Welcome back, Reader!
Today, I’m excited to be sharing my BookCon experience. I’ll tell you all the details, our stops, and let you know how you can attend BookCon below.
What Is BookCon?
For those of you that may be wondering what exactly BookCon is, think along the lines of Comic-Con. BookCon is a collaboration of authors, publishing companies, exhibitors and vendors, and panels gathered in one place to celebrate storytelling. Like Comic-Con, anyone can look to buy tickets to attend. This year, I had the pleasure of attending BookCon on Saturday, June 1st, with Victoria Matthies and Billy Kozero, two very good friends of mine.
Getting to the Javits Center
Although I am currently based in Philadelphia, I was born and raised in New York City. We took the Septa and New Jersey Transit trains to reach New York City the day before, and then used public transportation methods to get to the Javits Center on West 34th Street. Of course, there are endless ways to get there depending on your start point, however, transferring from Septa to New Jersey Transit was both timely and affordable. For those of you in the area, look to Septa transportation to take you to hotspots both in and out of Pennsylvania.
When we arrived at the Javits Center, we were totally amazed. Banners hung from the ceiling and promoted various books and authors.
Even though we arrived a little after 10 AM, the place was packed. We made our way to pick up our tickets (pre-ordered) and were given badges featuring author Cassandra Clare’s new book Chain of Gold from The Shadowhunter Chronicles. You can look to pre-order Chain of Gold on Amazon and Barnes & Noble; her book will be available everywhere on March 3, 2020.
What We Did
Once we had our tickets, we acquired a map and planned our route. Although BookCon had both exhibitors and vendors along with panels available nearly all day, we decided to scout the floor in the morning and visit panels in the afternoon.
Reader, if you want to experience everything BookCon has to offer, I highly suggest you spend at least two full days there. Different people come on different days of the weekend, so be sure to check out the guests page to see who is attending (authors, celebrities, vendors) and plan accordingly. See an overview of BookCon’s 2019 guests on the appropriate web page.
Our entrance onto the floor led us to a table/set for the new AMC show NOS4A2, which is based on the popular book of the same title by Joe Hill. NOS4A2 follows the story of a mother named Vic’s journey to find her son who was abducted by the infamous vampire killer Nosferatu.
Next, we looked to have tea with Simpson & Vail Inc., one of the oldest tea companies in the United States. Their table offered free samples of black teas, and they had a wide variety of different flavors available for purchase.
If you’re looking to curl up with a good book and a nice cup of tea on one of those rainy days, then let Simpson & Vail Inc. be your guide on all things tea-related. You can check out their flavors and offers on their web page.
Forget Language Barriers
Immediately after we gulped down our freshly brewed tea samples, we turned to the neighboring vendor TravelFlips. Per their web page, TravelFlips is “a portable language flashcard kit for the modern adventurer.” Reader, if you wanted to visit Italy but faltered because you were worried about the language barrier, fear not! Each TravelFlips kit contains 60 flashcards with carefully selected words and phrases to help you understand the language of your choice. If you’re traveling anytime soon or just want to learn a new language, then I highly suggest you order a TravelFlips kit from their web page!
Remember The Spiderwick Chronicles?
Fun fact – The Spiderwick Chronicles was one of my favorite book series as a child, and I didn’t realize that author Holly Black was writing other books! So, you can imagine I was pleasantly surprised when my friend and I came across a table promoting the third and final book in her Folk of the Air trilogy titled The Queen of Nothing. See below for a great photo I got of my friends adorned in crowns and snakes (fake) to help promote the book.
Waxspurts, Not Wrackspurts
If you are a Harry Potter fan like I am, then you might recognize this candle maker’s clever play off of the word ‘wrackspurts’ – a mythical creature character Luna Lovegood believes exists much to Hermione Granger’s exasperation. Waxspurts Candle Co. produces vegan soy candles marketed towards viewers and readers of book and pop culture. They are a fierce supporter of small businesses and provide an unparalleled selection of top-notch products.
Waxspurts was by far one of the more popular tables among the vendors there on Saturday. People flocked and smelled candles left and right.
My friends and I wound up coming back to Waxspurt’s table multiple times because we could not decide which candles we wanted to purchase for ourselves. In the end, Victoria and I wound up buying two candles each while Billy purchased five wax melts for our shared apartment.
Currently burning in our home are candles ‘Stardust’ based off the Neil Gaiman book and 2007 film of the same title, ‘Snitch, Please’ from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, and wax melt ‘Honeydukes’ also from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.
