BookCon came upon me suddenly. There I was vaguely entranced by starfields glittering through the Chicago River, slightly lost to the hum of the L ride home, when Sarah J. Maas’ face on a poster caught the corner of my eye. What is Sarah J. Maas doing pasted on the train, and is that Sabaa Tahir, . . . and Leigh Bardugo, . . . and Cassandra Clare, . . . and half my bookshelf? They’ll be here in four days?! How very oblivious I was. How very quickly I have abandoned a life without BookCon.
. . . How very quickly I have abandoned
a life without BookCon . . .
Yes it was fantastic. Experienced storytellers could be stumbled upon as tinker-toys in a playroom, books danced off of shelves landing neatly into free totebags arranged with the easy reach of a coat rack next to the front door, and creativity felt catching. I was surrounded by dazzled eyes that sang “I love books.” I was among the attendees who gave feet to literary quotes, as the words of Lewis Carroll and Shakespeare were tattooed upon us to infiltrate the city. The community was instant. Open, inviting, irreverent and inspirational, I am so glad to have experienced BookCon.
. . . creativity felt catching . . .
my takeaways from bookcon ...
1. Harry will rule eternal.
Even with no new stories set to hit the shelves, Harry Potter dominated at BookCon. Panels, such as one including Melissa de la Cruz, Sabaa Tahir, Lauren Oliver and Veronica Roth, were complete Potterheads finding answers to so many questions about story in the Potter-world. Who’s your favorite good-guy? Harry Potter. Or Hermione. Or I always liked Ron. Who’s your favorite bad-guy? Well who doesn’t love Snape. Scholastic dedicated half its booth to expressing love to Harry. And fans were given a massive wall that proved inadequate space to remember how Harry fits in our hearts.
2. YA is about reinforcing hope, no matter what illusion hides its thread in this world.
A friend, of the non-YA-reading persuasion, recently asked me to explain what YA is. Why is a book considered young adult, he asked. After explaining some of the overlaps and distinctions, I told him that for me YA is really about optimism. Too much of what is created clings to cynicism and somehow hope can become relegated as juvenile. Imagine the kindred feelings when I heard Sabaa Tahir state her belief that so much hope exists in this world, and that she wants her books to be a mirror and reminder of those who fight and persevere. Yes, teenagers need to be reminded of hope; but so do we all.
3. If you show up to BookCon 20 minutes before the show floor opens, you will find the sticker stubs of many wristbands but no tickets to James Dashner or Richelle Mead autographing events.
Queuing is serious business.
4. Spoiler alerts—not required.
You better get caught up, or someone will catch you up.
a pairing for you
food pairing: Spring lamb acorn squash soup with An Ember in the Ashes
food pairing: Cherry coconut toaster pastries with The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland