Saturday, September 5, 2015

Photo Recap: 15th Annual National Book Festival

C-SPAN2 interview with Tom Brokaw

"I've seen fire and I've seen rain. I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end," but I've never seen a crowd like the one at today's Library of Congress National Book Festival. The 15th annual gathering of area bookworms celebrated its second year at the Walter E. Washington Center, and boy... was it crowded. Perhaps too crowded, as I struggled to navigate through endless streams of people (really old, and young alike) that clearly don't know how to walk, or stay out of people's way.

Had John Grisham or J.K. Rowling been in attendance, I could possibly understand... but Tom Brokaw and Cokie Roberts? Give me a break. To be fair, there were bigger names on hand (i.e. Buzz Aldrin) but even people I'd never heard of (Michael Buckley) had very long lines down even longer halls. Where are all these people buying their books from? Did Borders reopen? Is it time to dust off my old Kindle?

It seems the National Book Festival is becoming too BIG (even) for the cavernous Convention Center. Unlike last year, many salons/sessions were full to capacity... prompting over-eager volunteers to snap lines like "We're full," to disappointed festival goers, just before flashing glares of disapproval their way. Nothing's "better" than being told off by a 50-something "nobody" in a spiffy orange/red t-shirt, right?

News groupies... Yes, there's such a thing

Wrong. This will be my last year covering the Book Festival. At least you can wear a suit of armor at Awesome Con, whose attendees are a heck of a lot nicer (and polite) than the clueless thousands I literally ran into today. And no... I didn't get to see Colonel Buzz either: The lines were too long, hence my bitterness.

Novelist Marlon James - Mysteries, Thrillers & Science Fiction

Poet Ishmael Reed - Poetry & Prose

Baseball writer Barry Svrluga - Contemporary Life