Posts Tagged With: BEA

Armchair BEA Day #1: Introduction

Today marks the kickoff of Armchair BEA.  Last year, I had the opportunity to attend Book Expo America in New York City, and it was a fantastic experience.  However, I took a major break from blogging at the end of 2012 (between grad school and a new job, life got really busy) and only recently returned.  I didn’t think it would be fair to go to BEA since I hadn’t been around much during the past few months, but Armchair BEA seems like a fantastic way to share in the networking and conversations.

And now, for my introduction:

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

My name is Grace, and I’m a librarian.  I started blogging back in May 2011, and when I started, I didn’t even know that book blogging was a thing.  I just wanted an outlet to talk about books, because most of my friends don’t read nearly as much as I do and/or don’t read the same things.  I tend to read a little bit of everything, but most of the books that I review are either sci-fi, fantasy, or historical fiction.

What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2013?

My favorite book that I’ve read this year was “The Emperor’s Soul” by Brandon Sanderson.  Of course, I haven’t reviewed it yet, because I read it while I was on hiatus.  Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors of all time–he is truly a master of world-building, and his characters are compelling.  Generally he writes chunksters, but “The Emperor’s Soul” was much shorter and is a standalone story.  If you like fantasy, I’d definitely recommend it.

Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read?

My somewhat scathing review of Fifty Shades of Grey.  I don’t write a lot of negative reviews, because I generally decide to read books that already look interesting.  However, every now and then I’ll read something that everybody’s talking about just to see what all the fuss is for.

If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?

Hmm, this is a tough one.  It also sounds a bit like a college application essay.  I’m gonna go with John Scalzi, because he’s got a great sense of humor and seems like a fun person to hang out with.  Several years ago, he taped bacon to his cat, which immediately became an internet meme.  I met John Scalzi briefly last year at a book signing at BEA with Memory from Stella Matutina, and we told him that we were going to bring him bacon, but we couldn’t find any at the store that morning.  He thanked us for not bringing any (bacon and airports don’t mix well) and wrote “Thanks for the bacony thoughts” in my book.

What literary location would you most like to visit? Why?

I’m going to cheat a bit on this answer, because I already visited it.  When I was studying in Russia, I snuck into the apartment building where Raskolnikov axed the little old lady in “Crime and Punishment.”  There’s nothing like standing in the place where one fictional character killed another.

Categories: Fiction | Tags: , , | 31 Comments

June 2012: A Month in Review

June was an exciting month for me, as it marked my attendance of Book Expo America for the first time.  My posts about BEA can be found here:

Book Expo was an amazing experience, and was great for networking with both authors and publishers.  I learned more about blogging and the book industry during those three days than during the entire year that I had been writing my blog.

I am a bit behind on reviewing, as it’s been a much busier month than I’d anticipated.  I did, however, manage to get reviews posted of six books:

I also participated in a readalong of Brandon Sanderson’s “Warbreaker” (review forthcoming) and am in the process of a blog-tour style readalong of “The Well of Ascension.”

I’m hoping to get caught up on writing reviews during the first half of July.

Remember when I said that I wasn’t going to buy any more books after BEA for a very long time?  Well, I lied.  In my defense, a storm knocked out power (and the air conditioner and fridge, which still aren’t up and running yet) this weekend, and Barnes & Noble was air conditioned.  I came across a copy of Catherynne Valente’s “Deathless” and am already quite enamored of it.  I mean, what kind of book would suit me more than a beautifully written fairy tale set in Soviet Russia?  I started reading it in the store and decided that it must come home with me.

I also ended up picking up a couple Kindle books over the past few weeks.  I decided to purchase Deborah Harkness’ “A Discovery of Witches,” as I have the sequel among my BEA books and wanted to read them in order.  I bought Catherynne Valente’s “The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making,” because yeah.  Cat Valente is my new hero.  I also picked up L. S. Engler‘s first book, a collection of short stories entitled “Bowlful of Bunnies,” which is delightful thus far!

So… um… yeah.  Maybe this month I’ll be more successful in stopping myself from buying new books, but somehow I doubt it.

What are your reading plans for July?  Found any good books lately?

Categories: Fiction, Month in Review, Other | Tags: , , , , | 15 Comments

So I don’t need to buy books for a very long time…

As you can see, I might have gone a bit overboard at Book Expo America.  These are the books that I brought home with me and now constitute most of my enormous TBR pile.  I am trying to resist the urge to catalog them all.  Sorry that the titles are a bit blurry.

For anyone who missed my Book Expo posts, they can be found here:

Attending Book Expo America was a tremendous opportunity for me.  I got to meet a lot of new bloggers and authors, and I learned more about the publishing industry in the three days of the conference than I did during an entire year of book blogging.

Based on the selection of books that I’ve acquired, SF/F will remain the biggest genre that I read and blog about.  However, I’m going to include more YA novels and more historical fiction than I have been as of late.  I’m also going to read more short stories.

