Mom and I went to BookCon and it was a lot of Fun!

Our Mom is visiting me in Brooklyn this weekend.  When she comes I always look for things that we haven’t done before so when I finally realized that BookCon was going to be at the Javits Center while she was going to be here we decided to go.  Both of our parents inspired our love for reading.  Mom has already 81 books in 2017.  Putting my 25 books to shame.  She’s never been to anything like this before and my only convention experience was at BookRiot Live.  Which was tiny compared to this.  The Javits Center is huge.  Not surprising since this is also the home to New York Comic Con.  We decided first to explore the vendors as we got our bearings.  Pretty much every major publisher was there with a mini store and most a signing area.  Now there were signing areas that you had to sign up for ahead of time and then smaller ones that you had to line up for.  It was kind of confusing what was what.  Also, we seemed to always miss all the free giveaways the publishers were handing out but that’s ok.  I’ll live.  After we had a quick bite to eat we headed to hear Rainbow Rowell talk.  I’ve read all of her books but Mom hasn’t.  Before the talk began, Mom asked if any of her books would make her cry and I was like yes but I’ll lend her Attachments because of all Rainbow’s books that seems to have the less tears.  I think.  She was just a delightful as I imagined her to be but the one comment that stuck me was talking about Eleanor and Park and sad it is that having a fat female protagonist was somehow revolutionary.  We all know someone who is overweight.  We have seen them in relationships, married and have kids so why wouldn’t they have their own love stories?  After Rainbow, we went back to the vendor floor.  We each bought a few books, tote bags and shirts before heading down to hear Jeffery Tambor.  The Arrested Development star has a new memoir coming out and after seeing him I want to read it.  He was funny, smart and completely honest.  We then went to our final panel of the day with Maggie Stiefvater, Kami Garcia, Laini Taylor and Marissa Meyer about Magic and World Building moderated by Daniel Jose Older.  I adore all these authors books (Mr. Older’s book are on my to read list) so it was interesting to hear how they all go about crafting their stories.  The most interesting part was talking about you are always building a world no matter if you are making a world from scratch or drawing from the real world.  I’ve never thought of that.  Maggie said that authors talk about how if they were to assign each of them to write about this room they would all write it differently because they are writing from their perspective their view and how that is reality but not completely real.  It was an interesting talk.  It was then that we decided to leave as it was a full day of books and fun.  I’m glad we did it because it was something new and different.  My one complaint was that it would have been better if they had clearer signage of where things were because it was kind of hard to figure out where things were.  We had to wander around to find things. Either then that it was a fun day.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It runs in the family 

Kate and I named our blog Stacks Exceed Life Expectancy because our to-read list so many books that we know we will never be able to read them all.  Literacy has always been important in our family.  It was our mother who taught us to never leave the house without a book.  She once came to visit me for a weekend and brought 8 books with her, you know so she had options.  I believe she read through half of them while she was here. I thing about our parents is that when ever they aren’t doing something, they are reading.  When they get up in the morning and before they go to bed.  They even bring a book with them to the bar.  So it shouldn’t be all that surprising that our house is filled with books.  They are literally everywhere.  When I was home last month to visit, I did a snapchat tour of my Mom’s books.  Her books monopolize our family room, with some in the kitchen and on the stairs.  Now these are not all of her books.  Only a taste. Maybe next time I go home, I’ll do a tour of our dad’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supporting Small Presses

Last year, completely by accident, I discovered that small presses sometimes offer subscriptions. What better way to support books, publishing and literacy? You buy a subscription and they send books as soon as they come out! Amazing!

 

So, I did some googling around and here are three small presses who offer subscriptions.

 

Sibling Rivalry Press is a publisher of poetry. They are a publisher devoted to “[promoting] underground artistic talent – those who don’t quite fit into the mainstream.” I’ve not read anywhere near enough of this year’s subscription, but everything I’ve read I’ve really enjoyed.

 

Above/ground press seems to have their fingers in a lot of different publishing pies. (That’s exciting if you, like me, like to read around.) Their subscription includes a number of different types of things (chapbooks and broadsheets and who knows what else?) It seems pretty cool.

