10 Reasons Why You Should Attend the 7th Annual New York Rainbow Book Fair

10 Reasons Why You Should Attend the 7th Annual New York Rainbow Book Fair, Saturday, April 18, at the Holiday Inn Midtown, 440 W. 57th Street.

1)   It’s the largest LGBT book event in the US—and maybe the world. (Vladimir Putin hates it!) But you can love it and support it because nowhere else can you see so many of our books, author, poets, and fabulously smart people of all sizes, shapes, and assorted literary tastes in one room. All in New York, the publishing capital of the world.

2)   Where else can you meet so many writers in one place, like Brad Gooch, David Margolick, Rob Smith, and Jamie Brickhouse (The Persistence of Memory: LGBT Memoir and Biography panel); Donna Minkowitz, Martha Shelley, D.L. King, Jason Schneiderman, and Michael Broder (In the Beginning, LGBT Jewish Writers on Culture, Heritage, and Queer Family Ties); and Cheryl Clarke and Steven Fullwood (Queer Black Writing in the 1980s)? Plus a full roster of featured writers. And all day short readings by long-time faves and newbies, and a full day of readings by at least 60 poets at our always popular Come Hear! Poetry Salon curated by Regie Cabico and Nathaniel Siegel. (For more up-to-the-minute, info: http://www.rainbowbookfair.org.)

3)   If you are new to the writing scene, this is the place to be: all kinds of publishers, editors, and other writers discovering you as you discover them. Nowhere else in queer books does a world like this come together in one spot. Publishers and writers from Europe, both coasts, and Canada arrive in New York for you to discover them, and—hey, you never can tell!—for them to discover you.

4)   The relationship between writers and readers is magical. Writers are the rabbit you pull out of the hat of your own imagination. They make you realize your own imagination is working, something we need in these uptight, anxious times. So let yourself relax and be seduced by the magic of words, writers, and the very happy meetings that a big book fair easily brings about.

5)     Readers share things, too. Like their own hearts with each other. Reading is one of the most intimate of all human activities. In fact, all of our ideas about romance—every friggin’ one of them—come from reading. And books. Even if you’re not into queer romance books (and there will be a couple hundred of these titles at the RBF), we know you are into romance. As a group, few people are as adventurous, exciting, and interesting as the readers you’ll find at the Rainbow Book Fair.

6)     New York is the cultural capital of America, so what better place to showcase our own queer culture than New York? But this does not mean that the New York Rainbow Book Fair is only about New York books. There will be writers, publishers, and readers from all over the US, Canada, and Europe. They will be coming in from Little Rock, Ark; from small towns in the South and Midwest and big ones like Atlanta; from Chicago and California, from Florida, Toronto, Berlin, and London. The important thing is that our tired New York-centric view of life, like we’re the hot-crap Center of the Universe, gets infused by some fresh faces and new ideas. So don’t be a provincial New Yorker. Open your hearts and minds to what’s out there.

7)   Lots of bargains books! If you’ve been putting off buying books because you don’t want to part with the ol’ dough-re-mi, a little of it can go a long way here, and you’ll get to impress your friends with stuff they won’t find at Walmart, K-Mart or at Barnes & Noble sometimes. And there is nothing as IMPRESSIVE as a book signed by its author. They make great gifts for any occasion, even for yourself.

8)   If you only read books electronically, as in Kindle or Nook, many presses will be giving out free coupons to get you discounts on these, too. But the important thing is that you will be discovering books—browsing like a starved antelope on fresh grass, bumping into people and asking, “What’s that you’re looking at?” and getting a buzz just from the sheer excitement of so many people discovering new wonders in books.

9)   People have this cockamamie idea that queer books are only about sex—I know, even now. But they really are about everybody’s life, including us queers. So you’ll find art books and books by writers from a diverse array of cultures, from Southeast Asians to South Bronxians, by women and men who want to dig into your heart and not just your crotch—not that there’s anything wrong with that. A lot of people actually come out through books. They read before they ever venture into any kind of gay anything. Some of them are still kids, or adolescents, and you will find books for them, or you, if you’re one of them.

10)   Where else can you have such a great time for $3? And that’s just a door donation. No one will turned away from the New York Rainbow Book Fair for lack of three bucks. But we hope you’ll be generous, because it takes a lot of cash to keep something like this going in New York, even if it is the true Center of the Universe.

New York Rainbow Book Fair
Saturday April 18, 2015, noon–6pm
Holiday Inn Midtown
440 W. 57 St., NYC
Open to the public, $3 suggested donation
Publishers, Authors, Readings, Panels, Poetry Salon

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