Color Style Kyle

Combining art, creativity, design, family, health, humor and books.

October Book Group Expo in San Jose CA: Funny, Fascinating, Amazing

Posted by Kyle Design on January 11, 2009

Van Jones, author of the Green Collar Economy, with Kyle Design artist Kyle McKeown Mansfield

Van Jones, author of the Green Collar Economy, with Kyle Design artist Kyle McKeown Mansfield

Writer's Money Clip - A "Think Positive" Reminder for Aspiring Authors

Writer's Money Clip - A "Think Positive" Reminder for Aspiring Authors

I once again attended the Book Group Expo in San Jose, CA in October 2008 and absolutely loved it! What a wonderful experience for any book lovers, book collectors, writers, authors, readers or book group members. It gives you excellent ideas for book group reading lists and discussion questions. And they have books for sale and book signings with the authors afterward – all in one place!

There are so many great ideas flying around, so many like-minded people, so many fascinating authors. These writers are really smart, well-informed, opinionated, insightful and very funny – I think that’s why they are so successful.

The Book Group Expo is structured as such: Discussions of a particular theme or topic, referred to as “salons“, are set up with a moderator and three or four writers in a living room type of setting in small conference rooms. The feeling is quite intimate and open, much like our own reading group meetings, which comfortably encourages many questions from the audience and a free exchange of thoughts and ideas. Just like a book group, just on a slightly larger scale without being intimidating, as I assume is the organization’s intention. Well done!!

Book Group Hip Flask - A little something to facilitate the easy flow of ideas

Book Group Hip Flask - A little something to facilitate the easy flow of ideas

As an artist myself, it is oddly enlightening to be on the other side of the attention. I love these artists’ works, so it is interesting to gain a deeper understanding or at least just some insights into what the authors had in mind and how they approach the creative process. I just want to drink in everything these creative individuals have to say – learn from it, incorporate ideas into my own approach to work, enjoy their pieces more.

I always appreciate customers who take the time to let me know they love my work, and would have to assume the same of other artists whose work requires solitude. (Although book tours and signings might be too much at once – I am lucky because I get encouraging gems from customers nearly every day – quite often just the little boost I need when running a small business feels overwhelming.) So I ran to get in line after the each salon was finished to get my book signed and better yet, have a brief chance to talk with the author.

Of course, being part of a book group myself, it is a wonderful opportunity to get ideas for new books to suggest at our next meeting. Some of the authors and books that really impressed follow.

Solar Homes Business Card Case - Solar Energy and Green Building Techniques are among the many solutions we can implement today to fight global warming.

Solar Homes Business Card Case - Solar Energy and Green Building Techniques are among the many solutions we can implement today to fight global warming.

Van Jones, Author of The Green Collar Economy: It is so reassuring that brilliant people are putting their minds to work on resolving the looming issue of global warming. I’ve been to other lectures that left me so discouraged, but Jones lays out ways of dealing with the issue now and what needs to be worked on. I left the lecture hopeful, and expressed that to him later. Hope is VERY important. We can’t get discouraged or dwell on the negative, especially when there really are solutions NOW. And don’t be fooled by those serious photos of him online or on his book jacket – granted, he writes on a serious topic – but he has a great smile and is quite friendly and approachable.

Engraved Bookmarks - If you enjoy reading, then you'll love using a beautiful bookmark which can be personalized with designs, colors and engraving.

Engraved Bookmarks - If you enjoy reading, then you'll love using a beautiful bookmark which can be personalized with designs, colors and engraving.

Terry McMillan, Author of The Interruption of Everything: You can’t help but be drawn to her. She is funny, real, insightful (and lives here in the San Francisco Bay Area!) On the creative process, she has experimented with typing with her eyes closed so that it removes a layer of analyzing between her brain and her writing, just to allow it to flow without editing it. I loved Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back, so I can’t wait to read her latest one.

The salon was “Woman, Be Wise: Strong Writing, Strong Women“. Authors included Toni Mirosevich, Kathi Goldmark, Susanne Pari as well as McMillan. We laughed the whole way through the salon session with her and the other authors. (Talk about a “feel good” experience! I pitched her book at my group and it was selected for our February reading selection.

Kate Jacobs, Author of The Friday Night Knitting Club: I’m currently reading her book for my January reading group selection. There is something special about having listened to an author discuss her characters before reading the book – it somehow makes the characters seem more familiar or real. On whether she works with a set outline when writing a book , Kate described her process as something like being in a car on a road trip with all of her characters and having a general direction in which they are headed, but not knowing ahead of time what twists and turns or detours they might take. Her latest book is Knit Two.

Three Dog Hard Glasses Case - Protect your reading glasses with these crush-proof eyeglass cases

Three Dog Hard Glasses Case - Protect your reading glasses with these crush-proof eyeglass cases

Other authors that were very funny and entertaining were Garth SteinThe Art of Racing in the Rain (a story written from a dog’s perspective that sounds great), Andre Dubus IIIHouse of Sand and Fog and The Garden of the Last Days (for which he had to do research at strip joints (!)), and Mildred Armstrong Kalish – Little Heathens (about growing up on an Iowa farm during the Great Depression), Annie Barrows – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I could go on and on!

Join Book Group Expo’s mailing list so you’ll know when the next one is. (Previous one was in June 2007, so if varies every year.) If you go, bring a friend and enjoy the day!

Please visit my website Kyle Design for more unique Book Group Gift Items, Business Card Holders, Hard Eyeglass Cases, Dog Lover Gifts, Unique Bookmarks, Engraved Money Clips, Gift Ideas for Authors and Writers. We create affordable gift items in hundreds of cool designs and a range of gorgeous colors, plus offer engraving services, too.

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