I stayed with Jennifer D., our lovely managing editor (and tour guide extraordinaire!) in her home. Got to meet her family (and tried to solve picture puzzles with her son!) We attended BEA together and were exhausted, overwhelmed at times, completely worn out and - on the whole - had a fast-pace, fun-filled time.
BEA was absolutely amazing. It was my first time to go and I wasn't really sure what to expect, other than books, of course! I really found myself enjoying talking to publishers though and introducing myself and our team at 5 Minutes for Books. That was a very enjoyable experience. Anything that happened inside the conference center was pretty much enjoyable.
I just didn't care for New York City itself.
In a word: LOUD. l.o.u.d. Loud. EXTREMELY. loud. Did I mention it's LOUD!?
When I'm with loud people, I tend to become quieter. When I'm in a noisy city, my senses were completely overwhelmed and I was barely able to string a sentence together. It wasn't the crowds I minded so much as the noise that they made. If they walked around on tiptoe and whispered I probably wouldn't have a single thing to complain about.
The most shocking thing about the city though was the fact that countless people actually manage to LIVE when trying to cross the street in downtown NYC. Traffic laws? What?! I'm surprised we don't hear of more deaths. Insane people calmly walking in front of speeding taxi cars. Buses driving into intersections on red lights. Bicycles and pedestrians weaving in and out of cars. Just crazy, crazy things.
Despite what I just said, I enjoyed having the experience because I was not trying to navigate small children through it. Honestly though, I don't think I'll ever go to NYC again. It's a culture I have a hard time identifying with and very much enjoyed returning to my (extremely) quiet existence in Oregon. Plus, it was somewhat endearing to come home and have Bookworm1 run up to me and give me a gigantic hug, saying things like:
"Mommy, can you not ever go to New York again because you were gone for a long, long time!!!"Heart. Melt.
Those "disclaimers" all offered - I got to see things like Times Square, FAO Schwartz, Central Park, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Grand Central Station, I rode in a Taxi, we walked all over the place and we found NY pizza to eat! (Now, I will admit to the food being an amazing draw to the city. Italian food? Oh. my. word!!!!)
I enjoyed seeing the city with Jennifer and honestly can't say that I'd want to see it with anyone else! She loves it and navigated us around beautifully and never seemed to stress about it at all. (I guarenteed her I'd be a basket case if I were trying to find my own way around the city.) Here are some pictures of our time in the city:
Javits Center and the booths full of books:
Jennifer suggested Tony's Di Napoli for an evening meal. We met up with a few other bloggers and people in the industry and went out for Italian food that was --- amazing. (I can't think of any other word that will say as much as I want it to!) GREAT pick, Jennifer!
From L to R: Nikki from Random House, Jennifer from 5 Minutes for Books, me, Dina from Big Honcho Media
My amazing plate of food. Homemade noodles. See? I'm drooling all over again. Pay special attention to the mushrooms. I'm normally not a big fan of mushrooms. However, I would have been happy eating nothing BUT mushrooms for dinner. I don't want to know what they did to make them taste so divine.
Us in Times Square after stuffing ourselves with the above pictured eats. And we are tired. Very. Very. Tired.
Random Pictures of New York (mostly taken for the benefit of my family - just to show them what I experienced):
#1 - I took this picture as I was crossing the street. See? Oncoming taxi cab. (I had the right of way, if you were wondering!)
#2 - For Jonathan's sake - the (more) infamous apple in our home.
#3 - I liked the skyscrapers best in NYC.
#4 - We stopped and picked up cupcakes from Crumbs. I had the Key Lime flavor. Highly recommended if you go for that sort of thing! (Bob and Jillian would SO not approve!)
#5 - Times Square. The guy's expression in the front here cracks me up. It kinda summarizes how I felt.
#7 - The inside of St. Patrick's Cathedral. Breath-taking and beautiful! (Thanks, Jennifer, for the detour!)
#8 - Nothing says peace and freedom quite like this....
This post is getting long so let me wrap this up by saying what an incredible trip full of new and varied experiences! I came home with lots of books, some of which you can see from my Mailbox Monday post at 5 Minutes for Books.
If you missed Book Expo America this year but think you might want to go next year - they've announced the dates for 2011 so you can mark them on your calendar (,Dawn.)
Two items which are up-and-coming which I was super hyped to find out about at the conference:
It's been a few years but Karon is back with the second in the Father Tim series! Mark your calendars for October 19th - In the Company of Others
Secondly, I was excited to find out about the next Disney Princess movie - Tangled.
Here's a teaser trailer if you'd like to see it:
It's due out in November of this year.
There are some other things that I'm excited about but these are a couple that really caught my eye!
I'm VERY glad to have had the opportunity to go (thanks to Jonathan and some very special, trusted friends who helped with the bookworms in my absence, giving me peace of mind!) If you are seriously into book blogging, I'd encourage a trip at least once so that you can get a feel for the industry. It's an incredible experience. But I AM glad to be home!!!
P.S. A frequently asked question at BEA was, "What have you read recently that you really enjoyed?" My typical answer (other than, "Mysterious Benedict Society - go read it!") was Radical Homemakers which I recently read and reviewed over at 5 Minutes for Books. We have a giveaway copy and I'm mentioning it here because I STRONGLY recommend the read. I think it's a FABULOUS argument (by a non-Christian no less!) of why it is important to reclaim the art of homemaking. DEFINITELY a "must read" and I hope you'll go enter the contest or find a copy of the book. It's amazing!
Click here to read my review of Radical Homemakers. Then go read the book itself. Do!