The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center rises up in front of the Hudson River like a shiny black Oz. Getting there takes just as long as Dorothy’s trip down the yellow brick road, too — unless you happen to live in Hell’s Kitchen, you’ll cross through construction, train tracks and countless scaffolding as you make your way from a West Side train. My first trip to the glass palace was for Book Expo America, North America’s largest confluence of book industry professionals (and freeloading graduate students like my classmates and me). Most of my publishing passion is reserved for magazines, so I entered the Expo with the goal of enjoying myself for a few brief hours rather than networking. While waiting in the lobby to receive my pass, I studied the tan face and highlighted long hair of a man standing next to me who struck me as captivatingly familiar. He glanced at me suspiciously, but I couldn’t look away. I was unable to place him until I found his name — Kevin Sorbo — in a BEA newsletter (turns out he was a featured author) and looked him up. I know him as Frank Atwood from a few episodes of The OC, but apparently he’s recognized in geekier realms (no judgment) as Hercules from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. After staring down Mr. Sorbo, I was rushed into the main hall of Javits where women in pantsuits and men holding promotional materials buzzed like honey bees in a hive. Promoters hawked book galleys and reusable tote bags from giant cardboard boxes and book reps quietly made deals at tiny café tables. I immediately knew I was out of place. I had no please-hire-me pleas with which to approach anyone, nor did I have any book proposals to shamelessly jam into the bags of passersby. I sought out Realcity’s own Justin Levine, whom I met for the first time there as he waited to receive an autograph from Mindy Kaling. We spoke for a minute, but he was bubbling with anticipation over meeting Mindy. I left him to enjoy the meet-and-greet bliss. Despite all of the excitement around me, I couldn’t help but feel exhausted within a short amount of time. The crowd, the rush, the confusing floor map — the BEA was like New York City itself, except cluttered with books and enclosed in glass. Frankly, freaking out Hercules was the best part of the day.