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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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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Reading with a 10-Year-Old-Girl

Posted by Kyle Design on January 7, 2009

Lightning Bolt Earrings - Great Gift for Harry Potter Fans

Lightning Bolt Earrings - Great Gift for Harry Potter Fans

Last night, my 10-year-old daughter and I just finished reading the 7th and final Harry Potter book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, finally, after picking it up and putting it down for six months. We had just finished book six, Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince, (the movie comes out July 17, 2009) last summer (loved it!) when the seventh book came out, and I guess we just weren’t ready to immerse ourselves again so soon.

The 7th book was oddly not gripping in the beginning – we’d read half a chapter here and there, then just not get back to it for a month – and if a book is not grabbing the interest of a 9- or 10-year-old, just try getting her to read it aloud! (Not to mention the roadblocks of the challenging made-up words that even I kept stumbling over!)

Book Lovers Wooden Trinket Box with Open Book Design

Book Lover's Wooden Trinket Box with Open Book Design

Reading is a chance for us to have mother-daughter time alone together. Usually with a book like this – long, many new vocabulary words – the plan is to have her read one page and then I read one (although depending on how tired she is it might be several for me.) We held to no hard and fast rules about who should be reading when – the idea is to enjoy the experience and get it done. If it takes too long, neither of us will be inclined to want to read, defeating the whole point and taking the joy out of reading. And ruining our special time. Terrible thoughts!

Silver Friendship Bookmark - Beautiful Gift for Friends in a Book Group

Silver Friendship Bookmark - Beautiful Gift for Friends in a Book Group

The holiday break gave us the time we needed to really get into the story about the adventures of the three friends – Harry, Ron and Hermione – and although we were good about switching off reading in the beginning and middle, toward the end I was doing most of the reading because it was just so exciting! (“Oh no! –  Yes!! – Oh NO!!! – YES!!!!) The fastest reader prevailed. Neither of us were arguing about the arrangement, although she wanted to read paragraphs here and there, and I encouraged her to follow along with me, pointing out words that had tricky spellings or pronunciations or to confirm she new the definitions.

Vampire Tape Measure - See how much progress your kids are making with reading!

Vampire Tape Measure - See how much progress your kids are making with reading!

Reading aloud is good practice for both of us. I keep my dictionary handy, too. Often, when asked about the fine point of a definition, I wanted to make sure I had it right. Heaven forbid that I teach her wrong! No “bad mommy” here.

We’re glad we hung with the book. Very satisfying. Very done, too.

So I just stepped into the kitchen for breakfast before posting this, and what does my daughter have in her hand? Twilight. Guess I know what book series we’re reading next.

To see more of my unique gifts and jewelry, visit Lightning Bolt Gifts, Book Lover Gifts, Twilight Gifts or Friendship Gifts.

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Twilight Movie Box Office Results Shows Vampires Are Big Business

Posted by Kyle Design on November 26, 2008

Get your own Vampire Christmas Tree Ornament for a very different type of holiday celebration.

Get your own Vampire Christmas Tree Ornament for a very different type of holiday celebration.

Horror films making it hard to sleep at night? Maybe a Movie Director night light will sooth the way for a good nights sleep.

Horror films making it hard to sleep at night? Maybe a Movie Director night light will sooth the way for a good night's sleep.

Number one box office movie ticket sales, mob scenes with the actors, screaming teenagers – Vampires are Big Business. And they are going mainstream!

The film Twilight opened last Thursday at midnight (!), and ticket sales for the weekend reached a whopping $70.6 million, handily beating out the second place finisher, Quantum of Solace that came in at (only) $27.4 million. Kudos to Twilight’s female director Catherine Hardwicke, who had the biggest opening weekend ever for a female director, smashing the $41.1 million record set in 1998 for Mimi Leder’s “Deep Impact”. Just goes to show what big business Vampires are. And I only tuned into this fact a few of months ago!

Vampire Bat Vitamin Case - Dont forget to take your vitamins so you maintain your energy levels while up late catching a film, reading a book or partying.

Vampire Bat Vitamin Case - Don't forget to take your vitamins so you maintain your energy levels while up late catching a film, reading a book or partying.

