So let’s talk about my BEA/BookCon trip or that time I think I went to Chicago but couldn’t tell with all the convention walls surrounding me. That may sound a bit dramatic but it’s really pretty accurate. Honestly it sometimes feels like it was all a dream. I guess that’s what pictures are for, right?
Even though I felt like I lived in McCormick Place for those four days I did see glimpses of Chicago over the course of my trip. I stayed the first three nights with a friend from college who lived north of downtown and I took the train in Wednesday and Thursday. That was essentially my sight seeing tour along with my drive to the hotel Friday morning and some food runs.
On the subject of food, I definitely did get to taste the Chicago experience. I had deep dish pizza from Lou Malnatti’s which was alright but I was never going to be a real fan. When it comes to pizza, I’m a traditionalist. We also ate at Giordano’s one night. I had some cheap authentic Mexican food from a corner shop by my friend’s flat and the next night fajitas from La Cantina Grill which blew me away. Even the hotel restaurant sandwich I had was delightful.
I definitely need to go back to Chicago so I can do some more sightseeing. I want to take in the architecture, the parks, see The Bean for real. Chicago made me miss public transportation and I would never want to drive around that town frequently with so much traffic. Luckily the drive in isn’t horrible so hopefully more adventures to come on that front.
By far the best part of this trip had to be the people I got to meet! Luckily I ran into some blogger girls before the event even started and hanging out with Brittany (Book Rambles), Stefani (Caught Read Handed), Michelle (Dreaming of Alba), and Melanie (One Less Lonely Blog) was such a delight. We spent so much time together, laughing to the point of tears, and it just felt so right.
I also have to shout some other wonderful people I met like Ava (Bookishness and Tea) who was just the sweetest, Michella who braved those early BookCon lines with us, and Sarah (The YA Book Traveler) who I got to see again! It’s so easy to bond with strangers over the books we love and this trip was full of those moments.
Also all the love to my friend Em for welcoming me into her city and flat for a few days. It was great to catch up with each other, just chatting away despite how tired and busy we both were.
Without these wonderful human beings, we wouldn’t have the books we’ve come to adore and I was so impressed with how they handled themselves despite a stressful atmosphere like BEA/BookCon. Signing for so long has got to be taxing but every author I met was kind and welcoming with a smile on their face. Here’s a list of the amazing writers I met:
Leigh Bardugo, Marissa Meyer, Maggie Stiefvater, Ransom Riggs, Tahereh Mafi, Laini Taylor, Kerri Maniscalco, Jay Kristoff, Amie Kaufman, Adam Silvera, Sarah Porter, Nicola Yoon, etc.
This was my first ever convention and despite reading up on past events and seeing pictures and videos I was totally not prepared for the actual Book Expo America/BookCon experience. There is just so much going on, all at the same time, and it’s a constant rush of moving from one place to another. Thankfully I had some vets who steered me in the right direction.
This event is all about the authors, the books, the publishing industry and it was exactly where I belonged. Book drops, signings, publishing events, panels. This common bond bringing us all together brought me such wonderful joy. I was with my people, celebrating the things I love most. It was right where I needed to be. The only thing I wish I had done more of was attend a couple more panels.
It’s definitely a draining event, spending so many hours on your feet, lugging books around in a gazillion totes. The adrenaline makes you forget about basic necessities and time flies by so quickly regardless of how long you’ve been waiting around. That being said I would without a doubt do it again. I had such an amazing time, meeting new people, talking about books. It’s my greatest passion.
Now to the whole point of BEA/BookCon, those wonderfully bound pages of the written word. Beforehand I made a list of all the titles I was interested in and for the most part I stuck to it. I certainly didn’t go crazy when it came to ARCs but think I acquired a great selection of highly anticipated titles to ones that piqued my curiosity.
As a library associate and book blogger these ARCs will be used for reviews and recommendations for purchasing. Any titles I don’t keep on my shelves will go to my library and be used for the Teen Book Club.
I also picked up quite a lot of swag. Now I just need to find places in my room to put it all.
All in all, my trip to Chicago for BEA/BookCon was everything I could have hoped for and more. I’m so glad I got to meet so many wonderful people who share my same passions and bask in the glory of all the books.
So have you attended BEA/BookCon before? Any other big book events I need to check out? What upcoming titles are you most excited for? Let me know in the comments below!