Presenting Buffalo Bill: The Man Who Invented the Wild West: A Non-Fiction Review

Presenting Buffalo Bill by Candace FlemingNowadays Buffalo Bill is a legend, part of the story of the westward expansion of the United States and the “Wild West” as it has been romanticized for white audiences in popular culture.

In fact, Buffalo Bill was part of that romanticizing with the creation of his traveling Wild West show.

But before William Cody became the showman better known as Buffalo Bill, he was a boy raised on the frontier–the son of a man who would become a prominent abolitionist, he may have ridden with the Pony Express (or not), among other exploits.

One fact remains: Buffalo Bill is an enduring part of American history–both good and bad–and helped define an era as much with his very real show as his tall tales. You can learn more about both (and separate one from the other) in Presenting Buffalo Bill: The Man Who Invented the Wild West (2016) by Candace Fleming.

Find it on BookShop.

Fleming brings her usual thorough research and care to this biography filled with illustrations and primary sources including Cody’s own memoirs and those of his sister Julia. Fleming balances facts with Bill’s penchant for mythologizing his own life with tall tales and other embellishments in sidebars called “Panning for the Truth” where she works to parse the sometimes limited facts from first person accounts.

Each chapter also opens with a dramatic and, given the textual format, surprisingly cinematic account of various key acts in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West which truly transport readers to the show. Fleming also brings a modern lens to this moment in history highlighting the US government’s systemic campaign against Native Americans and also Cody’s own role therein.

Although a little melancholy, as many stories of the famous figures of the old west are, Presenting Buffalo Bill: The Man Who Invented the Wild West is as fascinating as Buffalo Bill himself. This book does a lot to demonstrate how, often much to his own dismay, Cody was really first and foremost a showman with innovative ideas about showmanship, presentation, and (later on) employing both women and Native performers.

Possible Pairings: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown; An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States For Young People by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, adapted by Debbie Reese and Jean Mendoza; My Calamity Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows; Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

BEA 2016: The Recap

BEA was in Chicago this year and for a very long time, I had no plans of going. I knew the added costs of travel (not to mention room and board) were going to be hard to manage. But as we got closer (still months away, mind) Nicole said that she wanted to go and after talking with my mom I decided I could make it work.

Fast forward through months of selling odds and ends on eBay to fund my flights and room, obsessively checking Chicago weather to figure out what to pack, and lots of other preparations for the trip that I did not expect having not traveled to BEA before (since it’s been in NYC every other year I went) and not traveled in general on this scale in at least ten years.

DAY ONE

Nicole and I knew we wanted to get in some sightseeing in Chicago since we’d never been so we booked an early flight on Tuesday (the day before BEA).

Upon arriving in Chicago we took the world’s longest cab ride to our hotel which was a bit dated but still pleasant enough for our trip. It was also swank as hell from the outside.

After checking in at the hotel and stowing our luggage until a room would be ready, we headed to the best breakfast place in the entire world: Yolk. Yolk was conveniently in walking distance to the hotel and became a favorite spot during our short trip.

Because I was an art history minor in college and love museums, I lobbied heavily for a visit to the Art Institute Chicago next.

I made sure we saw the Thorne Miniature rooms.

Nicole discovered the Art Institute Chicago’s Paperweight collection.

Then we both started to lose steam and decided to head to the gift shop. (Got to get those souvenirs!) This stop proved extremely helpful because I realized it was important to check out some other iconic pieces of art before we left.

After that, it was time to head back to the hotel. We decided to walk along Michigan Avenue to check out some other souvenir shops and window shop back to the hotel.

After regrouping at the hotel Nicole and I headed out to get dinner (dollar burgers at Bar Louie) and explore. I think because we were in a touristy area and near Columbia College Chicago, there was a lot of green space near the hotel and lots of public art in the form of sculptures and murals. So, just walking along Michigan Avenue it was possible to see a lot of beautiful things.

And with that day one in Chicago came to a close.

DAY TWO

It turns out when you travel one time zone over you body never really adjusts to being an hour ahead and you end up being awake really early for no good reason. So although BEA did not officially start until the afternoon, our day started early.

Happily, there were pancakes involved.

Then it was basically time to head to McCormick Place where we discovered that some things are the same in any city (AKA pre-BEA crowds).

BUT all of this line waiting did give me a chance to catch up with Cecelia and Sajda (and make dinner plans with Cecelia–more on that later) and also to meet Christina. Finally! So exciting. As is my way, I forgot to take pictures with almost everyone. So it goes.

Luckily Cecelia was a bit more on point so I at least have this:

The first day of BEA was pretty chill. There were some lines.

There were signings. And, most importantly, there was the new Little Elliot book Little Elliot, Big Fun.

Because so much of the show was scaled back this year, Nicole and I actually got to leave at a reasonable time. So we headed back to the hotel, emptied our suitcase, and got ready for dinner.

I had been asking about places to eat in Chicago for months by this point and one that stuck out was Portillo’s. As soon as Carli told me there were cake milkshakes, I was sold. So I dragged along Nicole, Cecelia and Cecelia’s friend Liza.

Words and even pictures cannot do justice to the sensory overload that is Portillo’s.

It was insane but I think it was also a sort of rite of passage as a Chicago visitor. The cake milkshake was exactly what you would expect of a piece of chocolate cake being put through a blender. I can still taste the icing.

DAY THREE

This was the first full day at BEA and the busiest.

There were tickets to be had.

There were signs to be held.

(I didn’t get that book, incidentally, but holding the sign seemed important.)

There were friends to meet like Val and Shannon and Kristen. There were friends to see like Britt and Cecelia and Sajda. Nicole and I spent a good chunk of BEA hanging out with Sajda and Cecelia which turned out to be an excellent life choice.

