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What We Learned from Our First Ever Book Swap Party

Books, wine, books, pizza, books, maracas — it was a whirlwind of drunken nerding out, and we loved every second of it.

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Last night marked Black Balloon Publishing’s first ever book swap party, an event so successful that people will be talking about it for decades and decades to come.

All jokes aside, we had a great time piling into the party room of Crown Heights’ Barboncino restaurant, drinking fine drinks and swapping great books. Below are some of the highlights from the evening, as well as some tips we picked up along the way, just in case you feel like throwing your own book swap party.

Organized chaos is different than just, well, chaos.

We already knew the general rules of our book swap, but we also had to iron out all the smaller details, like how many people would be in each round or how long each round was. We did rounds of six, keeping track of who was “on deck” and who was “on deck for being on deck,” which is absolutely the official term.

Two minutes seems to be the magic number for how long two people need to pitch one book each, but as the official time-keepers, we tried not to be too much of a stickler about that. If it was clear that people were still talking through their plot, we’d let time run for a little while longer. Also, you might think the best tool to let people know that time is up would be a blow horn, but it’s actually a maraca. Who knew?

Don’t bring a book that everyone has probably read.

The only person who wasn’t able to make a swap (womp womp) was someone who brought One Hundred Years of Solitude. Listen: One Hundred Years of Solitude is an incredible book. That’s exactly why just about every high school and college across America teaches it. Instead, go for a not-so-well-known book by a well-known author.

Though a graphic novel of a book that everyone has probably read is a great idea.

Airship editor Arvind Dilawar traded in his copy of And Everyday Was Overcast by Paul Kwiatkowski for a graphic novel edition of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and Tim Hamilton. If books could have babies, these two illustrated novels would produce something that would leave the world scorched of sanity.


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