Books and A Henge

BookExpo/BookCon unfolds in NYC once a year. It’s everything for anyone book related: networking, selling, buying, paneling, conferencing, workshopping for sellers, buyers, lovers, publishers, writers, readers, conferencers, workshoppers, panelers. I wanted to go but was on the fence because of the price. Then I remembered, hey I write for Book Riot. I applied for a complimentary Media Badge and was approved, so problem solved and I’m a pretty big deal.


The Javitz Center combined with five days of events scheduled early morning to late evening made for brain-overload. I like to plan, and I found paralyzed when I tried. I thought about winging it, a suggestion that came up among several other Book Rioters and several writers and readers in different groups I know. The thought of winging it paralyzed me even more and also made my neck stiffen and my heart race, so I went with the first kind of paralysis. I mapped out options. I mapped out interests. I checked off booths and panels and readings. I was ready.

The first day I went, I walked over to Javitz in a surprisingly non-sweaty jaunt (if you don’t get the sweat reference, for shame! you should know better). I arrived and found where to pick up my badge. I then scoped out the place. I’ve been there before for events that were only on one floor. The expo/con took over almost the entire building. I found myself lost and wandering.

Then I came across tables and tables of books with signs that read, Please Take. Yes, I will, thank you.Β  Here were books for the taking to be read and reviewed and written about. Yes, this is why I was here. Yes, this is for me. Yes, this is me. 01bbb441d4a6daf527e63a7573b040298b8ac49afc I found the panel I wanted to see about Can’t Miss Graphic Novels of 2018. It was really enjoyable! I’m trying to get into graphic stuff a little more, and this was exactly what I needed. Then I checked out a reading, roamed a little more, and then headed out to meet up with some Book Rioters. The folks at Book Riot do good work with fantastic energy, and meeting them in person to talk about books and other things was as fantastic. The second day of BookExpo meant another jaunt to Javitz and a day of paneling. I wanted to see an astronaut. Then I wanted to hear about publishing. A reading, a chat, a panel, and then off to the floor to see all the books. However, the app listed the astronaut in one place and the brochure listed it in another and no one I asked knew where I should go. I even asked in the app and then tweeted my woes.

To no avail. So I wandered and chatted with book people.

Then the time came for the panel. The room was correct. I was in! I sat in front of a row of people who typed away at their laptops and tablets and phones. The room filled up. We waited.

Then we waited some more. There was even more waiting. Then someone got on the mic to say that the panelists might be in traffic because they were heading over from a sister venue. Then two publishers got up on the dais and offered to be the panelists on the fly. What a friggin boss move! They were very humble about it. They were like, we see people in this room who have as much information to give as we do, so we invited you to shout out your ideas, too. Then they took questions from the audience because they obviously had nothing prepared to say and didn’t want to talk at us. The first question was about marketing and it was interesting. The answers were helpful. Then someone in the audience walked up to the dais and showed one of the neo-panelists his phone. One of the scheduled panelists had sent a message–maybe tweeted?–that they were told the panel had been canceled. I stayed a little longer, but then realized that all my planning had gone awry and I could simply wing it for the rest of the day. That’s what I did, talking to all kinds of people on the show floor. I picked up books and cards. Some people gave me magnets. Others gave me chocolate. I came home laden with books and pamphlets and idea for Book Rioting. I had plans for two more days of Expoing and Conning. Instead, I tossed my plans to the wayside and reveled in everything I’d already collected. Coming soon…write ups about books and reading and more books and more reading.

In the middle of all of this, Manhattanhenge appeared. Wanting to see it in person for years, I found a mid-block crosswalk and waited. Every time the cross sign showed green, out into the street I went to take pictures. So did the small crowd that amassed with me. Then I looked at the block ahead and the block behind, and every crosswalk filled with onlookers. Clouds made for a bit of a fuzzy henge, but it was still brilliant.

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