There were lots of exciting books!

One of my goals going into BEA this year was to be more selective about books and also to hit up some of the “less big” publishers. Mission accomplished because Sourcebooks was on point this year!

I didn’t take a photo with Zoraida Cordova BUT she did like my nails and had some epic candy swag.

After a full day at the convention center, Nicole and I decided it was high time to see the Bean. I don’t think either of us expected it to be as amazing as it was. But we had a blast!

So many photos ensued.

Like this isn’t even all of the photos yet. I’m still working through sharing them all on Twitter or Instagram. Anyway, it was a blast.

After that it was an easy walk to Giordano’s for their infamous deep dish pizza. The only problem is making the actual pizza took forever so our night wound up being quite long for what, I’m just going to say it, was a fairly horrible pizza experience. It turns out deep dish pizza is only good when it is super hot. And even then the “goodness” is questionable. I will say that the bruschetta we ordered as a starter was delicious. Live and learn!

DAY FOUR

The final day of BEA started quite early. But we had a plan.

After realizing that Chicago BEA is a lot more chill that NYC BEA, Nicole and I decided to get tickets to Maggie Stiefvater’s signing for The Raven King. Because why not?

This involved getting to McCormick Place quite early, waiting in line, getting coffee, and then (finally) getting tickets before heading out to get breakfast. A mad dash back the convention center followed.

There were, unsurprisingly, a lot of lines on this final day of BEA.

My face, I think, sums up my feelings about said lines.

Things got really intense while Nicole and I were waiting for Kendare Blake’s signing. Every year there is one book at BEA that seems to be impossible to get. This year it was Three Dark Crowns. This signing involved waiting for over an hour, several book counts, and repeated warnings that we might not get books.

But, eventually it all worked out!

After finishing up at McCormick Place, Nicole and I had to figure out shipping our books. There was not going to be time to do anything in the morning and we discovered that the local post office hours did not work with our schedule.

But it turns out our hotel had numerous benefits (like a free shuttle to McCormick Place every day) including being across the street from a larger, swankier hotel with a Fedex Store in the lobby. There’s no way around it: shipping books is expensive and I don’t think either of us counted on the level of embarrassment in emptying an entire suitcase (plus two tote bags in my case) of books into a box. Not that we were alone–lots of people were queuing up to do the exact same thing as we left. But it all worked out and I felt a lot better about it than having to deal with BEA shipping.

The swankier hotel also had a gift shop where I found a necklace in a style I’d been searching for without success for the last year.

We closed out our last full day in Chicago with tacos from Flaco’s Tacos (delicious) and some quiet time in our room. And packing.

DAY FIVE

The final day in Chicago wasn’t really a day. It was just time for a nice breakfast (and a souvenir shirt from Yolk, of course), a long cab ride to the airport, and two hours waiting in the security line at the airport.

Once we were checked in for our flight, Nicole and I got some last minute edible souvenirs (popcorn and fancy chocolate) before waiting for the flight home. Then it was time for another long cab ride home.

And with that, BEA 2016 officially came to a close.

My books arrived the next week and at this point everything is squared away. Until next year.

Interested in every book I got at BEA? Check out my 2016 BEA Books Recap.

BEA 2015: The Recap

BEA was a lot of fun this year! I really enjoyed meeting new people (both bloggers and publicists I’ve worked with and ever authors!) and tried really hard to be more social. I fear that part of this post is going to come across as name dropping or bragging, but I really don’t want it to. It was just so incredibly humbling and also re-energizing to realize so many people do know who I am and do remember me when I say “I’m Miss Print.” (In that vein I’d also add my biggest advice to anyone who has a Twitter and is going to a book event is have a picture of yourself. It helps people find you and say hi!) For a while it felt like I was talking into a void but BEA was a nice reminder that even when it feels that way I’m really not.

Anyway, BEA 2015 was the absolute best–maybe the best one I’ve had since I started attending with Nicole in 2010.

Here’s what happened:

Pre-BEA

BEA started a little early with Jenny Han’s launch party for P. S. I Still Love You at the Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn. Luckily I was able to get the day off from work which made it a lot easier to attend. Even luckier, Nicole (my constant and forever BEA buddy) was finally convinced to stay with me and Mom during BEA instead of commuting from NJ or paying a fortune for a hotel. Which meant that Nicole was able to arrive that afternoon and attend the launch as well. Yay!

We decided to head over to the venue early because it was in Brooklyn and a place I’d never been so I wasn’t sure how long the commute would take (spoiler: it was super fast and navigable with HopStop).

It turns out the Powerhouse Arena is super close to the Brooklyn Bridge so I also got some neat pictures of that before we went inside.

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We weren’t sure how quickly seats would fill up and we both wanted to meet some people there so we decided to arrive an hour early. That was good because we got early tickets for the signing line but it also meant a lot of waiting.

While Nicole headed over to Starbucks I secured out seats and gave everyone a heads up on what I was wearing in case any Twitter friends decided to say hi.

(Warning this post has a lot of pictures of me of which this is only the first. It happens. Even with trying to take more pictures I only realized later that I didn’t take pictures with ANY of the new blogger friends I met!)

Since Nicole and I always forget to take pictures together despite hanging out all the time, we decided to start BEA week off with a photo:

After that we waited for the event to start. Britt from Please Feed the Bookworm also came early so we finally got to meet in real life (and I got to hand off a Little Elliot tote which is now in a very good home!) Happily this was the first of several quick meetings we had during BEA.

