Book Con Survival Guide for the Best Weekend

If you’ve been around Fangirl Fury for a while, you know that I can work Book Con into any bookish conversation. The land of all the books, Book Con is an annual book convention held in New York City at the Javits Center- sorry for my Midwest readers, but this fangirl never wants the convention to move back to Chicago, please. I attended Book Con in 2015 and 2017, so 2018 will be my third time attending the convention, but only my second time going for both Saturday and Sunday.

Since I consider Book Con to be one of the best weekends of the year, I want to help you make Book Con your favorite weekend too! Even if you’re not attending Book Con, these tips can also be applied to other conventions and bookish events!

 

Plan ahead and stay organized- The Book Con schedule is typically available on its website and app a month before and is updated leading up to and during the convention. In general, the schedule includes autographing sessions (both in the autographing area and in-booth), panels, meet-and-greets, and new for 2018, writing workshops.

I highly recommend planning out what events you’d like to attend BEFORE going to Book Con. It may not include every thing you’ll want to do over the weekend (the Publishers Weekly guide available the morning of each day usually includes book-drops and events that aren’t in the online schedule), but I HIGHLY recommend having back-ups in case a line gets capped for an event.

You can use My Show through thebookcon.com and the Book Con app to keep track of both the convention schedule and your personal schedule on your devices. I also recommend creating a printed version of your schedule. I know a lot of people use Excel to create their schedule, and last year, I used Word for mine. I kept track of the events I knew I was definitely attending (the autographing sessions in the autographing area) and in-booth events that I wanted to attend. I brought three copies to the convention, two for me and one for my mom, my Book Con buddy. I also recommend bringing a pen so you can check off or add events.

Wear comfy shoes and clothes– By all means feel free to dress up to meet your favorite authors or even cosplay- there were so many awesome Six of Crows cosplays last year! But whatever you choose to wear, make sure it’s something that you’ll feel comfortable wearing and walking around in ALL DAY. For me, sneakers are definitely a must—Book Con requires A LOT of walking and A LOT of standing (although you’ll be able to sit in some lines). Last year, I wore sneakers, capris, and a t-shirt each day-there’s no better time to show off your Harry Potter and Hamilton gear. I also make sure to have extra hair-ties in my bag.

IMG_4576.jpg

Bring a tote bag or backpack- Speaking of bags, make sure you bring at least one tote bag (think beach bag size) or backpack with you. Publishers do an awesome job of handing out tote bags, but you’ll want to make sure that you have something to put all your books and bookish swag in! And in my experience, I’ve needed at least 2 bags by the end of each day to hold all my stuff! Book Con does provide a Coat Check/bag area, but I’ve personally never used this service. I bring a backpack to the convention, with a tote bag stored inside. Going back to dress attire, it’s also important to remember that you will be carrying stuff all day when planning your outfit.

IMG_4574
This was my Saturday 2017 haul!

If possible, have a Book Con buddy– I know this isn’t possible for everyone, but going to Book Con with a friend or meeting with someone at the convention can make the convention a bit more stress-free. I’ve attended Book Con every year with my mom, who’s also my ultimate reading buddy. We make a mother-daughter weekend out of it, and it’s fun getting to travel and wait in line before/during the show together. While my mom does attend events for herself and my bookish sister, she’ll also go to book-drops for me if I’m at another event.

Bring snacks and drinks– When you’re carrying books around all day, you’re going to need some food! In my trusty backpack, I pack snacks and drinks, like water bottles, granola bars, and fruit. I typically snack in line before the show floor opens and in line for signings.

Don’t be afraid to make some time in your schedule for lunch. While you can totally pack your lunch too, my mom and I grab food from the Javits Center if we decide to break for lunch that day. We took a half hour for lunch on Saturday last year, since we stayed at the convention until 5, but we skipped on lunch on Sunday, since we planned and did leave before 3. And yes, lunch at the Javits can be a bit pricey (I think it was $30 for my mom and I to eat), but you can never go wrong with chicken fingers.

Bring cash– While the Book Con/ReedPOP, the Strand (they provide books available for purchase at most autographing sessions), and the cafeteria definitely take credit, some booths may only take cash. ­­You don’t necessarily need to spend money at the convention, but in the past, I’ve spent money on autographing sessions that require a book purchase, lunch, Book Con merch, and at other booths.

Make sure to give yourself some time to explore the show floor, including its many vendors! The Strand typically has a big booth set up with their own merch, and this year I’m on the hunt for some new book sleeves and bookish candles.

