During a recent day trip to Washington DC, I discovered something wonderful—the National Book Festival! This annual event was founded by First Lady Laura Bush in 2001 and is a joint effort of the Library of Congress and Borders. With tents housing genre-specific speakers and presentations set up right on the Mall in front of the US Capitol building, the best part of this whole event is the cost—FREE! I’m not one to pass up any type of book event, let alone one that’s free, so we dropped the day’s agenda for a few minutes so I could poke around.
The day is a real treat for book lovers, with a jam-packed schedule of authors speaking about their work. I stopped to listen to Julia Glass (Three Junes) in the Fiction tent. I also noticed that Tim Egan (The Worst Hard Time) and Jonathan Franzen (The Corrections) were among the other authors on the agenda.
As you can probably imagine, there were hundreds of people doing the same thing we were. Conveniently, the event was set up right across the street from the Smithsonian where the buses drop off and pick up, so that may have had something to do with the steady flow of traffic. And of course, my favorite part was the Book Sale tent, where works by all of the day’s authors/speakers were for sale. This was one of the few literary events that I’ve checked out and left empty-handed! I think the long lines and humid temperatures in the tent had a lot to do with it. It was also hard to get close to many of the tables to check out the selections.
I always love learning about these large-scale literary events. I’m in favor of anything that gets more people reading. Reading is absolutely my favorite pastime (and yes, it might even trump writing—when I pick up a book, the work has already been done for me…if I’m writing something, it’s up to me to make it interesting!) and I love bookstores, libraries, book events, all of it. I hope all of the kids in the Children’s tent keep up their love and excitement for reading as they grow up.
What about you? Any favorite book events that you’d recommend?