I splurged on a ticket to BookExpo this year for the first time and the experience was exhilarating. Since I don't smoke, do drugs, or drink more than a few glasses of wine a week, books are my drug of choice. I am a book addict and the addiction gets worse every day.
Since I had never attended BookExpo before, I felt a little bit like a stranger in a strange land, (or perhaps like a physician thrown head first into the deep end of the publishing world.) It took me an hour or so to figure out how everything worked, and then I was off and running. I had been given sage advice to decline galleys that I would never read, to resist the urge to take everything that wasn't nailed down. I won't say it was easy, but I did manage to follow that advice, only schlepping home the books I had really been looking forward to reading. Every author I met was gracious and friendly and the people I met while waiting in line, librarians, booksellers and book bloggers, were equally interesting and personable. BookExpo confirmed for me that book people are nice people. I can't wait to start reading some of my new books and write about them too. Check out my pile below!
Still on a book high the next day, I casually mentioned to my sons that BookCon was happening that weekend and maybe they would like to attend. I wasn't surprised when my older son, an avid reader like myself, instantly liked the idea, but much to my surprise, my younger son, a supremely reluctant reader, also wanted to go. The Wimpy Kid books are the only books he reads by choice and when I had told him that Jeff Kinney would be there, he got all excited.
When we arrived at BookCon, we learned that most of the signings my kids wanted to attend, including Jeff Kinney's, were sold out. Thankfully, I prevented a meltdown in the ticket line by reassuring my younger son that we could see Jeff Kinney at the Kids Books Blockbusters panel later in the day. In the meantime, we did score tickets for a signing of The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi. My older son devoured the book in two days, designating it one of the best books he has read this year (right behind Harry Potter). I've now added that book to my TBR list.
We arrived early to the Kids Books Blockbusters panel and claimed second row seats. I enjoyed every minute of the panel which included Kwame Alexander (The Crossover), Jeff Kinney (Wimpy Kid), Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) and Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Treehouse). Roger Sutton did a masterful job of guiding the conversation and asking thoughtful questions. The most exciting part of the panel was watching my kids' faces light up. They couldn't believe that these authors were sitting right in front of them laughing and cracking jokes. Jeff Kinney was sitting so close we could almost reach out and touch him. Authors have always been rock stars in my mind and this experience confirmed that my children feel the same way. I can't wait to see the line-up for next year.