Monday, May 16, 2016

BookExpo America Chicago

I'm not much of a traveler so when I heard BEA was moving to Chicago I  had no plans of going. But at the start of the year I had a change of heart and decided going to Chicago would be a bit of an adventure

Day 1: Arrival 

Kat and I arrived in Chicago early and navigated our way from O'Hare to our hotel on the train. We didn't get to see much of the city but already I was getting a feel for it. Our hotel was down by Columbia College and  it felt like a larger version of the liberal arts city college I went to.  I was no stranger to witnessing an art student skateboard by while holding on to canvas

After an eyeliner shopping emergency we grabbed a quick lunch at Al's Italian Beef  and went to McCormick Place to pick up our press passes. We didn't hit the floor or anything but we did run into Alyssa, founder
of and Classy with the Illinois chapter

Day 2 : Attending BookExpo

We sat down for breakfast at Yolk and arrived at BEA  a little after the floor opened. We got a feel for the floor set up then I went off to the YA Editor's Buzz panel. I was sold on each and every book presented.

Kat went to stand in line for Audrey Coulthurst's Of Fire and Stars, this book was on our 16 Books We Want to Read so it was great to get an advanced copy. While in line Kat said a quick hi to Alison from AlisonCanRead and Girls in Capes who made a great point that, despite the long line, this book didn't have a big marketing presence at BEA.

Kat and I spent the rest of they day exploring the floor and talking to publicity people. I got to meet Jessica from A Great Read Amber from Du Livre and Nikki from Take Me Away. We have been following them for a while and it was fun to meet bloggers IRL.

Now one of the reason I went to BEA was because I've always wanted to meet Laini Taylor. I didn't see where she was signing but by chance I ran into her on the exhibit floor, she seemed  really chill and didn't mind snapping a picture.

We left the floor early to head to the Navy Pier where we made the obligatory  Divergent references and had a deep dish at Giordano's. It was good, but next time we want to try Lou Malnatti's. We ended the Navy Pier trip with a visit to Margaritaville, where we got some drinks to sip on at the pier.

On the way back to our hotel we hopped off the bus to see Cloud Gate or "The Bean" in Millennium Park. It was super tourist-y but so fun !

Day 3: More BEA

This was a bit of a slow day for us. Kat was excited to get a copy of one of James Patterson's  Bookshots from Hachette. They are supposed to be cinematic, short-unputdownable reads for non-readers so we shall see.

We spent sometime talking to Sophia from Harlequin who works
.Love the Book Riot Podcast

with bloggers. She was so excited to show us what they had coming up and even gave us a blogger gift bag ! I visited the HarperCollins booth and said hello to Susan from Wastepaper Prose.

 The highlight of the day came when we were leaving and we saw Jeff and Rebecca from Book Riot. If it weren't for Rebecca's purple hair I might not have recognized them. It was so weird seeing the faces with the voices and I'm not sure what we said to them but I feel like I may have been too adamant about adding Tessa Dare to their romance recs,  but they were super nice and Jeff is so tall !

After BEA Kat and I explored Wicker Park and stopped by Volumes Bookcafe--I really wish we had this in Richmond.  It rained for the better half of the evening but we had a great dinner at Nookie's Tree in Boystown with Classy, Alyssa, Amber, Nikki and  Tamara from Shelf Addiction. We talked BEA, books and blogging. It left me feeling energized to start blogging and collaborating more.

Day 4: BookCon

Kat and I are going to blog more about BookCon but I decided to go "observe and report" on the happenings. I took my time getting there and mostly stuck to the floor. Unlike BEA security was on point and it was odd seeing families navigate the floor. We spent some time wandering and took a picture with Kendare Blake whose book ,Three Crowns, I picked up at BEA. We just attended the Tig Notaro panel and then headed to the airport, just in time to get caught up in a two hour TSA line. . . but that's another story

All in all this was one of the best BEAs. I'll end this post with the quote Anne Bogel ends her What Should I Read Next podcast with: "Ah, how good it is to be around people who are reading."

Jess , Kat

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