Oh, BEA 2013 and fellow bloggers… I already miss you! BEA was incredibly exhausting but exponentially more rewarding!! Being my first time at BEA, I had no idea what to expect except for what I’d heard from fellow bloggers as well as helpful posts, so yes, I was a bit intimidated! Fortunately for me, I had fellow blogger and now IRL best friend Alyssa (Books Take You Places) to guide me along!
Wednesday started off at 4am, which was how early I needed to wake up to get to the airport. I was super excited though so that really took precedence over sleepiness! I arrived at Boston Logan Airport at around 10:30am and finally got to meet Alyssa in person after talking for about a year and let me tell you, friends. She’s kind of super amazing. We were meant to be BFFs, that’s for sure.
I know what you’re thinking… Why the hell did I fly into Boston? Well, it was cheaper than La Guardia AND way cheaper than flying into Hartford because we stayed in Connecticut and took the train into NYC each day. I know from all the BEA posts with tips and tricks, almost all of them said to stay as close to Javits as possible but you know what? I kind of loved staying in CT. The train ride in was about an hour and a half so yes, it did take time to get there and back, but I literally read 500 pages of A Clash of Kings throughout my commutes and majorly caught up for #SOIFRA! It was rough getting up early and yes, if you plan on doing things in the city or going to parties, CT may not be the best option for you but it was a great money saver for us and I honestly didn’t mind at all.
Anyhoo. After Alyssa picked me up at the airport, we went to the legendary Book Barn! I was super excited to go because I always hear about it from Alyssa. They have tons of books, and this is not your regular book store! There are quite a few really new titles as well as old and the books fill up quite a few different buildings. I was in heaven although trying to pace myself because I knew I still had to save room in my suitcases for BEA books too! Then we just went to the hotel, relaxed, grabbed some dinner and a bottle of wine for the hotel room (yeah, we’re classy like that) and went to bed excited for the morning!
Thursday was an early morning, but I was just jonesing to get to BEA already! We finally made it through the doors when they opened at 9am and I kind of felt like Harry Potter when he first walks into Diagon Alley… Like, “YES. THIS is where I’m supposed to be and this is what it’s all about!” So it doesn’t sound glorious, but basically at the actual conference part of BEA there are four main things to do: Attend a panel (which I actually didn’t end up doing because there were so many places I wanted to be at once), stand in line for a signing in the autographing area, stand in line for an in-booth signing, or stand in line for a galley drop. Or just walk around and wander/talk to people. Most of BEA was standing in line, but I didn’t mind it in the least! Despite all the waiting, the days actually went by really quickly for me!
I think we headed straight for the autographing area on Day 1 because there was a signing we really wanted to go to… What it was, I can’t even remember because so many times just blur together that I can’t even keep the days straight half the time! (After consulting my pictures, I realized it was Kendare Blake/Antigoddess!) Regardless, we started off the day with a few signings and then roamed to check out the rest of what was happening. I probably picked up more galleys than I needed to on the first day but it’s so hard to say no when people hand them to you! I definitely got choosier on Days Two and Three.
Anywho… We had a MAJOR line mishap when Alyssa, our new (mysterious) friend “Shelver M” from Bookshelvers Anonymous, and I were in line for Veronica Rossi. We were told we were the first in line and folks on the other side of the room were told they were the first in line. We kind of got shafted by being stuck in the back and somehow I was the last person to get a book and my other two friends got cut off because they ran out of time. Needless to say that after that mishap, everything was MUCH more organized on day two! I was SO nervous about talking to authors, but Veronica Rossi was so nice yet still intimidating because GOSH, she is gorgeous!!! My picture clearly doesn’t do her justice because, hello, my iPhone’s camera is truly appalling but it was such a honor to meet her!
One of the best parts about BEA is MEETING THE BLOGGERS. Not gonna lie. That was truly my favorite part. I’m going to TRY and chronicle all the lovely ladies that I met but I’m truly sorry if I forget anyone! We met up with Heidi from Bunbury in the Stacks and also met Asher from Paranormal Indulgence and Mandee from Vegan YA Nerds/The Bookish Manicurist. I finally got to meet Sandie from Teen Lit Rocks who is also my fellow Selective Collective member! It was SO great to finally meet in person even though it was so short.
