Sep 27, 2010

National Book Festival 2010

I wish that all the readers I know could experience the National Book Festival because there really is nothing like it.


I'm sure that there are lot's of book festivals but this one feels so grand because everyone is out on the mall and you can really sense just how many people are there. You feel like you are surrounded by readers and you are.

Where else can you find thousands and thousands of people gathered for no other reason than to hear authors speak? Just speak! These are people of all ages whole LOVE books. Small children, teens and seniors wait on line in the hot sun for hours just to get an autograph from their favorite author. People are bussed in from all over for this and they arrive with annotated schedules so that they don't miss anything.


You can hear cookbook authors like Spike Mendelsohn (of Top Chef) talk about their thoughts on why locally grown ingredients are so important. Or he may answer questions on why one of his restaurants plays hip hop while the other plays more rock. Or he could answer questions on what it's really like to be on Top Chef (long, hard, days) . Or why he isn't wearing his trademark fedora. He's smiling in this picture because DQ just asked exactly that question.


You can hear a hot author (like DQ's favorite, Margaret Peterson Haddix) talk about the inspiration behind some of her books. Why is the plane in her book, Found, filled with babies instead of young children?

You may also be pleasantly surprised to find out how gracious that author is when she stays late to sign books for hundreds of fans and agrees to pictures before and after speaking. DQ was thrilled to get books by Katherine Patterson and Ms Haddix signed.


What I love best about the festival is the stuff you never expected. This is James Ransome, an illustrator of childrens books who I'd never heard of before. I only saw him because we arrived early for Ms. Haddix' presentation to get good seats. He was a really good speaker and he ended by having kids come up and draw numbers on sheets of paper that he turned into figures before signing them and giving them to the kids.


I always look over the list of authors who will appear just as soon as it's posted so that I can prepare for the festival by reading the latest by authors I hope to see. I also check out authors on the list that I'm not familiar with and sometimes read something by one of them too.

That's what inspired me to try reading a few by Karin Slaughter. I've read two of her books so far - Blindsighted and Triptych - and really enjoyed them both. She was a really good speaker who had lot's to say. She made a great argument for why thrlllers are good literature and discussed why she gave one of her heroes a disability that my sweet Stinkerbelle shares. I loved her explanation that she wanted a character with a disability that was not a villain or someone to be pitied. She was also funny and we all had a good laugh when one of her fans expressed her surprise at finding that a writer of such dark books was "a goof".


Oh yes, I also met Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, and found that she's just as lovely in person as she is on her blog. Really, really, lovely.

1 comment:

Carole Knits said...

I am so jealous of all of this but most especially of that picture of you with Ree Drummond. Damn! Can I come next year?