Soon enough it was time for Jenny Han to come out. She talked a bit about the book, read an excerpt, and answered some questions. This part of the event was really short because it turned out in addition to a signing the launch also had some cool activities including custom accent nails by an expert nail artist, quick makeovers and a photo booth designed to look like Lara Jean’s room. Plus, of course, Jenny was signing books!

After getting our books signed (yay early tickets!) it was time to explore.

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Before heading off I got to say hi to Allison from Good Books and Good Wine after knowing each other twitter for a while. Then Nicole and I headed upstairs. We decided it was only right to get a makeover so we waited in line for that. While that happened Nicole from Nicole’s Novel Reads came up to say hi. And after tweeting with her for months it was great to see her in person. After that I got to play a rousing game of twitter tag with Jamie from Perpetual Page Turner as we tried to find each other in the crowd (we found each other eventually just later!).

Then it was time for a quick makeover! The makeup artist was super nice and she loved my eyeshadow (purple, courtesy of Nicole). She touched up my makeup, added mascara because according to her my eyes were screaming for mascara, and gave me a really bright lipstick.

Here’s how that worked out with glasses:

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And without:

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Nicole also got a makeover which included matching lipstick. Here she is:

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I was really pleased and have been trying to wear brighter lipstick (or any lipstick) since.

After that it was time for the photo booth with Nicole!

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On our way down and out we got a chance to say hi to Jamie and Allison again before heading out with Nicole and her friend Melissa.

Although it was a late night, it was a great start to BEA week.

BEA: Day One (Wednesday)

Since the exhibit floor opened at 1:00pm on Wednesday Nicole and I decided to arrive a little early around noon to head to the Press Office to register (we totally needed the extra time because the office was slammed).

As some of you may know, I have the scheduling thing down. This is a sample of what my Wednesday schedule looked like:

So as you can see, I had BEA slotted out in my phone calendar (this is actually not even the updated schedule because Nicole and I spent two hours chatting online to hammer it out after I posted this pic BUT you get the idea).

I also had a list of galleys to look for with input from SLJ/Publisher’s Weekly buzz posts. While we waited in line to enter the show floor, I checked out booth numbers and we looked at the map of the floor. While waiting in line I also got to say hi to the ever delightful Alex and a Janet for whom sadly I have no contact info. We all compared notes on plans for the day.

I also finally got to meet Kaye! Finally!

After that it was back to waiting in line with Nicole. We also caught Cecelia briefly before she headed into a new panel. Cecelia is of course a long time BEA buddy and let me just say now I am super pumped we got to see a lot of her during BEA.

Now you might have heard of this book called Truthwitch–I think it got some buzz during BEA? Nicole and I knew that was going to be crazy town so we decided to skip it when we heard people were arriving early in the morning to get ready to run to the Macmillan booth.

Instead we stopped at Disney where Nicole snagged me an arc of A Thousand Nights (one of the books I was most excited to get going into BEA!) before exploring the floor. Since today was, by far, the quietest day of the three, we knew this was the best time to explore the floor and see about drop schedules and books available.

I’ll be plugging this post a few times BUT for a rundown of the books I got each day (and what I’ll be doing with them) you can check out my BEA 2015 Books post.

Since our first “official” event wasn’t until 2, we spent a lot of time running around from booth to booth.

Everyone who works or volunteers at BEA is fantastic. The show floor is insane and it’s really stressful and everyone makes it look easy. That said, this year the people at Scholastic and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt went absolutely above and beyond and we so helpful the entire time. Thanks to some very kind publicists, I was able to get a few highly anticipated books without trying to track down a drop. Thank you! (The books, if you were wondering, were Vengeance Road, A Little in Love and The Lightning Queen).

I also  tried to grab a couple of MG and Adult titles this year because I want to branch out. I was super, super excited to catch Girl Waits With Gun while wandering the floor as it was one of the only adult titles that caught my eye immediately when I started researching what would be available at BEA.

After exploring, it was time to head to the autographing area to see Emily Franklin signing Last Night at the Circle Cinema. I don’t know a lot about this book yet but the synopsis is great and I love Carolrhoda Lab as a publisher. While we waited for Emily Franklin to arrive I also got to say hi to Gail from Ticket To Anywhere while she waited ahead of use in line.

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After that signing it was back to the show floor (the exact opposite side of the floor!) to head over to the Abrams booth where Courtney Sheinmel was signing Edgewater which had been on Nicole’s radar.

We both got to take a picture with Courtney during the signing too.

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Then we caught up with Cecelia again. So, you know how I said everyone at BEA is awesome? Abrams was extra awesome because they had a PHOTO BOOTH. Obviously we made use of this.

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As you can see from these pictures, I don’t have a lot of “photo booth experience” as it were so I didn’t do any silly faces. I’m sorry! It was fun and silly though. Trust me! Also my mom was really happy to see some not ridiculous faces. So.

Photos in hand, Nicole and I said bye for now to Cecelia and had plenty of time to head over to HarperCollins for their galley drop at 2:30 to get copies of Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy.

From there we headed to the giant Penguin Random House booth to get tickets for Jennifer Donnelly’s signing. Which was not as stressful as I expected because they had a huge stack of tickets.

I think everyone knows this by now: I’m a huge fan of Mike Curato’s Little Elliot. HUGE. Of course it was very important to see Mike at BEA when he was signing copies of Little Elliot, Big Family. Because of some confusion at the Macmillan booth, I thought I wasn’t going to be able to do both Mike and Jennifer Donnelly’s signing. Then lo Britt comes over to Jennifer Donnelly’s line and tells me to run over to Macmillan because they still had tickets! With Nicole holding my place I rushed over and got the precious ticket!

Then it was back to waiting in line for Jennifer Donnelly while Nicole headed to Mac. Jennifer Donnelly is amazing and I am SO very excited about These Shallow Graves!

