BEA: Update the First

by Kim on May 25, 2011 · 28 comments

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Hello to everyone from BEA! It’s about 8:00 on Wednesday morning and I’m sitting on the small terrace (well, smoking area) at our hostel before I heat over to Javits for the second full day of BEA. I’m blogging on a borrowed netbook and the Internet connection is slow, so apologies for any lack of pictures or links — you can view all the photos I’ve taken (not many) by heading over to my Flickr album for BEA.

Enough excuses, on to the recap!

Sunday

After driving to Milwaukee, flying to Cincinnati, and then flying to New York, I arrived at La Guardia about 5:30. After some misadventures with my car, I made it to Jenny (Jenny’s Books) apartment, who graciously let me sleep on her foldout bed. She also made dinner for Memory (Stella Matutina) and I — fried chicken, potatoes, and garlic bread. It was awesome.

Monday

I got up, got ready, and took a cab to check into my hostel. Anastasia (Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog) and I headed to Javits to register where we met up with Tara (BookSexy Review) for a day of touring around New York.

We took a long, meandering route along the Highline and through part of downtown to make a visit to the Strand Bookstore. That place was really awesome — so many books on three floors! I didn’t buy any books, but did grab a pretty sweet tote bag with the Strand logo on it.

After the Strand, we grabbed a bite to eat, then took the subway up to Central Park. It was a little drizzly during the day, so the park was damp, but it was really beautiful. Here are some photos!

About 2:30 Tara and I split off to go to a tea hosted at Random House. This was my first publishing-y event, and it was fun. There was good food, some cool teas, and a table with different Random House book to pick and choose from. It’s so, so hard to resist a table of free books, and I ended up grabbing quite a few:

  • Loving Frank by Nancy Horan (because it’s a fictional story about Frank Lloyd Wright)
  • Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin because I liked the idea of another Alice story.
  • The Hotel on the Corner of Sweet and Narrow by Jamie Ford because I remember readding lots of good reviews of it.
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, because it’s going to be a movie this summer and I might read the book before then :)
  • Ape House by Sarah Gruen because I liked her previous book, Water for Elephants.
  • Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller because it’s a memoir and I am a nonfiction junkie.
  • The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet because Tara said it was a great book.
  • The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, which is one of the big books Random House is pushing here at BEA.

Post-Random House, I walked with Tara back to my hostel, then met up with Florinda (The R’s Blog) and Karen (Sassy Monkey Reads) for dinner. We just stopped at a pub close to their hotel, which ended up being delicious. Then, because I’m lame and was tired, I went back to the hostel to blog, read through some of the BEA materials I picked up, and get to bed.

Tuesday

Tuesday morning started up pretty early — Anastasia and I went over to Javits about 7:45 to take a look at the author signing tickets and get our bearings. We didn’t make the big rush into the exhibit hall at 9:00 like a lot of people, but got in early enough to see some craziness — people mobbing shelves to grab books, lots of bumping and elbowing. It was sort of crazy.

Online Book Discovery

The one panel session I went to yesterday was called “Online Book Discovery,” which was moderated by Charlotte Abbot and talked about some of the ways people search and find books online. It was less about reviews and more about things like SEO, metadata, and ways to mimic the feeling of serendipity finding books in the real world online. There were a couple interesting points:

  • A digital content person from Barnes & Noble (I cannot remember her name) said their site had three kinds of readers: mainstream buyers, who just grab big titles; engaged readers, who find a book they like they jump around; and value customers, who look for good deals (free books).
  • Someone else made the point that individual opinions on books still matter for readers trying to make a choice in what to get, but the changing reviewing landscape means those voices have changed (ie they aren’t traditional critics anymore).

Books, Books, Books

Because I like nonfiction, the lines I stood in for author signings were all pretty short. This means I got to go more autographing sessions than I though, since so many of the ones I wanted to go to were at the same times. I’m running late, so I’ll put up a book list later tonight or this week.

Craig Thompson

Anastasia and I listened to Craig Thompson, author of Blankets, talking about his upcoming graphic novel, Habibi. He’s spent six years working on it, and the small sample they passed around looked beautiful. It’s a sort of fable/socio-political fiction story that explores the origins of the various major religions, sort of. It’s hard to explain, but I can’t wait to see it finished in September.

Dinner, Bookrageous

At the end of the day, Anastasia and I met up with Amy (Amy Reads) and Cass (Bonjour, Cass!) for dinner. Because we’re cheap, we just grabbed burgers at a place called Five Guys, but it was pretty delicious. Then, Cass, Amy, and I found Ash (English Major’s Junk Food), our other hostel-mate, and headed out to the Bookrageous party.

It was at a bar called Lolita, which was really cool but in a weird part of town. There were a lot of bloggers and authors there. I didn’t take any pictures (shameful!), but I’m sure other people will have some I can link to soon.

