The Texas Book Festival is one of my most favorite events in Texas. The Texas Capitol (my favorite building in the state) is thrown open to the public and authors from near and far make their way there to talk books. Not only is the festival a time for me to spend time with my family and "my people" (book lovers), it also supports Texas public libraries. I'm even more grateful for that since the library I work at was a recipient of a Texas Book Festival grant a couple of years ago.
This year was great, leaps and bounds better than last year, which was a little disappointing in some ways.
The Onion Book of Known Knowledge. Rather than having a moderator who asked them specific questions, they gave a PowerPoint presentation. Unlike most PowerPoint presentations, this one was funny. They had the audience in stitches with gems like "Antelope: Another f***ing kind of deer" and "Egg: The most popular form of child to eat" plus the graphic above. They also talked about how the book was created, including an $8,000 trip to see Mount Rushmore and an additional $8,000 trip to verify their findings. I have Our Dumb World and enjoy referring to it from time to time, but the Onion's encyclopedia speaks even more to my librarian heart.
|Kristin Cashore and the back of my head.|
The first session I attended on Sunday was my requisite nerd session: "Jane Austen: Reading Between the Lines." David Shapard talked about the process of annotating Austen's novels, including his initial love for her writing and how his appreciation for her grew as a result of the project. Jennifer Ziegler should get the Best Moderator award for her work here, since her questions were by far the most interesting and thoughtful of any session I attended. Shapard talked some about how he used the OED as a reference to learn about how the meanings of certain words were different in Austen's time, which I found fascinating ("condescending," for example, did not have quite the negative connotation we apply to it now).
|There are photos of me more awkward than this, but not many...|
I closed out the Festival by hopping over to see Garth Nix and Sean Williams discuss their collaborative effort, Troubletwisters. I'm not terribly interested in that series, but Nix spoke about some of his other books as well, including Sabriel and Shade's Children, both favorites of mine as a child. (It was really great to see so many of the authors I loved as a child still writing and winning awards in my adult years.) Bonus: both authors are Australian, so everything sounded much more interesting thanks to the accents.
All in all, it was a really satisfying event. On to 2013...