Monday, May 30, 2011

BEA 2011 Highlights -- Monday (Day 1)

I have been home from BEA 2011 for a few days now and I'm still not entirely sure that I've recovered. I missed my family a great deal and I'm glad to be home, but I did have the most amazing time. And I'd be lying if I didn't say that I'm already looking forward to next year's conference.

I took the train from Harrisburg to New York first thing Monday morning. I absolutely love taking the train because it gives me three hours of quality reading time. I finished one very good (yet disturbing) book (THE END OF EVERYTHING by Megan Abbott) and read half of another beautiful book (DREAMS OF JOY by Lisa See.) I knew I was going to meet both authors in New York and I wanted to be able to say that I was at least familiar with their latest novels.

I arrived in New York around 11:00 and went directly to my hotel, The Manhattan, in Times Square. I couldn't believe how cold and dreary it was (and to think I didn't even bring a jacket!) I was so excited to meet up with my roomie for the week, Kathy/BermudaOnion, but unfortunately her plane was delayed so I had to wait about a half hour for her. She still arrived in plenty of time for our scheduled lunch with one of my very favorite book people, Miriam Parker of Hachette/Mulholland Books. We had some amazing pizza and bruschetta at John's Pizza as well as some terrific conversation! It was a great way to kick off the week.

After lunch, Kathy and I headed to the Random House Tea. Of course, I was looking forward to catching-up with all my good blogging friends, but I was also very excited to see Lisa See. I am a huge fan of Ms. See's and I had a feeling that we might get autographed copies of her latest novel DREAMS OF JOY -- I was right. After we had the opportunity to create our own swag bag of books and visit with each other, Ms. See spoke a bit about her book. She's an incredibly funny and dynamic speaker and I was very impressed. It wouldn't have been a tea party without some awesome food. We had grapefruit mimosas with blackberries (YUM!) along with a variety of hot and iced teas from Bosie Tea Parlor. There were also some beautiful sandwiches (which I didn't try because I'm not a fan of mayo) and some amazing macarons. I was already familiar with Bosie because I had visited it two weeks ago when I had my Greenwich Village tour with Lauren Belfer -- you can read more about that awesome time here. Overall, it was just so much fun! (Sorry that my pictures didn't turn out.)

 Kathy and I headed back to our hotel to quickly freshen up before heading out to another party! (If you haven't gotten the idea yet, BEA is full of parties!) This time, we were fortunate enough to be invited to Picador's party at the Flatiron Building. We decided to save a few bucks this trip and use the subway, and I'm very excited to say that it was a breeze (thanks to Hopstop!) It was once we got there that things became a little say the least.

What's coming next might just be the most memorable thing that happened to me at BEA 2011. When Kathy and I arrived at the Flatiron building, we went up to a table and gave the woman our names. We didn't have name tags (which I thought was a little strange because I knew I had RSVP'd) so she wrote down our names on tags and sent us up to the 10th floor. We arrived and were immediately ushered into an office that was definitely set up for a big party. There were two open bars, hors d'oeuvres, and lots of bookish people. I ordered the drink special -- a pomegranate martini (which was delicious, by the way) and started mingling and handing out my business cards. I did mention to Kathy that I thought it was odd that no other bloggers were there and that there were so many kids' books sitting around, but I honestly was just enjoying the martini. Do you see where this is going?

All of a sudden, Kathy mentions that our invitation was for the 19th floor and we were on the 10th floor. I about spit my martini out -- WE WERE AT THE WRONG PARTY. Suddenly everything made sense. I set my martini down, and apologized and quickly backed out of the party. Everyone at Macmillan was extremely gracious, but I was so embarrassed. They insisted that we take a goodie bag and I couldn't say no, could I? When Kathy and I arrived at the elevators, we saw some of our friends who were much quicker in realizing that they were at the wrong party; and we all headed to the Picador party! Who would think that Kathy and I would be "Party Crashers?"

I have to say that the Picador party was a blast. It was a small party in a more intimate setting, and I know everyone there had an amazing time. There was so much talk about books and BEA and the Picador people were so nice. We were given the cutest book bags
Photo courtesy of Picador
and lots of champagne
Photo courtesy of Picador
and yummy fruits and cheeses
Photo courtesy of Picador
 and lots of good company.