Get excited for my upcoming reviews!  I’ve got books by Lilith Saintcrow, Walter Mosley, Libba Bray, Lauren Oliver, and more!  My goal is to review all of these book within the next year.

Categories: Fiction | Tags: , , , , , | 24 Comments

BEA Excursion, Day 3 (and special treasures)

Today was the third and final day of BEA, although I’ll still be in New York until tomorrow afternoon.  It was a lot calmer than the previous two days of exhibits, largely because it closed at 3.  I picked up some more books, although not quite as many this time.

I didn’t realize just how many books I’d end up coming home with.  I ended up making one trip to the post office to mail myself books, and I’m planning on making one more tomorrow morning.  Rather than bore everybody with details about my day (OMG!  I met Kristin Cashore!  But Terri Windling wasn’t there even though she was supposed to be.  Oh, and I tried to give my business card to TOR.  I hope it gets there), I’m going to talk about a few of my treasures.  These are the books that I carry back to DC, because I’m not taking any chances on them getting lost in the mail, and also because I’ve already started some of them.

“Redshirts,” by John Scalzi – So yeah.  I blogged about this yesterday, but I am going to say it again because of the epic level of awesomeness.  I waited in the extremely long line to get a signed ARC of Redshirts because John Scalzi is awesome and I want to read his next book.  When it was my turn to have my copy signed, I told John Scalzi that I was going to bring him bacon but couldn’t find any that morning.  Scalzi thanked me profusely for not bringing him any bacon because bacon is rather difficult to travel with.  Redshirts is a novel in three codas, which intrigues me because I love books that play with non-traditional formats.

“The Killing Moon,” by N. K. Jemisin – Last night I went to an event at the New York Public Library.  Four different authors read from their books, and N. K. Jemisin was one of them.  She read an excerpt from the sequel to this book, which is fantasy set in a world that vaguely resembles ancient Egypt.  One of the neat things about this series is that Jemisin managed to get the first two books published in consecutive months, which means that I won’t have to wait long to read the sequel!  I got to meet Jemisin at a book-signing yesterday, and she told me that she liked my henna tattoo, which made me unreasonably happy.

“Bitterblue,” by Kristin Cashore – Kristin Cashore was one of the other authors at the New York Public Library event last night.  She read the prologue of Bitterblue, and I braved an extremely long line to get a signed copy of it because I absolutely MUST see what happens next.  The story is set in a magical world where some people are endowed with magical gifts called graces.  Bitterblue’s father has one such power and is able to tell lies that everyone will believe, and he used his powers to oppress his kingdom.  This book comes after two of Cashore’s other books, “Graceling” and “Fire,” but  I am going to jump right in with this one because it seems like I can.

“The Mirrored World,” by Debra Dean – I got to meet Debra Dean yesterday, and she’s super nice.  Her novel is a historical fiction set in St. Petersburg about the life of St. Xenia.  This sounds right up my alley, because I studied in St. Petersburg and am a sucker for anything Russian.  I read the first two chapters and love it thus far!  I have an ARC of this on my Kindle as well, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to get a signed copy and to meet the author.  One of the neatest things about BEA is getting to interact with different authors on a face-to-face basis.  It’s easy to forget that authors are people too when all you see of them is a tiny blurb in the back of the book, and meeting them gives a better idea of what’s going on behind-the-scenes.

Categories: Fiction, Other | Tags: , , , , , , | 13 Comments

BEA Excursion, Day 2

Before I get into today’s post, I just want to take a moment to mention that Ray Bradbury died.  May he rest in peace.

Now, onward to BEA… no picture with this update, because I am exhausted and being lazy.  I thought yesterday was chaotic.  I was mistaken.  Apparently today was supposed to be the busiest day of Book Expo, and it lived up to its reputation.

I woke up early this morning after a restless night of sleep (I have a bit of a cold, which is not fun).  I chugged a bunch of coffee and headed to Javits, where I got to meet John Scalzi.  I told him that I would have brought him bacon, but that I couldn’t find any at that particular time of morning.  Scalzi thanked me for not bringing him bacon, as it’s a bit difficult to travel with, but signed my copy of Redshirts with the phrase “Thanks for the bacony thoughts!”  I cannot even begin to describe the level of awesomeness that I felt at that moment.

I had decided after bringing home almost 30 books yesterday that I would bring back fewer today.  I still ended up with another 25, many of which were signed.  In addition to Scalzi, I also got to meet N. K. Jemisin and Charles Stross, among other people.  I’ll make a post later about the highlights of my BEA acquisitions, because right now I’m too tired to think or dig through my bags.

After a hectic day at the Expo, we went to an event at the New York Public Library which featured readings from four authors:  Kristin Cashore, N. K. Jemisin, Naomi Novic, and Catherynne Valente, all of which were awesome.  Oh, and the whole thing was hosted by Lev Grossman and accompanied by a band that included a cello and an accordion.  It was pretty awesome.