As I was updating my Halloween web page page, I thought to search on vampires, thinking that they would be a nice addition at some point. Lo and behold, vampires are very popular. But as I was researching, “Edward” kept showing up. I thought, “Who in the world is Edward, and why haven’t I ever heard of him?” And who is Bella? (I only know of Bella as in Bella Vista (beautiful view), the wonderful little Italian restaurant my uncle owned in Hayward, CA, for 20 years – he is a great cook!) Did a little more research, asked around and finally tuned into the whole Twilight book series.

I promptly created a vampire design of a vampire about the bite a woman’s provocatively outstretched neck – Yes! No! Yes! – Bella’s dilemma?

Vampire book readers might enjoy a Bella Swan bookmark as a reminder of a transformation from an ugly duckling

Vampire book readers might enjoy a Bella Swan bookmark as a reminder of a transformation from an ugly duckling

The movie Twilight, based on the first in a series of books, stars Robert Pattinson (you might remember him – he played Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) as Edward Cullen (the vampire), Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan (the plain girl), Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black (the werewolf).

My tweener girls are just a little to young to have been caught up in the Twilight phenomenon, but two other women I work with have daughters who have read the book series by Stephenie Meyers ( Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn ), with one teenager really big on it. So there has been quite a bit of discussion about it.

Pretty New Moon Compact Mirror - Check your reflection to be sure it is still there!

Pretty New Moon Compact Mirror - Check your reflection to be sure it is still there!

Running a small business requires constant creativity and innovation to stay fresh. I’m always looking to stay on top of popular trends, too, so even though I PROMISED my staff that I wasn’t going to do any more designs this season – 65 was ENOUGH – (so, Kyle, where exactly ARE we going to put all of these new designs??) – I squeezed one more in.

Glad I did!! Turns out that Vampires are Big Business for a Small Business. Because of the ongoing popularity of author Anne Rice (Interview with the Vampire) and Stephenie Meyers, I think vampires are here to stay. Yet, these vampires are flying off the shelves! (And into the trees??) I try to develop design collections around popular themes and have fun with the imagery. Check them out! Unique Vampire Gifts for those who love reading horror books, and Cool Twilight Gifts for dangerous things that come out at night!

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Reading Group Book Review: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Posted by Kyle Design on May 20, 2008

Foot Pattern Light Switch Plates in Nickel and WhiteOur recent book group selection was Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. Brushed Chrome and Aluminum Sewing Tape MeasuresI started out not liking the book much but by the end found myself enjoying it, and as a mark of a good book, find myself still thinking about it. It is an interesting look at the lives of women in mid 19th-century China, replete with foot binding, harsh mothers-in-law and a highly structured society that places a low value on women.

Some members of our group were bored by the first part and never finished the book, but in discussion we wondered if the monotony of this section was intentional by the author. Perhaps it was her way to hit home what it was truly like for these women who spent most of their lives in the upstairs women’s chamber, embroidering or sewing, with just a window to look out of. They seldom traveled, rarely even going outside.

One concept that struck us in book group is the idea of “sworn sisters”, a group of women with whom they make a pact to stay friends and support each other through their often hard and unhappy lives. Our book group has been going strong for over 7 years now and, in a way, we feel like a group of sworn sisters. Each book affects individual members in different ways, sparking strong emotions, bringing back memories, causing debate, relating to our own upbringings or families, so that we are revealing a part of our lives in each discussion.

There was a conflict in the book based upon a miscommunication. This caused a rift between Snow Flower and Lily and resulted in a showdown of sorts at a gathering. In an example of books paralleling life, our group faced our first conflict while reading this book when one member chose to invite someone new whose family were outspoken in their disregard for another member’s family. This threatened to disrupt the intimacy and sharing that goes on within our group, with one member feeling violated. It was quietly handled behind the scenes (not without a lot of drama), thereby avoiding a showdown at our meeting. Whew!Sworn Sisters Beaded ID Badge Lanyards A recommendation was made to the group to think about whom you’re inviting, whether there is any family history between two people and whether this new person would cause unwanted conflict.

