Thousands of excited (often young) readers and accessible authors…literary cosplay…fans gathering to share their love of a series or genre—that’s BookCon, held at New York’s Javits Center this past weekend.
BookCon is many things. For one long line of enthusiastic fans, it is a chance to meet Nicola Yoon, author of the YA fav Everything, Everything (precis: “girl in the plastic bubble” meets her Mr. Darcy). For my husband Ken Davis, new author of Lifesavers (precis: lawyer caught in tragedy finds redemption through love), it is an opportunity to attend an IngramSpark showcase to help indie authors learn to effectively market their books. For me, it is a chance to discover some compelling titles about social issues in America.
At my first stop on the show floor, Workman Publishing was featuring Why We March, an evocative pictorial history of the January 21st Women’s March in Washington.
One of my favorite images in the book above is the girl from Austin, Texas proudly displaying her hand-colored poster proclaiming: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun-Damental RIGHTS. I bought this book when the exhibitors explained that the royalties from my purchase would be donated to Planned Parenthood.
Next I had the great pleasure of meeting Rosemary Vestal of the University of Nebraska Press. She brought to my attention the gem I’m currently reading: It’s My Country Too: Women’s Military Stories from the American Revolution to Afghanistan.
This anthology highlights the courage and sacrifices of women from Deborah Sampson Gannett (who donned a disguise and joined the Continental Army in 1782) to U.S. Army veteran Brooke King (who served as a mechanic, machine gunner and recovery specialist in Iraq beginning in 2006). Ms. King’s essay on her experiences in Iraq is riveting and haunting.
At the Hachette Books display, Joanna Pinsker piqued my interest in two forthcoming titles: Kennedy and King: The President, the Pastor, and the Battle over Civil Rights (available on June 6, 2017) and Unseen: Unpublished Black History from the New York Times Photo Archives (forthcoming in October 2017). I learned that Unseen will include a photo and story of the courageous and talented Arthur Ashe triumphing in a major tennis championship.
Shout out to the self-described “social justice/rights” author who exhibited on a corner of the “AM” section near the Family Headquarters–I wanted to visit your booth on Sunday afternoon but I had a program conflict. Please send me a link to your author’s page. I read indie books too!
I will end my reflections on my first Con by emphasizing the joy of the fans. I saw it in the face of the teen plucked from the waiting line to receive the last available seat at Margaret Atwood’s panel. (And if even one audience member who is moved by Hulu’s adaptation then chooses to read The Handmaid’s Tale, great!) I saw it in the thrilled reaction of a child who lost BOOM! Studios’ drawing for a two-pound gummy bear but gained a copy of the graphic novel: The Not-So-Secret Society. If you missed BookExpo/BookCon 2017, I hope to see you in my backyard at Brooklyn Book Festival (September 11-17, 2017).