As some of you might know, I recently attended BookExpo and BookCon in New York City! Today, I’m here with part two of my recap of this whirlwind week. Make sure to check out part one here, and head on over to my YouTube channel to watch my haul!
day four: friday
By Friday morning, the mid-conference exhaustion was starting to hit– I almost fell back asleep WHILE I WAS PUTTING ON MY MAKEUP THAT MORNING– but I managed to make it to the Javits by 9:15 or so. I swung by the Candlewick booth and was able to grab a copy of Hearts Unbroken, which I had been highly anticipating, and I also stumbled across an in-booth singing at Quirk for Girls Resist. After walking the floor for a bit, I headed to a quiet spot to eat some breakfast and plan the rest of my day. In the middle of this chill time, Novl (Little, Brown’s YA imprint) tweeted out the password for The Wicked King ARC. Now, while I enjoyed The Cruel Prince and plan to continue the series, I wasn’t trying to go near the Hachette booth when they dropped that ARC. However, since I saw the tweet with the password seconds after it was posted, I decided to head over to the booth and scope out the situation. Once I got onto the show floor, I immediately saw people SPRINTING to the Hachette booth. It was utter chaos, but I managed to stay calm and find a place in line… and ended up getting the third-to-last copy of Wicked King!!! So, that was a cool way to start the day.
That being done, I headed to Katherine Locke’s signing for The Spy with the Red Balloon. It was SO WONDERFUL to meet her and to tell her in person just how special The Girl with the Red Balloon is to me. She not only recognized me from my constant fangirling, but also let me in on some *~insider info~* about the ending which blew my damn mind (which is a theme with that book).
Chatting with Katherine Locke (thanks to Julie for the picture!)
Afterward, I met up with Emily for lunch. I then got in line for Tahereh Mafi’s singing for A Very Large Expanse of Sea, but the line ended up getting capped a few people ahead of me. It was okay, though, because I still managed to make it to the Owlcrate booth, where Mackenzi Lee was signing the Owlcrate edition of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue! Mackenzi was so lovely, and I really enjoyed chatting with her. After this, I was ready to rest my feet for a bit, so I attended the Life Cycle of a Diverse Book panel, presented by WNDB! I’m really glad I decided to attend this panel– I really got a sense of the entire publishing process as it pertains to diverse books. Following the panel, I went to Jen Doll’s singing of her debut, Unclaimed Baggage— I was the first person in line, and she told me it was the first copy of her book she’d ever signed. <3 I then headed back to the show floor to catch the Rise Up! panel with Becky Albertalli, Adam Silvera, Ibi Zoboi, and Tahereh Mafi. I ran into Dani there and we ended up sitting together. I so enjoyed hearing all of these authors talking about their upcoming projects, as all three books are some of my most-anticipated of this year! Becky also told me afterward that it was great to see a familiar Atlanta face in the audience, which made me super happy. It was a great way to end my last day of BookExpo!
Rise Up! panel // My Friday haul!
After the panel, I left the Javits and headed over to the Archer Hotel to meet Emily, Chelsea, and Julie for the Goodreads Community Celebration! This event was 100% one of the highlights of the entire week for me. It was a small event, and we got a chance to really chat with members of the Goodreads team over drinks and snacks. Plus, it was held at a rooftop bar with gorgeous views of Manhattan! We also made friends with Heather and Ellie, who were SO awesome. And since it was a more intimate setting, I got to talk to some of the larger creators in this community, and… they recognized me??? Which was really cool and a bit surreal??? Anyway, it was a BLAST. Thank you so much to Emily at Goodreads for including me. <3
All the Goodreads party pictures!
