Monday, June 10, 2013

BEA 2013 -- Day 1 (Wednesday, May 29th)

I realize it's probably a little late to start posting my Book Expo America 2013 recaps and you're probably tired of reading them at this point; however, I'm just now finding the time to actually write mine. Fortunately, BEA was scheduled a week earlier this year so I was able to attend, but that meant that I came to home to the chaos that is associated with the last week of school and baseball along with Booking Daughter's dance recitals. So it is with some excitement that I can finally revisit my amazing week in New York City!

Last Wednesday morning, I hopped on a train from Harrisburg to Penn Station. It's about a three hour trip and I always look forward to the peace and quiet that is associated with my train ride. I started reading THE YONAHLOSSEE RIDING CAMP FOR GIRLS in hopes of meeting the author Anton DiSclafani later in the week and was immediately caught up in this unusual coming-of-age story (My review will be posted shortly.) While I was thrilled to be in New York, I was was a little sad to have to stop reading -- I only had 80 pages left!

I knew my roommate Kathy/Bermuda Onion (and one of my dearest friends in the entire world) had arrived a few hours earlier and I couldn't wait to see her. Since the weather was absolutely gorgeous she met me halfway between Penn Station and our hotel in Times Square. We actually stopped traffic for a second when we hugged each other, but quickly realized we needed to get out of the way. After settling into the Sheraton Times Square on a lower level floor (Kathy is not exactly comfortable with heights!), we had a few hours to kill. We figured we could squeeze in a matinee show before our first meeting, so we scrambled down to the TKTS booth and were fortunate to get half-price tickets to Jersey Boys.

But first, we had to visit our favorite pizza place John's Pizza on 44th Street. It's kind of become a tradition for us and I always look forward to eating some real pizza -- I've yet to discover "good" pizza in Central PA even after living here for almost twelve years. It was, of course, delicious although we had in basically inhale our slices to get to Jersey Boys in time.

What can I really say about Jersey Boys that hasn't already been said? It was fantastic! I never considered myself a Frankie Valle fan, but the show was just so well done. I loved how the story was divided into four parts (i.e. seasons) and told by the various band members -- also the Four Seasons! Get it? It was both funny and sad, and overall I found it extremely entertaining. The audience was so "into" the show and the lady behind us was an absolute hoot! She has to be one of the biggest Frankie Valli fans out there because she sang the entire show and kept mentioning all of the times she had seem him live. I have to admit that I could have found her annoying since I did pay a pretty penny to hear the show, but her joy and excitement was just infectious.

As the show ended, we had about a half hour to get to our first official book business -- a meeting at the Harper Collins' offices. Since it was still gorgeous (and not too hot -- that was later in the week), we decided to walk. Kathy and I are not always the best navigators (more on that in a later post!), but we found our way there without a single wrong turn. That's quite an accomplishment for us, but it was really Kathy who managed to steer us in the right direction!

The wonderful folks at Harper Collins truly are the best -- they "get" book bloggers and manage to make us feel so special. This year, they tried something a little different, and I thought it was an excellent idea. It was actually one of my favorite events at this year's BEA. They had representatives from the various imprints share with us their favorite upcoming releases. Of course we got a few copies of the books too! I am a total sucker when someone personally pitches a book to me and I left with the hopes that I could read and review almost all of them. Some of the ones I am really excited about include:

WE ARE WATER by Wally Lamb
HUMAN REMAINS by Elizabeth Haynes
LEAVING HAVEN by Kathleen McCleary
SWIMMING IN THE MOON by Pamela Schoenewaldt
AFTER HER by Joyce Maynard
THE TILTED WORLD by Tom Franklin & Beth Ann Fennelly

I told you they had some great books coming out this year!!!

After the presentation at Harper Collins, we headed down the street to the K Lounge for the Harper Collins party. I was so excited that Adriana Trigiani and Wally Lamb -- two of my all-time favorite authors were going to be there. I have already met Adriana quite a few times over the last few years so I knew I wouldn't embarrass myself, but Wally Lamb was another story. I LOVE THIS MAN! When we were told that Mr. Lamb would be at the party, the first thing I did was lean over and tell Kathy not to let me embarrass myself! I was pretty intimidated to meet him, but Adriana quickly took care of things. She introduced us and then we all posed for pictures.

The K Lounge
Wally Lamb and Adriana Trigiani
Me, Beth Fish Reads, and Wally Lamb
Of course, I get one chance for a photo with Wally Lamb and I wasn't looking at the right camera. And what's with my posture? Anyway.... if nothing else, I have proof that I met him!

I had an absolute blast at the party. Not only did I get to catch up with so many of my friends from Harper Collins and my blogging pals, but I met so many fantastic authors like Christina Baker Kline author of ORPHAN TRAIN, Stephanie Evanovich author of BIG GIRL PANTIES, Kimberly McCreight author of RECONSTRUCTING AMELIA, Jessica Anya Blau, author of THE WONDER BREAD SUMMER, and Joshilyn Jackson author of the upcoming SOMEONE ELSE'S LOVE STORY.

We ended up closing the party and I was starving. I'm probably not the best travel buddy because I need to eat three meals a day and I get grumpy when I miss one. It was about 9:30 and I was fading fast, so a few of us decided to get a bite to eat. Candace of Beth Fish Reads, Alison of Alison’s Bookmarks, Kathy, and I headed to Bill’s Bar and Burger. Much to my amazement, Joshilyn Jackson wanted to come along! I just about died! She is so much fun and kept up entertained for hours!

After a burger, a beer and some delicious sweet potato fries, the waiter brought us some free mini cupcakes for dessert. I figured it was because he just about knocked over Kathy when we were being seated, but it was still an unexpected treat. With very full bellies, we all decided to head back to our separate hotels and turn in for the night. We knew Thursday at BEA would be a very busy day!


bermudaonion said...

If I had a scrapbook, I'd print this out and put it in it. Your recap is great - thanks for putting up with me again this year. You're a fantastic roomie!

hillary roberts said...

I enjoyed your recap. I hope to be able to make it to BEA one of these days!

Laura Fabiani said...

What a great day! I loved it when you said that you hugged Kathy and stopped traffic. That's the power of good friendships! Glad for you that you met Wally Lamb.

Cindy's Love of Books said...

Julie, it was so good seeing you again and I don't think its ever to late for BEA recaps. I love reading everyone's point of view on the whole event.

Stacie said...

FUN! Can't wait to hear your thoughts on some of these books! You are adding to my much-too-full To Read list!

Serena said...

Love that you had so much fun and met Wally Lamb. Jersey Boys is on my list of must sees.

Alan Canton said...

A slightly different review of BEA 2013 from the vantage point of the small press