This weekend is a bonanza for book lovers in the Washington DC/Baltimore region. Three book festivals were/are going on this week and weekend.
The Fall for the Book Festival, sponsored by George Mason University and The Writer's Center in Bethesda, MD, among others, had events all over the DC area this week.
I attended the event with Amy Tan on Tuesday. It was a long drive for me, but well worth it. She read from her new book, The Valley of Amazement. She spoke in the voice of her character, an aging courtesan speaking to a younger virgin courtesan that she is training. It was as if the character took over her body, she assumed a tone of instruction, "I may be old, but remember, when I was 19, I was one of the ten beauties of Shanghai..." She kept glancing significantly at the audience. The older courtesan warns the younger that if she does not want to "wear out her insides," she will learn a song for every suitor and how to play on the emotions of every type of man. It's definitely a departure from her earlier work in terms of raciness, as she admitted, but it's actually inspired by her grandmother, whom she believes may have been a courtesan. I got my copy of The Bonesetter's Daughter signed and I told her it was "awesome." I feel really silly about that. I mean, yes the book was good, but "awesome" is not the right word and doesn't in any way convey what the book meant to me. I was thinking about how there isn't time at these things to say anything significant. I might as well not have met her at all. I think next time (as in, tomorrow!), I'll write a letter and give it to the author. That way, I don't take up any time and they can read it later if they want and know how much they meant to me. I don't know if I'll actually have time to fulfill this meaningful intention though.
The Baltimore Book Festival, which unfortunately I won't be able to attend at all is going on today Sept 23-Sun Sept 25.
This weekend, I'll be at the National Book Festival both days. I've never been able to make it before because I've been in Boston. I'm so excited for the lineup, I will definitely be catching Toni Morrison, Gregory Maguire, and Margaret George, whose book I'm reading right now, and there are so many other good authors to choose from. I might also join the LibraryThing meetup.
If you're in the DC/Baltimore area, check these out this weekend!