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.