BookCon 2019: The Stuff That Books Are Made Of


June 1st was a magical day for me. That day I experienced my first, and certainly not my last, BookCon. Dreams became a reality that day…

My literary escapades began at the age of six when my Dad bought me my first Harry Potter book. Yes, like many J.K. Rowling’s vision of magic, friendship, and large three-headed dogs started a journey that has lasted a lifetime. I mean he did buy me the second book, not realizing it was a series, but you know, it’s the thought that counts.

During my young years, I spent many hours inside bookstores, slouched against bookcases, reading what I could within an afternoon. Until my Mom came in to collect me. Of course, I had to do the book lovers walk of shame, which is to put back every book I finished in a very lethargic manner.

Doesn’t this bring back good memories? Photo courtesy of

Literary adventures fueled my childhood and have not stopped yet.

Photo courtesy of AOOFotography

To me, the Scholastic Book Fair was the best book convention, and it only happened in grade school. Don’t you guys remember circling everything you were not going to buy? In my 25 years of reading, I never knew that a better convention could exist. Then I saw an Instagram ad for BookCon 2019 (thank you to the NSA agent watching my social media history).

BookCon is a platform where “storytelling and pop culture collide,” and is the sister show to BookExpo, a convention that focuses on the business side of books. On June 1, in New York City at the Javits Center, I experienced my first, and certainly not my last, BookCon. Guys, heaven is an understatement.

This shin ding had everything, from panels to workshops, and discussion boards to a ginormous show floor holding over 60 exhibitors. The exhibitors ranged from the obvious books, journals, and pens, to accessories and apparel, to home decor and publishers. To make it simple to understand, it wasn’t hard spending money on the show floor. Similar to my early bookstore bumming days, I found myself running from panel to panel, like genres on a bookshelf. With a little light literary shopping in between, of course.

Photo courtesy of AOOFotography

BookCon came for my soul, my mind, and my pockets.

Out of the many panels and author discussions, I attended four: one author discussion and two panels. I started my day with an author discussion starring Mark Manson; the author of New York Times bestselling self-help book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. For those that are not familiar with Manson, he is a successful author and blogger who is currently working on a book with celebrity Will Smith, and he really likes the word fuck. In his first published work alone, fuck is said over 50 times.

Photo courtesy of AOOFotography

His panel was focused on the main themes of his two published novels, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck and Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope. Both novels are about reorienting aspects of life such as hope, love, and mental/emotional exercise. One point he insists on, and one that I empathize with while reading his first book is the necessity toward mental and emotional strength building.

F*ck; not a word loved by many, but so important when it comes to Manson’s work.

When asked what Manson wants to prevail on his readers, he responded with a statement not many are used to hearing. Manson believes we must exercise our mental state and emotions just the same as we do our physical bodies.

“The same way we need to go to the gym and stress our muscles, break down our physical muscles to remain strong and healthy; I think we need to do the same thing with our mental and emotional body. We need to seek out small doses of controlled conflict and struggle for our minds…”

Needless to say, this discussion was a great way to start. Next came an endless back and forth from booth to booth, item to item, love to love. At first sight, I fell in love with everything I saw and I couldn’t be happier with what I came home with. Below are small descriptions and links to the products I came home with.

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson
How The García Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
The Heart Of A Boy by Kate T. Palmer
Disregard the top book, it was for a friend. Photo courtesy of AOOFotography
A Lamy joy fountain pen, meant to inspire creative writing. Anyone get my Jim Carey joke? Photo courtesy of AOOFotography
The Storymatic game, Rememory. A story game that draws from inside us. Photo courtesy of AOOFotography

I ended my day with one panel: How To Get Published 101.

This final panel was held by Justine Bylo, the Author Acquisitions Manager of Ingram Spark, a publishing company. This publishing company is amazing, because it gives any writer a chance to get published. Ingram Sparks walks a writer through every step of the process. It is truly a wonderful experience.

BookCon2019 became so important to me because it showed me another path. A way to take my extremely expensive degree and put it to use. A task, such as writing a novel, is achievable, and perhaps I will be at BookCon one day. Who knows, maybe a book of mine will become an influence for many wandering minds. Then I can give back to the literary escapades that continue to fuel my life’s imaginations.