You can look to purchase candles from Waxspurt’s web page.
It’s Not Graffiti on These Walls
If you city hop like me, you’ll notice that each city has its own unique style in terms of graffiti and street art. Well, Reader, BookCon in New York City was no exception. Across the floor, we found different walls with questions inviting people to pick up a marker and share their responses/opinions. Below you’ll see our stops at Penguin Random House’s wall along with Workman Publishing’s. Maybe you’ll want to share your answers to these questions in the comments section? Think about it!
Also pictured, the most blurred image of a moving man I’ve ever seen in my life captured by a panorama (see Workman photo).
Disney Really Is Everywhere at This Point
Reader, I swear sometimes I’ll pick up a book and not even realize it’s published by Disney because their empire is so huge! So, of course, we had to stop at Disney’s section.
Overall, I really felt the magic of Disney in their dedicated section (I may or may not have freaked out due to my excitement caused by childhood memories), and it was a good final stop before our lunch break.
After purchasing and inhaling our lunch from the Javits Center’s food court, my friends and I decided to check out a few panels we had marked on our lists. We were able to attend a total of three panels, which lasted about a half-hour to an hour each.
Catch These Books on the Silver Screen
First, we hit up the Book-to-Screen Panel featuring Eoin Coifer, author of the Artemis Fowl series; Nicola Yoon, author of The Sun is Also a Star and Everything, Everything; Alafair Burke, author of The Wife; and David Levithan, moderator and author of Every Day.
As you may have already guessed, each of these authors have books (mentioned above) that are or are soon-to-be major motion pictures. For nearly 45 minutes, we were able to listen to an in-depth discussion regarding the process of turning a book into a film, the differences between novel writing and editing v. screenwriting and editing, and each author’s personal experiences in his or her book(s) being turned into films.
Personally, I can’t wait to see Artemis Fowl hit the big screen, and Every Day made me cry in my friend’s basement at 2 AM.
I’ll Be Terrified for The Next 20 Years, Thanks
People who know me know that even though I am scared easily, I love a well-thought out story. So, it really piqued my curiosity when we saw a panel titled Oh! The Horror! being held at 3:30 PM. As the famous saying goes, “curiosity killed the cat.”
Guests on this panel included James Murray, author of The Brink and one of the four stars on TruTV’s Impractical Jokers; Joe Hill, author of NOS4A2 (mentioned above); Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World; and Petra Mayer, moderator and editor at NPR Books.
Each author spoke a bit about his work, their influences, and how horror has changed over the years as a genre.
Truly, I was excited to hear from all of them, especially James Murray, whom my sister and I watch on television all the time. I wasn’t aware that he has two books in the Awakened series, but now I am excited to go and read them.
Okay, so technically this next stop wasn’t at a panel, but it was between panels. I was lucky enough to meet Sasha Alsberg, one of my all-time favorite YouTubers and new author. Her book Zenith takes place in outer-space and is followed by Nexus, which is the second and last book in The Andromeda Saga. She just so happened to be talking to other fans in the corridor where we exited Oh! The Horror!
Sasha was incredibly sweet and an absolute pleasure to meet. See below for a photo of me with Sasha.
We Met John Green, and I Lost It, Guys
Our last panel and stop of the day was Hulu presents John Green’s Looking for Alaska. For those of you who don’t know, John Green’s first ever book Looking for Alaska has been picked up by Hulu for an eight-episode series. As a long-time John Green book and movie fan, this stop was an absolute must.
We were also able to view exclusive never-before-seen and not-yet-released content, which is not featured here. However, I can share that it is amazing, and I cannot wait until this show is released so that I can binge-watch it immediately. Viewers will most likely cry (I know I will), and if you read the book, Reader, then you know exactly the reason why.
Everyone on the panel was extremely humble and dedicated toward the project. When the moderator asked John where readers can purchase his book, his response was something along the lines of “Well, I don’t really care – you can find it at your local library. Support your local small businesses.” In short, John Green is an author hero.
Looking for Alaska premieres on Hulu October 18th of this year.
How Can I Attend BookCon?
If you thoroughly enjoyed this post and have an interest in attending next year’s BookCon, you can look for information and ticket updates on BookCon’s official web page. Tentative dates are set for May 30-31st, 2020 according to 10times.com.
Share Your Thoughts!
Kudos to making it to the end, Reader – I know this is one of my longer posts! Did any of this spark your interest? Did you attend BookCon? If so, where did you stop? What was your favorite part of the Con and of this post? Don’t be hesitant to reach out.
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