The San Jose Book Group Expo – Day Two

October 25-26, 2008

I had intended to post this yesterday, but after a ten hour day of work I was just too exhausted! Day Two of the Expo was filled with great authors and fun panels. As with Day One, participants enjoyed an opening Salon, and then got to choose one of three panels in each hour. Here is what my day looked like:

10:00AM – 11:00AM

Opening Salon: Go Tell It on the Mountain: An Inspirational Celebration Sponsored by HarperOne with authors Kristin Billerbeck, Van Jones, Garth Stein, and Sam Barry

This Salon opened with the amazing Gospel music of Sharon D. Henderson and Friends. It was joyous and moving.

*click photo to enlarge

After this beautiful music, the panel came together and discussed their books. Van Jones has written a book about the connection between our economy and energy titled The Green Collar Economy. His comments were intelligent and interesting. I think Garth Stein was probably the most well-known author for this panel given the popularity of his book The Art of Racing In the Rain. He is quite a captivating speaker … and has a dry humor. I had never heard of author Kristin Billerbeck who writes Christian fiction – she told the audience that she strives to show her characters as real people struggling with life and issues…not perfect, sweet people who have no problems.

(left to right) Moderator Sam Barry and Van Jones; Garth Stein; me getting my book signed by Garth Stein; me getting my book signed by Van Jones

And here is one of Trish (Hey Lady Whatcha Readin?) talking to Garth Stein

*click on photos to enlarge

11:15AM – 12:15PM

The Liar’s Club: Let Me Tell You A Story with authors Rabih Alameddine, Selden Edwards, Michelle Richmond, and Julie Robinson

This panel was one of my favorites of the Expo. The writers talked a lot about the art of storytelling. I was thrilled to meet Michelle Richmond at the book signing and cannot wait to read her book The Year of Fog. I was also very excited to discover authors Selden Edwards and Rabih Alameddine. Edwards has just published his first book (which took him more than 30 years to complete! Talk about perseverence!!). I bought Alameddine’s latest novel: The Hakawati after listening to the author speak – he is clearly a brilliant man and very, very funny…I imagine his writing to be just as compelling!

(left to right) Michelle Richmond; me talking to Michelle Richmond; Rabih Alameddine (foreground) and Selden Edwards; author Susanne Pari (left) and Julie Robinson (right)

*click on photos to enlarge

1:45PM – 2:45PM

Makin’ Whoopee: Let Us Count the Ways with authors Karen Abbott, Douglas Abrams, Melanie Abrams, Mary Roach, and Ellen Sussman

This was a hilarious panel. And yes, there was sex talk! The authors were brilliant, funny and engaging. Unfortunately I have no photos of this panel as I ended up in a spot in the audience where I could not easily see or photograph the authors (it was a very crowded presentation!).

3:00PM – 4:00PM

Woman, Be Wise: Strong Writing, Strong Women with authors Terry McMillan, Toni Mirosevich, Kathi Kamen Goldmark and Susanne Pari (absent from this panel was Elizabeth Strout who unfortunately fractured her leg and was unable to attend. If you are reading this Elizabeth, I hope you will heal quickly!)

Another amazing group of writers and fun panel. This group tended to wander off into politics a few times – something I think was natural given the discussion about women. Terri McMillan was hysterically funny. I have never read one of her books, but now I want to. She talked about how she writes characters – focusing in on denying them what they want so they have to overcome challenges. She said: “If she wants a husband, well she’s not gonna get him!” Toni Mirosevich started out writing poetry, and now writes creative nonfiction. Susanne Pari’s book is about an Iranian woman and Pari notes that it is a myth that Iranian women are not strong. I should note, there was a competing panel titled All Abroad! Living and Writing Elsewhere which I would also have liked to participate…Zoe Ferraris spoke on that panel.

(left to right) Terri McMillan; Terri McMillan; Toni Mirosevich (left ) and Terri McMillan

Trish (Hey Lady! Watcha Readin’?) talking to Zoe Ferraris

*click on photos to enlarge

Books I bought on Day Two:

  • Finding Nouf, by Zoe Ferraris
  • The Green Collar Economy, by Van Jones
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein
  • The Hakawati, by Rabih Alameddine

Previous posts about the Expo:

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    • Kathy on October 29, 2008 at 07:40

    Oh, that looks like it was so much fun!

    • Wendy on October 29, 2008 at 07:54

    It was, Kathy!

    • Dawn on October 29, 2008 at 09:16

    Thanks for posting this, Wendy. What a wonderful weekend for you (and so cool to meet up with folks you know from other blogs!) How many attendees would you estimate there were?

    Elizabeth Strout is supposed to be at an event in our town on Saturday … I wonder how she’s doing with her leg. At least there’s no snow on the ground to contend with (yet!)

    • trish on October 29, 2008 at 11:03

    You’ve captured the weekend way better than I have. Thanks for getting a few pictures of me! I brought my camera but left it in my car the whole weekend. 🙁 I think bringing your husband as an extra set of arms was a good idea!

  1. Wow there are so many attendees and it doesn’t look too crowded. It looked like a great time. I’m enjoying pictures of Trish talking to the authors. Actually all of the photos.

  2. How fun! You’ve done a great job capturing the experience here.

    I’ve read pretty much everything by Kristin Billerbeck. 🙂

    • Wendy on October 30, 2008 at 07:44

    Dawn: I am not sure how many people were there (it is so hard for me to estimate numbers!)…but all the panels were pretty full…I’d say at least a couple hundred attendees, maybe more. But it was not too crowded either…I never waited more than 10 minutes to have a book signed. I hope you get to meet Elizabeth Strout!

    Trish: LOL – feel free to lift the photos of yourself 🙂 Kip was a great person to have along (in more ways than one!!)

    Serena: It was not too crowded which was great.

    Amy: Kristin Billerbeck struck me as one of those very accessible authors – that her books would probably reach readers who were not necessarily prone to reading Christian Fiction.

  3. Can I just say how totally JEALOUS I am that you got to go?! 🙂 It sounds like a complete blast!

    • Wendy on November 1, 2008 at 20:07

    Heather: LOL! It was great…I hope you’ll think about the Bloggers Retreat which Trish is tossing around! Would love to meet you face to face 🙂

    • Teddy on November 2, 2008 at 23:52

    Wow, it sounds like such a wonderful time! I look forward to reading all of your reviews for all of the books you purchased.

    • Wendy on November 3, 2008 at 08:29

    Teddy: It was a blast 🙂

    • ann on November 4, 2008 at 09:20

    I am glad you went to Expo.
    Amazing that you found bloggers!!

  4. Thank you so much for writing about the Expo! And the photos are wonderful. Since I spend the weekend running around like an insane woman, I never get to really get a sense of how the event is working. This year, the bloggers like you have helped me so much in that respect. I’ll be linking this to the Book Group Expo Blog ( which is a baby blog compared to yours (I’m just figuring out how to do it), but there are some author guest entries on there you might want to look at. Any suggestions from blog mavens would be good, too! Thanks again!

    • Wendy on November 6, 2008 at 08:04

    Ann: it was so much fun!

    Susanne: Thanks for stopping by! And thank you for the link over at the blog 🙂 I’ll stop over and say hello 🙂

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