Take the dust jackets off your books– If you’re bringing books from home to be signed and they’re hardcovers, leave the dust jackets at home! Obviously book sleeves can avoid damage to jackets, but give yourself a bit more peace of mind by avoiding wear-n-tear in your bags.

It’s not necessary to arrive at the crack of dawn– While the show floor does not open until 10AM each day, I believe the Javits Center opens for lining up between 6 AM or 7 AM. By all means you are welcome to arrive at Book Con as early as you want and yes the earlier you get there, the sooner you’ll get on the show floor at that 10AM start. If there’s an event at 10 AM that your bookish self MUST attend or really want to attend, it’d be a bit more advantageous of you to get in line sooner rather than later. But you don’t need to be one of the first in line at Book Con to have a good time. I typically get to the convention around 8:30 AM and I’m usually on the show floor by 10:10.

And for those of you who want to attend events at 10 AM before they’re capped, it is possible to attend them without being first in line. For example, in 2015, Rainbow Rowell had a Q&A and signing event scheduled later in the day, but in order to attend the event, you had to buy a copy of Fangirl from Macmillan starting at 10 AM. While I was not the first in line for getting on the show floor and even at Macmillan (I probably didn’t get on the show floor and figure out where I was until at least 10:15), I was still able to get a ticket.

IMG_2234.jpg

Have fun– I know it sounds cheesey, but have fun being your best bookish self at the convention dedicated to books! I admit that it’s easy to get stressed out over fear of not getting to attend certain panels or signings but just remember to breathe and stay optimistic! And it’s okay if everything doesn’t go to plan; I promise you’ll come home with some great books and a great experience no matter what. Remember to keep a smile on your face and be nice to others. I myself have stressed about getting certain books or ARCS. While it may be disappointing to walk away from the convention without your most coveted ARC, remember that you’ll be able to have a nice, shiny, finished copy soon!

newfireborder

I’m very excited to announce that I will be also attending Book Expo for the first time ever this year! It’s honestly been one of my bookish dreams to attend Book Expo, and I cannot wait for these four bookish days!!

If you want more of an idea how much you can do in a day at Book Con, check out these posts about my Saturday and Sunday at the convention.

Are you attending Book Con this year? What are some of your convention tips? Share in the comments!

Amanda Lovelace & Cyrus Parker Event + the princess saves herself in this one

On Saturday, my best friends and I spent our second-to-last day of spring break right by attending a poetry reading at our local Barnes and Noble. The best part? The event was in honor of Amanda Lovelace and Cyrus Parker, the cutest poetry-writing married couple. Amanda is known for her debut collection, the princess saves herself in this one, and both authors just came out with new books last Tuesday: Amanda’s the witch doesn’t burn in this one and Cyrus’ debut DROPKICKromance.

The event kicked off with Cyrus reading a few poems from DROPKICKromance. The collection tells his experience being in a toxic relationship and then transitions to his much healthier and happier relationship with Amanda. One of the poems he read was about Amanda and he looked at her while he read (*major swoon*). I didn’t pick up a copy at the event, but I’m hoping to borrow it from the library really soon. After his reading, Cyrus discussed his inspiration behind the collection—it’s named after his favorite move when he was a pro-wrestler (!!!)- and the work behind his writing.

thwitchdoesntburnAmanda then read a few poems from the witch doesn’t burn in this one, starting off with her dedication. I love that Amanda dedicated the princess saves herself in this one and the witch doesn’t burn in this one to fictional characters, respectively to the boy who lived (Harry Potter) and the girl on fire (Katniss Everdeen). I’ve been trying to slow down my book-buying habits due to my lack of shelf space, but the fact that Katniss and The Hunger Games were large inspirations for her collection made me buy it immediately.

After Amanda’s reading, there was a Q&A with both authors. My favorite poems in the princess saves herself in this one were about the protagonist’s  relationship to words and fiction, so I asked Amanda and Cyrus what their favorite books were. Amanda discussed her love for Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, as well as her latest read, Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough, which she blurbed. Cyrus talked about his love for Leigh Bardugo and Six of Crows and that they were married by Leigh herself!! * INSERT PSA FOR MORE AUTHORS TO BECOME WEDDING OFFICIANTS HERE*

amandaevent
The event was in serious need of chairs so my friends and I separated when it came to seating. Blame my friend’s head for blocking out Cyrus’s face

 Toward the end of the event, Amanda signed my copy of the witch doesn’t burn in this one and we talked more about Six of Crows (Amanda loves Nina and Cyrus loves Kaz and Inej) and Book Expo/Book Con- I will always find a way to work this into any conversation ever. If you’re attending Book Con in June, Amanda and Cyrus are going to be on a panel during the convention!

