On my first visit to the Book Festival in Salt Lake City, I had such a good time. First, the Salt Lake City Library is amazing. (See the head mobile at right) What a great setting to talk and learn about books and the people who create them, and to share it with my mom, sister, daughter and two nieces. I know my sister and niece have both mentioned this event on their blogs, but maybe I can add another perspective. Here are the sessions that I attended:
Ken Jennings Ken really does look like what he calls himself, a trivia nerd. But he has an amazing set of facts at his command in that boyish head, and he is truly funny. I enjoyed his stories about Jeopardy, appearing on QVC, and the research for his book, "Brainiac." I loved some terms he used: trivia nerds are loserish, British quizaholics, and game show contestanthood. He signed his book, "Who is . . . Ken Jennings?"
Peter Brown Peter is 27 but looks and acts younger. He's an incredibly talented illustrator. He told great stories of how he grew up drawing. I didn't buy his books and regret that. They would be great additions to my childrens shelf. If you want to learn more about him, his website is www.somebrownstuff.com.
Lawrence Yep Even though this was my least favorite session, Lawrence was still entertaining. He read excerpts from several of his stories, while I would have preferred to hear him discuss his writing and feelings. Still, I bought his book, Dragon's Gate, and he was very gracious when he signed it, "To _______, another person with wings." He included a small drawing of a dragon.
Peter Rock and Walter Kern This session was moderated by Doug Fabrizzio, a very good-looking local radio personality which really excited my daughter. She got his autograph, I got Peter Rock's. I really liked the format of prepared questions which drew out some interesting answers from both authors. They were both extremely interesting and humorous. Walter talked about the trance an author can go into when he's really into writing his book, and for the reader when he reads it . . . you forget you're writing or reading. I've experienced that with a good book. I hope I like Rock's book, "The Ambidextrist." "He signed it, With all joy! May this reward you."
Ivan Doig This author's current book, "The Whistling Season", is on my TBR list. However, I purchased "English Creek" since it was a paperback, my definite preference. Ivan discussed how important libraries are to all of us. A couple of things he said that I really liked, "There's always the chance online, that ignorance could be shared." and "Childhood is the one story that stands by itself in every soul."
Karl and Anne Fleming This married couple are journalists with such a wide range of experiences. He is 79, I believe, and has covered the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement in the south and the riots in Watts. Anne is 22 years younger, has interviewed Truman Capote, and covered the women's movement. Again, this was the question format that I found most informative and interesting.
Shannon Hale Shannon is so young and funny. She has very strong opinions about reading for enjoyment (why else would you read?) and why secondary schools should assign books for students to read that will encourage and stimulate them instead of those boring and depressing classics. I know when I was in high school I enjoyed reading everything including classics, but I know so many that hated reading because the books didn't interest them. I was able to get Shannon to sign two of her books, "The Princess Academy" (signed, "I hope you climb to the top of your own mountain") and "The Goose Girl", my next read (signed, "I hope you fall in love with many stories").
This was quite the book-buying weekend. At the Festival, I purchase five books (I already owned The Goose Girl). I also received a free copy of "The Christmas Box" just for answering a survey. We went to Barnes and Noble before Ken Jennings and I bought two books: "The Time Traveler's Wife" and "Blessings". My daughter gave me the cutest Halloween book, "Sheep Trick or Treat", that she got free at the Festival. Then when I got home, I found a box from Deseret Book that had three more books in it: "1776", "Leven Thumbs and the Whispered Secret" and "Christmas in Haggerty." THAT'S 12 BOOKS!!!!! I must be crazy. And just how do those authors sign so many books and write as much as they do? or draw? That is just phenomenal. My hands hurt in sympathy. Besides, they were all so gracious and visited with you while they signed. I was so impressed.
I look forward to attenting the Festival next year. Maybe I could travel to similar festivals in other areas. Wow, two pleasures in one. Rating: 10