Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Armchair BEA: 1st Post

Last year I was privileged to attend BEA 2009 at the Jacob Javitz Center in NYC.  It was a fabulous experience on many fronts.  First of all, my husband and I stayed at the apartment of great friends and were able to rest, relax, and reconnect after nearly a decade.  Each morning I would catch the cross town bus to BEA and spend the day, and then each night we would go out for dinner and visit old stomping grounds (I actually lived in Greenwich Village from 1984-1988 and it is always fun to revisit the old neighborhood to see how much has changed....and how much has stayed the same).

The highlights of last year's BEA for me included:
  • meeting fellow book bloggers.  It was truly amazing to me how their blogs are such an extension of who they are in person.  I easily recognized each and every blogger - and their personality is just as warm and genuine in person as it is on the page.
  • being a part of the Netgalley booth to answer any questions about book blogging
  • attending autograph sessions --- which included Novel Destinations by Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni  Rendon,  The Physick of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe, and Zig-Zagging:  Loving Madly, Losing Badly, How Ziggy Changed My Life by Tom Wilson (he hand drew a Ziggy cartoon in each book he autographed!).
  • collecting countless free books and ARCs of every genre imaginable (unfortunately I did not accurately calculate the shipping charges for all those "free" books)
  • attending the break out session about book bloggers and watching the panel of my peers do such an awesome job representing us to the trade.
I would not give up that experience for the world - and I am very grateful to have had that opportunity.  But I must say....I am looking forward to this Armchair BEA event just as much.  I tend to communicate better in a writing format rather than an in-person situation (I do not think well on my feet and I tend to be shy and tongue-tied), so I expect to have great fun visiting all your blog sites and learning bookish things from the comfort of my own home.

I did create a "virtual" BEA schedule, though, that I am more than happy to share with you.  I managed to glean most of this information off the BEA website, but also from Jen's wonderful post.

On Wednesday I would arrive at the convention around 8:30 and register early as I would like to attend a couple of morning autograph signings:
  • 9:30 - 10:30 --- Barry Brunonia will be signing her newest book, The Map of True Places (I just loved the Lace Reader and look forward to reading this newest book)
  • 10:00 - 11:00 --- Louis Gosset Jr., will be signing his newest book, An Actor and a Gentleman (I love him as an actor and a food connoisseur.  His roles in An Officer and a Gentleman and The Shawshank Redemption are stellar)
  • 11:00 - 12:00 ---- Nancy Pearl will be signing a galley of Book Lust to Go
  • I am sure I would be ready for a hot pretzel and coke from a local street vendor by this time.  I would hope that I could meet up with some of the same gang as last year:  Kathy, Candace, Amy, Julie, Dawn, and Stephanie.  I would also hope to see Nicole and Lenore again.  And I would love if Wendy and Carey could join us so that I could finally meet them in person!
  • 1:00 - 3:00 -- I would spend the time perusing the floor. I would look at all the new releases being advertised for fall, and pick up a few brochures of selected publishing houses (I particularly enjoy Sourcebooks, Hachette, Penguin Classics, Harper Collins, Random House Algonquin, and Chronicle Books).  I imagine that there would be one or two book giveaways that I could not resist.
  • 3:00 - 4:00 --- attend the champagne toast for the 50th Anniversary celebration of Harper Lee's classic, To Kill a Mockingbird (I teach this book and look forward to re-reading it every year with my 9th grade class).
  • Since this is a fairly early day - I would spend the rest of the afternoon browsing the wonderful bookstores of NYC.  Most notably I would want to revisit one of my old favorites, Kitchen Arts and Letters on the Upper East Side, Partners and Crime in the Village, and the quintessential.....Strand Bookstore.
  • At this point I would probably be dog tired and would like nothing more than a slice or two of great New York Pizza, perhaps a glass of chianti, and call it a night.

