BookCon: Day Two Recap

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Image courtesy of Nicole Manzetti
Image courtesy of Nicole Manzetti

Day 2 of BookCon was just as exciting! Though there is a very similar setup and vibe to other fan conventions, such as New York Comic Con, BookCon has such a unique and more relaxed atmosphere. Even with the hundreds of exhibitors and panels, for the most part, you’re able to experience so much of everything the convention has to offer. Below are some highlights of my second and last day at BookCon 2019!

‘Love Is Love: Answering the Call for Queer Love Stories Across the Board’ Panel

‘Love Is Love’ Panel with Tehlor Kay Mejia, Abdi Nazemian, Angelo Surmelis, Kacen Callendar, and Anthony Rapp. Image Courtesy of Nicole Manzetti.

My first panel of the day was ‘Love is Love’ featuring author panelists Tehlor Kay Mejia (We Set the Dark on Fire), Abdi Nazemian (Like A Love Story), Angelo Surmelis (The Dangerous Art of Blending In), and Kacen Callendar (This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story) with moderator Anthony Rapp. The panelists began with discussing the first time they encountered queer stories and if/when they became aware of the lack of these stories. Most of them first stumbled on either a queer book or fanfiction and after a kind of an awakening moment, felt the lack of queer stories when wanting to read more. The panelists also described some hurdles and pushback they have dealt with early on from agents, publishers, editors, readers, and even themselves. Though there has been currently less resistance, they discussed the intentional and unintentional pushback with intersectional stories, such as those with queer people of color. The panelists also had a conversation about writing from a fictional yet autobiographical perspective in their stories and characters. Though it was painful and hard, it was also cathartic and healing for them. Nazemian explained “when you leave your heart on the page, people will identify with that because other people are trying to find their ways of expressing all those emotions and often times that’s through reading. So it’s a privilege.”

‘The Great Book Debate’ Panel

BookCon also offered fun and interactive panels such as ‘The Great Book Debate.’ Authors, Holly Black, Jennifer Donnelly, Marissa Meyer, and Nic Stone, with moderator Sarah Enni debated which books are the best with a March Madness style competition! Whenever there was a tie, they left it up to the audience’s cheers to decide! After some fun battles (such as Curious George vs. The Handmaid’s Tale!) ultimately Frankenstein and The Color Purple battled head-to-head for the final round with The Color Purple winning the title of the best book!


Some books given out during BookCon. Image Courtesy of Nicole Manzetti.

There was so much free swag to be acquired at BookCon; from totes and bags, to pins, bookmarks, and posters, to of course books (SO MANY BOOKS!!). My favorite item I got at the convention is definitely the advanced reader’s copy of The Prom, the novel based on the Broadway musical, from Penguin Teen. I’m so excited to read it before it’s officially published on September 10! There were also hundreds of exhibitors that sell many unique products. With apparel and jewelry, games and toys, stationary, monthly book subscriptions, nerdy household items, teas, hand-made items, and so much more, there was definitely something for everyone! There were also publishing companies selling a large variety of new books for different ages and genres. It was fun to browse and discover everything they had to offer at the convention!

This concludes the BookCon 2019 Recap! From panels and autographs to unique exhibitors, free swag, and so many new books to read, this weekend really was a book lover’s heaven! Next year, BookCon will take place May 30-31, 2020. You can find more info about the convention at

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By Nicole
Nicole joined Nerds and Beyond in 2019 and is excited to finally get back into writing. As a life-long nerdy fangirl from New Jersey, she loves Supernatural and its fandom as well as anything Wayward, Kings of Con, Lucifer, Wynonna Earp, and the musical Bandstand. She’s constantly listening to Louden Swain, The Station Breaks, Briana Buckmaster, The Avett Brothers, The Mots Nouveaux, or any of Aaron Mahnke’s podcasts. When she’s not [procrastinating] on Twitter, you can usually find her binging Netflix with her dog, reading fanfic, or daydreaming about being back in Arizona or Disney World!
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