I briefly met Alexa (Alexa Loves Books), Jamie (The Perpetual Page Turner), and got to see Anna (Anna Reads) again since we’d met before in Chicago. They were all so cute and I was sad we didn’t get to see more of each other but it’s just seriously so busy at BEA! I also got to meet Gaby (Queen Ella Bee Reads) and we ran into each other in a few different lines throughout the conference!
We headed back to Grand Central after we were done at the conference for the day, grabbed a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery, and headed back to the hotel. Day One was a success and I felt pretty good about the first day’s haul!
Much more hanging out with bloggers, autographing, and of course standing in lines! I felt like I picked up a ton of must-have titles on Friday, the most exciting of which was FANGIRL!!!! I finally got to meet Rainbow Rowell after her event was most upsettingly cancelled in IL the other month. Once again, my camera phone takes crappy pictures, but so be it. I was also way too lazy/busy/shy to actually take pictures WITH authors. I also didn’t want to hold up these amazingly long lines! I actually ended up standing right next to Christina from Allodoxophobia: The Fear of Opinions at the Rainbow Rowell signing and had no idea until she saw my badge and said hello! Maybe I should have done a “faces of me” post like Jamie had because I don’t think I’ve had a ton of pictures of myself up on the blog. Maybe next year I will make myself more recognizable!
Alyssa and I actually split up most of Friday because I had a long list of places I wanted to be and people I wanted to see, but our schedules didn’t mash up. No worries though because by day two, I felt like a pro! This is another part where I can barely remember what events I went to which day and you don’t really want me to list them all out anyway 🙂 I just know that I left feeling so happy that I made it to a lot of things that I REALLY wanted to be at.
We actually didn’t end up making it to the Book Blogger Picnic we were sad about but we got some MUCH needed rest & relaxation and just felt so much better after days one and two kind of physically kicked us in the butt! We didn’t even stop at Magnolia Bakery for another cupcake. THAT says something haha!
Saturday was the last day of BEA and I was so sad that it was already ending! Alyssa went to go see Neil Gaiman at 10 so I hopped over to the autographing lines because I really, really wanted to meet Alexandra Bracken (The Darkest Minds) AND pick up book two in the series! Saturday was a Power Reader day, meaning it was open to the public, but really it wasn’t as crowded as I thought it was going to be. In fact, the lines were actually much shorter with the exception of the Alexandra Bracken line! I was worried that my suitcases would be overweight with all the books I was bringing home (I brought two empty suitcases to transport my books) so I hadn’t planned on picking up a ton more books on the last day, but the lines were so short that I couldn’t resist!
After Alyssa was done at Gaiman and I was done with autographing, there really wasn’t too much going on so we jetted out at around 12 for an afternoon in the city! First up, we headed to The Strand with Heidi, Asher, Mandee, and met Estelle from Rather Be Reading! Estelle and I had talked about meeting up so I was SO glad she was there because it was just so crazy trying to meet everyone! I bought a few books at The Strand since they are such great deals and Estelle took these awesome photos of all of us blogger girls 🙂
(These pictures stolen from Estelle!)
After The Strand, we went in search of true New York pizza because my boyfriend (who used to live on the east coast) insisted that it wasn’t a real New York trip if I didn’t have New York pizza! We stopped at a place, but Heidi and Alyssa let me know that even if the pizza was still delicious, it wasn’t quite NY pizza! That’s okay. I took some pictures anyway and… it half counts.
After our bellies were full (I stuffed myself a little too much), we popped over to Books of Wonder! I had to see what this place was all about. It was so cool to be at a “famous” NYC book store. I just see so much about it that it was cool to finally be there. ALSO, I found a paperback copy of SISTERS IN SANITY for the Gayle Forman read along so that was kind of perfect timing!
We said goodbye to our blogger friends and headed home to pack up and crash before I had to leave the next day.
Sunday was bittersweet. I was excited to go home with all my books and to see my boyfriend again, but I was so sad to say goodbye to Alyssa! We had such a great time hanging out in person and really becoming IRL best friends. I was ready to go home and rest, but also didn’t want to say goodbye to BEA!
After some crazy delays at the airport (which actually only took an hour and I was so glad I was just heading straight to Chicago and not connecting there), I finally made it home.
(Alyssa may not like this picture but I do (even with the wind whipping her hair in her face)! It’s us at the airport, right before I left wearing our awesome BEA shirts. Gotta represent BEA shirts and BFF time!)