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After gushing at Jennifer Donnelly about how much I loved Revolution (spoiler: so much) and saying how excited I am for her new book it was time to head over to Macmillan.

Mike Curato’s line was super chill and I got to see one of my favorite Macmillan publicists, Mary–bonus! Mary even remembered way back when I worked with her on Mike’s first blog tour–double bonus!

So Macmillan is a fan of Mike Curato as well SO they had a pretty cool frame set up so you could pose for a pic with Elliot, Mouse and Mouse’s extended family. OBVIOUSLY this photo opp was a must for me and Nicole!

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True story: My mom says this is one of the cutest pictures ever. Well played Macmillan!

After that it was time to say hi to Mike (he doesn’t think I’m a crazy person yet and he remembered me from Twitter, yay!) and get my book signed. Mike even had Little Elliot pose in the picture.

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After that I was totally elated from actually making it to see Mike Curato. (THANK YOU BRITT!) And really, there could be no better way to end the day.

Our last stop was HarperCollins for one last book drop to get ARCs of Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson and Newt’s Emerald. I love Westerns and I am VERY excited for Walk on Earth a Stranger. Newt’s Emerald is Garth Nix, so my interest requires no further explanation. Like a lot of other books we got today, making this drop also meant that Nicole and I could skip what we anticipated to be some crazy signing lines later in the week.

The drop was super chill and quite quick which meant we could leave Javits a bit early. Unfortunately that meant missing Krystal from Books are My Thing who I really wanted to meet during BEA. But we still had time so I wasn’t worried.

Now, if you don’t know, the Javits Center is near nothing. It is in the equivalent of transportation black hole on the west side of midtown Manhattan. Generally that isn’t a big deal because there are taxis. On Wednesday when Nicole and I left, it was a big deal. After striking out with attempts to get a taxi we decided to wait for the Ninth Avenue bus. I cannot tell you how much I dislike the Ninth Avenue bus. It lived up to my low expectations Wednesday and took us nearly an hour to get back to my apartment.

After a very rushed (too rushed) dinner at home with Mom it was time to head to Times Square for a special preview Scholastic was hosting for The Marvels by Brian Selznick.

Getting uptown was a disaster thanks to numerous subway delays. After hopping off the subway, Nicole and I jetted to the Hudson Theater.

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We missed the “pre” event mingling but we made it for most of Brian Selznick’s presentation where he talked about the inspiration for his new book and his creative process. We also got a super secret preview of his book trailer and it is awesome.

After the presentation we were very surprised (amazed even) to find out that Brian Selznick was signing after. While the theater was very beautiful, it was not a great venue for an author signing and the “line” was more like an amorphous mob. But it was worth it!

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All in all, Wednesday was a great start to BEA. Nicole and I headed back the apartment more than excited for our first full day, even if it was a super early start.

For a rundown of the books I got each day (and what I’ll be doing with them) you can check out my BEA 2015 Books post.

Also, here is a picture of my suitcase:

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BEA: Day Two (Thursday)

Day two of BEA was book-ended by two publisher events. The first was Harlequin’s Teen Author Breakfast at the Javits.

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We arrived bright and early for the breakfast at 7:30. It was great to see some of the Harlequin team in person and hear about titles they were excited about in the upcoming season. Harlequin also had authors Jennifer Armentrout, Adi Alsaid, Eleanor Forman and Katie McGarry at the breakfast to chat with and to talk about their newest titles.

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The breakfast was set up like speed dating with Harlequin staffers and authors rotating tables every five minutes. It was great for us (no running around) but I fear it got a little hectic for the Harlequin people trying to enjoy their own breakfast. It was super fun to meet other bloggers here and to have a chance to talk a bit more informally with some of the authors.

I’ve talked previously about my love for Alex Bracken and her Darkest Minds trilogy. A fun fact is that a lot of my previous BEAs have involved seeing Alex at a signing. So OBVIOUSLY her Passenger signing was a huge priority.

Nicole and I dashed from the Harlequin breakfast to quickly drop some stuff off at coat check before waiting on line to enter the show floor. We were not the only ones who arrived early.

As crazy as that looks it was totally doable! We had already found an entrance as close as possible to Disney so from there it was a brisk walk to the signing line. On the way I even got to say finally meet Krystal! Yay for serendipitous lines!

There was a lot of waiting.

And many photo opps.

But soon we started creeping closer and found out we were in fact among the lucky 200 who would get books.

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If you ever get a chance to catch Alexandra Bracken at a signing event, do it. She is the absolute nicest. It was fun to say hi to her and comment (briefly because tons of people were still waiting) about how fun it is to see her on BEA.

And with one last photo it was time to move on.

After this epic start to the morning Nicole and I meandered toward the Hachette booth to acquire ARCs of Jennifer E. Smith’s newest Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between. Which was again super chill because Hachette/Little Brown were locking down the ARCs. While we both wanted to catch Jen E. Smith’s signing later, we also knew that Libba Bray was a higher priority (and likely to take a lot longer) so we took the ARC while we could (an excellent idea as it turns out).

Next it was back to the autographing area. Nicole and I split up for a bit. While she pursued other books I waited to see Susane Colansanti who was signing City Love. I haven’t read it yet but I’m pretty eager to see what Susane comes up with in this start to the series.

Thanks to her Super Teacher Brain (technical term) Susane remembered me from previous events/twitter/etc. so we chatted a little bit. (She liked my new glasses.) Before I snapped a picture and headed off to reconnect with Nicole.

