Wednesday, June 11, 2014

BEA 2014 -- Day 1 (Wednesday, May 28th)

Once again, I'm very late with my Book Expo America 2014 recaps. It's not an actual excuse, but things have been crazy in my life every since I returned from BEA.

So crazy in fact, that my husband couldn't even pick me up at the train station because my son was pitching for the first time at almost the very same time my train was arriving back in Harrisburg. Thank goodness my friend picked me up at the train station and took me directly to the game. I got there just in time!

Baseball games continued last week with playoffs and a rain delay and a makeup game, and then there was the normal chaos associated with the last week of school... but worse. My son's teacher was retiring after 38 years, and because I'm head room mom, guess who was in charge of the gifts and party? Basically that meant that I was "throwing together" a 40+ page scrapbook for her in three days.  I swear I always find a way to make things more complicated that they need to be!

So... it is with much excitement that this week is a little (scratch that -- a lot) calmer and I can focus on books. I always have a great time at BEA and this year was no exception.

My absolute favorite part of BEA is meeting up with Kathy (aka Bermudaonion) and other friends; and of course, hearing the buzz about books. However, I also love taking the train to New York from Harrisburg. It's a quiet time (especially when I figured out to ride the quiet car!) and I always take along a good book. This year it was Mary Kay Andrews' SAVE THE DATE which I reviewed here. The train ride flew by and I was almost able to finish the book. The same thing happened to me last year -- maybe I need to pick a shorter book next time.

My roommate for the next three days and one of my very best friends in the whole wide world, Kathy, met me at the train station and we walked the mile to our hotel. It was not only unseasonably cool for New York, but my sandaled feet were actually frozen despite our brisk pace! It's been a very rough few months for both of us personally, and Kathy and I weren't sure if we were going to be able to attend BEA this year. Fortunately at the very last minute, things worked out for both of us. I am so glad that were able to continue our yearly tradition and spend some quality time together -- we especially needed it this year!

After checking into The Manhattan in Times Square (early!), Kathy and I headed out for John's Pizza. It's become a tradition for us to eat there on our first day in New York. I rarely get good pizza in Central PA, so I love eating there. This year we decided to go out on a limb and share a salad too. (We never eat enough veggies on our trips!) It was good eatin' and even better conversation.

Then we met up with our friend Candace from Beth Fish Reads at the M&M store. Note: it was still freezing! We walked around for a bit and ended up at the Discovery Times Square because it had a DC Cupcakes Cafe. I had eaten at the one in Georgetown a few years ago (my daughter was obsessed with the show at the time), and I was curious to see if this one was any good -- it was although the selection was very limited. Swapna from S. Krishna's Books also met us there, and the four of us caught up with books and other stuff!

It was then time to head over to The News Corp Building for the annual Harper Collins book preview event followed by their cocktail party. At the book preview, representatives from each imprint at HC list their top 4 or 5 "big" books for the fall! These events are always remembered as two of my highlights from BEA because I can actually hear the publicists talk about the books they are most excited about.  I also love catching up with some of my publishing friends. It doesn't hurt that ship a box of books home to me with many of their recommendations!

There were so many great books presented to me that I have a hard time just picking a few to feature, but here are some I can't wait to read!

US by David Nicholls
CANCEL THE WEDDING by Carolyn T. Dingman
THE QUALITIES OF WOOD by Mary Vensel White
YES PLEASE by Amy Poehler
NOT MY FATHER'S SON by Alan Cumming
THE HURRICANE SISTERS by Dorothea Benton Frank

The next exciting event was the Harper Collins Cocktail Party. The food was terrific and I had a great time catching up with Jennifer Hart, Book Club Girl, along with some other HC marketing folks. Of course, there were authors there too including Kate White, Karen Abbott, Stephanie Evanovich, Yvette, Manessis Corporon, Dorothea Benton Frank, Gail Sheehy, and Adriana Trigiani to name a few! (How's that for a little name dropping?)

After the party, a few of us (Kathy, Candace, Sheila from Book Journey, Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness, Florinda from The 3R's Blog, and me) decided that we still wanted to have a sit-down dinner. We received a few recommendations and ended up at a Belgium Bar called BXL Cafe. While the beer list was okay and the fries were pretty darn good, I think it's safe to say that the company was much better than the food! I'll just leave it at that!

Kathy and I hiked back to our hotel and we promised ourselves that we wouldn't stay up all night talking like we have the tendency to do! We were already tired and knew we had a big day planned for Thursday -- our first day on the Javits floor!


bermudaonion said...

BEA wouldn't be the same for me if you weren't there. I'm so glad it worked out for us! My posts haven't gone live yet but I find it interesting that we only chose one book in common to spotlight. I know that sentence doesn't make much sense but I'm in a fog this morning.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I absolutely love seeing you each year! Great recap! I agree that Harper does such an amazing job with talking the books up!

Unknown said...

Absolutely wonderful recap, and perhaps because we enjoy similar books and blogs you were with the very people I would want to spend my time with. So many great books.

Beth F said...

Let's just leave that restaurant in the deep, deep memory. UGH.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Love to read the updates! I truly believe that when you are having a tough time, the best medicine is to spend it with a good friend. There are three of us girls that get together every summer when I go to Indiana, and it is cathartic. And of course books are cathartic too!