Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Book Expo 2019 - Day 1 (Wednesday)

Kathy (aka Bermudaonion) and I once again decided to visit Book Expo together. It's kind of a tradition for us and I think we've attended the last nine out of ten years together. (Well the first year we went with our husbands and met up but close enough!) It's always a welcome mini-vacation to head to New York, see one of my closest friends in the world, attend a few Broadway shows, and learn about books! Talk about the perfect girls' trip!

I always take the train from Harrisburg to Penn Station, and this year was no exception. As many of you already know, I treasure my train ride. I always love the three and a half hours of peace and quiet, and I can do some major damage to a book. This year's read was  VERY VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani in preparation of the Lifetime movie and visit with the author -- you can read more about it here.

Kathy managed to get to the hotel before I did... as usual! She always starts walking down 7th to meet me halfway from Penn Station. Unfortunately, we got a little turned around on the way back to the hotel -- I know, I know that it's pretty easy to navigate Manhattan. We ended up walking almost twice as far as we had to because we were so busy chatting!

This year, we stayed at the Novatel in Times Square. I was concerned because we had never stayed there, but fortunately, it was perfect. The location was amazing -- right next to Mean Girls and The Cher Show, the room was extremely quiet (and had two double beds), and there was even a gorgeous rooftop bar. If you're visiting New York, I highly recommend it!
The first thing we did after we unpacked and got settled in our room was head to lunch at Patzeria Family & Friends. I've eaten there a few times and have never been disappointed. Unfortunately, there's a first time for everything because their pizza wasn't up to their usual standards. I felt horrible because I convinced Kathy to go there instead of our usual John's Pizza.

We then headed over to BEA to get our badges and walk around for a bit. This year, the floor of BEA was open on Wednesday afternoon for a few hours... and of course, there was the Editor's Buzz Panel. The books featured at the panel this year seem to have a theme of being on the dark side, but I still can't wait to read most (if not all) of them.

THE SECRETS WE KEPT by Lara Prescott is probably the one I'm most looking forward to reading.  It's about secretaries who turned into spies inspired by the true story of the CIA plot to infiltrate the hearts and minds of Soviet Russia. I even managed to snag a signed copy of it later in the week! I'm also dying to read MY DARK VANESSA by Kate Elizabeth Russell. I've seen some buzz for this book already on social media! MY DARK VANESSA is a coming-of-age story about a fifteen year old girl and her relationship with teacher. Finally, SUCH A FUN AGE by Kiley Reid sounds amazing!

After our brief visit to the Javits Center, we headed back to Times Square to see if we could score tickets for a show at the TKTS booth. We got into line and kept checking our watches because we had a "date" with friend and author Miriam Parker. We knew we had to leave by a certain time to catch the subway to get downtown, and the line just wasn't budging. We were afraid we'd miss out if we waited until after drinks, so we decided to go straight to the box office. We walked very quickly The Cher Show and asked for what was available for that night's show. The ticket booth attendant just might be my favorite New Yorker because after asking what we wanted to spend, he said he had good seats in the sixth row center. Now, I had my doubts (and truth be told I signed the credit card receipt without putting on my glasses) that we really had seats like that for what he charged us but more on that later!

After getting turned around (again!), we asked a police officer to direct us to the right subway stop. We managed to get downtown to Nobu with a minute to spare -- that's cutting it pretty close for us considering we always take into account getting lost. The restaurant was in a beautiful building (the same one as Harper Collins), but it wasn't really marked very well. The GPS kept telling us we had reached our destination, but we couldn't see Nobu! It's kind of funny in hindsight!

We had a lovely time catching up with Miriam. Not only is she a fantastic writer, but she's a lovely person. We get together every year and there is never a loss for words between the three of us. We talk family, life, and books over a bottle of red, and it was definitely one of my highlights of this year's visit. Kathy and I rarely take pictures of ourselves, but she made an effort this year to get a few good ones. I love this picture of us (even though my hair is a mess from all of the rain!) Doesn't it look like there's a smiley face on the wine glass?
I just wish we'd gotten one with Miriam! And by the way, her book THE SHORTEST WAY HOME will be available in paperback on June 25th! Run, don't walk, to buy this book about a woman finding her true self. It's set in the wine country and I guarantee you'll want to have a glass or two while reading about Hannah, her love life, and a quaint vineyard!

After a glass or two of wine, Kathy and I ventured back to Times Square. It was still raining -- it did a lot of that on Wednesday, and we were quite drenched. We decided we needed a little something to eat before the 8:00 show, so we headed to Junior's for some soup and cheesecake since it was close to our hotel. Now, I love Junior's and it had only been a few weeks since I'd been there for my 50th birthday! I had some yummy matzo ball soup and we shared a slice of raspberry cheesecake! It was actually really cold so the soup hit the spot!
And then it was Cher time! I was super excited to see The Cher Show because I remember watching the show and listening to one of the albums with my mom when I was little. I even had a little doll named Chastity! The show was larger-than-life -- just like Cher. And the three women who played her were all so talented. And don't even get me started on the costumes by Bob Mackie! I heard the show described as a party, and that was exactly what it was. SO MUCH FUN!!!!
Remember when I said that I was a little nervous about our seats and what we paid for them? Well, this guy wasn't lying. We were in the sixth row center!!!! Kathy sat down and said, "I don't think there's a better seat in the house," and she's was totally right. After telling the story to Adriana Trigiani later in the week, she laughed and said that he gave us the house seats! How incredibly lucky were we? And we even got to see Stephanie J. Block who won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a musical last night. I have to say that she was incredible! She truly captured the essence of Cher from her voice to her mannerisms.

Although I was really excited after seeing The Cher Show, I admit that I was exhausted. I think we walked over 30,000 steps that day and covered most of Manhattan (or maybe it just felt like that!) Fortunately, Kathy and I both fell right asleep... which doesn't always happen! Day 1 of BEA 2019 was in the books!


bermudaonion said...

It was such a fun day - I loved everything about it!

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

Sounds like fun!

Janine K said...

Wow in wouldn’t love to attend something like that book expo. I’m from Australia and we travelled to NYC this time last year and ate at Johns Pizza too - we stumbled across it after a long day travelling from LA. Isn’t it wonderful to meet your favourite authors! I contacted Eileen Goudge and she and hubby Sandy met us for breakfast while we we’re in NYC - such a thrill for me, but she was equally thrilled to meet a fan from Australia too. I work at a library here and have met many of our local authors, I treasure my signed book shelf at home. I have been following your blog for ages and love your posts, looking forward to reading more about BEA!