And of course, Susane even had a sweet reply on Twitter:

I still can’t believe this even happened but after Susane’s signing, Nicole and I grabbed a quick lunch and then headed back to the Autographing Area to see Carolyn Mackler. I am not sure I can explain how iconic Carolyn Mackler is in terms of YA for me. She just *IS* YA. When I first discovered YA when I was shelving the section as a Page in high school, it included her books.

How surreal then to see Carolyn Mackler at BEA signing her newest book.

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After that it was time to meet another YA icon. Libba Bray. Luckily while I had my calendar schedule, Nicole continued to check the BEA Show Planner so we knew that Libba’s signing had been moved to earlier in the day and were ready.

It was touch and go for a bit in trying to procure tickets but after only a little bit of flailing we made it!

Now, dear readers, we come to an embarrassing part of my BEA adventure. While Nicole held my place in line, I made a bad decision.

First I headed to Autographing (literally the complete opposite end of the show floor) to see Laura Amy Schlitz signing The Hired Girl.

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That part went super smoothly. I’m quite excited for this new historical fiction title and I’m sure it will be fantastic.

Then came my blunder. In thinking about how long Libba Bray’s line was, I thought I could also catch Margo Rabb’s signing.

For a while it was going really well and seemed quite promising. Somewhere in here I also got to quickly meet Jess from Gone with the Words and say hi again to Jamie. It’s all a hazy blur though as I remember what came next.

Then I started getting texts from Nicole (who is a SAINT and held my place the entire time!) that the line was moving. Then I got texts saying I should come back.

Then I got texts saying I should hurry back.

Keeping in mind that I was on the exact opposite end of the floor, imagine me running between aisles, diving around dawdlers and running when I could. All while text Nicole updates on what booth number I was near with her replying each time to hurry.

After much weaving and a few hip checks, I made it back just in time!

Luckily I had some time to compose myself before seeing Libba because it was a stressful run back to the line! Needless to say the line moved quite swiftly from there until Nicole got her book signed and I was next in line.

I always joke that one of my greatest accomplishments is being able to say that Libba Bray follows me on Twitter. I don’t think much of it because a lot of people follow a lot of other people. But sometimes Libba would reply to my tweets and that was definitely enough for me to feel cool.

But guess what?! Libba actually recognized me from Twitter (and asked when I had cut my hair!)! I keep waiting for it to not be exciting when that happens with an author I love. Hasn’t happened yet. Anyway, Libba is always the nicest ever at her signings. After writing “It’s done!” in my copy I asked to take a picture of her with her book as I do with most authors.

Libba, much (I think) to her publicist’s dismay, suggested we take a selfie instead. OBVIOUSLY I couldn’t say no!

I never, as a rule, share pictures where I look bad but I make an exception for this one because OMG SELFIE WITH LIBBA BRAY.

That was, of course, a BEA high point. There was nowhere else to go.

Also Nicole and I were getting quite tired having started our day at 7:30. So we made a wise decision to head home before the evening’s events. Happily the bad transit karma did not follow us into Thursday.

On the way Nicole even spotted this restaurant with a name that is personally significant to me ;)

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After a quick trip home and a leisurely dinner with my mom (can we talk about how much of a trooper my mom is for putting up with both me and Nicole running around like mad for three days over books? She’s the best) it was time to head out again for Macmillan’s party.

Macmillan’s Happy Hour/Fierce Reads/Insert Name Here party was held at the Strand’s Rare Book Room.

After a rocky start with a rather ominously blocked off entry, we were ready to go.

We even went up a side entrance that I didn’t know existed!

Despite living near the Strand I had never been to the Rare Books Room before. It was really amazing!

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I also got to meet so many people here most of whom I did NOT take pictures with because I’m an idiot. In addition to saying hi to the lovely Andi from Andi’s ABCs, I got to meet Nicole from YA Interrobang, Sarah from What Sarah Read, Hannah from The Irish Banana, Alexa from Alexa Loves Books and Rachel from hello, chelly and probably others I don’t remember too. I also got to chat again with Gail! So many missed photo opps!

Macmillan is one of my favorite publishers in that they publish some of my favorite books (like The Winner’s Curse and Little Elliot, Big City!) but more because they are such great people to work with. I was so excited for this party because I got to meet publicists like Gina and Brittany who I email all the time as well as some new faces. It was the best!

As if the night couldn’t get better, Macmillan also had authors Josephine Angelini, Leigh Bardugo, Sandy Hall, Marissa Meyer and Leila Sales. So many amazing people in but one room!

They also had a photo booth.

After a commemorative shot with Nicole it was time to mingle.

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Also to take some pictures of the super cool rare books room decor.

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And pose with it of course.

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Nicole and I also took another picture together but I have to say it is quite dark.

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When Cecelia arrived it was, of course, time for even more photo booth pictures.

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After that we got to chat for a bit with Sandy Hall who had the most amazing tie-dyed shoes. Then we headed back to the photo booth to say hi to Leila Sales where we talked donuts for a bit. I told her to check out The Donut Pub and I will tell you all to do the same. You won’t regret it.

What could we do after that? If you guessed a photo with Leila Sales and dapper hats, you would be right.

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We rounded out the party with more mingling. (I’m not really the type who needs to hide in a room after talking to people but it was a lot of talking. I wore myself out just being social because there were so many people I wanted to talk to!) Cecelia introduced me and Nicole to her friend Sajda from Across the Words. Sajda is really nice and I am really happy to have found her blog now. Yay!

By this point in the night, Nicole and I were wiped out. The Macmillan party was an absolute blast but it was definitely time to say our goodbyes and head home.

Macmillan gave everyone an amazing bag of books on the way out. I am so excited to get to all of them.

For a rundown of the books I got each day (and what I’ll be doing with them) you can check out my BEA 2015 Books post.

