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I know you're going to be shocked by this.

I went to the Southern Festival of Books this weekend. I know it's hard to believe. Me, avid reader and librarian, at a book festival. What's even more surprising is how many of my library colleagues and friends I ran into there.

Okay, that's hooey. There's no surprise at all in any of it.

rosepurr had Friday off and I took it. We made our way downtown. Michael Sims, normally a nature writer, has found a passion for Victorian literature and he's promoting an anthology of gaslight era stories about the bad guys. There are lots of anthologies of detective stories of that time, but the more sordid stories of the lowlifes and criminals then have been buried by history. He's doing a fine job resurrecting them.

We also attended a reading of Southern gothic novels by Ron Rash and William Gay. I have been hearing about Ron Rash for awhile now, though I haven't read his work; I was entirely unfamiliar with Gay. The acoustics in the room were awful. Rash was hard to hear. Gay was impossible to hear. rosepurr said listening to Gay in that room was like listening to Bob Dylan read the phone book on a drive-through speaker. Nice. But I did peruse and purchase books from both, and got them both to sign.

We also attended a panel of female thriller and horror writers. I think rosepurr enjoyed that one more than I did, and we did leave with a few more titles on our to-read list and under our arms.

Dangerous places - book festivals. My heart and mind are happier, but my wallet feels hollow.

We came home, had dinner, and unsurprisingly read well into the night.

Saturday morning, we picked up our CSA and got back to the house just as our friends yrmencyn and Jerrod arrived. They accompanied us back to the book festival. They attended different events than I, which was good because I got to hear about them. I saw Dave Cullen who wrote a book I want to read, simply called Columbine, a thorough account of that tragedy and its aftermath. It was fascinating, albeit tough to listen to at times. One of the audience members, an elementary school teacher, commented that she had read the book, but could only do 2 pages at a time. I understand that.

I also went to hear probably the biggest star of the festival - Buzz Aldrin, who has a new memoir out. He admitted at the outset that he doesn't enjoy public speaking, and it showed. I still have a great deal of respect for him - he walked on the moon, for God's sake - but the talk wasn't exactly captivating. I'll still read the book. They were sold out of copies so I didn't get him to sign, unfortunately.

Then we did some browsing and eating and coffee drinking. Finally, we went back for a panel by Kevin Wilson and John Pritchard. It was really them reading, which was wonderful, but the panel was dedicated to "Profane and Profound — Books of Distinctive Southern Characters." We all laughed out loud several times. Kevin Wilson only has one book to date, a collection of short stories called Tunneling to the Center of the Earth. Pritchard just published a sequel, called Yazoo Blues, to his earlier Junior Ray. They both got some of my money yesterday and they were kind enough to sign as well.

We went out for dinner and drinks after. It was a great day.

Today, rosepurr and I are lounging about, drinking coffee, checking email, reconnecting. Soon we'll start preparing for the week - doing laundry, dishes, straightening up, etc. I also want some downtime to read some of my new books.

I may have said this before, but Nashville keeps growing on me. It has taken time to adjust to living here, to get comfortable here, but it's starting to feel like home. With the Southern Festival of Books and the Americana fest, the Ryman, Broadway, favorite restaurants and a continually growing circle of friends, Nashville has gained a personality uniquely its own. It has become our friend itself.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Oct. 11th, 2009 10:02 pm (UTC)
Bookety, bookety book!

I'm glad you both had so much to enjoy there.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


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