Monday, September 24, 2012

The National Book Festival

I went to the National Book Festival on Saturday. It is an annual event put on by the Library of Congress and held on the National Mall. I look forward to it and always try to make time to attend. Authors from various genres give lectures, read from their latest books and sign readers' copies. 
I went to listen to Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum discuss the book they recently wrote together. I liked it so much that I braved the book sale tent to purchase a copy. I got it signed. They were both really nice guys.

Michael Mandelbaum & Thomas Friedman sign books

The lines for the book signings

The Capitol and festival pavilions

 I wanted to make sure I got to hear James Dashner speak. He was interesting and funny and nice to the kids. While I was listening to him, a friend I hadn't seen in months just happened to sit down next to me. Funny.

 James Dashner was also very nice when he signed my books. A very cool guy and an excellent story teller.

James Dashner signs books
 After getting my books signed. I made my way back to the Poetry and Prose pavilion to see if I could catch any of Philip Levine's talk. He is the Poet Laureate of the United States. I only caught the tail-end, but I liked what I heard. He said that when he writes poetry he likes to "make the words happy to be together."

Philip Levine
 I had a little extra time, so I looked through the schedule and author bios to see if anyone I might be interested in was presenting. I stopped in to see Maggie Stiefvater. She writes teen books and also plays seven musical instruments, speaks at least one foreign language, was a professional portrait painter, etc. I suck compared to her! She was also pretty funny. The kids were really excited about her. Someone asked her about writer's block. She said that she thinks writer's block is how her subconscious lets her know she's taken a wrong turn. Interesting. I might have to go find some of her books to read on my vacation.

Maggie Stiefvater
 I think everybody my age grew up reading Jerry Spinelli. He's great. Judging by the crowd in the tent, I'm not the only person who thinks so.

Jerry Spinelli

I decided against waiting in what was, no doubt, going to be a very long line to get my book signed by Jerry Spinelli. I decided to make my way back to the Poetry and Prose pavilion. I heard Margot Livesey speak about her new book which is a re-imagining of Jane Eyre. Sounded interesting, and I enjoyed her talk. She said that she has two computers: one for writing fiction and one for everything else. That seems like a good idea for a writer's brain. When she sits down at her fiction computer, her brain knows what it's supposed to do.

Margot Livesey
It was an excellent festival. If you ask anyone else they're experience, it will be totally different than mine. Awesome. It's great to see so many people excited about books and reading.
Crowds, pavilions, and the Washington Monument


  1. I am SO envious! Would absolutely love to attend an event like this and meet some of my favorite authors. I'm a big Jerri Spinelli fan. :)

    1. Laurie, I'll take you to it if you come visit next September!