I know what heaven looks like.
We did it. We came back from BEA/Book Con alive and untrampled by hoards of reading superfans. We had to make the long journey from Toronto to New York, NY but we survived (Ok, it was long in the 1900’s. Now it’s 1:45 minutes by plane.) Now that we have to go back to our real lives indulging in a little nostalgia seems like the best way to easy ourselves back into responsibility.
The Javits Center was crowded, but who can blame people for resisting the call of BEA? 3 days of books.
We waited in a lot of lines. I feel like we took a crash course in queuing, but in the end I came home with 63 (read: HOLY CRAP SIXTY-THREE) amazing books, and I fully intend to read all of them. I also renewed my love for more than a few of my favorite author and am pretty sure I just discovered a few more for me to mind-crush on. I can’t ask for more than that.
So below is what I am going to call the BEA Awards. Just a few of the highlights from my time in book-Nirvana.
Nicest author: Libba Bray wins for nicest author. We stood in her line for a long time (we always turned for author signings on time, which meant that we were always at the back of the line). By the time we got to the front I’m sure the Bray had signed at least 200 books. She apologized to us for the wait, WHILE SHE HANDED US A FREE COPY OF LAIR OF DREAMS. I would have waited in a line double that length to get my hands on that book. But why she wins for nicest author is because the girl in front of us asked Bray if they could take a picture together. Without hesitation Bray grabs the girl’s should, takes a chunk of the girl’s hair in her mouth and takes a funny picture. After the picture gets taken and all of a sudden it dawns on Bray that she just grabbed the girl. “OMG I just did that,” she says and starts apologising profusely, but she just went on some kind of author instinct and it was beautiful. The girl didn’t mind a bit but Bray still apologised just in case.
Fastest signer: Neal Stephenson was a ticketed author. If you didn’t have ticket you didn’t get into the line for a ticketed author and sometimes if you did have a ticket you still didn’t get a book. Unless you got to a ticketed author 45 minutes before the signing you were going to be waiting an hour and half for people to get their books signed. So, when we got to the signing area about ½ hour into the hour signing we were never expecting to be able to get the book, but low and behold, as we peered into Stephenson’s autographing line there were 5 people in line and they were being handed books in under 20 seconds. So we get in “line” and within a minute we have his book in our hands and are in the next line. He just kind of scrawled this really swirly pattern into our book, pushed it into our hands and off we went. You have to understand, after days of standing in line after line, this was the most amazing feeling in the world. I am almost positive when he started the signing he had the usual 200 person line. He just went through it in 20 minutes. I am so impressed Mr. Stephenson.
Funniest comment: Jesse Eisenberg is exactly like he is in The Social Network (or at least as far as I can gather in the 45 seconds I had with him when he signed my book). He has a sharp wit, talks quickly and is really attractive in person. Also, in a singular gesture that no other author repeated, he shook everyone’s hand (yes, that’s right, I shook Jesse Eisenberg’s hand. Best. Vacation. Ever.) In the 45 seconds when we are both obligated to make small talk he looks at my badge and says “Oh, you’re Canadian.” The woman beside him (his publicist? Editor? BEA staff?) off-handly observes, “There have been a lot of Canadians here.” To which he fires off “That’s because Canadians read” then hands me my signed book, and off I go, laughing my ass off. Hear that, Canada? We read! I don’t know how funny it is if you don’t have Jesse Eisenberg saying it in that snarky, quick, Jesse Eisenberg way (seriously go watch The Social Network again) but it was hilarious. #ohcanada
Longest Line: Let’s just say that the Welcome to Night Vale line was long. Very long. Also, very worth it. If you haven’t listened to the podcast, go now. Your life is currently incomplete.
Shortest Line: I think the Pop Sonnets line was longer when it started but by the time we got there there was one copy of the book left. Alexandra got the last copy, then proceeded to read it to me in line. This book also takes the prize for best find. If you don’t believe me, see attached Shakespeare-ized version of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air below.
Best misread or our name tag: Apparently when we were naming our blog we didn’t think about how violent the title might come across. (Our eyes were full of Barthes, what can we say?). So over the convention we got a lot of comments about how blood-thirsty Death of the Author sounds (we’re way too lazy to be violent, let me assure you). But since Alexandra’s last name is Hunter, underneath it read her profession, blogger. It’s kind of not a surprise that Joseph Fink accidently read her name tag as Blogger Hunter from Death of the Author Reviews. We fully expect a new character – a Blogger Hunter – to appear in Night Vale 5 episodes from now. We will be very disappointed there isn’t. Do you hear me, Joseph Fink?
Book I meant to read first: I actually meant to read Welcome to Night Vale the second I got my hands on it. Instead I was half way through…
Book I actually read first: The Nazi Officer’s Wife by Edith Hahn Beer and Susan Dworkin and I couldn’t put it down. I am fascinated by people’s accounts of the Holocaust (I’m not sure what’s wrong with me) and this book just feeds that fascination. Edith has some experiences that are very uncommon in survivor memoirs, including being used as slave labour in the Austrian country-side and marrying a Nazi officer to hide her identity. If you want to know how she pulled off that miracle I recommend you read the book. I heard mention of a movie being made about it too. It was addicting, and the level of fear and paranoia the author manages to get across is incredible.
All in all a crazy-wonderful trip. Again. Total book count: 63. Read: HOLY CRAP SIXTY-THREE.