Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Booktopia 2017

I've been babbling away about Booktopia for the past several months, so I thought I'd give you a little recap of the weekend event - what it is, which authors attended, and what we did.

First, the basics. Booktopia is an annual event held the first weekend in May in Manchester, VT. It was started by Ann Kingman and Michael Kindness, the hosts of an amazing book podcast called Books on the Nightstand (it is now off the air, but you can still download old episodes). My mom and I went to Booktopia in 2015, the last year that Ann and Michael hosted it. Happily, the wonderful independent bookstore in Manchester, Northshire Bookstore, decided to keep up the Booktopia tradition on their own. My mom and I again attended this unique event this year.

I say that Booktopia is unique because it isn't like any other book event - every single author who attends mentions that! This is not simply a reading by an author or a book trade show, like BEA, but an intimate gathering of book lovers and authors, together for the whole weekend. There are sessions where the authors each speak about their books and perhaps read a short passage, but those sessions are interactive, with lots of Q&A from the readers in attendance. As one author mentioned in surprise, "Everyone here has already read my book!" So, it's more like a weekend filled with book club meetings with the authors in attendance.
Author Victor Lodato discussing his novel with readers.
Here is the line-up of authors that attended Booktopia this year and their books that were highlighted:
My reviews are at the links. As you can see, I read most of them (in time for Booktopia!). I have Our Short History on my Kindle for review and will get to it next month. The World To Come is a book of short stories, and I have read several of the stories and will finish the rest soon. The amazing thing is that every one of these was a great book! That's because they are hand-picked by the booksellers at Northshire Bookstore.

After the Yankee Book Swap - readers and authors with their new books!
Besides sessions with the authors (you sign up ahead of time for the sessions you want to attend), there is a big dinner for everyone - readers and authors - on Friday night. Jessica Shattuck sat next to me at dinner, and it was great to get to know her better. After dinner, we played some fierce rounds of literary trivia (lots of fun) and had a Yankee Book Swap. The photo above shows some of our table after the book swap (including two authors on the ends), and below is a photo of my mom and I with our new books!
Happy with our book swaps!
The booksellers at Northshire kicked off Booktopia on Friday morning by sharing their book recommendations with us. Since each registration fee included a $50 gift card for the store, those recommendations were much-appreciated! The weekend wrapped up on Saturday evening, with a big group session for all attendees, where each author spoke for 10 minutes.
Author Lisa Ko giving her wrap-up talk
All in all, it was an exhausting but very fun and rewarding weekend. Besides meeting the authors, you spend the whole weekend with other book lovers! Many of the same people return to Booktopia every year, too, so there are lots of happy reunions with bookish friends as well as new friendships forged.

If you can't get to Booktopia, at least make a trip to Manchester, VT, (a beautiful New England town) to spend a day wandering around Northshire Bookstore.


  1. This sounds like such a fun event and how great to go with your mom; I bet you two have fun!

    1. It IS fun, Helen! And nice to share with my mom. She only went the first year to spend time with me because she knew it was something I was excited about, but this year, she was just as excited herself!

  2. Sounds like a great time!

  3. Must put this on my bucket list of things to do. Vermont is fair way away from here, though.