. It was my first signing of BEA and I don’t know what happened to me because when he asked me if I had any questions, I just stood there staring at him like an idiot. Not my finest moment. I used to work in TV and I’ve met countless celebrities without being in the least bit fazed, but authors often leave me starstruck. I almost had a similar moment with Colson Whitehead but I pulled myself together in time. I guess I should be grateful it wasn’t David Mitchell or I might have keeled over and then been mortified.

Plans for tomorrow: I’m looking forward to getting an autographed copy of Justin Cronin’s City of Mirrors. The book comes out in a few weeks and I’ve already read a galley (review to come shortly). Not my typical fare, but even I like a good apocalyptic novel and Cronin can write like no one’s business. I’m also hoping get to Richard Russo’s book signing.

We want to hear from you! Have you been to a BEA before? Are you attending this year? What were some of your highlight and lowlights? 

14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Tracy S #

    So jealous! And really sad that I’m not there!!!☹️ Oh, well, maybe next year…

    Liked by 1 person

    May 13, 2016
    • Would love to see you there. It’s in NYC next year

      Like

      May 13, 2016
  2. Aaaaah, this sounds like so much fun!!! Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    May 13, 2016
    • Thanks. It’s a lot of fun. Wish you all could be here too

      Liked by 1 person

      May 13, 2016
      • sally schwartz #

        Really. It’s in NYC next year?

        Liked by 1 person

        May 13, 2016
      • Yes. Usually there from what I understand.

        Like

        May 13, 2016
  3. Amor Towles! I love Rules of Civility. His new one sounds up my alley as well. I shall await your review with interest.

    As for freezing up in front of Jonathan Safran Foer, this is a big reason why I don’t approach authors, especially those whose works have had an impact on me. Reading is such an intimate thing, too. How I read a novel might not be how the author wrote it, and I’d worry about saying something and it being met with bemusement! What do you say that doesn’t sound trite or like you’re trying to impress, as well? What a minefield! If it makes you feel better, I would probably have gibbered incoherently 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    May 13, 2016
    • Towles was very nice and funny. The new one sounds really good. About Safran Foer – he’s not an author I love. I do like some of his books but he’s not one I would have expected to make me nervous. The worst thing is all I could think to say (which I thankfully didn’t say aloud) was that his wife’s book was one of my favorites. That would have been bad on so many levels but especially because she is no longer his wife!

      I fee greatly conflicted about meeting authors. As you know, David Mitchell is my author crush but I’m not sure I want to meet him because of the reasons you mention. I also fear that if I met him and he were to be a jerk, it would destroy me. I met Atwood at Book Riot last year and she wasn’t very friendly so that was a huge disappointment to me. She wasn’t unfriendly just standoffish. Granted it was a long line so she was probably tired.

      Like

      May 13, 2016
      • Yes, finding out someone is a jerk is my other big reason! I get the impression that Atwood is quite spiky (in a good way) and while that’s fine when you’re actually friends with someone, I’d imagine she comes across as aloof with everyone else. I’m impressed that so many authors put themselves through book signings. I would hate having to be nice all day to people I don’t know! That’s a smaller reason I don’t like the idea of meet’n’greets.

        And oh god to what you said to JSF! That’s the kind of thing I would do, and it would come out sounding sarcastic!

        Liked by 1 person

        May 13, 2016
      • *almost said to JSF. I hate typing on my tiny phone!

        Liked by 1 person

        May 13, 2016
  4. Great to hear about your experience! I really want to go to BEA and might do it next year, except for a few things: 1) I fear crowds; 2) I don’t read paper books much any more; and 3) I don’t really like book signings. I never have anything interesting to say to someone famous, I just want to enjoy their books.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 15, 2016
    • The fear of crowds would be a problem. I will go next year so if you reconsider, I’d love to meet you! I don’t love signings either because I feel pressured to say something witty. I let go of that fear at BEA and with one exception (Safran Foer) didn’t feel like it was a problem to just stand there and say “hello” and “thank you.”

      Like

      May 15, 2016
      • I’d love to meet you too! I’m curious if you went to the Blogger part of the conference, and how that was?

        Liked by 1 person

        May 15, 2016
      • I did. I liked it. Got some useful tips and ideas for improving the blog. I don’t do that well with integrating all my social media platforms so I did find it the social media talks to be helpful. I think it’s worth attending at least once.

        Like

        May 15, 2016

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