BEA Intro and Day 1 Recap

So, I attended #BEA14 this past weekend. And I say it so nonchalantly, because there is no way to adequately capture the experience in a legitimate sentence, so I have to toss it over my shoulder like it's not a big deal, knowing full well that it is in fact a HUGE deal, inherently de-legitimizing the sentence! Have I lost you yet? As you may or may not have noticed, this blog has been dreadfully dead since, well, September, and while I could explain to you that I have been writing things for the blog all this while, and you could totally not believe because if I was, why didn't I just post them, I figure, I'll skip all that and just say hello with a post of a different nature.

My lovely friend, Christina of Christina Reads YA, writes these convention recap posts all the time. While this is our first convention as actual attendees, we have volunteered at the Romantic Times Booklovers convention several times. She wonderfully sums up everything that she did or saw or got, and intersperses with these events, observations or interesting anecdotes about the things she witnessed. I don't write recap posts, because I often find that by the time I sit down to write them, there is so much running through my head, I have no idea what to focus on. But this time, I'm going to try, because this will likely be the only BEA I'll have the chance to attend for a while. Why? Allow me to casually drop another biggie: I'm moving to Japan to teach. I'll be in school when BEA is going on next year, so I'd like to be able to remember with excruciating detail what exactly this experience was like, because it was fabulous!

I admit my initial impression of the convention was less than stellar, for reasons that I will explain later, but overall, I had a fantastic time hanging with one of my besties (it was supposed to be two, but one of them, unfortunately, had an issue with her flight and couldn't make it), meeting some of her fellow bloggers, and, of course, being up to my ears in books!

I had a little bit more difficulty planning for the actual execution of BEA since I was already traveling before I headed to NYC, and I'd been forced into a smaller suitcase because the larger one broke last year (and I totally forgot to buy a new one). But Christina, B, and I planned this trip to death. Christina researched so many different bloggers' previous BEA experiences, perused who knows how many tip posts, and forwarded to us a steady stream advice. Bring a suitcase! Wear tennis shoes. Be prepared to crawl home on all fours at the end of the day—your feet will hurt that much. BEA is HUGE. Steel yourself against goodness knows how much crazy. Quite frankly, it sounded slightly like the publishing world's version of the Hunger Games. After reading all that, I was quite prepared to go to war in the aisles of the BEA show floor.

But honestly, it really wasn't anywhere near that bad.

Now I heard several BEA veterans remark that BEA this year was considerably calmer and tamer than in previous years, so maybe it really was something like a battle before, but this year was really enjoyable and pretty laid-back. And thanks to our battle plan, Christina and I went, saw, and conquered in a relatively pain-free fashion, and we got pretty much everything we wanted.

180ยบ of the main entrance hall of the Javits Center.
In celebration of that, consider this week: Recap of BEA Week, because I'm going to run through each day—what we did, what we got, what we learned, who we met, and, of course, what strange and unnecessary faces we made. Starting with…

Day 1: Wednesday (Blogger Con)
Christina and I did not attend Blogger Con. I, because, lol, can I really call myself a blogger right now? And Christina for reasons she explains on her own first BEA recap post. I took a bus to NYC from DC where I had been visiting friends, and arrived around noon. It just so happens that my bus let me out on the south side of the Javits center, so I got a good look at the size of the facility as I walked along it on my way to the hotel. It was a short 15 minute walk, made only slightly awkward by dragging a suitcase around, but other people were doing it, so it wasn't quite as weird as I thought it might be.

The Yotel is a very interesting place—a pod hotel on the edge of the theatre district. As such, our room was tiny, but we had a pretty spectacular view of the Hudson River and the Javits Center. There was a bit of a hiccup as I tried to get into our room, though, because Christina was asleep and my name was not on the guest list (because there hadn't been space for a third name when we originally booked our room), but I finally made it and dropped my stuff off, and then the two of us returned to the Javits Center and picked up our badges.

Christina and I getting our badges.
We couldn't really see or do much there, though, since they were still setting up the actual show floor, so after that, we headed into the city to a must-visit place whenever we are in NYC, the Strand. That took up most of the afternoon, as Christina and I greedily filled our arms with books and then found a corner to read in. It had been a long time since either of us had had a chance to relax in a bookstore. Despite the fact that we were going to receive a sizable amount of books over the coming days at BEA, Christina and I both left with a bag of books. 
Pure deliciousness @ Max Brenner

We had dinner at Max Brenner, a delicious chocolate bar, and then headed to Broadway to see Aladdin. I am an avid musical fan, but this was my first Broadway musical, and though I had heard mixed reviews about the show, I had a really wonderful time. Genie was every bit as amazing as I'd heard—hilarious and a wonderfully strong singer—Aladdin was great, I really loved his voice, and his friends, Belkak, Omar, and Kassim, who I initially was not so fond of, became some of my favorites. The song they sing when Aladdin meets Jasmine was definitely a highlight, as was their big song in the second act about adventure. I can't wait until the soundtrack comes out. every single song. It drove me so crazy, I had to switch seats during the intermission, because I couldn't focus on the actors' singing.
Really, everyone was great. The characters I was not as inspired by were Jasmine and Jafar (a shame since Jasmine was my favorite Disney princess growing up), but I was having such a great time that it didn't detract from my experience too much. What did, however, was the girl sitting next to me who felt the need to sing or hum "under her breath"

After that, we headed back to the Yotel and finalized our plans for the following day. Exhausted, but tingling with anticipation, I fell into a rather unsatisfying sleep.

Well that wraps up day one. Expect a recap a day with a BEA tips post on Friday. As always, feel free to connect with me in the comments or via email or any of my other social networking sites!


Did you get to go to BEA this year? If so, what was your experience like? If not, did you have any questions I can answer for you? Were there any books at BEA that you were beyond excited for?
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