I never get over the thrill of walking into the light-filled cathedral that is the Javits Centre for Book Expo every year. You know just beyond the imposing glass entry-way there is a couple of kms booths and exhibits all dedicated to books just waiting for you on the other side. In the convention centre is books you can’t wait to read, books you didn’t even know you’re dying to read, and your next great book-love.
We had a long list of books that we were dying to get our hands on, including Seafire, Imposters, Small Spaces, The Girl King, Shadow of the Fox and a whole bunch more. For the most part we got everything we wanted.
The one book that sadly got away was The Wicked King by Holly Black. We adored The Cruel Prince and have been tripping over ourselves trying to get our hands on the sequel. Hachette had quietly sent out a rumour that they weren’t going to drop it like a lot of the other ARCs are dropped. No, since everyone wanted it they were going to make a spectacle of it.
I’m not sure if their intention was to avoid the hour-long preline that would have formed had they announced what time they were dropping it, but I think they got a bit of unintended chaos for their trouble. They posted a secret password on Twitter the first people to get to the booth with the password were going to get a copy.
Alexandra and I passed a friend we had made in line about two minutes after they put out the password and were there within four minutes. It was insane. We didn’t end up getting a copy, but rumor had it that they would be dropping Muse of Nightmares the same way.
We were going to be ready. Sure, Liani Taylor was signing it later in the day, but there was always a chance that we wouldn’t get it and lining up for it would have eaten a ton of our day.
We set Twitter alerts on our phone. We checked them periodically. We were standing at the very front of the Boneless Mercies signing line when Alexandra suddenly looks up from her phone. SHOUTS SOMETHING AT ME. And then bolts off.
I’m standing there blinking like a moron as she comes charging back at me, absolutely frazzled, yelling, “MUSE OF NIGHTMARES. WHERE IS THE HACHETTE BOOTH?!”. When I delicately pointed in the opposite direction of the way originally she took off she sprinted away, screaming the password at me over her shoulder like madness-incarnate.
If you’ve ever imagined a zombie apocalypse, that’s what it looked like as people from every direction across the giant convention centre abandoned the lines they were in and charged for Hachette booth.
We ended up getting Muse of Nightmares.
There were a lot more authors wandering the floor this year. Spotted in the crowds was Liani Taylor, V.E. Schwab, Brandon Sanderson, and debut author Annie Sullivan (A Touch of Gold) whose infectious energy was something you could practically bottle and use to send a very cheerful rocket to the moon. While I didn’t get hands on her book, I hope to read it and interview her sometime soon.
We enjoyed Book Con a lot more than we have in past years and I’m not sure why. It wasn’t different than it has been in the past as far as I can tell. Maybe we felt less pressured to get the rest of the books that we missed, or maybe we just found a way to entertain ourselves. If you noticed two exhausted but excited girls playing Heads Up, the Game of Thrones Edition, in line that was us.
We got a more swag at Book Con than we got books. I was so excited to get the Underline towel from Penguin. They were giving it out last year and I WANTED it, but I was never able to get one. I never said it out-loud because it sounded stupid, but I really hoped they were going to bring it back. AND THEY DID. We both also managed to score Magnus Bane plushies. A little creepy, but they put a surprising amount of detail into them.
I ended up having a pleasant chat with Charlie Jane Anders. Apparently, I was the first person to give her feedback on her The City in the Middle of the Night sampler. I can tell you it looks like its going to be a unique read with a heroine that has her own distinctive voice and on a planet that immediately grabs your interest.
I also discovered the new Rick Riordan Presents series of middle-grade books that looks like they’re releasing some quality stories. Highlighted were The Storm Runner, Dragon Pearl, and Aru Shah and the End of Time. All three are fantasy/sci-fi books about minority mythologies and characters, with exciting plots that really do something new. From reading the samplers they’re worth a read, even if you don’t usually go for middle-grade.
As usual we end up skipping the first day of Book Expo because it is almost entirely geared to people in the publishing industry and librarians. It would be nice if they included some events geared to bloggers on the Wednesday, but it seems like the Expo is still set on making things for bloggers less easily accessible with the increased entranced price and general refusal to acknowledge their presence.
Every year Book Expo seems to be getting a little smaller, a little less open to international publishing and little less accessible to small publishers. This year was no exception. It makes me wonder if the Expo is loosing money or if they are eventually going to phase it out. Plus, every year they claimed it’s “reimagined” – whatever that means.
But I hate to say it, the most memorable part of our trip to NY had nothing to do with Book Expo and has everything to do with that time, two hours into our first day, we were flashed on the subway by some perv. And he definitely came prepared to flash someone that day, he specifically wore no underwear so he could pull his pants down faster. We had a front row seat. That is something I can never unsee. Thanks NY.
On the list of things we saw that didn’t traumatize us: David Bowie exhibit, submarine at the Intrepid Museum, comedy at the Village Underground, Spyscape (Spy Museum) and the beautiful column of mint M&Ms at the Times Square store (seriously I need someone to send me regular shipments of those things, they’re impossible to find anywhere else).
Overall, it was a great trip and we brought back a ton of books. Also, got a ton of side-eye from people who could not understand why we had so many bags.