BEA 2016: The Cool Kids

May 16, 2016 BEA 2016 39

Happy Monday Bookworms!

As you know, I attended Book Expo America (or BEA for those who do not like to type out full words) last week. That’s part of the reason for my blog silence (that and laziness), but if you follow me on any social media you likely got an eyeful. I decided to break up my experience into multiple posts because I have a lot to say and I don’t want you to fall asleep reading and miss any exclamations of joy. HAVE YOU HAD COFFEE?

This was at the Penguin Random House booth. I got way too excited about it. I'm not sorry.

This was at the Penguin Random House booth. I got way too excited about it. I’m not sorry.

I mentioned this in several posts leading up to the event, but I was hella nervous about BEA. My plans morphed a several times and during the metamorphosis some of the people I was internet closest with (Andi who would have been my roomie, and also Rory) ended up not being able to attend. So I was going to go to an event with people I knew in internet passing, but more on an acquaintance level than a “let’s get matching tattoos” level. Not that I want to get a matching tattoo with anyone. Or a tattoo at all, probably. But you get my drift.

Just kidding. They're temporary.

Just kidding. They’re temporary.

So I did what I do best. I wrote an extremely awkward “please be my friend” post in a Facebook group for book bloggers who would be attending the convention and made plans to meet up with some people. Every single person I met was gracious and kind, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t give some shout outs to my main posse. That’s right, I said posse!

From Left: Marisa from The Daily Dosage, Julie from JulzReads, Yours Truly, and Stacey from Unruly Reader

From Left: Marisa from The Daily Dosage, Julie from JulzReads, Yours Truly, and Stacey from Unruly Reader.

Julie, bless her heart, is the most organized person on planet earth who also happens to know all the things about commuting into Chicago from the suburbs (which is where I ended up staying with my parents. Extra thanks to Dad for train station drop offs and pickups.) She shepherded me and my fellow commuter Marisa around Union Station and is about as obsessed with Alice in Wonderland as I am with penguins. There’s a bond there, people. (I will tell you more about her mad organizational skills later probably, because WHOA.)

What should you know about Marisa? First, her name is pronounced like Theresa, but with an M. Second, she is incredibly sweet and warm and good humored. She loves short stories and laughs at my terrible jokes. She is also smart enough to heed Julie’s advice to bring and check a rolling suitcase for her books (which I am not.)

We all hung out beyond commuting, of course, but things get nuts when you hit that floor (particularly if you have a flipping spreadsheet schedule, cough cough Julie.) Thus, Stacey became my main partner in crime on the expo floor. I LOVE HER SO MUCH. She’s a librarian, and if you want to know just how creepy I am, I’ve always wanted a librarian as a friend. I got VERY excited when I found out one of my co-workers was dating a librarian and expressed my desire to become her best friend. As a result, she has avoided all office occasions in the history of ever. Probably because of me. But Stacey wasn’t weirded out by me! We talked about books and meandered and suggested reading to each other. I wrote down none of her suggestions because I didn’t bring a pen (I KNOW!) and I am the worst. She wrote down mine because she is smart and thoughtful. I have her digits now, though, so I can text her and be like “who was that writer you said I should read that is utterly heartwarming?” She will probably be like “Katie, that is like asking me for the book with the blue cover, you should know better!” And I will be like, “You are my favorite.”


Me and Julie and Kim!

I feel like I should be getting played off the stage at the Oscars with a giant list of thank yous, but I’ve got more people to mention. I met Kim and Florinda first thing on day one (oh and they are the best best best!!!) and they helped to put my nerves right at ease. The Facebook group organized a Blogger Happy Hour the first night and it was SUCH fun. I met all kinds of bloggers like Kerry, Shannon, Julianne, April, Catherine, Janani, Rachel, Jenna, Kristen, Heather, Annie, Dawn, Beth and probably other people I am not remembering because my mind is a sieve. I facetimed Andi while at this event because OF COURSE I DID. So basically she was there too. I later met Shaina (who is as sweet as pie) and Michelle (who is a stealth ninja and hard to track down).