 

Burrow Press‘s subscription includes their physical books, ebooks and a membership pin. There are four titles listed at the link that are slated to come out in 2017 and who knows what else will be added?

 

The only one that I have subscribed to before was Sibling Rivalry and that was delightful. The other two look pretty good as well. Have you done a subscription to a small press before? Did you like it? Do you have any subscription suggestions for us? Take to the comments and let us know!

 

 

 

 

 

Book Riot Live Day 2

Day two of Book Riot Live started off with a bang. Rebecca Joines Schinsky and Liberty Hardy did a live recording of their podcast All the Books. Discussing all the best books released this week. Including Born a Crime  by Trevor Noah and Anna Kendricks new book whose title escapes me. The two are friends and their chemistry is undeniable.

I decided that after this week I needed some levity and light so I went to the Bookish Broadway Sing-along. All songs were loosely based on books one way of another. Classics like Phantom of the Opera to Annie to Les Mis and of course Hamilton. They did a request and we all sang the Circle of Life from The Lion King. I really wish I took better photos and a video.


Next was Live Pictionary with Sarah Anderson and Valentine De Landro. Sarah writes Sarah’s scribbles and Valentine draws for Marvel, DC and cocreator of Bitch Planet. I’m amazed both at the drawing and people able to guess.


After a little donut break. I checked out Slash Live with a Alyssa Cole, Michael Strother and Zoraida Córdova. Slash is sort of like apples to apples and cards against humanity in which everyone had a set of cards with a name and description of a pop culture character. Each person takes turns picking a character and making a situation and everyone else must pick a character from their own stack and create story based on the situation. Like Xander from Buffy falling for Big foot. It’s very fun to play.

The final panel of the night was Nerd Jeopardy with Mara Wilson, Mark Osborn and Sara Farizan. It was like real jeopardy but without Alex Trebeck and all clues were about shoes. Book nerds are the best. If the panelist didn’t know the answer someone in the audience did. It was very amusing and for those who are curious, Mara won.


So that’s it for this year. I’m looking forward to what Book Riot will do next year.

Review: Operation S.I.N. By Kathryn Immonen and Rich Ellis.

9780785197133_p0_v3_s192x300

First off, the cover of this book lied to me. This isn’t MCU Peggy Carter, it’s a different Peggy Carter. But, I was able to quickly put that aside because she still kicks ass. The story starts off with a home invasion and then it takes you through a rollicking ride into Mother Russia. Howard Stark has a question about some tech and he needs Peggy Carter’s help. They then team up with a couple of Russian teenagers and a Scottish dude to investigate some alien tech. Can they diffuse tense situations? Will they thwart Hydra? Will Peggy punch Howard in the face? Will Howard deserve a punch in the face? (I think we all know the answer to that last question, at least, even if we don’t read the book.)

This was a fun story and I liked the art. I also kind of love Howard Stark and his Science! first approach to life. It’s amazing he lived as long as he did in the comics since he doesn’t always seem to be aware of his surroundings.

Oh, and there’s a bonus Agent Carter and Captain America at the end of the volume. And, that was pretty fun.

Diverse Stacks, Diverse Lives Reading Challenge.

bookchallenge2016image

Beth and I have done a lot of talking about the kinds of things that reading can do for a person. It really is a magical thing. It can transport you to different worlds. It can imagine new history. It can see potential futures. Studies have even shown that reading literary fiction can help you relate better to other people. So, with this in mind, we’ve put together our first reading challenge. Inspired by #weneedmorediversebooks, we’ve come up with a challenge to make us think about who we are reading and what we are reading about. Our challenge has three sub-challenges: one related to characters, one related to authors, and one related to books themselves. Each sub-challenge is only ten books long, so you can do any of the sub-challenges without changing how you read for the whole year. As a reader, you can tackle the whole challenge or one or more of the sub-challenges.

I will be maintaining a page here on this blog full of possible books to fulfill the challenge that I find in my reading travels. Of course, any suggestions will be helpfully added to the list. Part of what makes diversifying your reading difficult is that you don’t always know something is diverse going in. We are going to endeavor to make that easy by keeping a separate page of suggestions.

