In Person

Back from BEA

By posted at 6:14 pm on June 3, 2007 0

A whirlwind weekend in steamy NYC has drawn to a close. Somehow this year I managed to spend even less time than last year on the BEA floor, but as usual the real action was elsewhere. For example, Thursday night’s LBC party was quite an affair. Garth and Noah were along for the ride, and, with our superior numbers we were able to meet and chat up quite a few folks. It was good to see Mark, Sarah, Ed, Bud, Dan, Anne, the folks from LitMinds, Carolyn (who took pictures), Jessica, Megan, Levi, James Marcus, and likely several other bloggers who I’m forgetting. We also met the NYer’s James Surowiecki, and someone pointed Colson Whitehead out to me.

Garth and I dragged ourselves out to BEA Friday morning. After some drama in the press office (“What do you mean I’m not registered!?”), I got to meet Garth’s publisher for his forthcoming book. We also hit the booths for a number of our favorite indie houses. Some of the bigger publishers had free books on hand, but mostly their booths were like crowded movie theater lobbies: plush carpet on the floor and flashy posters on the walls. We also hit the NBCC’s “Ethics in Book Reviewing” panel, about which more in a future post.

After lunch with several of the bloggers, Garth and I couldn’t bring ourselves to return to the convention, and we never would. However, after an afternoon spent recharging, we were ready to hit the party in Brooklyn being thrown by A Public Space, Soft Skull, and others. The music was loud and the bar was open. Garth introduced me to a number of his colleagues on the Brooklyn literary scene, and I also ran into an old friend from my Book Soup days. When the beer ran out, a band of us headed over to a party (secret password “boiled peanuts”) being thrown by cookbook luminaries, Matt and Ted Lee. There we noshed on the aforementioned peanuts, spotted Colson Whitehead again, and had a few more gratis beverages. After this, we hightailed it over to the Village to watch the multi-talented Noah play in his band, which is headed up by old friend Colin Steel.

Garth and I ended the night in the wee hours with a long walk back over the Brooklyn Bridge. Waking up late on Saturday morning, little thought was given to returning to the convention, and I spent the rest of the weekend recuperating and relaxing.

A quick observation: whereas last year blogs were new and strange, this time around they seemed to have fully accepted and assimilated into the publishing behemoth. Nobody that I met at the convention or the parties batted an eye at the bloggers.

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