- Meeting Carrie live and in person — I’ve followed Reading to Know for years. I love Carrie’s opinionated reviews and commentary on books. When I was putting together a team for 5 Minutes for Books, she was one of the first I thought to ask. Since we started 5 Minutes for Books, we’ve become friends, and it was a pure delight to meet her and share this experience together (her thoughts).
- Meeting up with some other publishing contacts and bloggers who I had a more casual relationship with (but a deep respect) at a delicious dinner on Thursday night at Tony’s DiNapoli.
- I didn’t look at the author signing schedule or plan to stand in line (although I’m bummed to have missed Mo Willems at the Hyperion booth Thursday morning). But when I arrived Thursday afternoon, and saw a fairly short line forming at Brilliance Audiobooks with Rick Riordan’s brand new book, The Red Pyramid, I was thrilled and hopped right in line. Amanda (11) and I are both huge audiobook fans, and I never got around to reading the Percy Jackson series, so I’m happy to get in on this one at the beginning. Also, continuing on the topic of relationships, I had a lovely conversation while we were waiting in line with a librarian and a CBS News reporter about tweens and reading (parent to parent and librarian to parents).
- Listening to a panel of YA authors read from their latest works, and finding out that one of them, Sophie Jordan, whose book Firelight releases soon, is from my hometown and attended my alma mater (Gig ‘Em Aggies!). We had a nice chat about fantasy as such a prevalent theme in YA. When she was reading the excerpt, I was wondering why fantasy and sci-fi are so popular (4 out of 5 of the books fit this genre). In her excerpt, she talks about the human boys looking up to the dragon girl and calling her “it,” because it’s all they can think of to call her. In that brief moment, I felt sorry for the dragon girl. I felt compassion for her, and I understood what it was like to be misunderstood, and then it hit me — that’s exactly what all tweens and teens feel like! A fantasy or sci-fi setting is perfect to depict that.
I also really enjoyed hearing about Ally Condie’s Matched, and her thoughts on writing YA (“What is new to a young person is old to an old person. They are still discovering new things, and we discover right along with them,” paraphrased).
I also joined the panel, green with envy, listening to Kody Keplinger’s story. She wrote The DUFF: (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)
- Meeting author Justin Kramon at the BookBloggerCon reception. He sent me his novel, Finny, which sounded like something I would enjoy, so although it doesn’t release until July, I had to read it when I found out he was going to be at the author reception. I had only read about 1/3 of it when I was able to talk with him, but it was a book that hooked me at page 1. It is a wonderful book, and if you like coming of age stories (like Finny, I’m still coming of age in my late 30’s), and wonderful character-driven fiction, you must check this book out. Full review to come at release, but trust me. If I were not an old respectable married lady, I might be toeing the line of fan/stalker, but I’m going to wear my reviewer/influencer hat, and say that I’m just doing my job.
- I didn’t make a whole lot of new publishing or PR contacts, but I enjoyed putting names and faces together (and letting them do the same). Carrie and I had a great respite with Audrey at Sleeping Bear Press in her plushly carpeted booth, where she invited/made us to sit down in the chairs and take a load off while she told us all about their collection. We love Sleeping Bear Press, and now we love Audrey.
in a month and a half when she was 17. She’s almost 19 now and her book is due out in September! The book is definitely too edgy for me (i.e. explicit), but I think it will be a hit with YA readers who like that sort of thing.
Rebecca Maizel and Erin Bow (Plain Kate) rounded out the panel and were fascinating as well. Though I’m not really “into” Vampire lit, I think I would love to read Maizel’s Infinite Days, because it’s about a vampire who becomes human and ends up as a 16-year-old girl, tortured by her past (“We all have things in our past we wish we could undo,” Maizel said).
The WORST? Really nothing was that bad, but a few things that I heard (and thought and said) over and over:
- “It’s wonderful to be surrounded by books and booklovers, but I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had any time to just read.” There was a bit of withdrawal going on at Javits convention center.
- I had really hoped to meet more book bloggers at Book Blogger Con. I met some wonderful people at breakfast, lunch, the receptions etc., and I guess it’s my responsibility to take the relationship to the next level, but I probably didn’t do my best at networking with the limited time available. I’m okay with that, but I would have liked to find more kindred spirits and also share 5 Minutes for Books with others. But there’s always next year, right?
I’m blessed to be semi-local to NYC, and enjoy going into “The City” for events and whatnot, so BEA and hopefully Book Blogger Con will be on my agenda for May 2011 as well.
I’d love to read about your BEA and BookBloggerCon experiences to hear more about what I’ve missed. Link up your posts. Feel free to link more than one (just give them a different title or number them or something)