This week’s topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl is “Books I’ve Decided I’m No Longer Interested In Reading,” but this weekend I attended a great book festival and I really want to write about it. So I’m going to break the rules a little and share the Top Ten Things about the Savannah Book Festival this year.
*All book titles link to Goodreads page.
1. Most of the events are free! All day on Saturday, guests can hear authors speaking about their work by just walking in. There are a few paid lectures in the evenings leading up to the main festival day but the vast majority of events are free.
2. The venues are just awesome. Savannah has a great reputation among the church congregations in allowing for civic events. Whether it’s concerts or lectures or meetings, most of the churches welcome other events. That includes the book festival and means that I heard Attica Locke in the recently renovated sanctuary of the Lutheran church founded in 1741. (I really enjoyed The Cutting Season; her new book is Bluebird, Bluebird.)
3. You get to walk through gorgeous Savannah between talks. Downtown Savannah is so beautiful and even for those of us lucky enough to live here, sometimes you need a reminder to just how fortunate we are that Savannah is Savannah. And the lovely 72 degree, sunny weather in February didn’t hurt either.
4 & 5. You hear from authors that you might not normally know about. While there are always some “must-sees” for me, there is inevitably a slot or two that have authors I don’t really know about. So I pick something that looks interesting and go, even if it’s outside of my usual focus. This year, I listened to Douglas Preston (Lost City of the Monkey God) and David Enrich (The Spider Network). I mean, I didn’t think I would ever be so entertained by interest rate fraud.
6 & 7. You get to meet your heroes, and not just in the book-signing line. Because of the relaxed atmosphere of this festival you are likely to see authors wandering around, enjoying Savannah and one another’s talks. I said hi to Tayari Jones and saw Joe Hill in Victor LaValle’s talk.
8. You totally get to nerd out. Speaking of Victor LaValle, I went to see his talk about The Changeling. I haven’t read it and have sort of been on the fence, not sure if it’s really up my alley. Then he gave a short but vivid lecture on the history of fairy tales and how they evolved from the peasantry to the merchant class to the modern-day versions. Oh boy, my English major nerdship was on high alert!
9. Food trucks! Our city finally created allowances for food trucks. There were several choices and it was really great to be able to get a delicious lunch on site. Besides, who wants to go inside on a day like this? I hope this trend continues.
10. Buy books on site. Books are on sale in a tent in the main square, just steps away from the signing lines. I really appreciate the bookseller included the authors’ backlist items as well. Sometimes you really want to read an older book, not just the new one the publisher is pushing.
Have you been to a book festival lately? What did you love about it? How could it be better?