Humor and technology shine at BookCon 2015

by Audrey Deng

by Audrey Deng
by Audrey Deng

Book lovers and media personalities from around the world met at the Javitz Center in New York City for the annual Book Con.

This year, Book Con celebrates books in and of the media. Among the notable figures was Mindy Kaling (“The Mindy Project,” “The Office,” “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?”), who launched the weekend of books with a discussion of her new book “Why Not Me?” with B.J. Novak (“The Office,” “The Mindy Project,” One More Thing). Kaling’s latest book is a candid snapshot of stardom and celebrity, including phrases like “Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate–this is Hollywood, baby. Out here, a dark-skinned woman’s traditional hair color is honey blonde.” Later, a moustache-less Nick Offerman (“Parks and Recreation”) presented to audiences “Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers,” his list of great Americans, turned into a book. Shortly afterwards, fellow “Parks and Recreation” cast member Aziz Ansari debuted Modern Romance, a humorously scientific book on the contemporary woes of love (emojis, Tinder, and more). The book tracks the trajectory of technology and romance, using research from focus groups, Reddit and interviews with people from Tokyo to Wichita. Ansari collaborated with N.Y.U. sociology professor Eric Klinenberg on this book.

Author John Green and actor Nat Wolff made appearances as the faces of the upcoming feature film, “Paper Towns.” “Paper Towns,” a story based on the book of the same title, is a tale of cautiously reckless adventurism premiering on July 24. The other book to take its turn in theaters is the book Room, a story of domestic abuse told through a child’s eyes.

Also present in smaller conferences was YouTube personality Grace Helbig, actress Felicia Day, actor Taye Diggs and standup comedian Judah Friedlander. On Sunday, the last day of the conference, actor Jason Segel (“How I Met Your Mother”) will discuss “Nightmares! The Sleepwalker Tonic.” Justine Ezarik of iJustine will join Shane Dawson and other vloggers to discuss their transitions from video blogger to author. Also present will be Judy Blume to discuss her new book, “In The Unlikely Event,” based on true events which took place in the 1950s. Oscar-winning actress Julianne Moore will discuss crafting children’s books with acclaimed illustrator Brian Selznick.

Book Con 2015 is hosted at the Javitz Center until May 31.

Audrey Deng is the Entertainment Editor. Contact her at entertainment@nyunews.com.

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