(For my recap of Thursday, check here!)
Well, after the insanity that was the first day, I was already completely exhausted. Luckily I didn’t have any ticketed authors to wake up super early for this time, only having to be there early enough for the Children’s Book & Author breakfast at 8am. (Okay, that’s still pretty early.) Hosted by Academy-award winning actress, and now author of a new children’s book, Octavia Spencer introduced and welcomed the three guest speakers at the breakfast: Mary Pope Osbourne, Rick Riordan and Veronica Roth. The tabled seating was up towards the front, with the regular single seating in the back. We were greeted with copies of Veronica Roth’s Divergent (the gorgeous paperback version!), The Case of the Time Capsule Bandit by Octavia Spencer and an orange or purple Heroes of Olympus tee. The table had a few mugs as well but not enough for everyone at the table and I didn’t catch what the graphic was on it but I’d imagine it was for Mary Pope Osbourne’s books.
All four of the authors were so vivacious and eloquent, sharing great anecdotes and words of wisdom. At one point, Mary Pope Osbourne shared letters she has received from young fans with messages ranging from “You are a genius of tomorrow” to ones asking her to send them some free books because they’ve asked for it. Rick Riordan is such a fantastic and hilarious speaker. He said that people often ask if he gets nervous and he tells them no because he used to teach. “Writing is a lot like teaching. It should be a dialogue not a lecture.” I loved that quote. He also says that often people think his name is Percy Jackson! Veronica Roth shared some really genuine and heartfelt tips on her journey to becoming a writer. She had temporarily lost her love of reading and she went from “I want to learn” to “I already know”. She went through a phase of being ashamed of the books she loved (ie. Harry Potter) and read books that she “should” like. Her readers have revived her love of reading and she has learned how to take reviews – good or bad. It’s humbling and one must be willing to learn. You can either wallow in bitterness or get over it and get to work. Best line: “Humility is freedom.”
Once that fantastic breakfast was over, Jenn (Lost in a Great Book), Jen (The Misbehavin’ Librarian) and I headed over to the Speed Dating for Booksellers/Librarians/Book Club Leaders. This was such an amazing idea for a segment. There were 21 publisher representatives and a number of tables with about 6 people at each table. Each rep had 9 minutes per table to talk about their hot books for the upcoming season before the gong sounded and a new publisher would sit down with their selection of books. There was a lot of speed-writing on the printouts that were available to the pre-registered attendees (we had to sign up prior to BEA for a spot at the tables). Our table had visits with reps from Bloomsbury, Hachette, Harper Perennial, Harlequin Mira, Berkley, OtherPress and NAL, Picador, Simon & Schuster, Sourcebooks & TeenReads.com (mix of teen reads from Scholastic, HarperCollins, LittleBrown, Simon & Schuster, Algonquin) The tables also had an assortment of some of the books that were being discussed and it was such a great way to discover so many more books that I wanted to read. A few standouts that were presented to us included The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon and The Returned by Jason Mott. I’ll do a better summary of the hot books when my BEA box is delivered some time in the next few days since I packed the info booklet in there!
Once this was over, I had a bit of time to wander before the signing for Victoria Schwab and Matthew Inman. I did want to stop by and get my copy of The Case of the Time Capsule Bandit signed by Octavia, so I swung by for that. Thankfully the line-up moved fairly quickly (since personalizations and posed photographs weren’t allowed). I walked around for a bit before seeing a message from Ardo (A Wordsmith) that she was going to line up for Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl! I didn’t even realize she was signing at BEA so of course I headed right for the Macmillan booth where the line up was already incredibly long, circling 3 sides of the perimeter of the booth, and then doubling back for an outer 3 sides! Definitely worth the long wait though. Rainbow was so gracious and totally remembered Ardo from their twitter conversations!
I think it was at this point that we made our way down to get some much-needed food, devouring a delicious pulled pork sandwich with a side of macaroni and cheese. Really, I had a craving for mac & cheese but I didn’t think the “side” would be enough. It was quite plentiful and while the prices are a bit high, Big Georges Bar-B-Que was delicious. After nourishing ourselves fully, we decided to check out the line-up situation with Victoria Schwab’s signing. Talk about a massive line already! And this was about an hour before her scheduled time! I think it wrapped around 4 times by the time we were in line. Luckily though, we spotted Emily (Red House Books), Ottawa bloggers Kathy (A Glass of Wine) & Jess (Read My Breath Away), as well as met Steph (Cuddlebuggery) and -in hindsight – Rachel (Rachel Reads) while waiting! It was so lovely to say hello and meet Victoria, picking up a copy of her new book Vicious.
Right after Victoria’s signing, I zipped down a nearby aisle to get in line for Matthew Inman’s signing of his new book My Dog; The Paradox: A Lovable Discourse of Man’s Best Friend. You may know Matthew from his hilarious online webcomics on The Oatmeal. I love his witty, crazy, sometimes-manic comics and was actually quite surprised how soft spoken and shy he seemed.
Our last stop for the day would be the panel moderated by Margot of Epic Reads where 5 YA authors would discuss “Realistic Fiction” and whether that’s the next hot genre in YA. The authors on the panel were Robyn Schneider (The Beginning of Everything), Katie Cotugno (How To Love), Corey Ann Haydu (OCD Love Story) and Suzanne Young & Cat Patrick (Just Like Fate) and all had really interesting points to discuss about realistic fiction. All were fairly in agreement that realistic fiction didn’t necessarily go away, but thanks to John Green, there’s been a revival of interest in it. They like realistic fiction because it’s nice for readers to have characters they can genuinely relate to. And with the question of whether they think “realistic fiction” is the same as “contemporary fiction”, most believed so however Robyn brought up a great point that it’s not necessarily the case. The example she gives, Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park, isn’t contemporary but it’s certainly realistic. Corey Ann would love to see more realistic fiction in a series, and more genre fiction as standalones. (Very true!) Aside from the “self deprecating jokes” about the clip-on mic issues that got extremely old incredibly fast, the panel was really quite interesting, with some great discussion points.
Ardo headed to the airport after that and I went to deal with my suitcase of books and the attendee shipping area before heading back to the hotel to get ready for the Random House of Canada party. (Also, more on that tomorrow!)