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National Book Festival 2013 (part 1)

Book Festival tents in front of the Smithsonian Castle

Book Festival tents in front of the Smithsonian Castle

The National Book Festival is my favorite thing about the DC area!  I look forward to it all year long.  I got to see a lot of authors again this year, although I only made it to one book signing (more on that later.)  I apologize for the quality of pictures this time-my camera battery died partway through the day, and I just didn’t have much luck with the lighting in the book tents.

After a quick trip to the book sales tent, I started the day in the fiction and mystery tent.  I was there to hear the multi-talented Margaret Atwood.  I haven’t read her books yet, although I was familiar with her name.  That’s actually a fun thing about book festival: I see these famous names whose books I’ve been meaning to read, and I go to hear them speak, and I leave determined to read some of their books.  This particular presentation was in the form of an interview, rather than the usual speech, and the discussion of some of the ideas in Atwood’s latest dystopian trilogy was fun to hear.  She is extremely knowledgeable about current scientific developments that relate to her books.  Moreover, I’m convinced that anyone who can write in so many genres must be brilliant-I look forward to reading a few of her books.

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood

The next speaker was Brad Meltzer.  I enjoy a good thriller, but I particularly liked that Mr. Meltzer’s autobiographical blurb in the Book Festival program included advice to aspiring writers.  His talk was very enjoyable.  It turns out he used to live in Washington, DC and got the idea for his latest book, The Fifth Assassin, at a local museum.  (Remind me to visit it sometime soon…)  After his talk was over, I went back to the book sales tent and got a signed copy.  A thriller set in DC with a protagonist who works at the National Archives?  I am looking forward to reading it.

Next, I went to Jon Klassen’s book signing.  I have read his picture book This Is Not My Hat to several of the kindergarten classes I taught, and they loved it.  It’s a really fun book to read out loud.  I decided it would make a great Christmas gift.  Unfortunately, I missed Klassen’s talk, but I plan on watching the recording when the Library of Congress posts it-I heard several people in line say how funny he was.  I did get his autograph and a picture, and he told me he liked my hat.  (You can bet I’ll mention that next time I teach kindergarten.)

Jon Klassen signing This Is Not My Hat

Jon Klassen signing This Is Not My Hat

After that, I took a stroll through the Library of Congress Pavilion and the Pavilion of the States.  They didn’t seem as interesting as last year, but I did find out that there is going to be a Steinbeck Festival in California next year.  We’ll have to look into that.

My next stop was the History and Biography tent, but it’s getting late, so I’ll have to write some more tomorrow.



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