On June 2 I flew from Montreal to New York City to attend BEA 2012 and various other Bookish Things.
I have been meaning to write a post on both my blogs about my trip to NYC/BEA for a while now. Obviously I have been home for a month, and so many others have already blogged about the trip. I have this issue with being totally done with something as soon as it’s over. Leading up to the trip, it’s all I could think about or talk about. Once I was home? Done. It’s over. Move on. The thought of rehashing everything that happened while I was there and completely immersed in the adventure, makes me exhausted. Almost like narcolepsy triggered by having to use my memories. It’s weird, but it’s a common problem in my life. I have unfinished recaps of my Disney trips in 2004, 2008 & 2009. I have an unfinished recap of my BEA 2010 adventure. My brain just shuts down when I think about reliving what’s already happened.
So rather than make this recap into multiple posts, I will try and squish as much into this one post as I can. I also plan on mostly covering the Bookish Things on this blog, and then – eventually – writing about more of the non Bookish Things on my personal blog. Maybe this will work better?
I arrived in NYC on a Saturday evening and after a little bit of an adventure trying to meet up with Shanyn from Chick Loves Lit, we shared a cab from the airport into Manhattan where we would be staying at the Marriott Marquis in Time Square with Kristi. I was really nauseous from the turbulent flight down (and it was only 40 minutes in the AIR) and our cab ride didn’t help matters much. Ugh. In fact, both Shanyn and I pretty much got to the hotel and said “Don’t hug us, we might barf” when Kristi opened the door to our room. Heh. After some water and lying down for a few minutes we both felt better and we all headed out to get some dinner. It was late at night, we were hungry and for some reason everyone we ran into for the next two days wanted to hug me because they loved my hair. It was weird. People in Montreal don’t talk to me when my hair isn’t “normal”. Apparently purple and pink hair in NYC makes you huggable.
Sunday we had an adventure in the rain while trying to get to the Javits Center to pick up our BEA badges. Eventually that all worked out fine and we did wander around some more before getting ready to head to the Simon Teen Blogger event, which was held in a really pretty bar, though not on the terrace as originally planned, mostly due to the rain, I imagine. I was super lucky to get an invite at the last minute and I have to say that aside from the Teen Author Carnival (more on that), this was my second favourite event of the entire week.
The atmosphere of the room was so PINK and lovely. There were 6 authors there and behind the bar were framed covers of each of the authors’ books. I wish I’d gotten a better photo because I found that just stunning. Author Jenny Han (Burn for Burn) moderated the evening and interviewed each of the other authors: Lenore Appelhans (Level 2); Tonya Hurley (The Blessed); Shannon Messenger (Let the Sky Fall); Carmen Rodrigues (34 Pieces of You) and Siobhan Vivian (Burn for Burn). It wasn’t your regular Q&A event, as Jenny Han asked only funny/interesting things in the form of: Plead the Fifth; Kiss, Burry, Kill; Either/Or (I think that was the other one? This is one reason I should really work on recapping these things closer to when they happen!) There was even an open bar, complete with a non-alcoholic cocktail created just for the event – the Blogger Crush! (I might have had one of those with vodka in it though…I’m such a rebel. I had two alcoholic beverages that entire night. Look at me go!).
Monday was the BEA Bloggers Convention (formerly BBC) and although it seemed interesting in principle, I didn’t stay past lunch because I didn’t feel there was anything happening there that was adding to my blogging experience. One thing I did think was pretty cool was that during breakfast they had authors rotate amongst the tables to talk with you. Unfortunately we only ended up with two – Siobhan Vivian and Kitty Kelley (who was quite sweet and entertaining. I was rather surprised at how much I liked her!) One of our authors was a no-show and I don’t think there was proper distribution of authors/tables so some tables had 4 authors and others one. I had originally thought I wouldn’t go to the BBC day of BEA, but ended up changing my mind. Now that I have been and I know it’s not my cup of tea – maybe because I have been blogging for so many years? Maybe because I don’t book blog like most of the book bloggers do? (I don’t promote, or want to promote things so much as I just want to journal the books I read.) I can finally say with no doubt that it’s just not for me. It works for others, and I think it’s a great idea in principal, but it just didn’t have anything for me to take away in the end.
That afternoon, I wandered around with Kristi and was supposed to hit up the William Morrow/Harper Collins event that evening but I just wasn’t feeling very well. So while Kristi and Shanyn went off to their various Bookish Events, I had my first ever taste of The Olive Garden and got to know Tara from Hobbitsies, since I didn’t really know her much before BEA. Two things: I adore Tara and her blog is one of the prettiest blogs out there… AND… WE TOTALLY NEED AN OLIVE GARDEN IN MONTREAL! Oh my god. It was delicious!
