Your content is here. The verification ID will NOT be detected if you put it here.

Pin It

Kicking off Armchair BEA 2014

This entry is part 12 of 17 in the series Armchair BEA 2013 - 2014

Who's late to the Armchair BEA 2014 tea party? Not me. Reading, Writing, and Books – What’s not to love?

Armchair BEA 2014 that virtual book bonanza for book bloggers and readers, is happening this week. Once again, I’m wearing the Mad Hatter hat as I nearly missed the opening day. Luckily, I’m okay and will be attending the party with the publishing of this post. Let’s begin, shall we?

What is Armchair BEA 2014?

In the book world, the BEA Expo is a huge event. Book Expo America (BEA) is a major North American book event where you’ll find authors, publishers, agents, booksellers, and pretty much anyone else even remotely connected to the book world gather. I attended my first one in Washington, D.C. during my time at Borders Books. It was massive. I shipped at least three boxes of books home — all free.

The virtual version of BEA is Armchair BEA. It’s a great way for book bloggers who are not able to attend the main event to gather, participate virtually, and meet up with their fellow book lovers.

The blog and the blogger

As an introduction to my fellow bloggers, I’m Vikk Simmons and I’ve been blogging here at Down the Writer’s Path since late 2002. My home base is Houston, Texas. As a writer and confirmed life-long book lover and reader, this is the place where I explore and share all about my three loves: books, reading, and writing. You are more than welcome anytime to come and visit. If you do, I hope you’ll say hello and let me know what you are thinking, how things are going, and where your interests lie. Mine are varied within this great book container so you’ll find posts on a variety of book-reading-writing topics.

What’s up with Armchair BEA 2014?

Book bloggers attend the Armchair BEA 2014 book eventWell, lots. I’ll be posting furiously as will hundreds of others. For one thing, it’s one bonanza of a blog hop. Check out the links of those who comment here. Leap over to Armchair BEA 2014 and check out the huge list of attendees and visit their blogs and say hello. You’ll find guest posts, lots about books, more about authors, and book reviewers galore.

Of course, I hope you’ll continue to come around my place, too. Part of my participation is to answer a few questions, so here goes.

In the beginning a blog was born

I got into blogging at a time when nearly all my fellow writers had never heard of it; they had no idea that within a few years they’d be putting on their blogging shoes, too. Getting a blog up was much more difficult. Social media hadn’t come onto the scene in any big way, so you had to depend on things like blog carnivals to get the word out. Why bother? Well, I thought the whole idea of having a blog where I could write and comment and talk about writing was a beautiful thing. I mean, it’s a self-publishing platform that was readily accessible. Seemed like a no-brainer to me.

A quote that embodies life, itself

I came across this quote by Kafka many years ago. It remains my all-time favorite:

You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

Solitary reading makes room for some 21st century reading styles

As I imagine you are, I am in love with books. I love the conversation they start and the ensuing engagement with the author. Like many, I love nothing more than curling up somewhere in peace and solitude to thumb through the pages of an old favorite or cracking open the spine of a new to-be-found friend. But over the last few years, I’ve expanded my reading experience to include group marathon reads, group reads, and even a world-wide daily audio read of Moby Dick.  Do I still have my comfy chair or outdoor patio spot? Sure. But now my computer provided me with a new venue.

In January 2013, I embraced the Moby Dick Big Read and finally read the story of the big whale. No one was more surprised when I discovered just how funny Mr. Melville could be. Who knew? I loved the book. To think I wasted all those decades resisting those classic pages because of some silly fear I had built up in my mind. So with new expectations, I joined in a year-long read of St. Augustine’s City of God. (I know.) Once again, I have avoided a book for at least three decades due to some sense that I would at the very least be bored. Not so. Do I have to re-read some passages? Yes, but I’ve found Augustine’s writings to be pretty interesting and applicable to today’s contemporary world. Surprise! Another thing that was interesting about those two experiences is that I did not do them alone. Moby Dick was a world-wide event where you downloaded a wonderful daily audio reading with narrations by many well-known people. It was a chapter a day. The City of God reading was started by a blogger who simply made an announcement of his intention to read the book over the course of one year. Within weeks, he had 1,000 fellow readers and a Facebook group — me, among them.

So that’s it for today’s post. I’ll be blog hopping to see what everyone else is doing. I’m looking forward to saying hello to old Armchair buddies, as well as meeting new ones. Do use the comment section below to say hello and share thoughts, hopes, and, if you’re participating in Armchair BEA, your expectations.


