(205) 870-1117 Mon - Sat : 6am - 10pm / Sun : 7am - 10pm Get Directions

Sick of Hearing about BookExpo America? We're Not Done Yet! (We're Almost Done Though. Really.)

June 19, 2014 | Mollie Hawkins

BookExpo America taught me many things, dear reader, not only about books, but also about life. Particularly the astounding realization that people can be profoundly nuts.

 

I’ll start with what I will call the Polite Mobs.

 

See, the overall population of BEA consists of librarians, booksellers, book bloggers, and other publishing professionals, AKA: civilized human beings coming together to learn about … books. Books that haven’t been released yet, books being pimped out by the editors and authors, books that the publishers want to give you for free after the conference session is over … and that last part is what leads to complete bedlam.

 

photo(1157)

 

This is what I remember from my first encounter with the Polite Mobs:

 

  1. Walking to the front of room to collect free books in casual manner, assuming that people would saunter casually to the front of the room and form nice little professional lines.
  2. Realizing I am an idiot for assuming people saunter casually at BEA.
  3. A mass of people pretending to form a line.
  4. A mass of bodies walking a little too swiftly towards table of free things, followed by …
  5. Elbows to the face.

 

What followed was a mixture of 50% awesome mixed with 50% Polite Mob People (PMP’s) staring blatantly at badges to see where you ranked on the BEA scale. Were you a VIP? A blogger? Or, like me, a low-rank librarian? It mattered. Business cards were passed around. We commiserated together (You hate this long-ass line to get this autograph? I hate this line, too! Let’s be friends for the next hour!).

 

tiddlesandfriends

 

Then there’s the fact that you never know who you might be sitting next to at BEA. Like the day I sat somewhat ungracefully (OK, totally ungracefully) on an inflatable couch, nearly launching a lady to the ceiling while she ate a cupcake. That lady turned out to be a NYT best-selling YA author. Or, that time I really needed to charge my phone, and the only normal plug in the Javits Center ended up being underneath a payphone where I shared sitting space with two literary agents.

 

And then sometimes the person you sit next to is a creep that takes a picture of you with his iPhone without asking (hint to creepers: turn off your flash first).

 

But I really meant it when I said that the other 50% of BEA is amazing, and the chance to learn about the book business/get ARCs/hobnob with fellow nerds, is truly what it’s all about. What an experience! And in New York City, of all places! If Woody Allen, David Lynch, and Quentin Tarantino made a movie together, it might look something like BookExpo America. I’m OK with it.

 

And now, I leave you with some of my favorite quotes from BEA, as heard from an assortment of strangers and authors:

 

  1. “Do I wear my cat shirt or my bird shirt?”
  2. “I mean, what we’re saying here is that it’s a conversation about a conversation…” (heard at the McSweeney’s table, naturally).
  3. “You wanna fight me, tell me I’m too old for a center part.”
  4. “I work for Lifetime Movie Network. Do you watch Lifetime? I want to ask Billy Idol to be on my show. It’s about ghosts.”
  5. “I’m terrified. You guys really know how to party at 7am.”
  6. “What a great panel of guys. I fucked all of them. But I still feel empowered.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GOODBYE, VITAMIN by Rachel Khong

September 25, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

I’m a fan of Twitter although it wears me out sometimes. I need to take breaks from it, but it's probably my favorite of all of the social media options. When I finished Goodbye, Vitamin... read full article

Everyone's Story Matters: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

September 16, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

Yesterday a friend's Facebook post caught my eye. She's a therapist and lives in Orlando with her husband and three kids. After enduring the wrath of Hurricane Irma, she posted that The Fantastic Flying Books... read full article

Brené Brown's Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

September 12, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

  During an appointment with the first therapist I ever met with, I asked him if there's something wrong with me because I've never had a best friend who lasted more than a couple of... read full article

John Ronald's Dragons: The Story of J.R.R. Tolkien

September 05, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

I must confess I've never read any of Tolkien's books. But after reading the children's book John Ronald's Dragons: The Story of J.R.R. Tolkien written by Caroline McAlister and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler, I'm now convinced... read full article