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were BEA days. Early morning start for Tuesday where I stood in line with Kristi, Shanyn, Tara from Fiction Folio and Anna from Anna Reads (yes? Crap. It was early in the morning and now I have two things going against me – memory fail and the fact that I register NOTHING in the mornings.) So, um, yes! We stood in line! I was with them only because I was tired and needed to make sure someone around me would be able to make sure I didn’t fall over asleep. They were all waiting to rush in and get the newest Maggie Stiefvater book, which I didn’t care about. After that rush was over, I wandered the floor with Kristi, looked at some stuff, picked up a few books and then met up with Monkey and took a break for a while, wandered around a little more and left early with Kristi to head back to the hotel to drop off books, change and head out to meet Michelle Zink and her ridiculously AMAZING family for dinner before the Teen Author Carnival. Now the TAC is one of the reasons I decided to make this NYC trip this year. It was my ultimate favourite event of my 2010 trip and the folks behind this brilliant event just put so much hard work into it. BRAVO! There were 6 panels in total this year, three at a time and you could do two panels and then author signings. They had so many YA authors there this year. It was unbelievable! I stayed in the basement for those two panels (From a Whole Other World and What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger (Kick-ass Characters). I stayed in one place partly because of Michelle Zink (whom I adore) and partly because I was trying to not overdo things so my pain didn’t flare up while I was there. Sitting on one room was lovely. heh I even waited to buy Melissa Walker’s Unbreak My Heart until that evening because I wanted her to sign it for me. She’s one of my favourite people and I was sort of sad to miss the panel she was moderating, but she was on the 3rd floor and there were a lot of stairs. heh
Wednesday morning was yet another super early morning (nothing says FUN! like getting up earlier while you’re on vacation than when you are at home and going to work) but for a good reason – the Children’s Author breakfast was that morning and it was hosted by Chris Colfer. I was beyond impressed with Mr. Colfer’s public speaking prowess. He was kind, charming and very, very funny. Very quick on his feet, too when it came to ad-libbing throughout the morning. The other authors on the panel were: John Green (yes. I know!), Lois Lowry (whom I have never read) and children’s book illustrator Kadir Nelson. All authors spoke very well, though I sort of felt bad for the placement of Kadir Nelson immediately following Lois Lowry. She received a standing ovation and to have to follow that… I shudder. I think perhaps that order should have been rethought before going out on stage. I will also admit that until I listened to Chris Colfer speak and tell us about his book (The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell – a MG book) I had no interest in it. I have since picked it up and started reading and I am impressed, yet again, by this young man. So much talent and sincerity from such a young person. Bravo, Mr. Colfer, you are one class act. Please don’t ever change!
I also attended a panel on exciting new upcoming Middle Grade books that morning, with my bestest Monkey. I now have three of the 5 books they spoke of and I can’t wait to read and blog about those. I think perhaps 2012 is my Year of Middle Grade literature because that and Fantasy are the two types of books that totally capture my attention lately. Middle Grade lit has just become so outstanding the last few years and I don’t have to worry about any stupid love triangles or insta-love plot lines. HUZZAH! After the MG panel, Monkey and I wandered around the BEA floor for a little longer and then went off to find some lunch and ate at Burgers & Cupcakes not too far from the Javits. I was really exhausted by then so we both ended up walking back to our respective hotels and I, personally, took a NAP. That evening I joined Monkey yet again to attend the Penguin Bird Bash (I was Monkey’s Plus One, as we introduced me throughout the evening). I was VERY happy to run in to other people I knew there though, so I didn’t have to tag behind Monkey as her shadow all evening. I had an extremely interesting chat with Gail (Ticket to Anywhere) and one of the Penguin reps, whose name I have completely forgotten, but she was a seriously lovely and enthusiastic woman who made me want to pick up so many books I would NEVER read in a million years. Her enthusiasm for her job was so contagious (I think she said she was working for Penguin for 30 years?). I really wish I could recall her name (Gail! Help!) I just wish I was that passionate about my own job. Maybe one day.
Thursday morning I went off to the Flatiron building for a breakfast hosted by Macmillan Young Readers, or Teen, or just Macmillan? Drat. My brain is just horrible. I had woken up early with a migraine that made me very nauseous so my morning pretty much ended after that breakfast. Everyone else went back over to the Javits for the last day of BEA, but I went back to the hotel room, took my very potent migraine meds and slept. I was pretty BEA’d out by then. I had no interest in standing in line to get books signed and I was trying to be very careful about how many books I was picking up. I mean, I still have a few left from 2010 that I haven’t read AND I was flying, so I didn’t want to have to buy an extra suitcase. I really enjoyed the breakfast at Macmillan, I must say. Not just because they had amazing pastries for us (ha) or because that building is so old and wonderful feeling inside, but because of the discussion the folks at the publisher (including the president!) started with us about what sort of things we, as bloggers, liked, didn’t like and how the pub/blogger relationship could improve. Things like that. I felt a little out of place because I was the only Canadian there and it’s very different in Canada than in the US, but I seriously loved the discussion and the ideas the other bloggers were coming up with.