And then there was my blogger fan girl moment. I met Alice from Reading Rambo! I’ve long admired her blog and was sure that she’d be much too busy and important to chat with me. But she wasn’t! She complimented my accessories and there was charming banter (on her part, my banter was awkward and I probably avoided eye contact because I’m shifty when nervous.) It confirmed all my suspicions that book people are the best people. I’m going to close the love fest now because this is post is ridiculous. I promise to tell you more about my actual conference experience later. I had to get the gushing out of my system first. Whew.

If you click on any of the names mentioned, you’ll get to check out some amazing blogs. You totally should because these folks are legitimately awesome, online and off. 


39 Responses to “BEA 2016: The Cool Kids”

  1. Megan M.

    Ugh, this sounds like so much fun and I am eternally jealous of you for getting to attend this kind of thing. I’m so glad you met great people and weren’t forced to wander around, awkward and alone, like I probably would have. Can’t wait to hear more!

    • Words For Worms

      You would NOT have wandered alone, that’s why it was so cool! You’d have been enveloped in luuuuuuuuuuurve. By me, at the very least.

    • Words For Worms

      You are just as adorable in person as you are online. I think the internet needed to know that. And your spectacle game is unparalleled.

    • Words For Worms

      I did have fun! I’d have loved it if EVERYONE AWESOME could have attended, so I could have met you, but the universe will never be a fair place.

    • Words For Worms

      Yessss! And I’m glad I got to hug you even though I am a bonehead and met you without connecting that I knew you. People should have just been forced to wear their twitter handles on name tags. Because some of us are terrible at synapse firing.

  2. Julie Merilatt

    Squee! I’m an OCD celebrity! Miss you already and I am so grateful to have you as a friend to share this awesome experience with…

  3. Unruly Reader

    Oh my land — so much fun! Extremely delighted to meet you in person and hang out with you during the book gathering expedition of a lifetime.

  4. florinda3rs

    I’m so glad you had such a great first BEA experience (and that I got to help a little tiny bit), It was great getting to know you–and to geek out over penguins!

    • Words For Worms

      Thank YOU for being so fun and welcoming! What a relief to have you, Kim, Marisa, and Julie be the first people I met. And geeking out over penguins is my jam.

  5. Jenny @ Reading the End

    OH YOU MET ALICE! Well see there you go, that is basically like meeting me. (no it’s not, we’re super different, but we talk a lot, so.) I am going to ask Alice about you tomorrow and discover everything that she thought about you. I bet she will say 100 nice things.

    • Words For Worms

      Oh my gosh I love her. If she tells you I decided to declare myself “Lady Fiction,” like, as a title? Don’t believe her. That definitely did not happen. (Okay. It did.)

    • Words For Worms

      Also, I’m having anxiety about this now. Did this conversation happen? Do you now know FOR SURE that I’m not nearly as charming in person as I am on the internet?

  6. Catherine

    Katie, it was awesome to see your fabulous smile in person! And kudos for getting this post up- my brain is still so much like Swiss cheese I can hardly write. And I cannot remember everyone I met!

    • Words For Worms

      I tried taking notes after I got home from Happy Hour but I’m sure I forgot people. It was all such fun but a whirlwind and major sensory overload!

  7. Marisa@TheDailyDosage

    Hi. It’s Theresa with an “M” here – Meeting you in person was a highlight and now every time I read your posts I hear your voice and see your face and it’s great! Yes, Julie was like the mother hen and kept things going when my brain was mush and feet wouldn’t work.

    • Words For Worms

      LOL, that’s how my flower shop friend Meresa (diff spelling, same pronunciation) explained how to say her name. Except that I wore a name tag that said “Stella” and she wore one that said “Delores” when we were waiting on customers. I rather enjoyed confusing people who thought they recognized me.

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