Merry Wanderer of the Night + TIME

Iowa City Book Festival

The Iowa City Book Festival just wrapped up yesterday and I was exhausted last night from the festivities. I couldn't take in as many events as I wanted to because I had to come home fairly early on Sunday and wanted to catch up with some friends Saturday evening. Overall though I hit some events and can't wait for next year's festival to come around! For those of you who aren't from around here, the Iowa City Book Festival is a three day event where readers, authors, librarians, booksellers, and others come to celebrate a love of books and reading. There are readings, presentations, films, book sales, and activities for children all going on with food and music for everyone to enjoy. This year I was also invited to participate in the event and I gave a talk about five of my favorite books from the past year and I also talked about blogging for a little while. I had a fairly good crowd, about 20-25 people were there.

This is me preparing to speak on Saturday, a little nervous.

Here I am in Gibson Square, where all of the music and book sales were. I'm standing next to the portion of the schedule that has my name listed on it.

I met some cool people as well. Chelle from The Prairie Library came to listen to me during her 15 minute break. It was awesome to put a face to a name and she is the first blogger I've met in real life, well that I didn't know before I started blogging. I also met Andrew Shaffer of the Huffington Post who asked a ton of great questions and is a truly funny guy. In addition to meeting people, I also saw some great writers. Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife, was the headlining speaker. I never realized just how dark TTW is until I heard her talking about it. She definitely has an interest in the darker side of life and is actually trained as visual artist, not a writer, which I never knew. Clearly she is a woman of many talents, and she is hilarious to listen to. Right after her Q&A I ran off to hear Hope Edelman and Carl Klaus talk about memoir and memory. Klaus interviewed Edelman and since the two already knew each other they had great chemistry. I haven't read anything by either writer but if their writing is as good as their insights on the memoir genre then I know I am in for a treat!

Sunday was A Day in the City of Literature and there were several readings scheduled. I, unfortunately, could only go to one before I had to leave town so I really had to think about who I wanted to see. I decided to see Stephen Bloom whose most recent book, Tears of Mermaids, has received kind words from many places and Michael Kindness from Books on the Nightstand was especially excited about it so I felt I had to go. The reading was held in the jewelry store M.C. Ginsberg, which was a nice fit because Tears of Mermaids is a micro-history of pearls. Bloom read a short, funny selection from the book and I was glad I recently purchased it (and I got my copy signed!). After the reading he shared a wealth of knowledge of pearls, passing around polished oyster shells and describing the several kinds of pearls and the places in the world they come from. He also spent some time talking about research and writing as well as what he enjoys about it and what he doesn't. It was a great way to spend an hour and I'm confident that I chose a good reading to attend.

Overall my experience at the Iowa City Book Festival was incredible, and to top everything off my name is even on the event's t-shirt because I was a speaker at it, how amazing is that?!? If you couldn't make it but are interested in what books I talked about I posted my picks on Saturday. I'm already looking forward to next year's festival and since I won't be living an hour and a half away hopefully I'll be able to take even more in.

bookish events, history, hope, iowa city book festival, LIFE, love story, and more:

Iowa City Book Festival + TIME