Armchair Book Expo America: Beyond the Books

Today ABEA calls for bloggers to discuss the bookish things beyond traditional novels that we enjoy.  For me that’s an easy discussion because after I became a reader on my own at a very young age I found myself introduced to comics.

My mind is a bit confused of where my comics love started though.  It is one of two stories.  I don’t know which came first or which was the cementing of “COMICS!!!”, but I’ll tell them both and then how they’ve influenced my life as a writer, blogger, etc.

On the shelf of one of the earliest production companies I worked for as an actor at 12 years old was a copy of Watchmen.  This was in 1988.  The collection was brand new.  Something about it called to me and started reading it and falling in love.  The producer decided if I loved it so much it should be mine if my parents were okay with it.  My parents were weird.  They didn’t seem to care how violent or sexual something was.  I mean I was reading Stranger in a Strange Land before this.  I don’t know if they didn’t know, didn’t care or just trusted my brain to be adult enough to handle it.  I still have that copy of Watchmen today.

There was a comics shop that was fairly large next to the Midway Movie Theater on Queens Blvd in Forest Hills.  As I said I can’t recall if I was already into comics from Watchmen or if Watchmen called to me cause I was into comics.  I do remember this shop really well though.  The location its in is now a restaraunt.  It’s been many things throughout the years.  For the longest time it was a shop though and I shopped there.  The first comic I remember seeing there that BLEW ME AWAY was Scott McCloud’s DESTROY!!.  I knew somehow it was meant to be a pastiche and it was what basically made me appreciate the form from all elements.

By coming into comics through two books that defied what comics were about it prepared me better for an appreciation of all comics.  I like all of it.  Straight forward superhero, autobiographical introspection, sci-fiction, horror, comedy, dark comedy.  What’s wonderful is the format of comics allows it to be as broad and diverse as prose.  There are no rules.  Create something and let it live.

That is books, that is writing, that is creation.  It is why I am still a reader today even with so much media coming at me from movies, television, internet and video games.

Armchair Book Expo America: Introduction to the Uninitiated.

To introduce myself to a whole new group of potential new readers or friends isn’t the easiest thing.

I’ve been lucky enough to be at Book Expo America since 2009 since it was in my hometown. As most who do Armchair Book Expo probably know, and it’s why they Armchair, traveling to another state for an expo is no small financial affair. Travel, place to sleep, food, money for experiences, mailing costs, it all adds up. When all I had to do was take a subway and that was my ONLY expense for the week, BEA became magical.

Here I am though, 2016, wishing I was there. I guess I should get to it, since I’ve already probably broken all the rules of Armchair already.

1.  What is the name you prefer to use?

Reid Harris Cooper is my name. It’s what people call me. You can call me Reid, Reid Harris, Reid Harris Cooper or RHC.
2.  How long have you been a book blogger?

As I’ve never really considered myself a BOOK blogger but just a journalist who covered everything from comics to movies and in between, I’m going with 20 years since I started doing actual reviews on a website.
3.  Have you participated in ABEA before?

As stated before I have not. Just when I thought I would probably become involved in it, BEA moved to NYC permanently for six years.

4. Do you have a favorite book?

Forced to answer this I’d have to go with Restaurant at the End of the World by Douglas Adams. It would be literally the 4th book I read on my own when I started reading. Before those came The Twits and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein and then the first Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy book.

5. If you could create a playlist that reflects your bookshelf, what would be the first song you choose?

What Is It?” by Faith No More

Walkabout” by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Insane in the Membrane” by Cypress Hill

6. How do you arrange your bookshelves? Is there a rhyme or reason? Or not at all? (#ABEAShelfie)

For a long time I tried my best. There is a rhyme though. Autobio and non-fiction are all together. Graphic Novels are all together. There’s a cook book section. Then it gets pretty crazy though. I feel like fiction is fiction is fiction, be it fantasy, mystery, sci-fi, young adult, erotica, whatever, so I gave up and just try to keep authors together.

7. If you could choose three characters to have lunch with, who would they be and why?

Someone has to pay for it all so maybe Gatsby, he’s crazy and eccentric but hey money. Then Zaphod Beeblebrox and Willy Wonka. Oh wait, they have money too so… maybe Alice, but AFTER she’s experienced all of Wonderland or Dorothy but after a few Oz books.

That’s me. I’m weird, I’m strange, and I’m all over the place with books. Also I’m here, but I really don’t fit into the Book Blogger realm. Things like Diversity, or other subjects are not of my concern. I like all kinds of stuff. I identify as non human multi sexual agnostic atheist spiritual believer so be free, love books.