It’s currently pouring rain in New York City. I’m trapped in a tiny little hotel room, camped out on the bottom bunk. This room would be a closet on a good day, but it feels extra cramped because of Chelsey and my multiple overflowing bags of books. You see, Book Expo of America and Book Con have finally come to a close. We’re now trapped in this little room with a (somewhat) mobile library.
Understand, I’m not complaining, in fact I feel unbelievably lucky to have gone to the mad house that was BEA and BookCon… I’m just a little worried about how I’m going to get all these books on an airplane. Stuff like this fits under #firstworldproblems I’m super aware.
But back to the situation. There is an intense storm raging outside. My phone has grown sentient and is sending me messages telling me not to go outside (Chelsey and I are in agreement that this is some Night Vale level shit). I’ve been told that it’s normal and that it is kind of useful, I’m just not used to having my phone start wailing at me like a banshee.
This was Chelsey and my second trip to NYC together. Last year we went to BookCon, which was a lot of fun. Many people in the book blogging and vlogging world complained about their experience at BookCon, and we didn’t understand why they were so negative. The thing was, we had nothing to compare it too. This year we decided to do the entire five day experience. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves in to.
BEA aka Book Expo of America aka Heaven on Earth
We arrived at BEA, eyes wide, hearts full of hope. With no idea what to expect it was so easy to have our minds blown. In hindsight, that probably was for the best. Let me try and recap the awesomeness that was the last five days of our lives.
Wednesday was the blogger conference. Which was probably the least exciting part of the last five days. We arrived at the Javtis Center by 7:30 in the morning and were given breakfast, then talked at. Some of the information was interesting, some of it useful if you were just starting out in the blogging world. For us, the best part of the Blogger Conference was meeting other book bloggers and librarians. We made some fast friends in the lunch line with Julie (an editor) and Emily (a college librarian). Over the course of BEA we hung out when our schedules managed to sync up. Two Canadians and two American walk into a book convention and what happens? They answer the important questions. What do you call donut holes here? What are disco fries (the correct answer is poutine) and who is Stephen Harper (the correct answer is the Emperor of Canada). Later on Chelsey pointed out we never asked anyone if there is a special name for Muskoka Chairs in the US. Any one know? This question is slowly killing us.
BEA is a blur of grabbing books, chatting with authors, chatting with bloggers and getting books signed. Everyone was friendly. Lines moved pretty quickly and you were never bored, because lets face it. You had books with you!
We met a lot of cool authors over the course of BEA. If I had to pick, I was the most excited to meet Joseph Fink and Jeffery Cranor, the creators of Welcome to Night Vale. WTNV is my favourite podcast in existence. If you haven’t listened to it. Go listen. Now. Your life depends on it. I’m serious. Go. WTNV was signing copies of their upcoming novel. Which they just handed out as if it wasn’t EVERYTHING I HAVE EVER BEEN WAITING FOR.
Chelsey had created this schedule. She had mapped out all the books that we were interested in, panels we wanted to see, authors we wanted to meet. It was broken down by the hour and colour coded based on relevance, personal preference and well just what she thought was humanly possible. She had a pretty good idea of which books were going to be available and where. Still, things managed to surprise us. I jumped into a line with no idea what was going to be given to me only to have a smiling woman hand me a novel by Garth Nix. You know, one of my favourite authors. While I was in this line Chelsey wandered off only to come running back to me to shove a copy of Cassandra Clare and Holly Black’s next book The Copper Gauntlet into my hand. She took a picture of me with the book only to have my face get retweeted by Cassie Clare herself.
— Cassandra Clare (@cassieclare) May 28, 2015
BookCon aka The Madness is Real
After the laid back feeling of BEA, BookCon felt like madness. There were people everywhere. The lines for things were INSANE, and well it just felt like a mosh pit.
We spent our Saturday and Sunday wandering around the show floor, standing in lines not really knowing what we would find at the front of them and going to a couple panels.
During BookCon we got a few of the books that we missed during BEA and a few surprises. Hardcover Stephen King? Yes please. Red Rising? I’ve always wanted to read that.
But really the panels were where it was at.
Me, Earl and the Dying Girl or I AM A GOD!
BookCon wasn’t clearing rooms after panels. So Chelsey and I sat in on this one to secure ourselves seats for the Nigh Vale panel. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that the author of Me Earl and the Dying Girl was hilarious. At one point he yelled into the audience. “I AM AN AUTHOR! I AM A GOD!” Only to be met back with a deafening cry of approval.
During the panel they showed the trailer for the upcoming movie and then had a Q&A with the author, the director and the two lead actors. I’m totally going to go see this movie when it comes out. But until then, I’ll just have to read the book.
Welcome to Night Vale Panel
This was the panel I was most excited to go too. It opened with Cecil Baldwin, the voice of Nigh Vale reading an exert of the upcoming book. After that Joseph Fink and Jeffery Cranor came out to talk about the writing process and take part in a Q&A. All of the questions that they were asked were very good. I thought of a question afterwards and kind of wished I could have asked it: “Why podcasting? What drew you to audio and not text originally?” Maybe next time.
It was really weird to see the people of WTNV, when I’ve only ever heard their voices. I was practically hypnotized by watching their body language and how it felt disconnected to what I had come to expect of them. Overall the panel was a lot of fun and I’m super excited to reading the Night Vale novel
Fierce Is My Middle Name or Intense Panel of Genius
I really wanted to go to The Court of Thorns and Roses signing, but it was packed. Chelsey suggested we checked out the Fierce is My Middle Name Panel because COTAR author Sarah J Maas was one of the panelists along with actual goddess Charlaine Harris and Rae Carson (who I’ve never heard of but all her books are currently now on hold at my local library). This panel did not disappoint. All the panelists had a great energy and chemistry. They talked about the important things like writing female characters, plotting, male protagonists, why romance is important, sleeping with vampires and well… Bill Compton impressions.
The panel had a laid back fun feel, the discussion was interesting and well everyone felt like they learned something. I now feel the need to go out and read all of Harris’s books. That will be a post for another day.
BEA and BookCon was a crazy five day adventure. But like all good adventures it must come to a close. As I sit here I realize I only have one more full day in New York City and I’m going to have to pack all of the tourist things into the next 24 hours. It’s going to be interesting.
BookCon, didn’t really hold up to my memory of it the previous year. Maybe BookCon 2014 wasn’t as great as I remember it being? Or maybe BEA just set my standards so high I have nothing to compare it too. We’ll have to wait and see.
Next year BEA will be in Chicago instead of NYC. I’m excited for a change and excited to see a new city. Mostly I’m just excited to go back to the magical world of all the books.
As for now, I have a LOT of reading to do.
BOOK TOTAL: 66
Check out Chelsey’s BEA Awards
Our Other NYC Adventures: Coming Soon!
Check out Julie and Josh’s blog #Thunderbolt