(Get it? Lit? Like, you know, literature? Yeah? OK, moving on now.)

On Saturday afternoon, Penguin Random House held its first-ever Book Fair for Grown-Ups, and let me just tell you: It was a ’90s-themed, book-nerd blast! Ten out of 10, would attend again (and again.) Held at Lightbox in New York City’s Garment District neighborhood, the ticketed affair for nerds ages 21 and up included entry to the fair and drink tickets (how many boozy delights you got depended on which book fair ticket you purchased).

Book Fair for Grown-Ups

The event offered book lovers of all ages a chance to bask in the glory of the ’90s as they shopped, sipped themed cocktails, and engaged in all manner of nostalgic activities. The entry floor of the venue featured tables full of books for sale, reminiscent of the book fairs we all loved as kids — book fair days were the best days. Whether attendees were into young adult (YA) romances, biographies, or cookbooks (or, ahem, all three and more), PRH had you covered.

Book Fair for Grown-Ups

The first floor was also home to a sticker station, a DIY tie-dye station, a complimentary mobile-printing station, and vendors, including Out of Print and Tul. Past that straight-up book trap (in the best, most-welcome sense), attendees could climb a flight of stairs to a classroom-themed area complete with desks and chairs, backpack decor, a chalkboard wall, an audiobook-listening station, and a post-it wall where guests could leave advice for their elementary-aged selves. (Mine was “Be Kind” because we all know just how mean kids can be.) The classroom area also allowed guests an aerial view of the fair, and let me just tell you: The bibliophiles showed up and showed out!

A basement-level bar was decked out with comfy seating and glitter-filled inflatable chairs, all the treats our younger selves chomped down that we now only eat as guilty pleasures (bubble gum tape and pixie stix: how I missed thee), tiny versions of our favorite games (Tetris, Uno, and more), and even a Nickelodeon-themed puzzle for guests to assemble.

Book Fair for Grown-Ups

To top it all off, guests received gift bags full of goodies; so, even if you didn’t *accidentally* spend $100 on books and merch (sorry not sorry), you got to take home some mementos. Like the drink tickets, the bags also varied depending on your ticket level (hourly or all day). The swag bag for all-day ticket holders was itself a nice haul: a composition-notebook-printed Out of Print tote. It included:

  • An Out of Print gift card;
  • Literary postcards;
  • A retractable Tul pen;
  • A full packet of day-of-the-week Lip Smackers lip balm; and
  • An old-school book fair newsletter featuring all the books on sale and curated picks.

The only downside of the Book Fair for Grown-Ups was the size, which is understandable given that this was the first one ever. Hopefully, next year will see it held at a larger space with even MOAR room for books.

Photos: the Pop Insider