 Overall, I’m so happy that I attended this event and that my B&N is holding more and more author events (I met Jennifer E. Smith here back in September!). I can’t wait to read the witch doesn’t burn in this one and DROPKICKromance in the near future.

In anticipation for the reading & signing, I read Amanda’s the princess saves herself in this one over my spring break and you can check out my mini review below.

newfireborder

the princess saves herself in this one

theprincessaves

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

the princess saves herself in this one is the first collection in Amanda’s women are some kind of magic trilogy. Fun fact that Amanda discussed at the above event: the final collection is going to be about mermaids, entitled the mermaid’s voice returns in this one!

The collection is divided into four sections: the princess, the damsel, the queen, and you. the princess saves herself in this one can most definitely be read in one sitting (I separated into two just because of work, other reads, and a Brooklyn Nine-Nine marathon tiredness). The book addresses numerous, heavy topics, including abuse, death, and self-harm. Amanda’s writing is largely inspired by her own life and her writing just felt so real. I think this is why so many readers have been able to resonate with her poetry. Personally, I related the most to the book-related ones, like the one below:

papergirlpoem

I admit that I don’t read a ton of poetry so this might be more common than not, but I enjoyed how the titleswere placed at the bottom of the poem. This technique often made me have an a-ha moment and it was interesting to see what each poem was really about AFTER reading. My biggest problem with reading poetry is figuring out how the poems should be read. Amanda’s poetry heavily use spaces and while I don’t mind this practice, I often had trouble figuring out how the poem should be read aloud. I know it can be up to the reader’s interpretation or can be easily solved by listening to the audiobook.

Have you read Amanda or Cyrus’s poetry collections? Share in the comments!

Meeting Jennifer E. Smith & What I Read in September 2017

Oh September, you were filled with days spent in class, combatting summer weather while at university, reuniting with friends, filled with homework, and trying to read as much as I could. This What I Read post is going to be formatted a bit differently than usual, especially since I’ve only read 4 books this month. You’re probably accustomed to scrolling through my list of 10+ books, but since this was my first full month back at school, I’ve had less time to read (*major sigh*). I have my reviews for I, Eliza Hamilton, One Plus One, and Moxie scheduled to come out within the next week, so I’m not going to talk about them right now. However, I will be talking about my experience meeting Jennifer E. Smith below!

septreads.jpg

The Girls by Emma Cline | 3/5 Stars

I didn’t really know what to expect going into The Girls, knowing that it has received mixed hype. I decided to pick up book when I found it at a library book sale for 50 cents! The Girls takes place in 1960s Northern California as teenage Evie Boyd is drawn into a cult. This book had a lot more adult content that I would have expected, and all in all, I don’t really know how I feel about the very flowerily writing style.

I, Eliza Hamilton by Susan Holloway Scott | 5/5 Stars

One Plus One by JoJo Moyes | 4/5 Stars

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu | 4.25/ 5 Stars

jene3-e1506738149744.jpg

September 23rd was Barnes and Nobles’ Teen B-Fest, and my local B&N hosted Jennifer E. Smith. Jennifer’s books are YA staples, and I enjoyed reading Windfall this past May alongside Bookspolsion’s read-a-long. Between Book Con and other author events I’ve attended, it was really refreshing to go to a signing that wasn’t ticketed and was pretty calm. I was a bit disappointed that the store didn’t host a Q & A session with Jennifer before the signing, however, I was able to talk to her for a while as she signed my books. We talked about being an English major and getting the classics out of the way in college, what’s it like working for literary agencies, and of course, Book Con,aka the love of my life. Besides signing my copies of The Geography of You and Me and This Is What Happy Looks Like, Jennifer gave me a cute magnet and pins based off of Windfall. Overall, it was such a lovely experience meeting Jennifer and I highly recommend checking out her books for all your YA contemporary needs.

What did you read in September? Share in the comments!

 

My Sunday at Book Con 2017

While my Saturday at Book Con 2017 was amazing, my Sunday at Book was even more incredible. This was my first time attending both days of the convention (I only went to the Saturday of Book Con 2015), so I was looking forward to seeing what Sunday was all about. My mom and I entered the Queue Hall of the Javits Center around 8:30 in the morning, and we were able to get into a separate line for the Sarah J. Maas signing. At 10:00, my line was brought right up to the autographing area, Sarah and Papa Maas ready for signing. This was my second time meeting Sarah, and we both fangirled over Charlie Bowater’s latest A Court of Thorns and Roses artwork as she signed my copy of Crown of Midnight.