(Photo courtesy of Picador)
We also managed to snag some pretty awesome titles! I was excited to learn that Picador is planning on starting an on-line book club over the summer. We were tossing around some ideas for books, but nothing definite was decided...yet. Stay tuned because I'll be sure to share more on this awesome idea when it's officially announced!

After the party, Kathy and I headed out to catch a quick bite to eat with Carey/Tome Traveller. We ended up at a little design-your-own wrap and sandwich place, and I had a very good Mexican inspired wrap. It was nice to visit with Carey since I hadn't seen her since last year's BEA.

Then it was back to the hotel for Kathy and me via the subway -- we were almost getting comfortable with navigating the trains. Of course once we got back to The Manhattan, we were too wound up to fall asleep because the day had been so exciting and we had so much to discuss. And we also wanted to talk about THE END OF EVERYTHING which we had both finished earlier in the day -- we had our own mini book club!

If the rest of the week was anything like my first day, then I knew I was in for a very fun-filled and action-packed week!


Jenn's Bookshelves said...

Haha! I'd totally forgotten about the party mix-up! It was great seeing you!

Beth Hoffman said...

LOL! That's so funny about being at the wrong party ... Loved this post!

cindysloveofbooks said...

Julie I heard about you party crashers on twitter and laughed. I can almost picture the look on your faces when you realized it. Glad you had fun and hopefully we will see each other next year :)

Deborah said...

BAHAHAHAHAHA you and kathy as party crashers....What an image!!!

Meghan said...

Your party crasher story cracked me up - what a great memory! Even if it felt awkward at the time it certainly makes for a good story. Glad you enjoyed yourself at least! :)

Meghan @ Medieval Bookworm

bermudaonion said...

I had a blast last week! It was so good to see you again. Thanks for putting up with me!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Love the party crasher story! That is too funny! Great memory!

It was fun seeing you again at BEA and getting to chat a bit at common get togethers.

Like you - I am already excited for next year!

Anonymous said...

How fun! I love hearing/reading all of the stories about some of my favorite bloggers getting together and chatting and partying. How fun! I'm glad that you ended up enjoying the Picador party. They've been one of my favorite publishers since before I really understood publishing. Very cool.

Just Mom said...

Fun to hear about your BEA adventures! I love the train too but haven't taken it in a long time.

avisannschild said...

Sounds like fun times, even while at the wrong party! Hopefully I'll see you at BEA next year!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

The Random House Tea sounds so wonderful, as does the party you crashed! I loved the Picador soiree and was so glad to have had the opportunity to go there! I didn't hear that about the online book club, but they just have the best titles. I want to make sure to participate!

Beth Kephart said...

Somehow I cannot see you spitting out anything (you are just too cute and gracious), but I loved this story.

You should write more stories like these!!

Beth F said...

Great day!!! And so funny about you crashing the other party. But you got chocolate!

Anonymous said...

Well, a crashed party is no reason to waste a great martini :) Sounds like so much fun!

Sandy Nawrot said...

I love it! I'm so glad to have been able to read this first day update, since I'm leaving tomorrow. I was just sitting here being jealous and getting updates from Jill. I think it is hilarious that you and Kathy crashed a party by mistake. But you two are so gracious and unassuming, they probably would have let you stay if you wanted. Looking forward to more updates!

Anna said...

Hilarious imagining the two of you crashing a party! Glad you had so much fun at BEA. I was a bit disappointed that I wasn't able to go this year, but I'll live vicariously through your updates.

Unknown said...

OMG, that's so funny! Julie, how did you not tell me this story before I had to read it? That's hysterical!

I'm hoping that next year I will be able to make the whole week of parties - and not kill myself trying to be in two (or three) places at once while I cram in a week's worth of fun and mingling into 2 and a half days!

Debbie said...

I, too, heard about you party crashers on Twitter. Too funny. I love to take trains, planes and automobiles for that quality reading time.

Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick said...

You wild and crazy party crashers! :) Sounds like fun!

Unknown said...

Oh what fun your first day in NYC for BEA 2011 sounds like it was! I love seeing the pics of bloggers and the NYC ones. After reading just this post, I'm thinking excitedly that I must get to BEA next year!
I am so impressed that you and Kathy braved the subway to the Picador Party in th Flatiron Bldg and it worked out well! If you are new to the NYC Subwat system it can be intimidating & icky but it's wonderful for getting around the city quickly and once you know the system it's pretty easy!

Amanda said...

Man, that's the best BEA story ever. Glad you had a great time!