BookExpo America is a four day event in New York City celebrating all things bookish. From physical books to digital publishing, the conference unveils the hottest titles for the fall, and is the biggest book trade fair in the United States. The event is open to industry professionals like bloggers, book retailers, librarians, and the press and is the go to place for ARCs (advanced reader copies), getting author autographs, and meeting tons of contacts in the book publishing world. Networking and book appreciation is what makes BEA so wonderful and exciting, you will never find yourself in such a literary centered environment. Reading isn’t weird at BEA, it’s recommended.
Besides getting to meet authors, network, and connect with fellow book enthusiasts, BEA is all about the swag. In the two days that I walked the floors of the Javits Center, I picked up 12 books, 3 totes, 2 pins, 1 wand, 2 preview samples, and 1 attache case. Unlike some other BEAers, I was very selective with what I picked up. Not only did I not want to drag too many books around with me, but I didn’t want to take books home that I would never read. Especially if other book lovers really wanted that book which held no interest to me. It’s surprising how people are so willing to just grab books willy nilly that they will most likely never read.
1. The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente (Release Date: October 2nd)
This was my have to locate book of BEA, and was therefore the first thing on my schedule. A follow-up to the amazing The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, I was 45 minutes early to the Catherynne M. Valente signing and therefore the first in line to get my copy of the book. By 10:30AM, my BEA had already been made, as I made idle chit chat with the volunteers and others waiting in the autograph area to get the book and walked away signed copy in hand.
2. The Diviners by Libba Bray (Release Date: September 18th)
Libba Bray’s newest book, a supernatural young adult novel set in the 1920′s, was also on my list of must locate. Initially I planned to go to the signing and get the book there, but as I wandered through the Little Brown booth at 9:00AM, they had already put copies out and I knew I needed to snag it while I had the chance. Thankfully I did, because the signing line started forming an hour before Libba even arrived the next day.
3. The Vanishing Act by Mette Jakobsen (Release Date: September 17th)
As a fan of magicians, this arc was picked for its fun cover and source material. I sure hope it’s actually about magicians. The fact that it was endorsed by Night Circus author Erin Morgenstern helped a lot with my decision to grab a copy for myself and later after being offered another copy, grabbing one for my sister too. Judging by the characters having intriguing names like Minou, No-Name, and Will Boxman, this is a fantasy novel I look forward to reading.
4. Red Rain by R.L. Stine (Release Date: October 9th)
Having never read an adult R.L. Stine novel, grabbing this was a no-brainer. Still surprised there were any left when we happened to walk by. In this totally not Goosebumps horror novel, the back cover advertizes R.L. Stine as the original author phenomenon- before J.K. Rowling and Suzanne Collins (to draw on all the kiddies who love them). The plot itself follows a travel writer and some mysterious twins on an island, a recipe for some horror fun.
5. Soulless Pin
Now I really really really need to get on reading The Parasol Protectorate if I have this pin. Steampunk and movie monsters, how could I not love it?
6. Zom-B by Darren Shan (Release Date: October 16th)
This was out along with The Diviners and was snagged because it’s a young adult novel about zombies, and I am a sucker for some international horror. It follows a boy named B, and I can’t wait to read from the point of view of a male protagonist, which I get so infrequently. Also, it’s set in a high school and who doesn’t love a horror novel set in the most horrifying place on earth: a public school system. Or is that just me?
7. Lemony Snicket Attache Case for “Who Could That Be at This Hour?” (All the Wrong Questions) (Release Date: October 23rd)
Another signing I waited in line for (initially for the book), and was only semi-disappointed to get handed a promotional case instead of an ARC. BUT, Lemony Snicket, or rather Daniel Handler, was a laugh riot, he was so friendly and genuine, I just wanted to hug him. Inside the case (set to look like a suitcase) was a pen, calendar, bar of soap, and 30 sample pages from the new novel- the first of a four volume series. So much love.