We also got an invite to a DC Comics party at a club.  We stopped by for a little while, but it involved a lot more standing than we were willing to tolerate, and we didn’t see any of the writers who were supposed to be there.  I think that Pubdate would have been a lot more fun if I wasn’t so tired, and also if they didn’t charge you money to use the restroom.

Ok, it’s my bedtime now… night everyone!

Categories: Other | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

BEA Excursion, Day 1

Today marked the start of Book Expo America, otherwise known as librarian/bookworm/blogger heaven.  It was so heavenly, in fact, that I entirely forgot to eat lunch.  There were just so many distractions!

I woke up this morning and headed to the Javits Center, where I saw for the first time the controlled chaos of BEA.  There are so many people, and so many books!  I ended up coming back to the hotel with around thirty books, and it’s only the first day.  All of them look so good!  The highlight of my day was meeting Debra Dean.  She seems like a really cool author, and I can’t wait to read her new novel entitled “The Mirrored World.”

I also got a kick out of the Scientologists who were dressed as  pirates.  Actually, I’m not sure that they were Scientologists, but I’m assuming so because that publisher, Galaxy Press, is working entirely on re-printing L. Ron Hubbard’s old pulp sci-fi stories.  I’m rather curious to read one of his books just to see what they’re like.  The Scientology Pirates reminded me of Locke in RSURS, and it was a cheerful way to start the morning.

Some things I learned today…

#1 – All of the guides to Book Expo America that I’ve read on the internet begin with “Wear comfy shoes,” often in all caps and with lots of exclamation points.  My shoes were pretty comfy, but apparently not comfy enough.  By the time I got back to the hotel, the blisters had manifested themselves and I awkwardly limped my way over to a hole-in-the-wall sushi joint for dinner, which involved copious amounts of green tea and a glass of plum wine.  I then had to make the requisite “Shit I need flip flops so I can walk tomorrow” trip to CVS.

#2 – NYC has ten times as many cabs as it needs, but none of them will actually stop for you.  When you’re carrying your body weight in books, this can be incredibly frustrating, especially when it starts to rain and you realize that your umbrella is back at the hotel.  No wonder New Yorkers are stereotypically angry.

#3 – It’s best to take your own bag to BEA.  Exhibitors will give you bags, but bag check charges per item, so a giant duffel bag (or rolling suitcase, ideally) would be more economical.

#4 – Many of the publishers rotate ARC giveaways and signings every hour or two, so it’s a good idea to swing by at multiple points throughout the day.  The Macmillan booth is particularly nice.

#5 – The lines for a book signing from a popular author are longer than Soviet-era breadlines.  And yes, I did get a signed copy of the next Deborah Harkness novel.

#6 – Do not expect consistent (or existent) cell phone service in the Javits Center.

#7 – Everyone attending the conference got their business cards from Vistaprint.  Great minds think alike!  Also, I should probably get a nicer case for my business cards than the box that they came in for next year.

#8 – My BEA Roommate is not a zombie or an axe murderer.  Whew!


Categories: Other | Tags: , | 15 Comments

BEA Excursion, Arrival and The Strand

I got to NYC today around lunchtime, which gave me an excellent excuse to get some NYC pizza.  Both Geoff W and The Dungeon Master suggested that I check out The Strand, which is a huge bookstore boasting 18 miles of bookshelves.  I was impressed, and I picked up two books while I was there:

  • “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” by Steig Larsson
  • “Tom O’Bedlam” by Robert Silverberg

People have been recommending that I read “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” for a while now, so when I saw a copy for $0.48 I couldn’t very well pass it up.  I hadn’t heard of this particular Robert Silverberg book before today, but the cover seems intriguing and Silverberg is a good writer.

After I finished my wanderings, got settled at the hotel, and had some dinner, I went to a party at a bookstore that involved poetry readings, a banjo, and a guy eating crackers on stage.  It was very loud there, so I didn’t quite catch what the cracker-eating was supposed to symbolize, nor did I manage to hear much of the banjo.

The actual conference starts tomorrow morning.  I can’t wait!

Categories: Other | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

BEA Excursion, the Prologue

In around an hour I depart for Book Expo America in New York City.  I decided that I’m taking a break from groupreads this week because I’ll be very busy with the conference.  I’ll be back in the swing of things next week when I get back, and then I’ll pick up with a wrap-up post of Neverwhere and the next installment of Warbreaker.  In the meantime, I’m going to be posting updates about BEA on Twitter and hopefully also here.

My plan for today is to take a bus to NYC, wander the city a bit and get delicious NYC pizza, and then check into the hotel.  The conference itself begins tomorrow morning, so I’m hoping to spend some time exploring NYC and then to get a good night’s sleep before experiencing the biggest book event event of the year!

Categories: Fiction | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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