After Ash and I had an adventure trying to hail a cab (we’re totally ridiculous), we got back to the hostel and went to bed.

So that’s my BEA adventures so far. Do you have any questions about things? I sort of breezed through a lot of stuff but I want to get to Javits for a signing in a little bit and blogging takes longer than I thought :)

If you want any more details, leave questions in the comments or send me a note on Twitter and I”ll try to give some more updates. Hopefully I can do another blog post before the week is up!

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda May 25, 2011 at 8:28 am

I’m so glad you’re blogging about it all this week. I’m off to check out your Flickr stream!

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Kim May 29, 2011 at 6:22 pm

I’m glad I blogged during the week too — it made it easier to feel less behind now that I’m home and more like I can relax and enjoy the day. I’m glad you enjoyed the update!

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Trisha May 25, 2011 at 9:34 am

So very jealous! It sounds like you are having a great time, and you certainly have an awesome stack of books so far. On a side note, I’m pretty sure I have the novel Habibi somewhere on my shelves….

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Amanda May 25, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Different Habibi – you’re probably thinking of the one by Naomi Shihab Nye, which was very good but not the same thing. :)

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Kim May 29, 2011 at 6:23 pm

Yes, it was such a fun time Trisha. I’m really excited about all of the books I brought home, even though I don’t really have the shelf space for them!

And yes, a different Habibi. It’ll be out in September, I think.

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Steph May 25, 2011 at 9:43 am

Thanks so much for writing about your adventures so far! For those of us not fortunate enough to go to BEA this year, it’s really wonderful to hear about all the fab events you’re getting to attend. I’m super jealous but it’s nice to hear about all this stuff nonetheless! :D

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Kim May 29, 2011 at 6:25 pm

I’m glad the updates are helpful, Steph. Maybe you’ll be able to come next year and we could meet!

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Teresa May 25, 2011 at 11:41 am

This is a fantastic post. Just what I’m looking for about the whole experience. Keep it up!

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Kim May 29, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Thanks Teresa! I have one more post to finish about the Book Blogger Convention, but I’ll do that later in the week.

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Kathleen May 25, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Sounds like a fantastic time so far. I really hope to be able to make it there next year if my work/travel schedule will allow!

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Kim May 29, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Yes, it was a really fantastic time Kathleen. I had a lot of fun — hope you’ll be able to come!

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Man of la Book May 25, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Great post, looking for more. Have a blast, that’s what counts.

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Kim May 29, 2011 at 6:27 pm

I definitely had a lot of fun, thanks Man of la Book!

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Jenny May 25, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Oh my gosh, I totally can’t wait for Craig Thompson’s new book. All the wonderful books coming out this year, and I am most significantly excited about Craig Thompson’s new book. (Probably. But lots of runners-up.) Sounds like you are having excellent times at BEA, and I totally regret not being able to go to the convention this year.

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Kim May 29, 2011 at 6:27 pm

I’m excited about Craig Thompson’s book too — it looks like it is going to a really long one, and the illustrations look beautiful.

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rhapsodyinbooks May 25, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Fun recap! And great to meet you tonight!

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Kim May 29, 2011 at 6:28 pm

It was so fun to meet you rhapsodyinbooks!

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Esme May 25, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Kim, you picked up some good book title-loved Loving Frank-hated him by the end, enjoyed Lisa See’s and have the Ape House. I would love to be able to look around a publishing house and pick up books-that is as good as being in a pastry shop-a true dream come through-Enjoy.

xoxoxo E.

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Kim May 29, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Good to know, Esme! I didn’t know much about that one, I was just curious about the Frank Lloyd Wright connection. It was like being in a delicious pastry/candy shop — I’m an addict!

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Betty May 26, 2011 at 6:54 am

Fun to read this! Am curious what new non-fiction books await us to read!
Will you get to meet Wallace?

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Kim May 29, 2011 at 6:30 pm

There is going to be a lot of really great nonfiction coming up, Betty. I’m still sorting through the books I brought home, but I’d venture to say In the Garden of Beasts will be on many best book lists by the end of the year.

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Jodie May 27, 2011 at 8:16 am

Sounds like you’ve been having a great time!

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Kim May 29, 2011 at 6:30 pm

It was a great time, Jodie. I’m so glad I was able to go.

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Ash May 29, 2011 at 4:25 pm

We are ridiculous haha. But we still had fun!

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Kim May 29, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Super ridiculous, but whatever :) It was so fun to see you again Ash!

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tolmsted (BookSexy Review) May 30, 2011 at 10:43 am

Thanks for the love Kim! It was so good seeing you again and being able to spend some QT. Now that you’re going through the books, which NF title are you most excited about?

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Kim June 1, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Yes, Tara, it was awesome to spend more time together — I loved getting to go around New York with an expert :)

I’m not sure which book I’m most excited about, to be honest, there are so many of them!

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