At the National Book Festival, book-enthusiasts and literature fanatics celebrate the simple joy of reading
By Shira Karsen
It is no secret that today more than ever, we’re furiously packing up our paperbacks in exchange for electronic ink, watching as the once almighty Barnes and Nobel and Borders dwindle to the accessibility of Kindle. With the future of books teetering at its brink, none of us can fully predict what will be the next big move. But the National Book Festival is proof that paper back has a spine and they’re not going anywhere fast, expect maybe into your hands. Coming up on its eleventh year, the family-friendly fest is larger than ever, with a hundred and twelve authors, poets, and illustrators presenting, signing, and reading their paper-printed works on the National Mall.
The festival will be broken down into its usual author pavilions of History & Biography, Fiction & Mystery, Poetry & Prose, Contemporary Life. But in addition to traditional fare, the festival will feature two brand new pavilions this year. The first hopes to pique teen interest by featuring authors such as Sarah Dessen, the punchy young writer who’s penned such teenage love-stories as “That Summer” and “The Truth about Forever”, and Brian Selznick, writer of modern classics such as “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” and “The Houdini Box”. The second will preserve the important pastime of reading aloud with children on its “Family Storytelling Stage”, featuring authors and illustrators such as William Joyce, author and illustrator of the books and Disney Channel Kids TV show “Rolie Polie Olie”, and author, poet, and illustrator Calef Brown who’s published children’s classics “Polkabats and Octopus Slacks: 14 Stories”, and “Soup for Breakfast: Poems and Pictures”.
To encourage the festival-goers to keep purchasing books, there will also be a booth where you can buy your favorite books and have them signed by the authors themselves. So what are you waiting for? Ditch your e-reader for the weekend and take time to revel in the nostalgia of holding a book in your hand.