IMG_4586.jpg

After Sarah’s signing, I headed straight to the Penguin booth and I received a ticket for E.Lockhart’s signing of Genuine Fraud. I’m so happy that I was able to meet E. Lockhart because I loved We Were Liars and The Disreputable History Frankie Landau-Banks, and Genuine Fraud is one of my most anticipated releases of fall 2017.Since I was one of the first people in line, I also received a makeup bag with an awesome quote from the book (pictured below).Right after that signing, I met my mom at a smaller booth and got in line for Meg Kassel’s Black Bird of the Gallows. While I waited an hour or so for the book, it was really awesome to meet Meg because she was so excited that I had been anticipating her book, as it was her first novel. She was even more happy when one of my friends in line asked for a photo with her!

FullSizeRender 2.jpg

As you’re probably starting to tell, Sunday was alllll about running about from signing to signing for me. Right after Meg Kassel’s signing, I headed right to the best part of my day—Marie Lu’s autographing. Like Sarah J. Maas, Marie Lu is one of my all-time favorite authors, as the Legend trilogy  is one of my all-time favorite series and I plan on rereading The Young Elites and continuing that series very soon. This was my second time meeting Marie, and I loved meeting her once again. She’s just such a kind and super-sweet person, which you can easily tell anywhere talking to her in person or following her social media accounts (she stays up-to-date on current events, author news, and more). While Marie signed my copies of Legend, Prodigy, and The Young Elites, one of the topics we talked about was the craziness of her Warcross signing on Saturday and how I unfortunately couldn’t get a ticket for the event. After she finished signing my last book, she told me that she happened to have a copy of Warcross in her bag AND SHE WANTED ME TO HAVE IT AND SHE GAVE ME IT! I was completely blown away, and as I felt tears in my eyes. I told her that she absolutely made my weekend (not to mention, MY LIFE).

FullSizeRender (1).jpg

Soon after, I met back up with my mom at the Owlcrate booth, where we both received tote bags and little 2017 calendars. We took some time for a bathroom and snack break, where we both freaked out over Warcross (my mom even cried, guys), and then we spilt up again, my mom headed to Jeff Kinney’s signing for my sister and I made my way to Adam Silvera’s signing. I loved reading Adam’s More Happy than Not and History is All You Left Me, and I’m so pumped for They Both Die at the End to come out this fall. While he signed my copy of History is All You Left Me, we talked about his soon-to-be appearance on Flea Market Flip—I read this on Twitter, as Adam is also another great author to follow on Twitter.

After taking one last lap around the showfloor, my mom and I called it a day and thus my Book Con 2017 was over. To be honest, after having an amazing time at Book Con 2015, I was a bit nervous about how my Book Con 2017 would go. I ended up having an incredible time at Book Con this year, from meeting so many authors to receiving 14 free books to meeting bookish people and more!

I didn’t realize how many amazing books were coming out this fall 2017 until I went to Book Con. If there was one fall 2017 release you could have right now, what would it be?? Let me know in the comments below!

My Saturday at Book Con 2017

Book Con, the land of all things books and story-telling, came back to New York City on June 3rd and 4th. This was my second time at Book Con, as I first attended in 2015 and wanted to relive this amazing experience. I woke up Saturday morning, yelling “Merry Christmas” to my mom- the tickets were a Christmas present and my mom was my buddy for the convention- and I couldn’t wait to get to the Javits Center.

My mom and I arrived at the convention center around 8:30 AM In my ‘professional Book Con attendee’ opinion, unless you’re aiming for a ticket to a main stage panel or event, there’s no reason to show to the convention before 8 AM. It’s awesome to be one of the first to enter the show floor, however, not being one of the first in line or even in one of the first lines has ever affected my experience. At 10:00, people started heading up to level 3 of the Javits Center in a pretty orderly fashion, but the hecticness started as soon as I entered the show floor. My first stop was the Penguin-Random House booth for an exclusive Underlined tote bag and possibly getting into Stephanie Perkins’ autographing for an ARC of There’s Someone Inside Your House.IMG_4599.JPG

I received the Underlined tote bag, which I’m super happy about because the tote bag was the nicest quality bag I received over the weekend and was filled with goodies, such as an ARC of The Breathless and a beach towel that says “Don’t Get My Books Wet ”. I ended up not getting into Stephanie Perkin’s autographing line, as it was pretty long plus I was disappointed that she was only signing a partial ARC of There’s Someone Inside Your House.

