Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Booktopia Vermont 2015

My mom and I at Booktopia
Last weekend, I had the most amazing experience and finally got to do something I've dreamed of for the past five years - attend Booktopia, a weekend book retreat hosted by my favorite book podcast, Books on the Nightstand. I asked my mom to join me, as a joint birthday gift for the two of us (we both have milestone birthdays this year). I had high expectations, but they were exceeded. It was a weekend filled with great books, wonderful authors, amazing readers from all over the country (plus a few from out of the country), and all kinds of bookish fun - all in lovely Manchester, VT. It is aptly named - a book lover's dream!

Ann & Michael, hosts of Booktopia and Books on the Nightstand podcast
We kicked off the weekend with a Friday evening reception at the Inn at Manchester (in their Celebration Barn - it is Vermont, after all). We started with a Speed Chat - switching tables every 10 minutes to discuss a book-related question and meet new people. It was so much fun! Like book group on steroids. After dinner, we did a Yankee Swap - with books! Everyone brought one wrapped book, and everyone ended up with a new book to take home!

Finally, we played a new game, Bring Your Own Book, that started as a Kickstarter campaign and will be released soon - it's like Apples to Apples with books. The whole evening was a blast - we talked until we were hoarse, laughed like crazy, and made lots of new friends.

Some of our new friends with their new books after the swap!
Saturday was filled with small group author discussions. There were 8 authors at Booktopia, and they hung out with the readers all weekend - it was a unique experience! Here are the authors and the books of theirs we discussed:
  • The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
  • Get in Trouble by Kelly Link (short stories)
  • Rainey Royal by Dylan Landis
  • Epitaph by Mary Doria Russell
  • Fram by Steve Himmer
  • Sweetland by Michael Crummey
  • An Exaggerated Murder  by Josh Cook
  • Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman
(I will be reviewing several of these books in the coming weeks)

Each discussion session included about 30 readers, so it was an intimate setting, and we had a chance to really get to know each one and discuss their books in depth. For someone like me who loves book groups, this was nirvana!

Author Michael Crummey at the Celebration of Authors
Saturday evening, the weekend was topped off with a Celebration of Authors at Northshire Bookstore (an incredible, huge independent bookstore). Each author gave a 10-minute talk and then we all got to shop and spend our gift cards ($50 of our registration fee came back to us in the form of a gift card), and the authors were available to sign their books. I was thrilled to finally meet Cristina Henriquez in person, and she was happy to meet someone else from Delaware!

Me with Cristina Henriquez at Northshire Bookstore
We capped off the weekend by going out to dinner in Manchester with a few of our new friends (we had many excellent meals in Manchester). The weekend was amazing from beginning to end! We listened to more Books on the Nightstand podcasts on the way home and talked nonstop about all the fun we had. It was a unique experience - so much fun!

Have you ever attended a book-related event?


  1. I love book-related events, and this one you attended sounds like it was so great! It is always such a rare treat to be surrounded by fellow avid readers, and there is simply nothing better than to enjoy all the bookishness than with someone who gets it.

  2. Thanks for sharing a bit of your weekend with all of us. I could not make the Vermont event this year so this was extra special.