Asian Fan Business Card Holder in GoldMinor Gripe: The inside cover of the book shows glossy color photo of an Asian fan with writing, but written straight up and down, rather than on the folds of the fan as described in the book. I wish the publisher would have shown a fan with actual nu shu writing with the accompanying designs at the top, whether an authentic one or a reproduction based on descriptions by those who made them, rather than this misleading image.

If you’d like to see more of my unique gift-giving ideas, please visit Unusual Asian Fan Gifts (like the business card case), Foot Gifts (like the light switch plate), Family and Sister Gifts (like the Beaded Necklace Lanyard) or Sewing and Embroidery Gifts (like the Tape Measure).

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How to Start a Reading Book Group – What’s Worked For Us

Posted by Kyle Design on April 15, 2008

Book Group Pillbox in Silver with Teal AluminumI started the Moms’ Reading Group over seven years ago with my friend Robbie. She and I were discussing books in my living room one day and we decided we should start our own book group. We had young children and were really feeling the need to make time to read and also to have a designated day where we’d be able to get out without the kids. We mentioned the idea to friends whom we knew enjoyed reading and got a small group together. Here’s what’s worked for us:

Getting Started: Robbie contacted local book stores, and Barnes and Noble generously welcomed us to meet in one of the sitting areas in their store each month, and they even make us a big pot of coffee. Beaded Coffee Cup EarringsIn addition, they list our reading group in their monthly newsletter, and new members have found us this way over the years. We chose contemporary fiction as our main focus, however we will sometimes read a non-fiction book if one peaks our interest. We have about 10 core members, but usually end up with about 6 – 8 members who can make it each time.

Stained Glass and Metal House Night LightLocation: Having the group away from home removes the burden of any one person having to prepare to receive guests. It also allows all members to speak freely without fear of being overheard or interrupted. This works best for our group at this stage of our lives, but certainly is only one way to structure a group. I know most groups meet in a different member’s home each time, Wine Bottle and Glasses Switch Plates in Nickel Silver and Blackand for those who love to entertain and have the time and energy to do it, I’m sure that works great. Some groups make food, chocolate or wine part of the experience, although we only bring treats for our anniversary each year.

Our members are just happy when we can make it to group, whether we’ve finished the book or not. We are a group of busy, active moms, with some who work and others who don’t, and some months it is just tough to do it all.

Another benefit to holding it in a book store is that we are able to quickly find reference material of we want to check facts or find out background information to flesh out our understanding of a subject.

Frequency: Our book group meets once a month at the local Barnes & Noble. We meet at 7:30 p.m., late enough to have gotten home from work or classes and made it through dinner. We have on occasion moved the date when it fell on a holiday weekend or when several members would all be gone, but for the most part stick to the second Monday of each month.

Engraved Custom Bookmarks in Gorgeous Colors and DesignsStructure: Robbie was willing to take on the task of leading the discussion, but when she can’t make it, it falls to me. My contribution, as an artist, is to give each new member one of my handcrafted bookmarks as a welcoming gift. We usually compile a list of questions to get us taking. Sometimes our books have questions in the back, other times we’ll get questions from, others are just ones that occur to us.

We start off discussing the book for about and hour or so. After that, we choose a new book. Holding our book group in a bookstore makes it easier when it comes time to pick our next selection. We all fan out to peruse the bookshelves and tables for books we’ve heard about or to find something new that peaks our interest. Our approach is to have each member pitch a book and then all vote on which one we’re interested in reading. The book with the most votes becomes the next month’s selection, but if it is a split vote, we might make them the next two month’s choices. Usually around 9:30 we conclude the discussion and have time to chat, share pictures or play games.

Robbie sends out a reminder email before each meeting as well as a follow-up one letting everyone know what was chosen for next time.

Include the Kids: Once a year we select a book that we will read to our kids, then bring our kids to our book group to discuss it. We all really want to instill our own love of reading to our children. They are always so excited to come meet the other members and their kids, plus they enjoy seeing exactly what Mom does each month. The discussions have been really fun, and it is especially interesting to hear what all the kids thought and see each family’s reaction to a book.

