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First Day of #BEA2015

May 27, 2015

I feel like I’ve been grinning pretty much nonstop for days, weeks, even. I’m having a blast and learning at my new job as an Actual Academic Librarian. (More on that in future when I figure out how to write about it with the right mix of delighted and oblique.) And then it was my birthday, and that was delicious and great. And now it is the Book Expo! I’m an old hand, by this point. I have my Massive Bag to collect books, and the heady mix of books I’m looking forward to and the knowledge that there are books I don’t know about yet that will be amazing! (I’m trying to be discerning, and not get too caught up in the glee of acquiring new books. Trying! Really!)

BEA Essentials: comfy shoes, my business card, pockets, a big bag, a list of books I covet, the pedometer I wear to entertain myself with how many miles I prowl the exhibit hall. And snacks. Snacks are essential, both to bring, and to know where to find.

hugging a copy of the White Ghost

The new Billy Boyle!

Even more than new books, BEA is about the delight of seeing familiar faces and old friends. I’ve built a sense of certain publishers and imprints that have great titles, whether they’re books I’ve anticipated, or books I didn’t know I absolutely needed to read. My first stop on the show floor was Soho Books, publisher of the Billy Boyle mysteries by James Benn. I got my hands on the latest installment, The White Ghost, and hope I wasn’t too alarming of an exuberant fangirl, blithering about my fondness for Billy Boyle and James Benn at the nice publicist working the Soho Booth. In addition to writing a series of my consistent favorite mysteries, James Benn is a librarian. And very, very kind soul, both in person and on social media.

Hilary and I connected on the floor after a bit of phone tag. I rely on Hilary for her sense of direction, and her unerring ability to find both galleys and tasty snacks. Although both of us were thrown- they moved things around this year, like the Librarians’ Lounge and the Autographing Booths.This map from Quirk may not be entirely inaccurate.

Hilary and I went to a presentation about upcoming mysteries and thrillers, including a promisingly twisted murder mystery set at a college, and what sounds like a funny buddy-detective mystery set in Texas (the presenter referenced “Moonstruck.) We met up with Kaite Stover, my favorite librarian from my favorite library I’ve never been to, in Kanas City. Kaite is wonderful, and being under her wing is a blessing. She knows just about everyone in libraryland at BEA, and has a great eye for titles and authors that shouldn’t be missed. Having Kaite, and Kansas City, as my sort of “sister library,” delights me.

It bears repeating: one of the main reasons I went to library school and pursued a career as a librarian is having met librarians at BEA, and wanting to be part of their conversations and their welcoming, delightful community.

From there, it was on to the Mystery and Thriller panel, where I learned about new books, by authors whose backlist I haven’t read yet: The Dead Student by John Katzenbach (death at a college study group! Sounds good!) Irish mysteries by Stuart Neville, and The Do-Right, by Lisa Sandlin, which had me at “a relationship ‘similar to Moonlighting‘” and the fact that the editor let us know where cookies and beer could be had after the presentation.

Fortified with cookies and beer, (thank you, nice Texan editor!) we took ourselves to the Editors Buzz panel. After listening to presentations about dysfunctional family memoir, fractured marriages, psychological thrillers and murders in New York, I am forced to conclude that the Editors and I are clearly buzzing to different frequencies. Where is the buzz about historical fiction, foodie lit, books that make me smile, and not weep into their spines over the tragedy of the human condition?

Having filled my giant tote bag to the brim, and looking forward to two more days of bookish frolic, I know that I won’t be hurting for books to buzz about in the next few days. As usual, the book list will be a separate post.



2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 28, 2015 5:56 am

    I miss my days as a librarian. Someday I will traverse back to the stacks, to the land shelving and searching for knowledge. Congrats and hope you enjoy your noble and notable vocation.

  2. DonaldPeebles permalink
    May 28, 2015 9:24 pm

    Hi Elizabeth! I am thinking about going to BEA for the first time ever. I loved your blog entry about it. Will you be there tomorrow? Maybe I will run into you. Is there an entrance fee? Please let me know.

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