Thursday's Schedule would look something like this:
  • arrive around 9:30 or 10:00 and read Publisher's Weekly morning edition
  • 11:30 - 12:30 --- Laurie Halse Anderson will be signing copies of Forge (I absolutely loved Speak and am anxiously waiting to read Wintergirls.  I know that my own teenage daughter would love an autographed copy of one of this talented author's works).
  • 1:00 - 2:00 --- Rick Sammon will be signing copies of Confessions of a Compact Camera Shooter (for those of you who are regular readers of my blog, you know that I am developing a newfound passion for photography and I have borrowed several books from the library by this talented author and photographer)
  • Lunch would be in order right about now....
  • 3:00 - 4:00 --- do a final tour of the floor before calling it a day.
  • 4:00 - 7:00 --- visit the New York Public Library (the Ottendorfer Library on 2nd Avenue) where Melissa Sue Anderson will be giving a talk and then signing copies of her newest book, The Way I See It (I loved watching Little House on the Prairie in re-runs with my son.  Last year I purchased Melissa Gilbert's book, Prairie Tale, and this would make a nice companion novel).  
  • Since I would already be half way there, I think that dinner would probably be an Italian Feast in Little Italy or great Asian cuisine in Chinatown.
At this point in the trip my head would be swimming with new books I want to read, new authors I want to investigate, and new blog posts I want to write.

How about you?  Where have you traveled in your virtual BEA journey?


  1. What a wonderful tour of what you would do. Wish I could go.

  2. Wow! You figured this all out in much detail! My post is just an overview about what I'd be doing if I were there. Mostly, I just think I'd be awe struck and freaked out.

  3. I enjoyed reading your highlights of last year's BEA. I agree with you - meeting other bloggers would be top on my list, right alongside the author signings!

  4. I'm shy and tongue-tied in person too, so I can completely sympathize with that. The biggest reason that I would want to go is to meet other bloggers, everything else would just be icing on the cake.

  5. Oh, I'd definitely be going to the To Kill A Mockingbird event. I love that book!

  6. I remember listening to Gregory Peck read To Kill A Mockingbird at the LA Library years ago. Thanks for bringing that special moment back.

    Like you, I am a bit shy so I have never been to any convention. I wouldn't know where to start my virtual tour.

  7. I love the schedule you drew up. That's something I have to try as well, for the fun of it! I hope I can go to the BEA next year.

  8. I loved hearing about what you did. What a wonderful time you must have had!

  9. I would like to go some day to BEA. Right now though, Armchair BEA is plenty of fun.

  10. what a cute idea!!!! i'm not at bea even though i live about an hour from the city. :( instead, i'm chaperoning a school trip to niagara falls wed-fri. lucky me.

    i'm not sure what i'd do if i went. probably spend my time circling around looking for a copy of mockingjay, and chatting with other bloggers.

    --nat @book, line, and sinker

  11. thanks for sharing your experience! As much fun as it seems, I'm not sure I would feel like going several years in a row -- maybe every other year.

  12. I signed up for the Armchair BEA thinking this week would be a bit slower at work and I'd have more time to get involved. So far all I've managed (and just barely) to do is post my interview with Heather from The Capricious Reader. I'm hoping I can have some time tonight or tomorrow to check out all of the happenings!

  13. Oh my goodness, this virtual schedule was just fun to read! I would have to agree about the 50th bash for To Kill a Mockingbird and I would love to discover NYC bookstores!! Maybe one of these years . . .

  14. Molly, I am having so much fun reading all the Armchair posts! I would have LOVED to meet you in person too...maybe next year?

  15. Molly - I think you were more organized with your virtual BEA schedule than I was 'in real life.' My laptop crashed (hard drive needs to be replaced) the day before I left for NY, so I had no contacts, no calendar, no docs, etc. I managed what I did with the questionable power of my memory, and asking friends there "what am I supposed to be doing next??!"

    Yes, Nach is still at Kitchen Arts & Letters. Our longer-than-expected walk in the park didn't leave much time for Candace and me to visit the store ... but ... I'll be back!


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