8. Harry Potter Wand
If you even have to ask why I’m excited about a Harry Potter wand being in my possession, than I don’t think we know each other that well. ::goes off to summon Lord Voldemort::
I went in on day two solely for this package, which included a paperback copy of the first book in the young adult trilogy and a 70 plus page preview of the second book. Stephanie and Cassie-wa couldn’t recommend Daughter of Smoke and Bone enough, and I was glad Laini Taylor shared the giveaway on her blog so I could be there to get one of the 500 packages Little Brown gave away. Thank you Laini! Cannot wait to get an autograph at LeakyCon.
2. Son by Lois Lowry (Release Date: October 2nd)
I just happened to be walking by the booth giving away the fourth book in The Giver quartet (yup, apparently that’s a thing now) and I’m so glad I did. I first read The Giver in middle school, and now I need to read the next two books in the series before I get to the conclusion. Thankfully I waited, because there is no way I could possibly remember the ending of a book series when the third book was published eight years ago. Worse than George R. R. Martin.
3. Princess Academy: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale (Release Date: August 21st)
Couldn’t say no to a book that reminded me of something by Gail Carson Levine! This book, the second in a series, was written by Shannon Hale, whose name stuck out at me like a beacon. Glad I trusted my instincts, she’s the same author who wrote the Jane Austen centered novels Austenland, and Midnight in Austenland. Obviously, this series, which is centered around a prince and a future princess, is for a different age group, but psh. I’ve never shied away from children’s novels.
4. Chronicle Books Tote
Love, love, love this tote. The fabric is nice, the white and blue motif is so cute, and most importantly, it’s all about books books books. Fashionable and bookish, two of my favorite things.
5. The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer (Release Date: July 17th)
Proving that you don’t need to be a writer, but just a famous person to get a book published is “Glee” star Chris Colfer and this new children’s fantasy novel. My feelings about celebrity authors aside, I love the cover of the novel, which features Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella’s castle, a Big Bad Wolf, and a gingerbread house. The story takes place in a land where fairy tales are real, and not quite living the happily ever afters we left them with.
6. Aquarius 2012 Horoscope Predictions
This went to my Mom and fellow Aquarius along with a duplicate tote bag. Sure horoscopes aren’t grounded in any sort of rhyme or reason, but that’s what makes them so much fun!
7. In a Glass Grimmly by Adam Gidwitz (Release Date: September 27th)
Another take on fractured fairy tales (because I can never have enough of them). It’s set in the same world as Gidwitz’s prior novel A Tale Dark and Grimm, hence why it’s called a companion novel. Whereas the first novel followed Hansel and Gretel, this one is based on the adventures of Jack and Jill. And the cover is absolutely adorable. Gotta love all the cute covers going on at this year’s BookExpo America!
8. Nightsong Tote
Look at the bat! No seriously, look at that bat! Isn’t he the cutest thing ever? I came home with not one, but two adorable bat totes for me and my Mommy. Everyone else thought he was a terrifying chihuahua monster. =(
That’s not to say I got everything I wanted. Despite coming with a detailed schedule of everything that I wanted to check out scheduled down to the hour (I know, a little anal retentive), not all the books featured at BEA had arcs. The new Lemony Snicket book which I snagged the attache case for only offered samples, the same with Junot Diaz’s This is How You Lose Her. Penguin was giving samples for it, but I declined waiting in line as I already have a Junot autograph thanks to the wonderful Kelly. =)
Two other books not being offered as ARCs or samples, were Stephen Colbert’s America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t, and Ally Condie’s Reached. Colbert’s book wasn’t available for obvious reasons (they didn’t even have a sample book out), and Condie’s publishing company wanted to keep the finale for the trilogy under wraps as much as possible. There was however a giant red bubble straight out of the Reached cover that you could take your picture inside.
Even though four of the seven books I wanted to snag at BookExpo America were unavailable, I still had an amazing time. I got to meet some authors, talk to fellow book enthusiasts, grab some new titles, and have the best time being a bibliophile. And the Quirk Books after party was so much fun. Cannot wait for BEA 2013-2015, all of which will be held in New York! Next year: helpful tips for surviving your first BEA. Like how not to give yourself a painful tote bag burn. Whoops.