If you’ve been keeping up with Carpe Juvenis on Instagram or Twitter you already know that we went to Book Con for the first time this past weekend. It was our first real convention and we had a huge learning curve in those two days. By the end of the weekend we were exhausted (yes, from sitting and listening to panels all day and from strolling from booth to booth) and made a list of all the things we would do for next year’s. This year’s convention was held at the Javits Center – a huge convention building on the west side of New York City – and was set up with booths on the first floor, small panels and a main hall for big names (like Mindy Kaling, John Green, Jason Segal, and Judy Bloom) on the second. We opted to wait in line for Mindy Kaling and BJ Novak, and spent the rest of the time going to smaller panels where we had the opportunity to see Julianne Moore, Tavi Gevinson, Jodi Picoult, Sophia Rossi, Candace Bushnell, Lily Koppel and many more speak about their upcoming literary adventures!

Here are our Book Con 101 tips for all of our fellow bookworms out there:

1. Bring a jacket and wear long pants. Convention centers are air conditioned. A lot. We spent the first day of Book Con freezing because we didn’t bring jackets. We figured it would be jam-packed with people and the shoulder-to-shoulder heat would keep us toasty. We were wrong and we suffered for our mistake. Pack a light scarf and long sleeve cover up for the long day ahead. You also want to wear long pants because you might be sitting on the ground while waiting in line for tickets to bigger events.

2. Bring plenty of snacks. Book Con 2015 was held at the Javits Center in Manhattan this year, and we weren’t sure if food would be allowed inside. We thought it might be similar to airports or concert venues where they pat you down and check your bags. Unfortunately and fortunately there was no entry security whatsoever, so we were able to walk into the convention center with a backpack full of snacks on the second day. It was much better than buying over-priced chips the day before when we weren’t sure if our precious snack loot would be tossed in the garbage. The day goes by a lot more smoothly when you can eat healthy snacks that you feel good about (and spend less money on!).

3. Bring a sturdy tote bag. You will without a doubt be given a tote bag (or 10) when you get to the convention center – everyone wants to use you as free advertising for their upcoming book or publishing company – but it really helps to show up with your own tote so that you can hold everything you need to bring, as well as new items that you’ll be given. Pro Tip: Do not wear a backpack. I wore a small backpack the first day and I was constantly being shoved around from people trying to walk behind me. It was frustrating for me but also probably super annoying for everyone else trying to move smoothly down the aisles. A small side bag for your wallet, keys, and phone along with your tote bag are my best suggestions for what to carry.

4. Strategize your game plan before the convention starts. Schedules for the entire weekend will be online weeks ahead of time, so it’s important to read through each event carefully. There’s a very likely chance that a few of the same speakers you want to see will be doing so at the same time, so prioritizing who you need to see beforehand will be critical. You’ll also want to build in time to walk around the booths and meet some awesome new authors who are introducing their self-published book for the first time ever! And if you’re like us you might also want to build in 5 minutes to let your curiosity get the best of you and peek around the corner to catch a glimpse of Khloe Kardashian during her book-signing.

5. Wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be doing a ton of walking. Convention centers are huge.

6. Bring cash. $10 bills are your best bets for not getting any loose change back. You don’t want to bother with trying to pay with a credit card, especially if you’re in a busy intersection where jostling will occur. Bringing cash will also help you budget because you’ll know exactly how much money you have to spend that day. Once it’s gone, it’s gone!

Pro Tip: This will sound counter-intuitive, but do not bring your own book to Book Con. Firstly, you’ll be too busy trying to figure out where to go for each event to even begin thinking about reading another chapter, secondly you’re going to be given books (some for free) and you’ll be able to purchase books for a super discounted price so bringing extra books won’t be necessary, thirdly it’s a great place to meet someone new and exchange book recommendations, and finally you just don’t want the extra weight with you all day as you walk around a giant convention center.

Happy reading!



1. Holidays

The obvious: it’s holiday season. You may celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or just plain old New Year’s Eve. December means shopping. It means pigging out on all year-round-forbidden foods. And it means seeing family and friends and reconnecting with those who you have maybe lost touch with throughout the entire year. I see December as a month of reunion.

2. Hot Drinks

Don’t tell me you don’t participate in PSL season. Okay, if you had to look up PSL, maybe not. Either way, we all know there is nothing more comforting or satisfying than sipping on a searing cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate in cold December. It is the time where coziness reaches its climax. Drinking away your calories is acceptable, but only in December.

3. Smell

December has a smell – that is fact. It smells like cinnamon. It has the aroma of pine trees. And it has the faint scent of deliciously baked goods. Am I wrong?

4. Winter Clothes

Summer is definitely a desired season, but during this time you can finally dress in sophisticated coats and elegant scarves that you’ve secretly been waiting to wear all year long.  It’s cold, but not cold enough where you’re forced to wear bulky parkas. Also, it calls for some fun when putting an outfit together – scarves, boots, pants, jackets, ear muffs, hats, and gloves! There is much opportunity to be a fashionista – get creative, my friends.

