Yesterday I spent the day with an international group of bloggers, and what fun it was! Okay, most of us were from the U.S., and the majority of us were from Connecticut, but we did have one person from Germany, one from Indiana, and one from Pennsylvania.
It was Charlotte, Cam, Emily, Becky, Marcy, Hobgoblin, and I, and we met at the Hungarian Pastry Shop, right across the street from the magnificent St. John the Divine cathedral. This was my first meeting with Charlotte and Cam; I’d seen pictures of Charlotte on her blog, so I recognized her right away when I saw her with the group, but none of us knew what Cam looked like, so we had to keep an eye out for someone who looked like she was keeping an eye out for us. We all felt a little relieved when we found each other and the group was complete.
The pastry shop was cute, cozy, and crowded, and it looked like we might have to stand, but we managed to find some tables to put together and got down to getting to know each other a bit. I’ve had a few experiences of meeting bloggers in person now, but it continues to feel just a bit strange — in a good, fun way of course. It takes a little time to adjust the mental image I have of a person with the reality and to settle into a new way of communicating — in real time, with real conversation, instead of the slow pace of blog posting and commenting. And it’s a little odd trying to keep straight what fellow bloggers know and don’t know about me, what I’ve posted about and what I haven’t, and it’s even odder when I’m with such a mixed group — one person who knows me mainly in real life but gets some information about me from the blog (Hobgoblin); a few people with whom I interact more often online than off, but with whom I do have a face-to-face friendship (Becky, Emily, and Marcy); and two people who up until that moment I had known exclusively through blogging but now had a chance to talk with in real life. What a mix of histories and relationships! It’s mildly disorienting (in a good way!).
So, after some time in the pastry shop, we headed off to The Strand (in a cab that made me car sick, which I guess is about right, given what NYC traffic is like and the way cabbies drive), one of the best bookshops around. Here we lost ourselves in books for an hour or two. I headed straight for the literary nonfiction section and spent the entire time checking out literary biographies and essay collections. I loved browsing through the books, but I wasn’t in a mood to buy many — oddly enough; it does happen sometimes though — and found only one I couldn’t resist, Janet Malcolm’s book about Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas, Two Lives.
Afterward, we all assembled out on the street and shared our finds, and then got lunch, enjoying mimosas and macaroni and cheese while listening to a lot of Depeche Mode (Hobgoblin was able to tell us the year each and every song was released, having a good memory that way).
At that point we were feeling ready for an afternoon nap, and some of us decided to head home and take one, while everybody else hopped on the subway for one final trip, this time to The Mysterious Bookshop. This is a marvelous store, with a mix of new and used books, and lots of books signed by their authors. Again I didn’t find anything I couldn’t live without, but I happily looked through the shelves, thinking about all the Ian Rankin, Elizabeth George, Ruth Rendell, Henning Mankell, etc., etc. books I have to look forward to reading.
And then we went our separate ways, tired but happy, having had a great time and collected a lot of books. It’s marvelous to meet fellow book bloggers — you may be very different people but you automatically have a lot in common because of the hobby you share — and I highly recommend it!
15 responses to “The blogger meet-up”
What a fun time! Did you get any pictures of the group you could post?
I’m so jealous – your meet up sounds wonderful! And, yes, are there any pics to share?
It was a great day for blogs, books and new friends. It was good to see you and get to meet Hobgoblin. We’ll have to try and do it again sometime.
I think that sounds like a wonderful day! I’m jealous, too 🙂
That sounds like fun–a nice mix of friends, books and food! 🙂 I’m not so sure I would have come away with only a very few books, but I do know that feeling when you’re not really in the mood to buy just look. And it would be very disorienting to meet people you only know online, but fun at the same time!
Later that evening, I realized that I had a camera in my bag, but never thought of taking a picture!
Glad I had the opportunity to meet you & Hobgoblin and the others on Saturday.
How wonderful it all sounds! (well apart from the taxi ride). It is funny adjusting because there’s always that dimension of the person’s voice that you haven’t fully taken in when reading them. Do you find that the bloggers sound a bit different now that you have a fully rounded picture of them all? Sigh. I wish I could have been there.
I remember St John the Divine – lovely church – but have never been to The Strand or the other places you mention. The meet-up sounds like it was wonderful. Reminds me that I should track down some Cape Town bloggers again.
Stefanie — um, pictures! What a thought. It unfortunately didn’t occur to any of us to take them. Oops.
Iliana — it WAS wonderful, but no pictures. What were we thinking??
Zoesmom — oh, I forgot you hadn’t met Hobgoblin. Yes, it was great, and I’m already looking forward to the next one, whenever that might be.
Gentle Reader — blogger meet-ups are great — I recommend them to everyone! 🙂
Danielle — it is disorienting to meet bloggers for the first time, but eventually everything does click into place and then it’s great knowing the person so much better. Reading their blog becomes a different experience.
Cam — glad I could meet you too! I’m not much of a picture-taker, but it would have been nice to have a record — oh, well!
Litlove — yes, I do read their blogs differently; as I’m reading, I’ve got a different voice in my head. The spoken voice and the written voice meld and become something new. Very interesting!
Pete — Track down some Cape Town bloggers! Isn’t St. John amazing? The Strand is definitely worth your time, next time you are in NYC.
It sounds like you had such a fun time! I’ve always wanted to go to the Strand (though I suspect I’d blank out on the overload!). And I’ve never heard of the Mysterious Bookshop! I’d love to check that out sometime.
It’s always interesting meeting bloggers in person. Last year at Rhinebeck there was a giant meetup behind one of the barns. Some of the people were just like I pictured them from their blogs, and others, not at all.
You did such a nice job of writing it all up. Thank you. Funny we didn’t think of it, but personally, I’m glad we didn’t take pictures. Due to the rain and muggy heat, my hair was pretty much plastered to my head all day, which doesn’t make for very attractive photos.
Yay for blogger meet-ups! I’m meeting up with some local bloggers this weekend for the second time — we don’t go to bookstores, but we do exchange books! I didn’t blog about our first meeting, but I might just have to blog about our second!
Debby — well, maybe we should go to the Strand sometime! If you don’t try to see the whole store, I don’t think it would be too overwhelming. And the mystery bookshop is well worth a visit.
Emily — I’m not much of a picture person, so I’m okay without having them, but it would have nice as a way to commemorate it — but we’ll have to rely on our memories (and written accounts) instead.
Avisannschild — how fun! Exchanging books with bloggers would be fabulous — looking forward to reading about it!
I’m so envious, not only of you all having the chance to meet up, but also of the wonderful venue. I would grow a dress size a week if I lived anywhere near there!
Ann — yes, that pastry shop would be a huge danger! It was a great time, and I realize how fortunate I am to be able to meet those bloggers.