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Top 5 things you missed at BookCon

BookCon took place on Saturday, May 31 at the Javits Center in New York City. Readers flocked to the one day event to attend author panels, autograph sessions and to browse through the publishers’ booths for free advance reader’s copies and other giveaways. Tote bags, posters, bookmarks, stickers, and refrigerator magnets were available for all in attendance. With so many events taking place in such a short time, as well as the BookCon Show Floor maze of booths and autograph sessions to get through, even the thousands of attendees could not make it to everything they wanted to do and see at BookCon. Here are just five of the things you missed at BookCon.

BookCon took place on Saturday, May 31 at the Javits Center in New York City.
Eleni Sakellis

1. The most awesome day ever for a book lover. Yes, it was a beautiful day outside and the Javits Center was resplendent with the sunlight streaming in through the glass structure, but it was nothing compared to the bright smiles of the bibliophiles in attendance. One attendee, who chose to remain nameless admitted to singing “Heaven, I’m in heaven,” to herself as she waded through the crowds on the Show Floor, collecting free books as she went along. The lyrics are from the Irving Berlin tune, “Cheek to Cheek” from the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers movie, “Top Hat” (1935), but it captures the mood of those enraptured with books and dazzled by the BookCon Show Floor.

2. Excruciatingly long lines. Hundreds of fans lined up for author panels, but never got in. One disappointed young fan missed every panel she lined up for, in spite of lining up an hour in advance for most of the sessions. The timing of sessions one after the other also created a lot of stress for people trying to get from one end of the Javits Center to the other and then finding another huge line awaiting them and no guarantee of getting into the session. Clearly, the timing of BookCon sessions needs to be rethought, or another day added to BookCon. With so much for people to do and see, it would have been a pleasure to return for a second full day.

3. Excruciatingly long lines. Some people are still on line for the women’s restroom, and they’ve missed all the panels they wanted to attend. Also, there was no set time for a break between the sessions. A lunch break would have been ideal. The organizers of BookCon might take a hint from the Writer’s Digest Conference on this point. The WDC seems to recall that humans need to eat (and use the restroom) at some point during the day without fretting over the sessions, panels, or discussions that they’re missing at the same time.

4. A super workout for your arms and shoulders. The average BookCon attendee can expect to receive at least five or six books for free just by browsing the Show Floor. The more tenacious bibliophile, or bibliomaniac if you prefer, may receive upwards of ten or even a dozen books for free, and countless other books are also available for purchase. Those packed tote bags work out to several pounds worth of weight to carry around with you all day, offering solid exercise for those undersized biceps. Sensible shoes will save your feet, but be warned, those unused to lifting weights may wrench their backs with the effort of hauling so many books. The smart attendees brought along a wheeled carry-on bag and checked it in at the Javits Center for a $3 charge, a tiny sum to prevent sore, aching muscles. Unless your motto is “no pain, no gain,” then by all means lug those books yourself.

5. Superheroes. Yes, superheroes of the literary world were in attendance. John Grisham and Carl Hiassen gave a delightful talk about their work during their panel. David Mitchell, author of “Cloud Atlas” and the upcoming “The Bone Clocks,” was charming and witty as he revealed he actually liked the film version of “Cloud Atlas,” the admittedly “un-filmable book.” Actor, and now author, Cary Elwes drew an epic crowd and enchanted fans with his talk about his book “As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride,” due out in October. Also appearing at BookCon, Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee, Spiderman and Batman (does Superman know about this?), Hello Kitty, Dora the Explorer, and Peter Rabbit. BookCon did indeed have something for everyone, and in spite of all the inconveniences, and Grumpy Cat allegedly biting someone, true book lovers and fans cannot wait for next year’s edition of BookCon.

For more information on BookCon, check out the website.

For bloggers on BookCon, check out these blogs. The Wannabes offers “Lessons Learned” on their website, Thelma offers helpful hints on improving BookCon while The Bawdy Book Blogger rants, “Never again.”

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