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September 28, 2010

The National Book Festival Turns 10

Posted by Dana

I love that all of our regular contributors are getting out to the book festivals in and around where they live.  Well of course they are.  They wouldn't be regular contributors here on the RGG blog if they weren't book lovers.  Yesterday we heard from Heather Johnson on the Baltimore Book Festival and today Denise Neary shares some of the "wonder" of the National Book Festival in DC.



Doesn’t the passage of time make you nostalgic? 
 I am taken aback to learn that the National Book Festival turned 10 this year!
On Saturday, September 25, the grounds of the National  Mall in Washington DC were opened up to celebrate all things reading.  Their theme was simple:  celebrating a decade of words and wonder.
The National Book Festival, is hosted by the Library of Congress and sponsored and supported by a host of organizations,
If you haven’t been lucky enough to attend in the past ten years, consider a trip in the next decade.   The day is truly a booklovers dream.   Amazing authors talking about their books, books, engaged readers, competitions, giveaways, contests.
And all around Washington, the writers appearing at the festival make guest appearances at local bookstores the several days before and after the festival! 
When you come, make sure to check out the great coverage on the Washington Post and Library of Congress web sites to plan your day.  You don’t want to waste a moment---and you may feel aggravated, as I often do, about having to select among three or four things you‘d like to do, all taking place at the same time.
This year, the Washington Post included a hilarious account by Elinor Lipman about the dos and don’ts of author readings.   Good for the festival, good for any reading.   (I attended a reading recently where a member of the audience asked the author to spell her last name.  Awkward!) 
The first book festival was held in DC just before the terrorist attacks in September 2000; some of the authors participating that first year talked about what a different city Washington DC is now than it was in 2000.  Less open, less access to places and people.
A strong reminder to me, that 10 years later, we have all the more reason to celebrate ideas----and that’s what the book festival is all about!  
-- Denise Neary, Regular Contributor