Closing a chapter

The last weekend of summer is upon us. On September 1, Boston will make the “great migration.” Homes will appear to have regurgitated their furniture onto the streets as inhabitants play musical chairs and move to new apartments in the city. At the same time, all the students will come pouring back and clog the city’s arteries with their moving trucks and unnecessary amounts of dorm “necessities.”

This is the first September of my life that I will not return to school. I graduated last December, and still cannot believe that chapter of my life is over. Watching all the students come come marching (or grumbling) back to academic obligations makes me realize how much I miss school.

Photo of the Baldwin School

Let’s be real, I knew I’d miss school the minute my final class period ended. Being handed my diploma was like sticking a knife through my day planner. I’ve always loved school, from beginning to end and everything in between.

Since I went to a Catholic grade school, “back to school” never entailed shopping for clothes, but it did mean decorating and wrapping my textbooks in brown paper bags, and, of course, purchasing a new set of Gel pens. High school meant pouring over my reading lists for the upcoming year, and reading half of them before the term even began. My high school years were filled with dance parties in the hallway, dress up days, scavenger hunts, ugly blazers, Slip ‘n Slides on the soccer field, ringing gongs, and a plethora of other fun and bizarre traditions that can only be understood if you attended an all girls high school.

Baldwin Gates decorated

At the same time, high school was serious business –sleepless nights, endless term papers, day-long exam periods, and so many “well-rounded” extra-curriculars that we all graduated as perfect spheres. I was a well-oiled machine by the time I reached college, arriving early to every class, perched on the edge of my seat during lectures, fueling my excitement with cup after cup of coffee.

As much as I loved school, and continue to miss it now, graduating has given me the opportunity to do all sorts of things I wasn’t able to do before. For one, this blog. Two, starting to make a significant dent in my bucket list. A few successes from this summer include:

Writing 

I’ve been published!

Global Business Hub

Reading

I set out to read ten books this summer. Although this is a slight diversion from my original list, I will have completed a total of ten by the end of this weekend.

Girl With a Pearl Earring

We Live in WaterTinkersAnd the Mountains Echoes

TransAtlantic

AmericanahThis Is How You Lose HerThe Thing Around Your Neck

The Virgins

Hygiene and the Assassin

Discovering

Photo of kayaking on Charles RiverPhoto of NantucketPhoto of NYCPhoto Philly "LOVE"Photo of railroad tracks

And simply enjoying

Photo of hammockPoolsidePhoto cherry tomatoesMiacomet Beach

It’s been a beautiful summer, and I’m planning on making Labor Day the best weekend of summer yet. But each season brings new opportunities and possibilities. School or not, I’m ready to fall in love with my favorite season all over again.

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Books and the Big Apple

Photo of NYC

Last weekend, I attended BookExpo America in New York City. BEA is the premier book publishing event in North America, bringing together 20,000 publishers, authors, agents, bookstore owners, and librarians. The original purpose of the event was to give bookstores a chance to order books for the upcoming season. Now, the event has grown tremendously and serves as an opportunity for publishers to strike deals with buyers, create buzz about new and forthcoming titles, and showcase their authors. It was my first time attending, and only one of the few professional book events I’ve ever attended.

Spanning three levels, plus conference rooms, industry professionals stuffed themselves beneath the roof of the Javits Center. Between meetings and conferences, much of the day was spent waiting in winding lines between exhibits for galleys or advanced reading copies (ARCS) of highly anticipated new titles, hoping there will be enough left, and that the author will be there to sign.

For me, this event was a great opportunity to talk with other members of the book industry, but mostly to meet book lovers from all over the country. Highlights from my trip include:

This billboard, upon arrival. Thank you, Penguin.

Photo of billboard

A signed copy of TransAtlantic by Colum McCann, one of my favorite authors.

Photo of signed book

Getting to chat with him was a pleasure as well. His sister has the same name as me!

Walking around the city and browsing an outdoor market (another item on my bucket list).

Photo of market on 40th St

Finding this awesome, antique cigarette tin at the market.

Photo of cigarette tin

And this is, overall, measures the success of my day.

Photo of ten books

We all know about the news in recent years about the dying book business. However, in this Forbes article, Steve Cohen discusses the “contagious optimism” that radiated throughout the conference, claiming that with its embrace of technology and innovation, the book industry might just save itself. I am hopeful for my industry as well, and looking forward to attending BEA next year!