Special note: Macmillan gave the coolest form of swag I have ever be given – a pen with a USB key in it! And I am completely ashamed to admit mine is still in my suitcase and I have yet to plug it in to see the catalogues on it. Oops. I am totally obsessed with cool technology like that and I have never seen a pen USB before.
As I mentioned, I slept much of Thursday away because of my migraine. It was a doozy. I needed to rest up though because I was having dinner and then going to see Mary Poppins on Broadway with one of my long-time BFFs Monkey! She managed to get us some not-too-expensive tickets and since we had planned to spend Thursday night together, it was a super fun way to do it! I haven’t seen Monkey in almost two years since she moved and it was more than amusing to me that we both had to be in NYC in order to do something together. I was originally going to go to BEA 2010 with her, but her plans changed and then she went last year, but I couldn’t go. So our stars finally aligned this year and we spent rather a lot of time together my week in NYC! It was great to see her again.
Other than that, I spent Friday with my cousin and I’ll talk more about that on my other blog once I get that post done. This one has taken me 2 whole days to write, so I don’t foresee a second blog post any time soon. =P I ended up with 21 books for myself, and 26 all-together (books I gave to friends). I left a few books behind and I think Kristi or Shanyn might have taken then (except for the board book!). I did end up buying a small tote bag that almost matched my suitcase exactly (I have a very original suitcase, so this made me happy). Sadly, the handle ripped by the time I got home, so I need to figure out if it’s worth having repaired.
I did get to meet (though briefly) some people I was looking forward to meeting in person – like Tara (Hobbitsies) and Liz (Elizziebooks on YouTube – I was super excited to meet her because I think she’s awesome! I wish I had been able to say hi for more than 5 minutes though!), Charlotte (Charlotte’s Library – though that was way too brief, too!), Stephanie (Stephanie’s Written Word – whom I wish I could have spent more time with! Though I did sit with her at the BEA Bloggers breakfast, but I didn’t get to say goodbye when I snuck out after lunch, sorry, Stephanie!!). I saw Pam (Bookalicious) for WAY TOO SHORT OF A TIME as she swooshed through a crowd in another direction on the BEA floor. I got to know Michelle from Galleysmith better, as she was only two doors down from our hotel room and spent a lot of time with us. I am very happy I got to know you better, Michelle! I am also happy I got to see Erica, April and other bloggers I met last time I was at BEA but never see in person other than these epic trips!
And I have to give a shout out to Grace from Words Like Silver, who came up to me at BEA Bloggers to say hi and just made my morning by telling me she was a fan of my blog! I have never had anyone say something like that to me in person and Grace is just such a sweetheart and now I’m a loyal blog follower of hers. I got to see her at TAC as well. If you don’t know Grace, you MUST check out her blog(s), she’s 14 and writes fantastically. Better than I do. No contest.
Mostly, I was just super excited to spend a week in NYC with friends and do Bookish Things. I didn’t go for the books (honest) at BEA, I went to see friends I have made through blogging and take a vacation with like-minded people. I missed my husband and my dogs immensely, and was very happy to be home after 7 days, but ultimately I had a great time and wish I lived a lot closer to many of my blogging friends.
I am certain I have left something important out. Argh. This is the fault with blogging about something a month after it happened. I would have updated live while there, but I didn’t bring my laptop and I didn’t have internet access for most of the trip. Roaming packages for my Canadian phone are INSANE EXPENSIVE so I was very disconnected for those 7 days. Alas.
I don’t think I’ll go back to BEA ever again. This time I’m certain of that. It was overwhelming the first year and a little too much for me the second. It’s one of those types of things that once I have seen it and done it, I just don’t need to do it again. The next time I go to NYC it will be with my husband and we’ll just do touristy things. Not all of the really common ones, but just take our time and enjoy the City That Never Sleeps.
There you have it, folks, my long-yet-short recap of my trip to NYC to attend BEA and all those other 3-lettered acronyms! I didn’t overdo it and I made sure to listen to my body to try and prevent any pain flareups, but I did end up eating way too much fried stuff in the end (hey, it was vacation!). Good people, good books and a fun city. What more could you ask for!