Our group has been going strong for seven years now and I feel this structure has worked really well for us. I hope some of these ideas will work for you as well. Happy Reading!

If you’re a member of a book group and would like some gift ideas for your fellow members, please visit Cool Reading Book Group Gift Ideas or click any of the photos above to learn more.

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Celebrate National Library Week – Check Out A Good Book

Posted by Kyle Design on April 14, 2008

Librarian Christmas OrnamentApril 13 – 19 is the 50th Anniversary of National Library Week 2008. This event, sponsored by the American Library Association, encourages everyone to visit and support their libraries and librarians. Many libraries are sponsoring special events this week, so be sure to check out their schedules.

Library Week was started in 1958 because research at the time was showing that Americans were spending less on books than they were on radios, TVs and musical instruments. Ha! And that was 50 years ago! One can only imagine how skewed that ratio is now.

Library Book Beaded Neck LanyardI’ll be celebrating by going to my book group tonight where we’ll be discussing Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, and attending the Livermore Library’s Newcott-Caldebery Book Writing and Illustrating Awards Ceremony for young authors and illustrators on Thursday, an event sponsored by the Friends of the Livermore Library to encourage young writers. Both of my daughters submitted books again this year.

Elephant BookmarkGood Book: My oldest daughter checked out Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen from the library. I loved this book and felt she was old enough to handle the more mature themes in the book. While my daughter read most of it to herself, I enjoyed rereading sections out loud to her. It is a funny, unusual love story with a distinctive writing style and an unpredictable ending.

If you’d like to encourage reading or honor a favorite librarian with a holiday ornament, beaded ID badge lanyard or bookmark, please visit my Unique Gifts for Librarians or my collection of Unusual Custom Bookmarks.

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South Lake Tahoe – One Day Travel Tips

Posted by Kyle Design on September 7, 2007

Gorgeous South Lake TahoeOn a recent Sunday, I zipped off to Lake Tahoe, on the California and Nevada border, forMountain Hiker's Business Card Case an overnight trip. We chose to drive up Sunday morning, giving us the opportunity to look agog at all the terrible traffic going the other way and allowing us to practically sail up there in just over 3 hours. It was just my husband, our eldest daughter and me this time because our youngest was off at camp in the Colorado mountains for the week.

Volleyball Travel Jewelry BoxJet Ski Rental Tip: Once at South Lake Tahoe, my husband and daughter headed straight for the jet skis. Note: the jet ski rentals are $10 cheaper at the marina on Lake Shore Blvd. near Beach Road (which has no public beach), but we rented at Zephyr Cove because there was a beach. You can rent wetsuits from them as well. I, on the other hand, quite contentedly grabbed the latest book I’m reading, Japanland: A Year In Search Of Wa by Karen Muller, found a shady spot by the sand volleyball court on said beach, and knocked out several chapters. Watched a few matches and snuck in a few winks, too.

Metal Wallet for Credit Cards with Swimmer DesignTips for Swimmers: After that it was time to check in to our hotel, the Horizon Casino Hotel in Stateline, Nevada. The rooms were fine, but we did have a nice view of the swimming pool, and as we are swimmers this was perfectly fine by us. This hotel touted its outdoor pool as the largest at any hotel in the area. What they neglected to mention is that it pool is barely heated. I guess they assume that anyone who enjoys the cold, refreshing waters of Lake Tahoe would like their pool to feel the same way.

They conveniently have no thermostat anywhere in the pool – I checked every intake. I went for a brisk 1000 yard swim Sunday morning, after catching my breath, that really was quite pleasant once you warmed up. The upside of the cold pool is that it really cuts down on non-swimmers getting in the way of your workout. No one dawdles in this pool. And it does appear to be a full 25 yards across at the dividing line between the deep and shallow areas, so no weird-length workouts.

Walking Trail Tip: Later, we went for a 45 minute walk through the Edgewood Golf Course (beautiful, quiet, huge trees) and through downtown where they were replacing huge pipes in the street (ugly, noisy, huge equipment).

Restaurant Tip: If you like Indian food, our favorite restaurant in Tahoe is Taj Mahal Indian Cuisine at the Quality Inn. Fresh and tasty with good service.