  • IMAGES & AFFILIATE CREDITS: Armchair BEA logo via Armchair BEA; Mad Hatter illustration by John Tenniel (illustrator) original version of Alice in Wonderland.

Connect? Find me on Down the Writer’s Path Facebook PageMy SquidooMy PinterestMy Twitter; and my G+


Links: Armchair BEA Participants 2014

Moby Dick Big Read (daily audio downloads still available)

Reading the City of God (2014) Facebook group

Enjoy these posts

Series NavigationBook bloggers – Annual event ends – Armchair BEAAuthor, Author! How to meet your favorite author
  • Laura Jennison

    Subscribed to your RSS. Love the idea of reading the book over the course of the year. Glad you enjoyed it. I don’t remember Mr. Melville being all that funny, but then I was forced to read it at the time. This is my first year as an Armchair BEA participant. I have an open mind and no real expectations as to what will happen with it yet. :)

  • Vikk Simmons

    Hi Laura,

    Thanks for the subscription. Yes, it’s an interesting experience to read over a long time period. I usually gobble up books. Welcome to Armchair BEA! I’m sure you’ll enjoy the experience and meet up with some great book bloggers, too. (I’m a dog lover, myself. I blog about them (all seven) at )

  • Andi

    So glad you’re in for Armchair BEA, Vikk!

  • Vikk Simmons

    Thanks, Andi. Mee, too. LOL

  • Kristen H.

    I love the pacing of your post! A bit of a change from the Q&A format most of us are using. I love the way you describe your reading and how you are becoming more apt to use technology to connect with other readers!

  • Vikk Simmons

    Thank you, Kristen. I’m glad you enjoyed reading the post. It is a fast-changing and interesting world out there, even in the rather slow-to-move-change-and-adapt world of books. Lots happening everywhere.

  • Laurel-Rain Snow

    Wow, you have been blogging for a long time! You are right…there wasn’t much online back then. I started my first blog in 2008, but it would be another year before I really connected online with other bloggers.

    Thanks for sharing…and here’s


  • Athira / Aths

    I remember starting my personal blog, when it was still not that popular. It WAS really quiet then! Glad to see so many faces around now.

  • leeanna @

    12 years is quite a long time to be blogging! I remember when Blogger first started, and when I thought Twitter was kinda silly. But it’s good that you embraced it early, since I think it’s pretty important for writers to have a blog and/or social media preference. Preferably both; I always find it odd when an author these days doesn’t “exist” online.

  • Vikk Simmons

    Yep, things have really changed. At least I don’t get blank looks anymore when I say I blog. LOL

  • Vikk Simmons

    Yes, there is a real community now. Amazing.

  • Vikk Simmons

    It has been a long time. Many writers resist the social media and other online trappings. I get it. It can be a real time suck. Some writers have trouble switching gears; it can be difficult for them to manage all these things. Other writers fall prey to distraction and don’t get their real “work” done. Still others simply have trouble grappling with the technology. It doesn’t help that everything moves so fast now. Some of us would prefer for things to slow down a bit. LOL

  • Jennifer Hartling

    Oh. That quote is lovely. Have a wonderful week and enjoy ABEA!

  • Vikk Simmons

    Thanks. From the first time I encountered those words, they took my breath away. Thank you, I will. You, too.

  • Vikk Simmons

    Thank you, Kristina. Glad you enjoyed your visit. Have a wonderful Armchair BEA experience.

  • Lindsey Stefan

    I love how encouragement from others helps us to read books we might never tackle on our own. City of God is a book I have been meaning to read!

  • Vikk Simmons

    It’s an interesting book. I wouldn’t say it was for everyone but I am enjoying the time spent. I like reading this one at a slower pace.

  • Silver’s Reviews

    I will be following your posts. I don’t know how this Armchair BEA works.

    Have fun.

  • Vikk Simmons

    You can go to Armchair BEA and explore the site and discover many more happenings there. I have a link at the bottom of today’s post. I would encourage you to check it out.

  • Silver’s Reviews


  • Emma @ Words And Peace

    I enjoy very much Moby Dick

  • Freda Mans

    My sister-in-law lives in Houston. :-) Great to meet you!

  • Vikk Simmons

    That’s great to hear. So many people today shy away from the classics.

  • Vikk Simmons

    Nice to meet you, too. Thank you for stopping by.