First, the Workman party, with delicious dumplings (seriously--I could not stop eating them), cute little rolled sandwiches, fancy ice creams (lemon, lavender, and salted caramel), modern, gorgeous offices (it would seem that all of the staff is handy with a printer: many had custom bins at their stations, one notable one being red with REJECT printed on it), stunning views, and friendly people. Oh, and a table of books for grabs, including the very useful Miracle Ball Method kit. We all seem to slump while reading. This kit helps.
Then I was whisked uptown. Three of us crammed into the back of a speeding taxi to 50th and Lex, the Kimberly Hotel. I'd never heard of it--but, as they say, find the fancy hotels, and anything nearby will be good. It's right across from the Waldorf-Astoria.
This was Harlequin's party, and it was gorgeous--tropical flowers everywhere, a rooftop so high up the ground was difficult to see, open bar with top-shelf liquor and inventive bartenders (one woman asked for something "fruity, fizzy, and boozy"--and it was delicious--I'm pretty sure they added pureed strawberries), and--best of all--a sushi chef. Yup. You'd walk up, say what you wanted, and he'd assemble it all in front of you. I, for one, am never able to make perfect inside-out rolls--the ones on the ends always squish. But these were gorgeous. And delicious.
|Yup--this was the actual rooftop. This is not actually my picture.|
Best of all, Margaret Atwood was there. A friend asked if she seemed especially Canadian--I would say she didn't, but some of the people with her did. She was there with her agent and two men who have a seriously awesome new technology I'll discuss in a second. Also, she's doing a really wonderful job of being accessible online--you can follow her clever tweets on Twitter, for example. And everyone is all atwitter about her presentation at BEA.
And she seems lovely. We were all falling all over ourselves, of course, and she handled that gracefully.
Now. What is this new technology?
Well. Have you ever had the experience of seeing that an author you love is reading and signing books--but nowhere near where you live?
Enter iDoLVine (pronounced "idle-vine"), which allows for thirty-second web chat interactions between you and the author giving the event--just as if you'd gone up to have a book signed. The author signs a pad, which can make a personalized signature (or, if you're like me and like to request drawings, a drawing) appear in your e-book. Each one comes with the ability to have it printed once in a paper copy at an iDoLVine station (which, I imagine, will be at bookstores around the country), replicated perfectly by a robotic arm.
Yeah! I know!
I was talking to the iDoLVine reps about all of this. He says that there's only one other person at BEA doing anything like this (though, I believe he said, on a smaller scale) and that the technology will be ready in a matter of months.
And yes, I'm allowed to tell all of you this. I asked that, too.
As you can imagine, we're all rather tired today. Agents were still up on that pretty rooftop, lounging in pretty furniture and hanging out by a functional (but not on at the moment) fireplace long after I left at midnight.
And it's book group tonight--we're reading A Visit From the Goon Squad, which is weird (in a good way) and would be unwieldy in the hands of any author without Egan's talent. I'm still forming my overall opinion. I liked the forty (not really, but it seemed that way) pages of charts, but skipped over them. And, for whatever reason, the punk song (the lyrics are in the book) turned into some bizarre brain mishmash (I could really imagine how it'd sound) that is now stuck in my head. I know. Strange. But plenty to discuss, for a book group.
Since we've all been eating so much, here's what I'm bringing to group tonight: the most perfect kale-quinoa salad ever. Before you think "Quinoa, yuck!" or even "Salad, yuck!" I will give you my word that this ridiculously healthy, vegan, raw recipe is addictive. Almost everyone I know who's made it has confessed to eating the entire batch in one sitting. For serious. It looks weird, it has to sit six hours before the lemon juice softens the kale, but it's awesome.
And I made it with normal kale (see above). Dino/black tuscan kale is sometimes hard to find, but normal kale is super cheap and (supposedly--I kill plants) really easy to grow. I also recommend using a salad spinner on the greens after you wash them. The OXO one is awesome, should you be looking for such things. You can also just pat dry.
Here's the recipe: http://www.amysfoodroom.com/2009/03/raw-kale-salad-with-quinoa.html. Someone brought it to a dinner party, and it we've all been making it since. Seriously. Delicious.