5. Cozy, Cozy, Cozy

Not only do you get the chance to drink sugar and calories, but December also means sitting by mellow fireplaces, candles, and an excuse to just be lazy for once! The sun sets earlier, therefore your days end earlier and getting home early in the midst of some comforting dim lights is very tempting. Readers: what’s better than spending a night reading a captivating novel by the fireplace?

6. Netflix

Let’s be honest, not all of us have boyfriends and girlfriends to cuddle with. However, Netflix is always there to comfort all singles worldwide. From interesting documentaries to addicting TV shows to the movies we just never had the time to watch during the year, Netflix is our best friend.

7. Vay-cay

December is the time to reunite with family and friends, as previously touched on. However, it is also a time of travels and vacations – be it to see those family and friends or to travel with those family and friends. December is a time to bond with family and friends and get closer to your loved ones while still getting the chance to visit familiar or unfamiliar places!

8. Fluffy Snow

December introduces many parts of the world with snow. By January, the snow is no longer “pretty” because by then, it has turned yellow or brown and icy. However, in December, it is a beautiful thing to see blankets and blankets of freshly fallen snow! Snow angels better be on that to-do list!

9. ABC Family

December tends to revolve around child hood memories and this includes flipping the television channels only to find Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas or Polar Express on. For some of us, ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas is on our calendar – spare the judgments, please.

10. Reflection and Renewal

Above all, December is a month of renewal. It is a time to wrap up the year, to wrap up old habits, to plan for new ones; it is a time of reflection and preparation. This is a beautiful time that invites reminiscing and change. Plan to embrace the goals you have for 2015 and think about what you would like to leave behind in 2014. December is the close for the year – enjoy every last moment and squeeze out the best remaining bits of it!

How will you enjoy December?

Image: Stanford


October is drawing to close. Leaves are falling, the air is crisper, even the famous Pumpkin Spice Latte has made its triumphant return. For students, this final transition from summer to fall, and into winter, marks the time to buckle down and surrender to the tsunami of work that is imminent on the horizon. Such are the changes implied by the coming of November. For book fans and writers alike, the month of November marks the end of Booktober (a celebration for book lovers to read as many books as possible) and the beginning of Novel November.

Unbeknownst to most people, November is actually National Novel Writing Month, and last year there were over 300,000 participants. Of course, for most students, another assignment is the last thing needed, especially when the school year is just hitting its stride. However, the point of Novel November isn’t to layer more work on top of everything else. It’s to find something that inspires you, and to run with it as far as you can. It also helps build self-discipline by writing a little bit every day. And the end result is the best of all – at the end of the month, if all goes well, you’ll have your very own novel. It never hurts to try, especially if writing is a passion you’re attached to, but you just can’t seem to find time. At the very least, you’ll have a start-up that will continue to grow into something spectacular.

There are a few simple things you can do to keep yourself on track during Novel November:

1. Schedule a specific time each day to write.

It’s just like working out or practicing an instrument; as long as you dedicate a small chunk of time to it each day, your work will grow exponentially. Sure, that might mean dropping an hour that normally would’ve been dedicated to Netflix or scrolling through the Internet, but consider it time well spent.

2. Never leave your story on a cliffhanger.

I know from experience that if you leave your writing on a cliffhanger without a solid idea of where the plot is going to go next, it will be a struggle to try and figure out how to resolve the conflict in question, however brilliant it may be. Always know where you’re going, and putting in that extra hour will be easy, just a continuation of an idea you had yesterday.

3. Stick with it!

Rome wasn’t built in a day, as the saying goes. A book won’t just spring up out of nowhere; it’s a project that has to be pieced together chapter by chapter, day by day, and as long as you stay committed to it and manage your time wisely, by the end of the month, you’ll be a novelist.

Will you be participating in Novel November?

Image: Tim Geers


Regardless of how much work you have this semester, try fitting in some personal reading for your own enjoyment. We love leisurely reading on the weekends, but we’ll carry books in our bags so we can sneak in a chapter while waiting for friends or during a quiet moment of downtime. If you take the bus to school or have a free period during the day, check out some of these books. Here’s our fall reading list…

1. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. It’s never too early to start leaning in. Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, discusses her personal experiences in the workplace and empowers women to make their voices heard.

2. The Leader Phrase Book by Patrick Alain. Use this book as a tool for when you’re running student club meetings or encouraging your classmates. It’s a skill knowing how to talk to people in a way that is encouraging yet effective.

3. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Do you want to be happy? This books is a fascinating read about one woman’s journey to happiness. She shares her tricks and tips on being happy.

4. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. Malcolm Gladwell always writes such great pieces about why and how things happen, and this book is a perfect example of how Gladwell can clearly explain complex issues and make it interesting. Gladwell explores the question of what makes high-achievers different and share his findings. We’re certain that after you read this book you’ll have learned something about improving your habits and focus (or you’ll at least be inspired!).

5. Why Does College Cost So Much? by Robert B. Archibald and David H. Feldman. We’d love to know! The authors of this book offer a different perspective of college and its rising cost, and they examine the higher education industry within a larger economic history of the U.S.

What are you reading this fall?