BookNet Fest Recap!
I attended and spoke at my first bookish event this summer, let me tell you all about it.
I meant to post this literally months ago, but since I was coming down from 2 days of more socializing (and drinking) than I have done in YEARS, I procrastinated. I am finally feeling able to reflect on everything that went down in a coherent way.
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BookNet Fest is a bookish festival that was created by Mari (@mynameismarines) and Sam (@thoughtsontomes) as an event intended to cater to bookish people of all kinds (content creators, readers, reviewers, authors, etc.) with a focus on community building, discourse and fun.
I admit, I had very few expectations initially since I’d never been to a book festival before but as a huge fan of Mari (and now Sam too) I knew I had to go! To my surprise, I was actually gifted a scholarship courtesy of BookNet Fest! I was so thrilled to get that news I almost missed the part of the email where Mari invited me to speak on 2 panels at the festival as well.
Needless to say, I was beside myself and my excitement only grew. The only downside was that Hannah couldn’t come with me. I got to bring my husband though and we enjoyed a much needed vacation without children, surrounded by other book loving nerds. The dream! Well, one of the dreams.
I admit, I did a shit job at documenting this as I was slightly overwhelmed but here are some highlights!
I did manage to take a mirror selfie for every outfit change, that’s something.
The night before the festival, we had a panelist dinner at Disney Springs where everyone could meet each other, chat and get some of the nerves out (maybe that was just me) it was really nice to meet everyone and have that lowkey entrance into everything.
I didn’t have any panels so I got to just meet, mingle and take it easy. I enjoyed the meet & greet, the keynote and a couple of panels before anxiety got the best of me and I started walking to Disney Springs for a late lunch with my husband.
The meet & greet was great, I even made a few new friends and handed out a few of my bookmarks. The panels were interesting, stimulating and warm. My husband and I had lunch at Morimoto’s which was delicious after all the walking we did.
I had panels on this day and man, I was nervous but I must’ve dissociated because I don’t remember anything I said. The first panel I was on was the TBR panel, where we basically just tossed out recommendations.
It was a wonderful, diverse group of panelists and I was honored to be included to bring the weird recs. Everyone gave a wide range of recommendations from lit-fic to horror to queer YA fantasy and manga. My TBR grew exponentially. My husband sat front row for support but I kept looking at my new friend Kait for comfort. We literally just met and I stared her down. The vibes were just right, my new Aries anchor, she was a safe place for me all weekend.
The second panel I was on was Your Problematic Faves where we got discuss problematic media, authors and what the heck the word problematic even means!
Again, I felt honored to be included on such a great panel of incredible people. Also, the first picture of Rachel and I was worth the entire trip. I wish I knew what we were talking about at this exact moment.
The rest of the trip I spent just chatting, walking to Disney Springs, passing out my stickers/bookmarks that I brought, listening in on panels and making new connections. It was so much fun.
Then — then we had a prom. I didn’t get a ton of pictures because I was busy drinking, telling stupid stories (because of the drinks) and just having a good time with everyone before saying goodbye!
It was a really fun, special time and I can’t wait to go back in future years! Mari and Sam did an incredible job organizing everything and making it safe for everyone (prom was the only event that wasn’t fully masked) and if you are interested in learning more about future BookNet Fests and how you can support them continuing to be put together, year after year, you can visit their website here. They are currently selling merch to help fund future events, they have a gofundme as well and looking for sponsors for the 2024 event so if you are able to chip in, please do!
Thanks for reading!