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National Book Festival, Day One

Hello, everyone!  It’s Elizabeth, home and ready to relax after a busy day at the National Book Festival.  I am really happy with how many events I was able to fit in today, and I have been taking mental notes to share with you!

After getting my tote bag and poster from the information booth, I headed to the Contemporary Life tent to get a seat before Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum’s talk on their book That Used to be Us.  I got there early to get a decent seat and wasn’t expecting anyone to be speaking, so I was surprised to see a Mark Twain reenactor.  He was giving a basic introduction of the Library of Congress, along with some helpful information about the book festival.

Mark Twain at the National Book Festival

I was interested to see Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum because my uncle had recommended Friedman’s earlier book The World is Flat and because Michael Mandelbaum is a professor and director of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins, where I have taken summer Russian courses.  Their book sounds like an interesting read, particularly if you are interested in globalization.  They are both good speakers and were very popular with the crowd today.

After that talk, I wandered around a little to get my bearings, then I headed to the Fiction and Mystery tent.  Stephen L. Carter was talking when I got there.  I hadn’t actually heard of him before the festival, but his historical fiction sounds very interesting.  The next speaker was Patricia Cornwell.  Both authors talked about their writing process, which I always think is interesting.  I could tell both of them use a very character-driven approach; in fact, Cornwell talks about her character Kay Scarpetta as though she is a real person.  (I loved that, since I also have a tendency to talk about book characters that way.)  I have been hearing good things about the Kay Scarpetta series for a long time-I think I will have to read one for myself very soon!

The Library of Congress tent

The Fiction and Mystery tent was packed today (definitely a better turnout than last year), and I was tired of standing, so next I went over to the Library of Congress tent.  They had a variety of smaller booths set up within the tent.  There were sections for teachers, genealogical researchers, etc, but what caught my interest was the Preservation booth.  They were doing live demonstrations, and I got to learn how to bind a book.

I wanted to see Michael Connelly speak, so I headed back to the Fiction and Mystery tent after lunch.  He took a lot of questions from the audience, many of whom seemed to be long-time readers.  Some were hoping for a new series, while many were concerned about the fate of Hieronymus Bosch, who is scheduled to retire from the LAPD in five years.  There is good news on both fronts: Connelly plans to continue writing novels about Hieronymus Bosch after that character’s retirement, but he is interested in writing books from another character’s viewpoint as well.

After I was done watching the authors speak, I went to the Book Sales tent.  Unfortunately, they were out of a lot of books!  I’m planning to get there earlier tomorrow, even if it means I have to lug my purchases around for the rest of the day!

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