BEA 2016

The Best and Worst of BEA 2016

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It’s nearly impossible to summarize a Book Expo America experience in a single post, so I won’t even try. But I will try to share as much as I can in as little space possible. Just like any other event, there were some highs and lows for this year’s BEA, so let’s take a peek.

Best Pre-BEA Decision: Logan Square AirBnB

Kerry, Kristen, Rachel, and I opted to stray from the area immediately surrounding the conference and stay at an AirBnB in Logan Square. Though it was a bit of a trek, the neighborhood was packed with amazing restaurants, bars, bookstores, and coffee shops, which we did our best to check out. As an added bonus, the house we stayed in was absolutely gorgeous and packed with pretty impressive bookshelves.

Worst Pre-BEA Decision: Late Arrival

I made the mistake of thinking that there wouldn’t be too much happening on Wednesday, since the show floor was only open for a few hours, and booked a flight for the middle of the day. That flight ended up being delayed and made me miss a few events I really hoped to get to.

Best Meet-Up: Blogger Happy Hour

Thankfully, that late arrival didn’t stop me from joining a ton of other bloggers for a happy hour that night. It was amazing to see so many of the faces I adore all in one (real!) place.

Biggest Nope: Fighting Over Books

Stacks of ARCs were available after both the Adult Editors’ Buzz Panel and the Speed Dating for Book Groups and after both events there was some pretty gross book grabbing that had me rolling my eyes all over the place. Crawling over people or being incredibly rude for a free book is just not cute on anyone.

Most Improved: Food and Bathrooms

Chicago’s McCormick Place had a few major advantages over New York’s Javits, specifically a ton of bathrooms available near the show floor and much, much better food options.

Best Discovery: University Press Row

It took a little bit of hunting the show floor, but we managed to find a glorious row of university presses and all the delicious nonfiction they have headed our way. More on that tomorrow!

Worst Unnecessary Stop: The Wrong Pizza Place

Hey, did you know there are two Lou Malnati’s on the same street in Chicago? I didn’t either, until we took an Uber to the wrong one.

Best Unnecessary Stop: City Lit Books

Pretty much the last thing you need to do after three days of BEA is go book shopping, but we couldn’t resist popping into City Lit Books, which was just around the corner from our AirBnB. I added to my collection with a copy of Civilwarland in Bad Decline by George Saunders. It was a gorgeous, perfectly curated store and ended up being the best way to close out the trip.