For much of the last few months, I've been in a reading slump. I wish I could say why, but there's really no good reason - do slumps ever really have a true cause? Anyway, I'm slowly digging my way out of it, and just in time, as another Book Expo America is now, uh, on the books.
Book Expo always makes me feel so optimistic...I've gotten all these books, I think to myself, and I'm actually going to READ them all! That rarely happens -- my intentions are good, but my follow-through is lacking -- but I still wouldn't miss it. Even if I don't ever make my BEA-related reading goals, it's incredibly valuable to me, both personally and professionally, to see what people are excited about reading and just to be in the company of so many people who love books and, like me, spend their lives with them and around them.
Most years, there's at least one title that I'm desperate to get my hands on, or an author I'm anxious to meet, but this year there wasn't anything that jumped off the page at me, so to speak. Which was kind of nice, actually -- it made me feel like I could take things at a more leisurely pace and not rush around to get into certain lines at certain times. Still, though, I did have my galley list (thanks, as always, to Library Journal for the galley guide!) and managed to get my hands on most of the things that interested me. And there were, of course, plenty of things that weren't on my list but caught my eye. Here's my pile (or most of it, anyway) from my two days. Some things for me, some for others, some for the library. I was pretty selective in what I picked up and I think I did a decent job of not overdoing it. (In addition to the books, of course, there are all the bookmarks, oh so many tote bags, nailpolish (advertising a book about manicures), a sippy cup (advertising a board book about adult beverages), and the requisite naughty things from the erotica publishers.)
I also, like many others, have a conference tradition of pictures with whatever wacky things are wandering the conference floor -- Elvis, Oscar the Grouch, the dummy from the "For Dummies" books...This year, there was Bad Kitty (though that picture seems to reside on my BEA-pal Heather's phone) and, more importantly, everyone's favorite intergalactic bounty hunter.
Saturday was Reed Expo's first ever "BookCon" and...well, it was something. I won't go on at length about it but I will say that it was way too crowded (this picture hints at the crowds but doesn't really do them justice) and I was VERY glad that I had a "professional" badge and could go anywhere on the show floor rather than being confined to the BookCon section. I don't mind crowds as a general rule, but BookCon was making me feel seriously claustrophobic and anxious.
Don't get me wrong -- it was WONDERFUL to see so many people, especially tweens and teens, so excited about books and reading and authors, but the crowd seemed far FAR too large for the space allocated to it and that section of the show floor basically became completely unnavigable as well as basically useless for any kind of professional browsing or conversation. My perennial BEA companions Heather and Jennifer and I stuck to the non-BookCon part of the show floor (which was practicaly devoid of people) and had a calm, relaxed experience. I even got to go home with an armload of dictionaries, thanks to being at the Merriam-Webster booth at the right time. (Maybe this wouldn't be exciting to anyone else, but it made this word nerd VERY happy. Merriam-Webster's Visual Dictionary may well be the book I have always longed for without knowing it.)
All in all, it was a fun and productive two days -- and who knows? Maybe I'll actually make a decent dent in that big to-be-read pile: less than two weeks out, and I've already finished three books, which, considering that aforementioned reading slump, is AMAZING. Yay books!