Tuesday, September 20, 2011

2011 Brooklyn Book Festival, FTW

What happens when you give a bunch of publishers, countless authors, and book lovers and bloggers like TNBBC and BookSexyReview free reign of Brooklyn's Court Street? The 2011 Brooklyn Book Festival, that's what!

I was horrible about taking photos this year, so rather than write a super long, not so interesting post about everything that happened, I'm gonna break my BKBF experience down into a list of highlights and lowlights:

BKBF11 Highlights:
  • Hanging with Tara from BookSexyReview, my literary partner-in-crime! We drove into the city together, so we had loads of time to girl-talk and book-talk and enjoy the festival.
  • How about that weather, huh? Not a drop of rain! A bit windy at times, but a totally gorgeous day to be out among the bookish!
  • Meeting Richard Nash of Red Lemonade and Jessica Deutsch of Coffee House Press - two publishers I began working with this year, and look forward to working with again and again.
  • Seeing Erin from Graywolf Press and Erica from Harper Perennial again. I love these ladies! Show me someone who doesn't, I dare you!
  • Meeting Alan Heathcock, author of Volt. Alan and I have communicated online many times over the past year and I just happened to catch him walking by me at the festival (hours before his scheduled panel). He is extremely cool in person and wrote a lovely little message in my copy of his novel when he signed it. BTW, we will be giving away copies of his novel and hosting a discussion of it with him in the coming months! We are extremely excited and hope you will be too! 
  • Listening to the Getting To It and Getting Through It and the Short and Sweet (and Sour) short story panels. I enjoyed seeing Alan Heathcock's read from Volt, and got to hear Amelia Gray read from her flash fiction collection AM/PM.
  • Accidently asking for two tickets to the Colson Whitehead / Patrick Somerville panel, when all I needed was one, and being able to pass that extra ticket on to Levi Asher when he tweeted that he had no ticket and couldn't get in! How's that for an accident?! 
  • OMG, the food trucks! I had no clue NYC had such deliciousness driving around on 4 (or is it 8 or 10?) wheels! Tara enticed me into ordering from a grilled cheese truck that made a to-die-for short rib sandwich, and then talked me into ordering an angus burger from Frites N Meat - which initially looked and sounded scary but ended up being quite tasty, and had the best employees in the food business. 
  • I know this defeats the purpose of the Festival and goes against everything the publishers are trying to accomplish, but I did not buy ONE book! I was surrounded by millions of awesome looking novels and quelled the urge to spend all of my money on them, and by god, It wasn't easy!. There is no way my TBR pile could have handled any more additions..... 

BKBF11 Lowlights:
  • There just are not enough hours in one day to contain all of the author panels and signings, the networking with the publishers at the booths, the eating, the peeing, and the standing in line for tickets! Hell, there aren't enough minutes in between each event to even get from one panel to another without missing a signing or a reading! I would have to recommend splitting out the events across two days, with an hour-long break between each panel.
  • The damn weekend Subway changes! Making adjustments to the trains and which lines they are running is hell for a subway-challenged individual like myself! Thank god Tara knows what she is doing! We got on the C train under Port Authority, headed to Brooklyn, and then realized it was running the F line, which was cool till it parked it's ass in the middle of the trip and never started back up again. After losing 20 minutes just sitting there, we jumped over to the R line (I think?!) and had another 20 minutes to kill while we waited for it to arrive. Fuck public transportation! I am convinced I could have walked to Brooklyn from Port Authority quicker than those subway rides got us there.
  • Making an ass out of myself at the PM Press booth. I introduced myself and thanked them for a copy of a book they don't publish! I mixed them up with another relatively new publisher to me - both mailed me books at the same time -and I walked away feeling like a complete nube! That's never happened to me before. Oy! 
  • Carrying around copies of books by A.M. Homes, Jonathan Safran Foer, and Ben Lerner all day - expecting to crash the signings - and never making it to a single one! See the first bullet point; something had to give, some things just didn't make the cut. (sigh) Last year I had loads of books signed. This year... only one!
  • For me, the lowest of the low: The fact that the day finally, grudgingly, had to come to an end!!!!
Were you there? What was a highlight for you? 

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