Post-Goodreads-party, we headed down the street to Blaggard’s Pub to meet MORE bookish friends for a lil BookTube bar night (shoutout to Chelsea and Julie for organizing this)! There, we met up with Kate, Natasha (and her husband, Jeff), Momo, and even more lovely people. It was honestly the BEST way to kick off Bookcon weekend. I left the pub full of happy book community feels (also alcohol). <3
The bookish bar crew!
day five: saturday
Saturday was the first day of Bookcon (also the only day of Bookcon that I attended)! I was thankful that the start time was at least a bit later than that of BookExpo, which meant I GOT TO SLEEP IN PAST 7AM. I ended up getting a ticket to the Fierce Reads author breakfast, so that was my first order of business for the day! There were seven tables, and fourteen authors in pairs of two. The authors rotated to a the next table every ten minutes or so, so we got to chat with all of them. It was such a fun, chill event, and the perfect way to start the day! I thought the author pairs were done really well– my faves were Victoria Schwab and Mark Oshiro, and Roshani Chokshi and Courtney Summers. I loved getting to talk to some of my favorite authors in such an intimate setting. Like, I was eating a bagel while sitting right next to Victoria Schwab. TOTALLY CASUAL. Anna-Marie McLemore was also there, and she remembered me from her Atlanta event! We got some really cool Fierce Reads swag bags at the end of the breakfast, and then I headed out for the rest of my day.
With Anna-Marie McLemore
I met up with Kate, and we walked the floor together for a bit… when, from afar, I heard the voice of my Congressman, John Lewis, and promptly ran to catch his panel with his co-authors and illustrators who worked with him on his upcoming graphic novel memoir, Run. I got chills and was moved to tears multiple times while hearing him speak.
Following that panel, I met up with Chelsea and Jane and we went on an adventure in search of Shake Shack for lunch. Even in all my visits to NYC, I had somehow never before eaten at a Shake Shack… friends, it is so worth the hype. Their vegetarian mushroom burger? RIDICULOUSLY DELICIOUS. Appetites satisfied, we headed back to the Javits, where we met up with Emily and Kristin and the five of us headed up to the Penguin Random House Books & Bubbly event. I had a ton of fun chatting with the folks from all the various PRH imprints about the upcoming releases they were most excited about– plus, there was champagne, coffee, and an ice cream bar! We also picked up some adorable swag bags on our way out.
BOOK FRIENDZ 4EVER
Upon leaving the PRH party, we headed back to the floor to meet up with Sylwia. I said my goodbyes to Jane, Emily, and Chelsea, and Sylwia and I headed out to grab some dinner. We ended up going to the same Brazilian restaurant I took Emily to on Thursday… listen, the heart wants what it wants, okay? I had so many wonderful conversations with Sylwia over dinner– she’s one of my favorite people in the entire book community and it was so good to see her again! On our walk back to Sylwia’s car, we ended up walking right through the middle of Times Square, so obviously we took a cheesy mock-tourist photo.
Sylwia dropped me back off at my Airbnb, where I frantically tried to pack all of my things and my plethora of new books back into my suitcase for my early morning flight home.
All in all, I had a pretty wonderful time at BookExpo and Bookcon. I made some connections with publishers, discovered new-to-me books and authors, met preexisting favorite authors, and most importantly, got to spend some quality time with all my favorite bookish people. Was it exhausting? Yes. Was it a perfect event? Far from it. However, I would definitely go back in the future. Thank you so much to every person who made my first BEA experience so special, and thank YOU, reading this post, for making it possible for me to do things like this. <3 Your support of me and of Novel Ink is appreciated more than you know, and it does not go unnoticed.
Also, while you’re here, I highly encourage you to watch Ashley’s and Christina Marie’s videos about the glaring lack of diversity at these events. It was evident in almost every aspect of the programming, and it’s something we, as a community, all need to work toward changing in the future. Support bloggers, BookTubers, bookstagrammers, reviewers, authors and book community members of color. Yes, these events are fun, but I recognize the immense amount of privilege I, as a white person, have in 1.) being able to attend BEA in the first place, and 2.) feeling comfortable attending and generally feeling included in the community at large. Let’s do better, friends.
That’s all from me for now! Thanks for sticking it out through these long, overly wordy recaps, lolol. I hope you enjoy the giveaway!
Did you attend BookExpo or Bookcon this year? If so, tell me some of your highlights! What’s the best bookish event you’ve attended?
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