After that it was time to head to Wendy’s to pick up some snacks for ourselves and my mom before packing it in to get ready for the final day of BEA.

Also, here is a picture of my suitcase:

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BEA: Day Three (Friday)

When Nicole and I started scheduling for BEA, we knew Friday was going to be crazy. In my initial schedule, before we saw how the day would shake out, we weren’t even sure if there would be time for lunch. But, being the intrepid book people that we are, we were still ready for day three.

Since the exhibit floor opened at 9 again we decided to arrive around 8:30. A lot of other people had that idea forcing us to move to a different coat check (where I did get to meet Brianna from Wunderkind Publicity though so really it all worked out!) and ensuring a somewhat long line to get to the floor even with an early arrival.

I made good use of my time waiting to get in by coaching Nicole on selfie techniques.

Once the line started moving, Nicole and I knew we were heading to Lerner for Tessa Gratton, Maggie Stiefvater and Brenna Yovanoff’s signing of The Anatomy of Curiosity. Both of us were BIG fans of their first collection The Curiosities and it even inspired us to write more short stories ourselves at Little Women Stories.

Tessa, Maggie and Brenna are three of my favorite authors ever so I always get a little starstruck around them, so sadly I don’t have any pictures. It was great talking to them about how inspiring their stories are. Regular readers will also know that I’ve interviewed Tessa Gratton several times on the blog and hosted a few of her guest posts so it was especially nice to meet her this year!

Here’s their new beautiful book:

Here’s a picture of them from the Carolrhoda Lab twitter looking super cool for an inteview:

Next we headed over to the Autographing Area once again where MarcyKate Connolly was signing Monstrous.

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Confession: I saw the cover for the book and fell in love. After reading the synopsis and staring at the cover a little more, I knew I had to read it.

From there it was but a quick hop to see Sarah Beth Durst signing her new middle grade The Girl Who Could Not Dream. I love Sarah and have interviewed her about every book she’s published since Enchanted Ivy. So obviously, I was super excited to see her.

Sarah’s husband buys her a new piece of jewelry for every book so it was also fun to see her new piece (a necklace which doesn’t show in our photo).

After that Nicole had a BIG priority. She had to see Oliver Jeffers. So back to the Penguin Random House booth we went.

Tickets in hand, we waited for a good long time on the line. Oliver was signing posters for his new picture book The Day the Crayons Came Home and, not going to lie, I was getting a little testy from lack of food to be on such a long line. A fun bonus? Everyone at the signing also got a Crayons tote bag which was only given out at that day’s Children’s Author Breakfast.

Needless to say, the line here was too long for an “official” pic. But here’s a candid one of Oliver Jeffers while he was signing.

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After seeing Oliver we moved back across the floor to catch Michael Buckley signing Undertow.

I made Nicole wait with me on the surprisingly not massive line for Kevin Henkes who was signing posters for Waiting.

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(I love this artwork so much and plan on getting it framed soon.)

Finally we were back at the autographing area to see Maggie Lehrman signing The Cost of All Things. (You might notice that her book barely shows. That is because a man was behind her unloading books and he wouldn’t/couldn’t move so I was forced to resort to cropping.)

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Thanks to severely cutting and prioritizing our schedule, we had time for lunch! We also got to sit for a bit with Cecelia who in true rock star fashion found an ARC of Zeroes that was about to be abandoned and saved it for me.

After lunch we returned to the autographing areas where Jennifer Walkup was signing This Ordinary Life. This book is another one that won me over with the cover. Even better, Jennifer Walkup was absolutely the nicest. I can’t wait to get to her book!

Amazingly, after Jennifer, Nicole and I realized that Leila Sales was still signing Tonight the Streets Are Ours. The choice was obvious.

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Since I also had a duplicate ARC of this from the night before, I also made plans to re-home it ASAP (this turned into a big twitter project but I’m happy to report all ARCs have been distributed!).

Still more wondrous, Corey Ann Haydu’s signing for her new middle grade novel Rules for Stealing Stars was also in reach. I believe I gushed to her about Life by Committee. It’s all a bit of a blur.

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For the afternoon I knew a priority signing was going to be Erin Bow’s The Scorpion Rules. Erin Bow is one of the best fantasy writers out there. Her debut Plain Kate left me sobbing. Of course I had to meet her.

Cecelia felt the same way so we banded together to line up well ahead of time for her 2:30 signing. It was nice to have some time to sit down. I got to say goodbye to Britt while milling and also got to re-meet Melissa (she was behind Nicole and me during the Libba Bray line) while we waited and talked fantasy.

Nicole then roped me in to become a folk hero for a friend’s son and her best friend when we realized Tui T. Sutherland was signing. It was a good moment.

Then it was time for Erin Bow!

Can I just say that Erin Bow is absolutely the nicest? She stood at the start of her signing and posed for pictures with everyone. I’ve been catching up on review/obligatory reading but this is definitely my first BEA read.

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Thanks to the magic that is BEA, we also realized that Richelle Mead was still signing Soundless–a book that I totally wanted to check out at BEA but totally thought would be out of reach.

But no!

It worked out!

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Even with Richelle Mead, there was still plenty of time before Lynn Weingarten’s signing (another priority for me).

Enough time, in fact, to catch up with Andi and Alex and to finally meet Estelle from Rather Be Reading in real life! I definitely should have taken a picture of this momentous occasion but luckily Estelle and Alex are both New Yorkers so hopefully we’ll have another live meetup soon.

Cecelia also decided to head off early but since we have twitter, I know we’ll be in touch (and we actually took tons of pictures together this year!).

While I waited to meet Lynn, Nicole went to Lexa Hillyer’s signing.

