Things I Learned at the National Book Festival

National Book Festival 2012This weekend, I went with Kinsey to the National Book Festival on the National Mall, and it was an awesome conglomerate of book lovers! We went to hear John Green, Patricia Cornwell, and Lois Lowry speak, and it was fascinating listening to them discuss their various approaches to writing and relationships with their books, because they really were widely different (and I’d like to encourage Kinsey to comment or post with her reasons for wanting to hear Patricia Cornwell speak, because they are very amusing).

Five things I learned at the National Book Festival:

  • If I listen to an author talk about a book for long enough, I will want to read that book.
  • Authors really appreciate libraries and librarians, which I had sort of wondered about since it conceivably cuts into revenues.
  • Having an author talk about a fictional character as a separate, independent entity makes me a little uneasy.
  • There are lots of ways to ask the infamous question, “where do you get your ideas?” (but the answer is always a variation of “beats me”).
  • All spouses of authors deserve our respect and sympathy.

I also was embarrassed to realize that the one-year birthday (September 17) of this blog had blown right past without me realizing it, so happy belated birthday, Biblio-therapy!

This was brought to my attention at the booth for Banned Book Week, which is also coming up (September 30-October 6, 2012), and which was our first collection of themed blog posts. For many years, I have been fielding many, many recommendations for Kurt Vonnegut, and have been slightly ashamed that I haven’t actually read any of his books, so I may pick up the frequently banned Slaughterhouse-Five in honor of Banned Book Week. It appears to have been most recently banned in 2010 because it “glorifies drinking, cursing, and premarital sex,” all of which I am very much in favor of, so it might be a good pick for me. However, I have a couple of other books on my list, as well, so I guess I’ll see how I feel next week and surprise you!

—Anna

4 comments on “Things I Learned at the National Book Festival

  1. Kinsey says:

    I believe that before Patricia Cornwell spoke I said that she:

    1) is a fruitcake
    2) thinks she is actual investigator who can solve actual crimes, including the Jack the Ripper murders
    3) has a weird relationship with Billy Graham and his family

    Every single one of those things came up in her talk, and as a bonus she spoke about her books’ main character as if she was an actual person. It was awesome.

  2. Liz Everts says:

    Anna, I know you will love Vonnegut! I’m so surprised you haven’t read any of his books.

    • Anna says:

      I think that’s why I keep getting so many recommendations; Vonnegut does seem to be the kind of author I should have read and loved, and somehow he just slipped through the cracks.

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