National Book Festival 2010

On Saturday, September 25, I went to the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., which is put together by the Library of Congress. I brought a bunch of books to release that were written by authors at that festival (or about authors at the festival).

I got to see some of my favorite authors and some of my favorite BookCrossers as well!

I started the day at the Teen & Children tent, where I got to see Suzanne Collins, author of the Hunger Games series I’d just finished reading (I now own the set in hardcover, a Hunger Games journal, a CD of Hunger Games music, and a Hunger Games shirt… oh yes, I’m a fangirl). It was wonderful hearing her speak about the books, though later I listened to an interview with her on the audio book and she said many of the same things there, almost word-for-word, so I’m glad I heard her say them for the first time live. Some of the questions and answers were great as well. It was really great to see her while the books were still fresh in my mind. I looked for one of the librarians from a library where I volunteer, as she was supposed to be working at that tent as a volunteer, but I never found her :-(

Then I headed to the Fiction & Mystery tent where I got to see Diana Gabaldon! Her books are some of my favorites and I’ve been dying to see her in person for more than a decade now. I wasn’t disappointed, but I was surprised. She looks young but sounds older than she looks. And she was hilarious and proper at the same time. I wish my mother and aunt could have been there with me to share the moment, as they’re responsible for me reading the books.

I stuck around there for Elizabeth Kostova. I enjoyed The Historian and had just finished her other book, The Swan Thieves, which I liked less. I really wanted to ask her a question about it, but it would have spoiled things a little for people who hadn’t read it, and most of the questions she was asked were about the first book, so it’s best I didn’t say anything, I’m sure. She was thoughtful and sweet, and her writing process reminded me of mine.

After that, I went to the joint meetup of Library Thing members (Library Thingamabobers) and BookCrossers. Because the festival keeps moving down the Mall toward the Capitol building, the walk was a lot longer than usual. On the way, I stepped off a curb wrong and injured my foot & ankle. Even now, 2 months later, it still hurts but X-Rays show it wasn’t fractured. I’m just clumsy. I sat and held a bottle of cold Gatorade on my foot once we got to the meetup spot in front of the Natural History museum. I had a nice chat with Library Thing people and then with BookCrossers, though one BookCrosser I chatted with has NO memory of seeing me and no one seemed concerned that I lacked the ability to walk, leading me to believe I have mastered the power of invisibility.

After the meeting, we walked back to the festival and picked up more free stuff for use at the April BookCrossing Convention. I even scored about 350 booklets about my current favorite author: John Green! I also bought my favorite Outlander series book which was autographed by the author! I didn’t get the time to stand in any lines to get autographs in person, so this was a great compromise and find. I was pleased. And I had a TON of stuff to lug home. Thank goodness I brought my rolling cart.

Getting home was a pain. What usually takes about 45 minutes by metro took about 2 hours thanks to track maintenance. At one point, we were stopped at a station with the doors open for more than half an hour. Many people gave up and left, and I nearly did as well. But at least I was in the good company of many people who had been to the festival. I was sitting next to several school teachers from Central Virginia who had driven up for the festival. When I mentioned Suzanne Collins, we launched into a huge discussion about those books. And then we came to find out that we were all John Green fans (go Nerdfighters!). I got some great book recommendations from them as well. So it could have been worse, but it really was a miserable time getting home otherwise, especially with my foot hurting so much.