Monday, September 27, 2010

I met her! Twice!

Another National Book Festival has come and gone. And even though I was frustrated with the schedule this year, I still found plenty of authors and activities to keep me busy. I arrived promptly at 10 a.m. and didn't leave until after 5 p.m., even though it was nearly 90 degrees and sweltering. I've learned through my seven years of attending this event that undesirable weather, cold and rainy or hot and suffocating, does not deter true book lovers. They will attend and stay until the very end, no matter what.

Brad and I walked to the festival (just over a mile from where we live) and arrived before the crowds did.

With my bag, schedule, and poster--ready for the day!
My friend Emily and I scored great seats to see Ree Drummond, better known as the Pioneer Woman. While we waited for Ree to take the stage, we listed to Spike Mendelsohn, a local celebrity and owner of Capitol Hill's Good Stuff Eatery. I still need to check out his newest restaurant on the Hill.
The Pioneer Woman--we were only four rows back from her!
Ree (yes, we're on a first-name basis now) is delightful! Even though I had three other authors I really wanted to see during her time slot, I am SO GLAD I chose her. It's fun to meet a stranger I feel like I already know because of her blog. She was exactly what I expected in many ways and still different, too. After her session was over, Emily and I walked outside and there she was! I blew off Diana Gabaldon's (Outlander series) session to meet Ree and get a picture with her.

Dr. Blondie, Pioneer Woman, and Emily with the U.S. Capitol in the background
Then I floated around for a few sessions. I heard Elizabeth Kostova (The Historian), Ken Follett (Pillars of the Earth), and Jonathan Safran Foer (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close). 

Jam-packed tent at Ken Follett's session
Brad blew off college football and his beloved Vols to attend the book festival with me (proof that he loves me!), but our reading tastes differ, so we went our separate ways. He spent most of his day in the history tent, one that I didn't step foot in! I did meet up with him right as he tuckered out and headed home around 2:30 p.m.

Love the crowds, tents, and Washington Monument in the background
After I met Ree, I treated myself to an early Christmas present and bought her cookbook for her to autograph. I've never participated in the book signings at the festival before because the lines are always atrocious and would keep me from hearing authors speak. I got lucky with Ree--I only waited in line for 45 minutes. Granted, most of that time was spent standing with the hot sun beating down on me, but it was worth it because she remembered meeting me earlier in the day.

Pioneer Woman and Dr. Blondie, both a little flushed from the heat
I then jumped to Jonathan Safran Foer's line to get his book signed for a friend, but after waiting 30 minutes and not moving an inch and hearing that the wait would be at least another hour, I bailed and went to see the final two authors on my list: Katherine Patterson (Bridge to Terabithia) and Judith Viorst (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day). I am so glad I ended my day in the tents for teens and children. Just like last year, I find enthusiastic young readers and the authors who write for them such an inspiration.

Most readers take for granted the blood, sweat, and tears that go into writing, editing, and publishing the books they love so much. This festival is a fabulous way to honor and celebrate the gifted men and women who work so hard to educate and entertain us through their writing. Plus, it's a great excuse to get together to talk about books. Can't wait until next year!


Organized Living by Amy said...

That sounded perfect. So jealous!

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

How fun! That was one of my favorite activities that we participated in with the JLW. Love love Pioneer Woman! And Katherine Paterson is one of my all time favorites. Sounds like it was a fabulous day!!

SusanL said...

So glad you had fun!! You're going to LOVE the PW cookbook! It's great!