Yesterday was the National Book Festival in DC, and my husband being the good sport he is, agreed to make the rounds with me. There were two authors I wanted to see — Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, and Sarah Vowell, author of Unfamiliar Fishes.
We arrived in time to see Egan who was worth the rush and cab fare to get there. She spoke about her writing style, writing group, and did a short reading from Goon Squad noting where the inspiration for the scene came from. In all honesty, I’ve had A Visit from the Good Squad on my list but it wasn’t until I read a great review last week that made me want to run out and buy it. Hearing her speak sealed it. You’ve probably already guessed I bought the book. And I sought out the entire chapter done in PowerPoint. How can you not appreciate a book with a presentation as a chapter!
Sarah Vowell is an author I’ve been familiar with for a while because of her appearances on Letterman, John Stewart, and work on NPR. She’s incredibly funny and though I’ve only read one of her books (so far), I’m a big fan. I’m thrilled to report she’s as funny in person as she is a writer. She’s sarcastic, biting, and even if you don’t appreciate her warped sense of humor and way of looking at the world, she can make you wonder. That’s what I want in a non-fiction author. Frankly, history isn’t always amusing or entertaining but she makes it that way. I bought Unfamiliar Fishes which is her new book about the history of Hawaii. I read The Wordy Shipmates a few years back but Assassination Vacation is probably a future purchase.
As a way to cap off the day, we made our way to Politics & Prose, one of the greatest bookstores in DC, (but really I could say anywhere because it’s that awesome) to hear Ron Suskind talk about his new book, Confidence Men. My husband bought it when it came out last week and while I’m not sure I’ll read it, he was very interesting in person. Thanks to an issue of parking, we got there just as the event was starting and had to stand for an hour and a half (why I wore heals I’ll never know!) but totally worth it.
It was a good book day. 🙂
I put off posting today because I’ve been deep into The Taker. I was so excited to get this book for review! I read so many wonderful reviews and each one said it was one of those books you don’t put down. That’s true. It’s actually sitting open next to me as I write. There’s a high probability I’ll be finishing it today. So good.
There’s another book I want to mention as well by means of wrap-up today. It’s Fiction Noir: Thirteen Stories. It’s an anthology of 13 short stories which I’ve been making a good attempt at reading more of this year. I was impressed with this collection. I tend to prefer short story collections when written by the same author so I was slightly skeptical. I shouldn’t have been. After coming to the end of each, I moved ahead wondering what gem the next would hold. Really good.
I’m off and back into the pages of The Taker. Happy Sunday.