In my previous recap posts, I talked about what I did pre-show before the official start of BookExpo as well as what happened on Day 1 (Wednesday). Day 2 (Thursday) for me was the first full day of the expo and it was certainly a busy and fun day.
My coworker Stevie and I walked from our hotel to the Javits Center. I brought along an empty suitcase to be stored in the coat check throughout the day. We arrived at the Javits at 7 AM, an hour before the doors were scheduled to open, and there was already a considerable line waiting to get into the building.
Thankfully, the doors opened around 7:45 and we were allowed inside. Stevie got in line for ticketed signings and I headed to the coat check to drop off my suitcase, which was quick and easy. Then I headed to the main stage to stand in line for the Adult Book & Author Breakfast. We had the cheap seats, meaning we weren’t in the tabled seating, but rather the “theater” seating behind the tables. The view from back there wasn’t great, but I was still so excited to see everyone on the panel! (Please excuse these extremely grainy pics, aka the view from the cheap seats.)
BookExpo’s event director, Brien McDonald, introduced Stephen and Owen King, who spoke briefly about their upcoming collaboration, Sleeping Beauties. I wished that they could have spoken at length, but was still pleased to see them in person.
The breakfast was moderated by comedian Whitney Cummings, who has a book coming out in the fall. It was definitely too early in the morning for some of the jokes she made in front of this type of audience. (It was just awkward to hear about erections and anal at 8:30 AM as the audience uncomfortably but politely laughed.)
Claire Messud, author of The Burning Girl, spoke next.
After that was astronaut Scott Kelly, who I totally geeked out over! I had planned on going to his in-booth signing later that day, but when I took my seat for the panel, we had signed samples of his book on our chairs. So I figured I probably wouldn’t go to his signing, but I still wanted to walk past the booth and take a good pic of him. More on that later, though!
Next up was Jesmyn Ward, author of Sing, Unburied, Sing.
Completing the panel was Pete Souza, former White House chief photographer for President Obama, who has a book coming out later this year. He shared a slideshow of photos from his time with the President, which I loved. He was also pretty funny and made lots of jabs at the current administration.
After the panel ended, we grabbed copies of the books that were available (I got The Burning Girl and Sing, Unburied, Sing). Then we walked the show floor for the first time.
One of the first publisher booths I went into was Macmillan, where this awesome “bride” was handing out tote bags to promote The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder. I took a bag and it ended up being my favorite tote bag of the whole expo—I was able to carry so much in there!
I found the mothership, aka the Harlequin booth. Unfortunately, I didn’t attend any signings in this booth since the majority of the authors were non-romance, but I walked past it quite a few times to see if they were having any good giveaways.
The Sourcebooks booth had an awesome romance display!
Several of the other publishers on my “booths to visit” list were pretty close to each other: HarperCollins, Hachette, Penguin Random House, and Entangled, to name a few. I made note of the different events and giveaways that were posted in each booth.
The next panel I attended was Meet Adult Buzz Authors, which featured the authors of the books from Wednesday’s buzz panel. I briefly popped into this talk but didn’t stay for the whole thing since I had heard about all the books the previous day.
Depending on the sessions we had going on, Stevie and I would split up but other times, we’d walk the show floor together. At one point, we were browsing booths when I heard a bit of a squeal and a voice say, “Tote in the wild! Tote in the wild!” I looked around me and it was a well-dressed man who pointed at my tote and said, “That’s my book!” It was Grant Ginder, author of The People We Hate at the Wedding! Someone standing nearby said we should take a pic together, so we did!
He was lovely and genuinely excited to see his tote out in the wild. 🙂 I looked for ARCs of his book but didn’t see any available, so I’ve requested it on NetGalley. It was just released on June 6!
During our wanderings, we happened upon an in-booth signing with Dusti Bowling, author of the middle-grade book Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus. I got my copy signed and plan on reading it mostly because the author was so nice (and the book sounds interesting, too)!
At this point, I had started to acquire quite a few books in my aforementioned tote, so I decided to deposit them in the coat check. That room was packed! It was a little harrowing wrangling my suitcase, but I managed to get my books deposited. At some point later, Stevie and I collected my bag and we took a cab back to the hotel so that I could drop it off. The Hillary event was scheduled for 6 PM, so I wouldn’t have been able to pick up my bag at 5 when the coat check closed, which is why I went ahead and picked it up during lunch.
We ate lunch outside the Javits, but the restaurant was so busy and slow that I was afraid I’d miss Scott Kelly at 2. But we made it in time for me to take some pics of him signing more samplers of his memoir, Endurance.
I decided not to stand in line for his signing, even though I would have loved to meet him. I guess I figured I didn’t want to be greedy because I already had his sampler? Also, I had no clue what to say to him, so I was content just to take pics.
After Scott Kelly, I headed over to catch a glimpse of Amy Tan, who was signing chapbooks of her memoir, Where the Past Begins. Again, I was happy just to admire her from afar and take pics.
I prowled the show floor quite a bit more, spotting authors and celebrities, visiting booths, and picking up a few more ARCs. I must have wandered around for about an hour, because I ended up back at the booth where Scott Kelly had just wrapped up his signing. As I navigated the walkway, it was a bit crowded and I accidentally bumped into someone with my elbow. I turned and saw that it was Scott Kelly! I sort of ran away at that point, haha. He didn’t even notice or acknowledge me, but inside I was dying because OMG I just touched an astronaut.
Before we knew it, it was almost 4:30 and time to line up for the Hillary event. But before that, I rushed over to the Macmillan booth to see if I could get a copy of B. A. Paris’ book, The Breakdown, for my coworker back home. I had told her I’d try to get it signed, but that signing started at 4:30, which is when we had to line up for Hillary. Thankfully, the Macmillan rep gave me an unsigned galley, which I was very grateful for.
Even though the event was scheduled for 6, there was a sizable number of people ahead of us when we got in line around 4:45. We stood in line for a while before they let us into the main stage seating area. We scored some decent seats near the front (but behind reserved seating and off to the side a bit).
Just before she came out onstage, it was announced that author Cheryl Strayed would be interviewing her and the crowd let out an audible, “Oooh,” which was funny. The talk was recorded and livestreamed on C-SPAN’s Book TV, which you can watch on their site.
The Hillary talk was fantastic. She discussed obvious topics such as the election and its aftermath, as well as her hopes and plans for the future. She promoted her forthcoming memoir, of course, but also discussed the importance of books and literacy in the current political climate. She was more candid than I expected she would be, which was refreshing. She also got in quite a few jabs at the current administration.
Just before the end of the talk, we were told that Hillary had left a surprise for us at the door, which we collected as we filed out:
Signed bookplate from HRC! Really signed, too—that’s not a stamp!
It was a lovely talk and a great way to end our first full day of BookExpo. I was pretty tired but energized by the day’s events and had a decent number of galleys collected from the day.
Day 2 galleys. No stampeding required.
In my next post, I’ll recap Day 3, which was our final day at the expo. Day 3 was filled with some exciting interactions. Stay tuned. 🙂