Well, it took long enough - but at 4;57 pm on Thursday afternoon the UPS truck finally pulled up outside my house and delivered my long-awaited box of BEA goodies. Now, it is not like I have the time to immediately start reading these new additions to my personal library - but it is just the thought that these precious gems are now in my possession instead of wandering the streets of Kansas.
It was like Christmas at our house. The dogs were thrilled to have a box to chew; my daughter was thrilled with the newest YA books and couple of choice foodie books as well; my other daughter is quite anxious to read the Stephen Schwartz story (Wicked is her obsession); and my husband even received a couple of surprise gifts.
Now that I have attended my first BEA and I have "gotten my feet wet", I feel better prepared for next year. I now know to do thorough research prior to the event (discover which galleys are being given away at which booth and plot out the booth location; prioritize author signings to maximize time) and to be more selective in the books I choose to bring home (yes the galleys are free - but shipping must be paid). Also, I am still discovering my blog "voice" - so to speak - and want to try lots of genres before narrowing my focus. This year I chose a variety of books to ship home; next year I anticipate being more discerning in my selection. I am also hoping to persuade my 15 year old daughter to do some joint reviews of YA books with me. She loves to read (although she has rather discriminating tastes) and I think her Point of View will provide a unique perspective for the readers of this blog.
Well, enough of the background info - on with the loot. There are two authors that I wish to highlight right off the bat. The first is the duo authors of Novel Destinations, Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon. These are two of the nicest "strangers" I believe I have ever met. When I reached the front of the line I asked if they would mind if I took a picture for my blog. They immediately started asking ME questions - and requested that I send them a copy of the photo "if it wouldn't be too much trouble" - are you kidding?! Of course I would be happy to send them the photo. I then found enough courage to ask if they would mind autographing two copies of the book: one for me (I have read it twice from the library and definitely want my own edition) and one as a give away for my blog readers. They were more than happy to do so and even asked for my business card.
The second author I wish to highlight is Tom Wilson, the author (and cartoonist) of Zig-Zagging: a Memoir. Tom is the son of the originator of the Ziggy cartoons and he has now followed in his father's footsteps. Not only did he autograph each book - but he drew a personal ziggy in each and every book he signed --- the entire time he was drawing and writing he carried on a upbeat and humorous dialogue with his fans. As you can imagine, it took him quite a while to autograph each book so while I only able to have one copy signed (and he personalized it before I had the opportunity to request otherwise), he was kind enough to offer me a 2nd book as a giveaway for my faithful readers.
I was also fortunate enough to receive two autographed copies of The Physique of Deliverance Dane (sorry, no photos as the signing took place in the publisher's booth and it was very tight quarters). Again, the author and publicist were so accommodating of my request - and come to find out this was Katherine Howe's first autograph signing session ever!!
By now you certainly realize that I will have 3 different autographed books to give away. That is the good news. The bad news is that I leave for my summer school program in 10 days and will not have the opportunity to run effective giveaway campaigns in that amount of time (I would have a Post Office on campus - but the time commitment to this program is huge and I am afraid that I will not be able to maintain the blog activity as well as I should). I think instead I will run one giveaway later this week (my husband can mail the package while I am away); run one giveaway when I return; and then the final giveaway at the end of the summer. I hope that is satisfactory.
In the meantime, let me quickly show off the rest of my books.
This is the pile of books that I was able to have autographed while at BEA. Besides the 3 books spotlighted above, I was also able to secure autographed copies of:
The Memorist by MJ Rose (she LOVES bloggers and even requested my card)
The Overnight Socialite by Bridie Clark (a modern retelling of My Fair Lady)
Murder in the Latin Quarter by Cara Black (I now have the 1st and the last in this series)
Don't Know Much about Literature by Kenneth C and Jenny Davis
Defying Gravity: The Creative Career of Stephen Schwartz by Carol de Giere
The Real Real by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus (authors of the Nanny Diaries)
The Mysterious Benedict Society (volumes 1 and 2) by Trenton Lee Stewart
Food Jobs by Irena Chalmers (she was delightful! She gave me her business card when she learned that my youngest is interest in culinary school and signed it "Come to the CIA")
This pile of books focuses on the YA genre. Some of the books I picked up because I thought my daughter might enjoy, and some I picked up because I thought I might enjoy and/or I might be able to recommend to my students as outside reading material for next year. And yes, I was fortunate enough to snag (without autograph) the amazingly popular, Catching Fire!
School of Fear by Gitty Daneshvari
Murder at Midnight by Avi
Peter and the Sword of Mercy by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Once was Lost by Sara Zarr
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Fire by Kristin Cashore
Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
The final pile of books is a miscellaneous grouping of adult fiction books that I thought I might enjoy. Some will stretch me outside my comfort zone, and others I am very anxious to delve into immediately.
Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom
Tell me Something True by Leila Cobo
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson (hard to believe I have not yet read this modern day classic)
A Big Little Life by Dean Koontz
The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James (I read her first book and LOVED it!!)
The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison
The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris
Loving Mr. Darcy by Sharon Lathan
A Separate Country by Robert Hicks
Roses by Leila Meacham
Alex Cross's Trial and I, Alex Cross (double volume) by James Patterson
The Taste of Home Cookbook (newly revised)