Click any of the photos above to find out more about the Volleyball Pill Box, Swimmer’s Wallet, or Mountain Business Card Case. Or visit each of our themed gifts pages: Volleyball Gifts, Swimming Gifts and Mountain Gifts.

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Harry Potter Book – Killer Sales Stats for Deathly Hallows

Posted by Kyle Design on July 23, 2007

The latest and, sadly, the last installment of the tale of life at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft andMoon and Stars Pocket Flask Wizardry, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, broke sales records by selling 8.3 million copies in its first 24 hours. By my calculations, I was responsible for .00000012% of that killer total.

Never has a book been so wanted so badly by so many. Absolutely Eyeglasses Cases for Reading Glasses astonishing, but probably not unexpected. Book sellers can celebrate how finely-tuned a distribution system they have that they were even able to sell that many copies that fast.

Whip out those reading glasses and get started! I saw numerous people carrying around their copy of the book, presumably trying to finish reading as much of it as possible before returning to work today. Might be a slow productivity day at many companies….

Warner Brothers even admitted that movie ticket sales of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix were affected this weekend because fans were more interested in reading than watching.

Starry Night Decorative Night LightThe complete collection of books in J.K. Rowling‘s series include Book 1 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ( September 1998*), Book 2 – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (June 1999), Book 3 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (September 1999), Book 4 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (July 2000), Book 5 – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (August 2003), Book 6 – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (August 2005), and lastly Book 7 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (July 2007). Collectively, the series has sold 325 million copies. So far.

*Note: Book 1 was originally published in the UK as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997).

Need a night light for some last minute reading? A crushproof case to carry your reading glasses? A drinking flask for Harry Potter parties? Or perhaps even some moon and stars themed gifts? Just click photos above or visit Celestial Gifts for more.

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Book Group Expo in San Jose, CA – June 2007

Posted by Kyle Design on June 14, 2007

The second-annual Book Group Expo in San Jose, CA,Open Book Refrigerator Magnet Clip was held this last weekend and my friends and I had a really wonderful time. This event provides a forum where one can see favorite authors, listen to their thoughts on writing, and hear about the experiences that were the inspirations for their books. This fair was a magnet for avid readers, writers with questions and members of book groups looking for ideas for selections that would make for lively book group discussions.

Book Group Expo organized “salons” around particular themes with three authors on a comfy sofa and a host who interviewed them. After an interesting question and answer session, the authors answered questions posed by audience members. This was the second year that this organization has offered the Book Group Expo for those of us in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was also amazed at how many people flew in from outside the area to attend – I’m sure they found the experience well worth it.

Book Group Expo SalonFor those of us who pre-ordered tickets, we received a handy tote bag with a least 4 books, samples of tea and other goodies. In the marketplace area, vendors were selling or sampling (or even giving away) books, jewelry, chocolate, tea, cookies, wine, even bras(!).

We attended the salon featuring Sara Davidson, author of “Leap!”, Po Bronson, author ofAuthor Elizabeth Gilbert and her book “eat, pray, love” “Why Do I Love These People?”, and Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “eat, pray, love”, shown from left to right in the photo above. Afterwards, we were able to buy their books and have them signed by the authors. At right, we have just had our “eat, pray, love” books signed. I found Elizabeth Gilbert to be quite funny and wise, and am looking forward to reading her book. My friends LOVED “eat, pray, love”. Another author who impressed me was Carolyn Jourdan, writer of “Heart In The Right Place”. She was a high-paid Washington lawyer who left to become the receptionist in her father’s small town medical practice. She was alternately touching and hilarious as she described her experiences.

If you missed this year’s book expo, be sure to sign up for their mailing list for next year. Tickets are cheaper if you order ahead, and then you’ll be sure to get tickets to the most popular events. This year’s hot ticket was the sold-out Friday night salon with Khalid Hosseini, author of “The Kite Runner“, who was introducing his new book, “A Thousand Splendid Suns“.

If you are are part of a reading group and are looking for fun gifts for other book group members (or something for yourself!) be sure to check out our artistic Book Themed Gifts for Book Groups and Readers.

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