I read The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers as an ARC and I’ve interviewed Lynn about it here on the blog. I’ve also read all of her other novels. And we’re twitter friends!

It was very exciting to finally be meeting in real life!

While waiting on line I also got to chat with Kiersten from We Live and Breathe Books. This was great because I’m really enjoying her blog and also because I got a tip about a signing I hadn’t heard about previously.

But first. Lynn!

After chatting with Lynn, I went to the end of the line where I got to talk with Kaye for a little bit. Then Nicole also returned to that line so I hung out with her until she made it to the front and I told her about my hot tip from Kiersten: Moira Fowley-Doyle was signing The Accident Season at the Penguin Random House booth.

Every year it feels like there is one book that eludes me at BEA no matter how hard I try to find it. This year that book was The Accident Season.

In fact, even as we tried to get to the signing it seemed like I would be foiled. I love Penguin Random House but as of right now the publishers are merged in name only which created some confusion about what was happening where in their booth. After a couple of false starts with several publicists, Nicole and I made it to the right spot.

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My thoughts immediately after this signing? VICTORY!

All in all, BEA 2015 was an absolute success. I’m not sure if I’ll make it to Chicago next year but I think this year I definitely did everything right and I’m sure Nicole agrees!

Yes to everything Nicole said!

So that’s my BEA recap. Thanks for reading!

Also, here is a picture of my suitcase:

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For a rundown of the books I got each day (and what I’ll be doing with them) you can check out my BEA 2015 Books post.

Chasing Power Synchronized Reading Roundup

Synchronized Readings are a semi-regular feature The Book Bandit and I will be running together every few months.

This month Nicole and I read Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst.

Here’s a rundown of all the posts I wrote up for the Synchronized Reading:

You can also head over to Nicole’s blog to see her posts:

Chasing Power Synchronized Reading Post #1: Super Powers

Synchronized Readings are a semi-regular feature The Book Bandit and I will be running together every few months.

Our current Synchronized Reading is Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst.

Once we knew that Chasing Power was about a girl with telekinesis and a teleporting boy, Nicole and I knew we wanted to talk about what power we would want for ourselves.

I don’t know if it’s because I am a big fan of fantasy, but I spend a lot of time thinking about which super power I want. Flying is out because I’m afraid of heights. Teleporting could be cool because it would make traveling a lot easier but at the same time I sometimes like the chance to meander or read on my commute (though recently my commute has been getting me down so I have to say this one has become more and more appealing).

But one I come back to more often than most is the ability to control time. I don’t mean time travel because that would be a mess. I don’t really want to stop time on a global scale because that’s just asking for trouble and could lead to being kidnapped by a super villain.

What I really want to do is be able to step out of time. Just leave and be in my own little bubble where I could get stuff done whether that means reading a book or making Christmas gifts or whatever. I’d really like to just take a step back and have time stop for me so no one would notice me missing (and maybe I’d only be gone for a minute or two even if I really step away for a few hours?) so I could get more stuff done.

Thinking about it now I realize this power could lead to problems where I would age prematurely. Perhaps I could just use this power really responsibly? Or maybe as a secondary power I would also not age while stepping out of time?

Obviously there are still a lot things to work if this power ever becomes a reality. For now maybe I should just settle on the power of speed reading?

Actually, forget everything I just said. I recently did a guest post for Andi’s Parallel Time Loop about Pivot Point. And I have to say thinking about Addie’s ability to see how different decisions will change her future, I’m pretty tempted to make that choice. I feel like it could be just as dangerous as controlling time or time travel but I really like the idea of always knowing what’s coming.

What power would you want to have?

Synchronized Reading: Chasing Power

Synchronized Reading is back! This time Nicole and I will be reading Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst.

Be sure to check here this week and also check out Nicole’s blog to get the full reading picture! In addition to posts about the book and review we will also both be interviewing Sarah Beth Durst this week.

Nicole and I were both super excited to chat with Sarah a bit at BEA this year and also to get shiny ARCs of her newest book so of course it was an obvious choice for our next Synchronized Reading.

As is tradition now I also had a manicure to match the cover:

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In summary: Nicole and I will be reading Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst. We will be blogging about it. It will be awesome. You, too, can read Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst as it is now.

Synchronized Reading Roundup: Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Synchronized Readings are a semi-regular feature The Book Bandit and I will be running together every few months.

This month Nicole and I read Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma.

Here’s a rundown of all the posts I wrote up for the Synchronized Reading:

You can also head over to Nicole’s blog to see her posts:

I’m also giving away a copy of Imaginary Girls. Details here!

 

Imaginary Girls Synchronized Reading Post #1: Local Legends

Synchronized Readings are a semi-regular feature The Book Bandit and I will be running together every few months.

Our current Synchronized Reading is Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma.

Since the mythical town of Olive plays such a big role in Imaginary Girls, we decided a fun post for this Synchronized Reading would be one on local legends.

Now, you would think I would have a lot since New York City is filled with cool and historically significant places.

What I do have instead of a pile of urban legends, are building that I am constantly drawn to.

One of them is my local library: Jefferson Market. This branch is where my library career started when I was in high school. It’s where I got my first library card. It’s where I spent many a summer day picking up books for me and (mystery) books for my mom.

I also have some fun facts about this building including that, contrary to popular belief, the building was never a church. Instead it was a courthouse where Mae West infamously appeared during the “lady on the swing” court case. The garden next to the library used to be a women’s house of detention as featured in David Duchovny’s film “House of D.”

There aren’t a lot of rumors about the library being haunted. But with that kind of energy, you do wonder. In a fit of peer induced hysteria myself and two fellow pages managed to convince ourselves that we saw a ghost or some kind of unnatural presences in the reference room in the basement. Now, years later, I’m comfortable saying that probably wasn’t true. But I also still don’t like being in the references room. So you can draw your own conclusions.

