Unpacking from Book Expo America 2013

There are a few constants about BEA, one is books and the other is your feet may take days to forgive you.  Depending on your self-restraint (and willingness to pay a $39 service fee per box on top of the shipping costs) your shoulders may also hate you.  I have two tips for anyone considering going: wear the most comfortable, supportive walking shoes you own, and if you're not dropping off your books to the shipping center make sure to take a minute here and there to organize the books in your bag (it really does make a difference).

Last year I loaded all my pickings into a box in the shipping area and it was great.  Except at the end when I decided "screw this shipping charge" and hauled the box out of the Javits to NY/Penn Station, and then had to load this box into the overhead storage compartment.  I didn't want to deal with that heavy of a load this year so I went to BEA promising myself to exercise restraint when offered books.  This promise turned out to be a good thing because this year the shipping center included signs that the boxes were not allowed out of the shipping area.  It also turns out it is a lot easier to turn down a book when you've been carrying a mostly full book bag around all day.

This year BEA started out with me getting a free bottle of Hennessy when I checked into the VIP Librarian Lounge.  RandomHouse decided they wanted to reward the first 100 attendees to check in at the VIP Lounge, and who am I to object?  The importance of this Lounge is you can sit down, find something to snack on, and access some free wi-fi.  As I mentioned earlier, the Javits is huge, and it happens to be filled with several thousand people most of whom are lugging tote bags full of books and other loot.  From there I began my day of collecting book bags, books, and random give-aways.

I definitely "scored" a few things due to awesome booth staff, including a staffer who checked for extra Hobbit tote bags featuring Smaug thanks to my tattoo and securing a few books before their official give away time at other booths, perhaps because I was friendly and willing to chat about whatever with them.  I also think I entered into close to 20 iPad mini raffles by dropping off my business card.  While largely a similar experience to last year, points of BEA were drastically different, including improved handling of in-booth author signing lines, missing food giveaways and no roaming Happy Hour at the different booths.  Instead official bar kiosks were set up with convention hall price drinks with only a few booths providing their own drinks, and in one case some rather rude staff trying to enforce a "private party" in the middle of an open to the public booth.  Here's a hint, if you're worried about "keeping out the riff-raff" your open area in the  middle of the convention might not be the best place for it.  But I digress.  Lots of fun was had, including a surprising number of conversations with complete strangers and some of the marketing methods employed.

What happens when you put Mad Libs in the public bathrooms (and that is not my handwriting):
Also, who can resist Wine Tasting for Dummies?

One of the highlights (that isn't getting free books) of BEA each year is catching what ever talk the Unshelved guys put on.  If you ever get a chance to hear one of their talks, take it.  I actually had intended to go to all sorts of talks during the course of the conference, but ultimately only made it to Unshelved's "Surviving the Public" talk.  Last year's was "How to Ban Books."  I love their humor.  I was unable to stay through Saturday which meant I missed Neil Gaiman.  If I am unable to acquire a ticket to see him in July at Porter Square Books I might cry.

So back to my adventures in author stalking and book collecting.

I got to meet Dr. Ruth Wordheimer Westheimer

Chuck Palahniuk is possibly one of the coolest authors I have ever met.

Jim C. Hines may be resigned to more people recognizing him for his adventures in examining the ridiculous world of "sexy" women book covers than for his writing (oh, and I found more... including a group photo with Mary Kowal, John Scalzi, Patrick Rothfuss, and Charles Stross plus the Flickr compilation...).  I love that he and a whole group of authors who I admire were willing to have some fun getting a little uncomfortable (and likely making some others uncomfortable) exposing issues with how women are presented on cover art.  I however associate him with his writing before those photos, and in particular Libromancer which just happens to be one of the books that brought me to settle on my blog name.  He writes delightful novels and has a great sense of humor.

Who else did I meet?  Oh, only some guy named Buzz Aldrin.  So it was only for a few seconds while my book was signed, but I met someone who walked on the moon.  It's staggering to me. 

I also managed to get in line for Richelle Mead's latest book, Gameboard of the Gods several days before it goes on sale.  I am about half way through and absolutely loving this novel.

Here is the "What to Read instead of Fifty Shades of Grey" pile.  Under Her Thumb is by D. L. King, the editor of Carnal Machines and promises to be both woman and sex positive.  The Killer Wore Leather is reportedly hilarious and clever.  Then we have Carrie's Story and Safe Word, an "American Story of O" that predates the Fifty Shades craze.  I have not read Carrie's Story, though I'm hoping the comparison to Story of O is mostly in regards to the kink aspects of the relationship, not to abuse of devotion and uninformed consent.  Tristan Taormino is a sex educator of some renown who's most current book is The Feminist Porn BookOliver's Hunger might not techincally belong in this batch, but it was described to me by another author sharing the boot as "seriously hot paranormal romance" and I know some people who may be interested in that title.

I guess this is the Sci-Fi/Fantasy pile.  I've been wanting to read Wool for some time now, and it is an example of indie-publishing going very right.  Enchanted has caught my eye at work, but like so many books I just have not gotten to it yet.  Both of those are also signed by their fabulous authors.  The other two are ARCs that are likely both fantastical and ridiculous.  I cannot wait to get into them (sorry mom, you have to wait to borrow them).

And some more signed books (with some repeats noted earlier).  I had no idea that Fortunately, the Milk was signed, and may have squeed when we were shown.  Sometimes being first in line makes the waiting that much harder.  Fortunately, the Milk has absolutely delightful illustrations that I have fallen in love with just based on a quick skim.  I may have also already used My Dog: The Paradox to suck several other people into following The Oatmeal

The upside of my more limited selection of books this year is I hope to actually read a reasonable number of them before next year's BEA if I'm able to attend.  So fingers crossed on attending next year (or more specifically, managing another free registration since I cannot afford to go otherwise), and in the mean time, I'm working through my new books.


  1. ::Waves hi::

    Wait, Buzz Aldrin was there? I missed him AND Grumpy Cat???


    1. ::waves back::

      He was! I almost missed him, I found the signs on my way to the Richelle Mead line and fortunately they decided that an hour and a half early was a good time to hand out tickets! I think the scheduling was conspiring against you with Grumpy Cat though. She's a cute ball of fluff who apparently doesn't care that a few hundred people want to meet her and was asleep from what I could tell walking by.

      Also, totally did not expect you to swing by my blog. I might have had a ridiculously surprised happy moment at work.


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