The box of BEA plunder arrived to much fanfare the day before yesterday. It (plus reading many other fabulous recaps) has done just what I'd hoped - jogged my fragile memory of the first day and a half. I promise I'll get to the books soon in a way that I hope will be unique, well, unique for me that is. I'm busy reacquainting myself with them in all their awesomeness and will share in short order.
So. Here was the problem with my first day in New York City: I didn't actually start the day in New York City. I started my day at around 5 AM at a Hilton in New Jersey that I'd gotten lost trying to find the night before. Through no fault of the Hilton's, I slept like crap and got up way too early in order to get myself and my suitcase on NJ Transit before rush hour proper. Thankfully, things from this point began to go better, but I'll admit to being in a slight fatigued fog for a significant portion of the first day.
I arrived at the Javits Center well before the exhibit floor of BEA opened, grabbed my badge, and was directed to the press room to get a holder and a lanyard. I proceeded to do so in a state of awestruck wonder, bypassing long lines awaiting the opening of the exhibit hall. Still with much time to spare, I stood in a lengthy line for Starbucks and then began to consider the possibility of getting in the other long lines mentioned earlier until, penetrating through the fog, it dawned on me that, hey, if I go back to the press room with my good old press badge, I can skip the line completely. This positioned me well to get squished to death in the early morning "ARC grab" at the booths of major publishing houses, which, in my ignorance, I proceeded to do. I just managed to escape with my life, and, uh, an enormous bag full of books. I ended up skulking dazedly through the booths accumulating assorted plunder for an indeterminate amount of time. Once I'd begun debating the merits of dragging my tote bag behind me instead of carrying it on my shoulder, I paid a shamefully early visit to the shipping room where I snagged a box and prime spot for the plunder.
Already tired, I reconsidered going to a panel that I had ruled out in my scrupulous (and failed) schedule-making, the Dystopian Fiction panel featuring Ally Condie (Matched) and Sigrid Nunez (Salvation City) among others. It was there that I met my first bloggers I've ever actually met in person in the history of my blogging career who probably had no idea that this was such a banner moment: Amanda from The Zen Leaf and Trisha Eclectic/Eccentric.
Sadly, while the blogger meeting thing was awesome, the panel left a little to be desired, especially considering a certain author's comments whose name and comments I won't reiterate. I slunk off about midway through to cheat on the Dystopia panel with the YA Crossing Over panel, which featured, if you couldn't guess, authors who write books for both young adult and adult audiences. On the panel were Melissa Marr author of the Wicked Lovely series, Jennifer Donnelly author of A Northern Light and the upcoming Revolution, Jeri Smith-Ready (Shade), Stephanie Kuehnert (Ballads of Suburbia), and Michele Jaffe (Rosebush, Stargazer). I thought this one was really interesting. All gave an overview of their most recent or upcoming books and an excellent discussion was had on the difference between adult and young adult audiences, how these authors are making themselves accessible to both, and how all or most dislike that books are divided into young adult and adult categories in bookstores at all.
After that it was time for lunch with book bloggers! I met up with Amanda and Trisha again as well as with Nat from In Spring It Is the Dawn, Sheila from Book Journey, Laura from I'm Booking It, and Reagan from Miss Remmers' Review. The food court was packed and expensive, but we were all loathe to leave the Javits with so much BEA stuff going on on Wednesday, so we all sat down on the floor with our overpriced lunches, exchanged cards, and chatted - lovely ladies all!
(*subliminal message* Sorry....this post is huuuuge, too.)
After a few more minutes haunting the show floor, it was off to YA Editors' Buzz featuring buzzworthy titles for the fall such as Plain Kate, Firelight, The Duff, Matched, and, darnit, I'm forgetting one but I think it was about vampires. Anyhow,the editors were all very enthusiastic, shared funny stories about how they acquired the titles, and made me that much more excited that I did manage to lay my hands on all of the above except Plain Kate, which I'd also love to read at some point.
Shortly thereafter, my paltry amount of sleep from the night before proved to be totally insufficient and I ran out of steam. After one more drop at the box of plunder, I hopped the next shuttle bus for my hotel, and nearly fell asleep during the close to 45 minutes it took the bus to go the few blocks to my hotel. Frustrating though the length of the bus ride was, I did meet some nice people while we were waiting to finally arrive, and I did get back in time to fit a short nap before dinner.
A small group of bloggers including Amanda, Trisha, Avis of She Reads and Reads, Amy of Amy Reads, and I went out for some Indian food. We had a great time talking, watching a Bollywood video, and, even better, watching Trisha and Amy watching the Bollywood video. The food took a while, and we got way too much of it, but a good time was had by all. And I "borrowed" this photo from Amanda's blog to illustrate my story since I am a woeful failure at photo taking despite carrying my camera everywhere.
(From left to right - Amy, Trisha, me, Avis, Amanda)
Finally, Wednesday night Harper Collins had a reception for bloggers at the Algonquin Hotel where I met bloggers galore and an author or two, too. I'll spare you the lengthy list, but I know I had a great time meeting Kathy of Bermudaonion's Weblog, Amy of My Friend Amy, and Natasha of Maw Books among many, many others. It was a great time meeting so many bloggers all in one room, but it was also crazy hot, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't eager to try out my bed at the Holiday Inn.
Refreshed by a good night's sleep, I was at the Javits early for yet more of the same, except a bit more laid back than the first day, and I didn't feel like a total zombie. I did not run or push, but I did get a few (ha!) more ARCs and actually had the chance to slow down a bit, stop by some smaller publishers and actually talk to people at a few booths, an experience sorely lacking in my Wednesday experience and actually quite enjoyable. If I'm able to make another trip to BEA in the future, I definitely hope to get enough sleep for the first day, be less shy, and take more time to talk to the people I meet on the exhibit floor. I definitely didn't quite hit the ground running in that respect, and it's one of my only regrets when it comes to my BEA experience.
I think this brings us to where I left off with the shipping of the box and the standing in the lines enumerated in my previous post Part 2, if you missed it!