Since this challenge is only 30 books, we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of diversity in literature and in life, but we hope that this list and the books that are read because of it will create interesting and thoughtful discussions. We hope that you will consider taking the challenge and reading along with us in 2016!

Dark Reads for Black Friday

The day after Thanksgiving is a much advertised shopping holiday here in the States: Black Friday. It’s a day full of sales and, if you’ve ever worked retail, full of awful people who don’t know what they want and/or don’t know how to be nice about it. Depending on the side of the fence you are on, it can be a dark day full of dark deeds. To get us all in the spirit of this terrible and wonderful day, we’ve put together a cheeky little list of books you could be reading instead of being yet another warm body crushed into the mall. This list is part horror, part horrifying, part oddly hopeful: just like the holiday season.

1. The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories by H.P. Lovecraft
Scary monsters to haunt your nightmares from beyond the stars and below the sea. What could be worse than not finding the perfect gift this holiday season? Well, let Mr. Lovecraft tell you.


2. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Coraline is a curious young lady exploring her family’s new apartment. What she finds is at first wonderful and strange. Then, it’s just strange. Maybe even dangerous and strange.

3. Fallen by Lauren Kate
Fallen angels, True Loves, and high school. What else do you need in your life? A Toaster?


4. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clark
In a world that is not our world two men try to restore magic in England. Don’t you wish there was magic in the world and you could just flick a wand and you’d be done Christmas shopping?


5. Dear John by Nicolas Sparks
This book might be the worst thing that ever happened to me. It’s hours worth of reading I can never get back. I don’t actually recommend reading it but if you wanted to know what real horror looks like to me its this: a lifetime trapped in Nicholas Sparks’ terrible and cliched prose.


6. Dracula by Bram Stoker
Dracula is a blood sucking fiend. Shopping is a soul sucking endeavor. You get the metaphor.

7. Hellblazer: Original Sins by Jamie Delano
John Constantine is the anti-hero’s anti-hero. He’s a terrible person. Hell, he’s more unlikeable than likeable. And, yet he’s necessary and compelling and chain smoking. If you’re seeing the devils of commerce everywhere, you may need a little Constantine in your life.


8. The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

This is technically the second book in the cycle, but I’m not sure you’d actually miss the first book. Will Stanton must fight the Black Rider and a blizzard at the holiday season and find the six sign symbols. He’s only eleven years old, can he do it?

9. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Forgotten why we’re all doing this? Let Charles Dickens remind you in this classic tale. Bonus: The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is the stuff of nightmares.

Book Riot Live!!

I’m guessing that if you have found our blog that you are probably a book reader.  And if you are a book reader that uses the internet to find new books to read then you have probably visited Book Riot.  Book Riot is famous for it’s posts about the most bookish places in the world and a lot of podcasts. Last weekend, they hosted their first get together, Book Riot Live in New York City.  My friend Melissa decided that she wanted to come and since she was going I thought I would go with her.  I’ve never been to a convention of any kind before so I didn’t really know what to expect. It was held in the Metropolitan West in Hells Kitchen and not a big center so that was comforting.  Also nice that it would be all about books. My people! It felt good to be surrounded by like minded people.  I read a lot but I could tell I was with people who were much more well read that I was and it was inspiring.  Panels ranged from the serious like “How to write what you don’t know” featuring Margaret Atwood and N.K. Jemisin and fun panels like a live playing of the game Slash.  A truly nerdy game of one person pick a character from a set of cards, setting up a scenario and then have the other players pick characters from their set of cards on why they would be in the situation. Like matching Chewbucca with Marie Antoinette.  I’m not sure where you find this game but it’s a must for your nerdy friend.  Also live recordings of their podcasts.  It was nice to get a face to the voice you’ve been listening too.  I should written this review last week when it was all still fresh in my mind but I had so much fun it left me exhausted.  Things I did learn, that Book Riot staff rarely wears pants.  Understandable they mostly work from home.  Margaret Atwood is badass but that I already know.  It’s possible to hold a convention where all different points of views, race, gender, and sexuality can be represented and included.  Book people are really cool people. (also something I already knew) It’s also time for a new tattoo.

Can’t wait to again next year to Book Riot Live.  Here again are some of photos they I took from last week.