BookCon, was in a word, interesting. I went into the experience not knowing really what to expect but super excited for the opportunity to see Amy Poehler talk about her upcoming book, Yes Please, due out in October.
The first observation I noted was, during my 8AM standing in line escapade with only four hours of sleep, my age and normalcy. I was surrounded by gushing teenagers donning The Fault in Our Stars T-Shirts, black banded goths who needed a healthy dose of vitamin D, and grey haired 40-somethings who never seemed to have matured into adulthood.
I did my best to keep to myself, ear buds in, trying to act too cool for school, but one young woman in line (I had a hard time guessing her age) just had to tell me about how awesome Veronica Roth is and her unrelenting excitedness to finally meet her.
Once inside, with a handful of hours to kill before Amy Poehler’s event, I attended the “We Need Diverse Books,” panel. The long and slightly narrow room filled to capacity quickly, and even an NPR reporter made an appearance. WNDB, it turns out, is a grass roots campaign aiming to bring forth change in a white-washed industry. Multiple authors of varying and diverse backgrounds came to speak and I was left inspired.
Finally, it was time for Amy Poehler. While we weren’t allowed to stand in line more than an hour prior to an event, no one really followed that rule. The security guards became upset at our non-line-line and out of spite caused chaos when the official line was allowed to form. In the end, I was adopted by two sisters, the trio of us linking arms to make our way into the new line and we stayed connected until we found our seats.
Amy Poehler’s event was what I hoped it to be. Equal parts hilarious and heartfelt, it seemed that she gave an honest interview – Martin Short moderated – and got the crowd even more anxious over the realese of Yes Please.
After Amy, I headed up to the exhibit floor to check out the Chronicle Books booth but found it roped off. Apparently Grumpy Cat was making an appearance and no one was allowed into the booth. I waited nearly an hour for Grump Cat to leave, and when he did, us non-Grumpy Cat fans were only allowed minutes inside the booth. After perhaps three minutes of Chronicle Books time, the employees herded us, telling us that they were shutting down. By this point I was quite frustrated and became belligerent because, in my eyes, an internet meme cat took precedence over the books. This was, after all, BookCon not CatCon.
On my way out, I ran into one of the WNDB authors and she gave me an advance copy of her forthcoming novel. I can’t wait to read Aisha Saeed’s Written in the Stars and if anything, I can do my part to foster change as well.
In the end, I’m not sure I’d attend BookCon again. Perhaps next year I’ll buy a BEA pass instead.