The other building that I refer more than any other is the Flatiron Building. It is my mom’s favorite building (possibly mine as well although I also quite like the Chrysler Building). It is probably the building I photograph most when I am wandering the city.

The building has a unique shape (reminiscent of an old-time flatiron) thanks in part to the nature of real estate in New York City. It was one of the city’s first skyscrapers and even created a wind tunnel when it was first built.

As far as I know there aren’t any ghosts in residences but with so many occupants coming and going, who can really say?

Speaking of spooky stories in libraries, I recently learned that my new place of employ, Brooklyn’s Central Library, has a local legend of its own. (True story, this was the second thing I learned on my first day at the new job. It’s that important!)

Let me direct you now to the story of Agatha Cunningham who disappeared on her school’s trip to the library in 1977: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSO946WWjSY

You may be thinking, surely this can’t be real. And, being the age of the Internet, you might find articles online debunking this story. Then again, you might also find people disputing the reality of the tree octopus and saying that they and Agatah are not real.

I’ll leave you all to draw your own conclusions (as long as that conclusion is that Brooklyn Public Library did not in fact lose a child in the lower decks and instead helped some very talented teens make a documentary about it).

Synchronized Reading: Imaginary Girls

Synchronized Reading is back! This time Nicole and I will be reading Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma.

Be sure to check here this week and also check out Nicole’s blog to get the full reading picture! I’ll also be running an interview with Nova. And you might want to check her blog out since this week also marked the third anniversary of the publication of Imaginary Girls.

I can’t remember everyone on the panel, but I saw Nova talking about Imaginary Girls shortly after its release at Books of Wonder during one of the first book events I attended (with Nicole obvs) so it feels a bit like coming full circle to be talking about the book here.

As is tradition now I also had a manicure to match the cover:

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In summary: Nicole and I will be reading Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma together. We will be blogging about it. It will be awesome. You, too, can read Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma as it is now out in both hardcover and paperback.

I’m also giving away a copy of Imaginary Girls. Details here!

BEA 2014 Recap: Day 3 (Saturday)

You can also see my Thursday recap. And my Friday recap.

Nicole and I take BEA very seriously so even with a relatively light Saturday schedule, we were at the Javits bright and early for the 9am opening.

Heading back into the Javits for one last day.

Heading back into the Javits for one last day.

Since we had some time to kill before being able to go on the show floor, I took some pictures of the main floor.

 

Skink stairs.

Skink stairs.

Poster of The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

Poster of The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

Sign for Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Sign for Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

What these photos do not convey is how insanely crowded the Javits was on Saturday. The last day of BEA included BookCon–a component of BEA open to the public. (Last year this was known as Super Reader Day instead.) I love the idea of BookCon and I think it’s great to have the event open to the public. That said, BookCon was terribly mismanaged. During the day a volunteer told me that there were 6000 more registrants for BookCon compared to last year but also fewer volunteers.

To make matters worse, BookCon attendees were only allowed on part of the show floor (autographing and approximately a quarter of the exhibit floor) which created a terrible bottleneck. Although I heard a lot of complaining and horror stories, I didn’t have any bad experiences on Saturday except that it was painfully crowded in some areas (though very quiet in the non-BookCon areas).

After navigating the crowds, Nicole and I were once again heading onto the exhibit floor.

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After passing the Penguin Book Truck it was time to hit the ground running.

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On our way to HarperCollins we also saw a giant robot. So, basically another typical day at BEA.

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Our first task of the day was milling around Harper waiting for Anatomy of a Misfit, Tape and Falling Into Place to drop. You might remember that Nicole and I were thwarted three times trying to get these books so it was very important both in terms of pride and because we wanted the books badly. Happily, that did work out.

After that it was time to brave the autographing area which was insane.

Obligatory crowd shot.

Obligatory crowd shot.

At this point we were able to see Daisy Whitney who was signing The Fire Artist.

I think the final cover is different, but I was really excited to see such a neat cover for The Fire Artist with a POC model. Yay!

I think the final cover is different, but I was really excited to see such a neat cover for The Fire Artist with a POC model. Yay!

After that we headed right over to Corey Ann Haydu’s line which was already quite long. Getting to her line also involved avoiding a giant mob that was trying to line up for Libba Bray’s signing.

But we made it.

Corey Ann Haydu signing Life by Committee.

Corey Ann Haydu signing Life by Committee.

After that it was another line hop to see Skylar Dorset signing The Girl Who Never Was.

Skylar Dorset with her book The Girl Who Never Was

Skylar Dorset with her book The Girl Who Never Was

Skylar Dorset’s signing marked the home stretch of our time in autographing. Which was just as well because we were getting frazzled.

Then it was a short wait for Claire Pernice signing her picture book Circus Girl.

Claire Pernice and Circus Girl

Claire Pernice and Circus Girl

I’ve already read this picture book and it was really quite fun.

After that Nicole and I elbowed our way out of the madness to the BEA area. We were both pretty much used up at this point so we decided to call it a day and bid farewell to the Javits for another year.

And that, dear readers, is how I spent Book Expo 2014.

Before I leave you let me also give a shout-out to all of the bloggers I met in lines or even in passing: Andi at Andi’s ABCs, Gail at Ticket to Anywhere, Katelyn from Kate’s Tales of Books and Bands, Rebecca from Book Bit Reviews, Lucy from Moonlight Gleam Reviews, Karen from For What It’s Worth Reviews, Pam from Midnyte Reader, Kate from KateTilton.com, Kate from Midnight Book Girl.

You can also check out my BEA Book Haul.