After some walking around the showfloor and not being able to get into Adam Silvera’s signing at the Owlcrate booth (I was really hoping for an ARC of They Both Die at the End), I made my way to the RWA booth. There, I went to two autographings, the most exciting being for an ARC of McCall Hoyle’s The Thing with Feathers . The Thing with Feathers is one of my most anticipated releases of fall 2017, so it was awesome to be able to get the book and meet McCall herself. Afterwards, I met up with my mom, where we both attended giveaways at Penguin. We received copies of Phillip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, an ARC of Jared Reck’s The Short History of the Girl Next Door,  and a finished copy of The Serpent King by Jeff Zenter.

IMG_4570.jpg

My mom and I then took a break from the showfloor and had some lunch—you can never go wrong with chicken fingers and French fries- and we went over our plan for the day. As soon as we were done, I made my way to the Autographing Area for the Rainbow Rowell signing. This was my second time meeting Rainbow, as I went to her Carry On-inspired meet and greet at Book Con 2015. All of the authors I met at Book Con were super-nice, and Rainbow was no exception. We talked about how my day was going, and she signed my paperback copy of Carry On (bought because I had to for the signing, but also for its gorgeous cover design), my Barnes and Noble edition of Fangirl, and my B&N edition of Eleanor and Park. Right after Rainbow, I jumped right into Jenny Han’s autographing line. I was lucky enough to be one of the first twenty people in line so I received a cute Sixteen Candles-inspired card with Lara Jean on the front. Jenny signed my bind up of The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy and my copies of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Always and Forever, Lara Jean.

IMG_4600.JPG

After Jenny Han’s autographing, my mom and I did our best to try to get a ticket for Marie Lu’s signing of Warcross (aka one of the most, if not the most wanted ARC of Book Con). The signing was taking place at Penguin, and while Penguin had some amazing authors and volunteers this weekend, they were just not prepared for how many people wanted Warcross. Fans were swarming the booth before tickets were being handed out, and volunteers continued to warn that they would call security if people did not clear the area. I kid you not, as soon as tickets were finally being handed out, a line of people took up over half of the showfloor. Despite my efforts, I was unable to get a ticket for the signing. My mom and I went to Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse booth for  The Language of Thorns photo booth and buttons and then we called it a day, as we were completely ecstatic about the books we had received and the events we had both attended.

My Sunday at Book Con is soon to come! Now here’s a question for you: if there was one author you could meet and have sign your books, who would it be?? Let me know in the comments!

Jacqueline Woodson Reading & Signing Event

Happy Friday! Last night, my university hosted a discussion and reading by author Jacqueline Woodson.  Woodson is well- known for her books Brown Girl Dreaming and Another Brooklyn. She has won so many awards for her work, most famously for the National Book Award in 2014 for Brown Girl Dreaming. Written in verse, BGD follows Woodson’s experience growing up as an African American girl in the 1960s and 1970s. As a child, she grew up in both the North and the South, right alongside the Civil Rights Movement and beyond. I read BGD over spring break and enjoyed reading it. I loved the poems focusing on Woodson’s relationship with her grandfather.

During the event, Woodson discussed her work and her writing process. Before reading from her books, she gave advice to the aspiring writers in the room. Her best piece of advice was to write about what you know or have experienced first-hand. By doing so, Woodson believes that a writer will be more invested in their story and their characters. She joked about not wanting to kill off most of her characters because she loved them too much, causing the audience to laugh in agreement. Woodson read from three of her books: Brown Girl Dreaming, Another Brooklyn, and If You Come Softly. Having Brown Girl Dreaming fresh in my mind, I really enjoyed listening to Woodson narrate the novel and I got a better sense of the emotion in the story. 

I bought Another Brooklyn (kudos to my school for $5 student copies) and Woodson signed my copy at the end of the event. Overall,  it  was such an awesome experience to have an author that I’ve read from visit my campus and be able to meet her. In the best fangirlish fashion, I felt so cool when Woodson asked who had read Brown Girl Dreaming (me!) and who was there for extra credit (I wish, but not me!). I look forward to hopefully attending more author events this year and reading more of Woodson’s books.

Have you read Brown Girl Dreaming? Share your thoughts and comments below!