Tuesday, September 9, 2014

DC Book Festival

The DC Book Festival last weekend was a ton of fun.  As I got off the metro and was walking into the Convention Center, I thought, "There must be a baseball game today, because there's no way this many people are heading to the book festival."

Nope! Any and all totally normal-looking people on the metro that were thronging around made their way into the Convention Center along with me.  Gaggles of people milling about.  Enthused green-shirted volunteers handing out thick packets of schedules for author readings, sightings, and signings.  The kiosk with the free posters was a madhouse!  Papercut city, people bonking strangers on the head with rolled up posters spilling out of their arms.

I went with a new friend of mine, and the first thing we saw was Billy Collins doing a reading.  Billy Collins! Man, Billy Collins.  When I was a freshman in college someone put together a mixtape for me with a reading of his included on it, and I'd be minding my own business listening to whatever it was I was listening to, and then his voice would come over the earbuds or the tinny laptop speakers reading a poem of his and I was hooked.

Sometimes I'd skip them (because...it is a serious exerciser that can jam to a non-slam poem while at the gym, I say) - but mostly I enjoyed them tremendously.  I'd been a fan of his poems before, but hearing them read aloud changed them.  So from the back of a packed room I could sort of see Billy Collins, and that was pretty cool.  It was a nice reading, and his voice is the same as it was then.  (PSA - read A History of Weather...now.  I'll hang on a sec.)

We wandered around a bit, looking for interesting speakers, and found ourselves at the back of a packed room, again, listening to Representative John Lewis speaking about the Civil Rights movement and his new book, March: Book One.  I love a good graphic novel, and particularly one about history.  It was very cool to hear them talk about the process of putting together the book and about the Civil Rights movement back then as well as today.

Oh, and someone let their child pee on the floor right where I was.  That was...a less charming part of the book festival experience, but! Anything for books, I guess.  After a quick trip to the ladies' room (oh yes, the pee got on me, too) to freshen up, we booked it ;) to the book sales and took our sweet time perusing.  Serious decisions to be made, with much weeping and wailing about limited book funds and dramatic sighs.  Finally we chose our books and tucked them away neatly after purchase.  My two picks were Someone by Alice McDermott and The End of Night by Paul Bogard.

Were any of you there? Been to any local book fairs? What have been some of your favorite readings?

1 comment:

  1. Fun! My dream is to make it to the Frankfurt Book Fair. I recently went to the Decatur Book Festival here in Atlanta, it's the biggest independent festival in the country. I really enjoyed it because it's a big enough event to pull decent authors, but small enough that there's a lot of intimacy...