I made no secret about my excitement regarding this year’s National Book Festival, and I’m happy to say that not only did it live up to all my brain-generated hype — it exceeded it!
Not even the ominous-looking storm clouds could keep Dad and me from schlepping through Washington, D.C. in search of prominent authors. Being the incredibly organized, borderline obsessive-compulsive that I am, I’d created a schedule of where we should be to see which author — and even scheduled in some breaks! Each author spoke for thirty minutes at a clip, mostly discussing the research that had gone into their most recent book — like Jodi Picoult’s Handle With Care — or their process of writing.
Among the talented folks we heard speak were James L. Swanson (Manhunt: The Search For Lincoln’s Killer), famed Southern cook and Food Network personality Paula Deen, W. Ralph Eubanks (Ever Is A Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi’s Dark Past), novelist Shannon Hale, poet Patricia Smith, Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita In Tehran: A Memoir In Books), novelist Judy Blume and famed historian Ken Burns.
I really enjoyed hearing each of them speak — especially Eubanks, who chatted about his family’s history in the South, losing his Southern accent and then read from his memoir (which sounds amazing)! Paula Deen was as delightful and adorable as she is on TV, and definitely had the most audience participation! People were cheering for her like she was a rock star. And, in a way, I guess she is!
Dad made it to a few other talks while I popped over to the Library of Congress’s TweetUp where I met Jen of Biblio File, who was crazy nice and interesting! I’m pretty sure I acted like a fangirl, because I absolutely love her blog and didn’t expect to meet her! Not even the mud, my frizzing hair or lack of jacket could dampen my mood!
A definite highlight of the day was our book blogger dinner at Elephant & Castle that evening! It’s so funny to sit down at a table with a group of “strangers” you actually know. Any feeling of uneasiness or discomfort melted away the second we all started talking — because it was like we’d known each other for years! I guess in many cases, folks have known each for a while. I had such a great time chatting with the likes of Jill from Rhapsodyinbooks, Teresa from Shelf Love, My Friend Amy, Rebecca at The Book Lady’s Blog, Michelle from Galleysmith, Nicole of Linus’s Blanket, Deborah of Books, Movies & Chinese Food and Trish from Hey Lady, Whatcha Readin’?, as well as many other excellent ladies (and a gentleman!). I don’t think I could have spent an evening with a finer group of people, and I’m only sorry I had to leave as soon as I did. And that I didn’t get more pictures, but — you know.
I did snap a few . . . and I’m hoping more will surface! Because I realized I don’t have a single one of me from the entire day. I would have done my quintessential THUMBS UP! picture, but I was distracted all day. All glorious, bookish and fabulous day!
Want another take? Check out my dad’s tale.
And are you ready for photo overload? ‘Cause I am!