Grief, Resilience, and Option B

September 01, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

Since I married my husband almost twenty years ago, one of my greatest fears has been losing him to some kind of tragic early death. After I became a mama, this fear expanded to include losing... read full article

Author Interview: Gin Phillips on Fierce Kingdom, Writing, and Motherhood

August 14, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

Gin Phillips and I hung out on her back porch recently and talked about her new book, writing, and motherhood. Here’s some of what we discussed:   When did you start writing? I’ve always written... read full article

Making a Mark: She Persisted and Radiant Child

August 10, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

I grabbed two children's books from Church Street a couple of weeks ago for my kids (ages 12 and 14) and me to read. We believe you're never too old for children's books and have been enjoying... read full article

A Review: Becoming Ms. Burton

August 03, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

Many conversations I hear about social justice issues are taking place among people who aren’t necessarily suffering from oppression. There are a lot of well-meaning people who talk about the effects of racism. They advocate... read full article

Author Interview: Kristen Iskandrian

July 28, 2017 | Charlotte Donlon

I got to spend some time with local author Kristen Iskandrian yesterday. We talked about books, writing, and her first novel Motherest which I definitely recommend. This coming-of-age story explores the dynamics of complex relationships... read full article

It's a Marvel and a Wonder I Liked It

November 25, 2015 | The Crew

  My wife and I just spent the weekend going through all of our books, getting rid of the ones we’ll never read again, the grad-school textbooks we never read in the first place, the... read full article

Hollow Fruits and Spiritual Totems: A Review of Gold Fame Citrus by Clair Vaye Watkins

October 04, 2015 | The Crew

  Disregarding weather reports of temperatures reaching 102º, I strapped on my pack and started out on the Tuxachanie Trail in Stone County, Mississippi, for a night in the woods with a flask of rum... read full article

Haiku Review: 100 Years of Solitude

July 28, 2015 | The Crew

Our haiku reviewer, Anonymous, treats us to a poetic appraisal of the Gabriel Garcia Marquez classic.     I must disclose: This Is my very favorite Book. Ever. La verdad.   Generations of Buendias fall... read full article

Armada: Sci-Fi, but Accessible

July 21, 2015 | The Crew

  I had a conversation with a friend the other night about his wife’s laundry list of problems with America—rampant consumer culture, disconnection from the land, inability to live harmoniously in diverse communities, Walmart, etc.... read full article

Ready Player One: An Adventure in New Antiques

July 14, 2015 | The Crew

[Ready Player One has been reviewed here before, but I thought I’d give it another look since Ernest Cline’s new book, Armada, comes out today. I’ll be reviewing it within the week, but until then... read full article

Throwback Review: Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye

June 17, 2015 | The Crew | 1 Comment

Anthony Vacca takes us back to 1953 and the hard-boiled world of dames and detectives. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler When it comes to Raymond Chandler’s novels starring the smart-ass, misanthropic PI Phillip Marlowe,... read full article

Haiku Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

June 02, 2015 | The Crew

It's an oldie but a goodie, and here's your Anonymous Haiku Review of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.     Wellington has a Garden fork in his left side. Pretty... read full article

Walking to Hollywood by Will Self

May 19, 2015 | The Crew

This week's review of Will Self's Walking to Hollywood comes from Anthony Vacca: author, librarian, and director of Write Club at Hoover Library.     Will Self is a little known novelist this side of the... read full article

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman

May 11, 2015 | The Crew

This weeks review of Neil Gaiman's Trigger Warning comes to us from Cassia Kesler, mother of two boys and a freelance writer. She and her husband Scott live in Birmingham. Her favorite activities include lying on the... read full article

Haiku Review: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

May 04, 2015 | The Crew

This week our Haiku Reviewer, Anonymous, tackles Americanah.     Ifemelu is Letting her hair go nat'ral. Americanah.   It's race, not color That limits us, separates Us. We made it up.   Black, White,... read full article

An Anti-Review of an Anti-Memoir: A Field Guide to Tom Robbins' Tibetan Peach Pie

April 27, 2015 | The Crew

  It’s impossible for me to write about Tom Robbins without getting personal. I’ll get to Tibetan Peach Pie, but bear with me briefly.   Throughout my childhood Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Jitterbug Perfume,... read full article
View More Posts

Login

Lost your password?