Last Saturday, book lovers of all ages braved the rain for the Library of Congress National Book Festival on the National Mall. The Book Fest is always a great way to see a bunch of the biggest authors around, but this year they encouraged people to tweet from the festival and tag their pictures on Flickr with “NBF.”
The best part of the festival was all the moments that make even adults squeal like little kids. There were authors whose books I grew up reading, like Judy Blume and Lois Lowry, and authors so big they’re practically celebrities (even though you might not recognize them), like John Grisham, Nicholas Sparks, and James Patterson. Other exciting names were Jodi Picoult (My Sister’s Keeper), John Irving (A Prayer for Owen Meany), and Ken Burns (of the Ken Burns effect, as seen on every slide show I’ve ever made).
The lines to get some of those authors to sign their books were downright outrageous, and the crowds to hear them speak were just as excited and enthusiastic as if they were hearing their boss announce all-expenses-paid vacations.
I got a chance to stop by Nicholas Sparks’ tent Saturday afternoon, where he announced his newest projects (He is “of course” coming out with a new book next year, despite not having written it yet or even solidifying the idea), and told everyone a little bit about himself. In case you’re wondering, he’s married with five kids and four dogs, two of which are his wife’s little fluffballs and therefore not “real dogs.” Oh, Nicholas Sparks, you’re just like us.
What I really enjoyed was seeing all the things they had for kids. PBS had a large presence there, with mascots of just about all of their characters that you could line up and hug or get your picture taken with. There were also songs, tons of activities, and readings of kids’ books throughout the day.
Finally, although this admittedly has nothing to do with books, the cutest mascot by far was Spot, the Target dog. She had a long line of people waiting to get their picture taken with her, and she just stayed super still while people put their arms around her and kissed her. Everybody, now: awwww.