Tag Archives: Book Group Expo

Book Group Expo recap

I went to the 3rd annual Book Group Expo in San Jose today. In essence, its an expo for people in book clubs, but I think it was a relevant and fun expo for any reader or writer, in a group or just on their own.

I got to the convention center fairly early, and was treated a tote bag filled with fliers, a fleece blanket, and two free books! The books that I recieved in the bag are Literacy and Longing in LA by Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack, and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. Walking through the market place, I was able to pick up another set of ARCs from the famed Hatchett Book Group of the Hatchett Book 14 book giveaways you see on most book blogs nowadays. My additional books are The Gifted Gabaldon Sisters by Lorraine Lopez and Hungry Woman in Paris by Josefina Lopez.

I attended 2.5 salons today, I say .5 because I was late for the first one. The topics were interesting, but it was listening to the author’s talk that was really the best part of the day. I was introduced to a large number of authors, of various topics and genres through these salons. The one I particularly enjoyed was called “The Liar’s Club: and The Art of Storytelling.” Of the 3 authors on the stage, there was one in particular that caught my eye, Rabih Alameddine. He was hilarous. He was eloquent, funny, sarcastic, worldy, I could just keep going. He had some very insightful thoughts into the role of the author as a storyteller. There was one line that he said that stuck with me all day, “We are the stories and the myths that we believe in. Unless we understand that, we can’t communicate.” I took it to mean that even though the story comes from the writer’s imagination, chances are something in that book has happened to somebody at sometime someplace. Alameddine spoke quite a bit about understanding the history of life around the main character as a way to understand the main character itself. There are layers of stories between people, and they overlap, and you have to understand one person’s story in order to understand anothers.

I ended up buying his book, The Hakawati, in the marketplace soon after the salon was over. He was a very friendly man, and he even signed my copy of the book. I am really excited to start reading his work. I read through the first couple of pages and I fell in love with his writing already. I hope the momentum stays.

One thing I noticed most, was the authors I took special note of were the authors that were the most eloquent when speaking in the salons. I was surprised at the number of authors that could not answer a simple question properly, would stray off into tangents, or make jokes that weren’t funny. Other authors were on point and witty. I know its taboo to pick a book based on the cover, but is it the same form of judging to pick a book based on the author’s ability to articulate his/her thoughts verbally in front of a large crowd of mostly middle aged women? What I really gained from today, is just a longer To Be Read list, especially since I now have specific authors to look for. Time to put those library cards to use.

A few of the notable authors that caught my attention today are:

– Van Jones, author of  The Green Collar Economy.

– Melanie Abrams author of Playing

– Karen Abbott, author of Sin in the Second City

Book Group Expo – Updates

The Third Chapter of the Book Group Expo is going to be held at the San Jose Convention Center towards the end of October. This is a great event, to see author seminars and “couch-talks” walk through the exhibit hall and meet different publishers and learn about new books. The Authors are already signed up, and I’m happy to say many of these authors have graced the review pages of some of my favorite blogs. It’s always better knowing about books and authors before going to an event, even if I haven’t had a chance to read all the books.

I’ve included the list of authors below the link. Please visit the website Book Group Expo for more information.

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Book Expo America

I suppose this can be labeled the Mecca for all bookworms. This traveling tour of books, authors and amazing workshops coming to an area near you!

The schedule:
May 29 – June 1, 2008 – Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, CA
May 28 – May 31, 2009 – Jacob K. Javits Center, New York City, NY
June 3 – 6, 2010 – Washington DC Convention Center, Washington DC
June 9 – 12, 2011 – Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV

I wish I could go this year, its only an hour plane ride from where I live, but finances and timing get in the way. Neil Gaiman is going to be there early Friday morning, he’s the author I want to see the most. Other notables include: Cheech Marin, Judy Blume, Philippa Gregory, Alec Baldwin, Magic Johnson, Christopher Buckley, and John Hodgman. Well, those are the notables that I would seek out personally.

Book Expo America is geared towards anyone in the book industry; publishers, booksellers, librarians, retailers and rights professionals from all around the world. The tagline for the event is “Where the world gathers to get a great READ on the industry.” I’m going to be in Chicago the weekend before, and therefore all my funds will be tapped out. But I should start saving to go New York next year, or Washington DC the year after that. Might as well make the trip well worth it and do some sight-seeing while I’m at it.

But, on a lighter note, the Book Group Expo will be coming back to San Jose in October. I volunteered to help out at the registration booth last summer, and it was a really fun experience. A convention for book groups from all around the US. There were so many different authors and groups, my head was swirling. I was even able to get into a couple of the seminars and different workshops. The exhibit hall is fun to browse. Last year I talked to a number of local independent publishers and bookstores and managed to walk away with a few books from the tables. Once I can figure out my work schedule for the fall, I’m going to volunteer for the Book Group Expo again this year. The founder, Ann Kent, is really friendly and this October is going to the 3rd year (Chapter Three) of the Expo. Its a great idea and gathering of book lovers to support. I also have the California Library Association Conference coming up in November 2008.

My boyfriend always marvels at how I always want to buy books. I work in a library, and yet, that’s not enough for me. I need a steady supply of unread books in my own house, I need to constantly poke my head into every second hand bookstore and library that I see when walking down the street. I usually have decent will power and restraint to walk away with only a couple of items, but unlike every little girl at the tender age of 8, when I saw Disney’s Beauty and the Beast I made a solid promise to myself to one day own a library the size of Belle’s library at Beast’s castle.