Over the weekend I attended a local book festival that is said to be one of the biggest in the tri-state region. I find that label a bit disappointing, but only because I feel it could have been better organized. The hosting organization had set up two tents in a community park, one for YA and adult literature and the other for children’s books, and there were several vendors in between these tents. For as large as the park happens to be, I feel a third tent could have been added rather than packing the authors inside the two tents like feathers on a goose.
Despite the crowding, most of the authors had managed to set up eye-catching displays. Others had extroverted personalities which made up for any lack of decoration. And still others had both. In the crowded tents, it was often the displays that caught my attention first among the shifting bodies. Books themselves were secondary. I found the historical fiction writers by the antique items they used as table dressings, the supernatural authors by their Halloween-like décor, and the sci-fi authors by the illustrated banners of starships and other tech. I’m a very visual person, rendering bright colors and intriguing imagery the best way to catch my attention. I don’t want to be bothered with long-winded sales pitches or supposedly catchy slogans. Literature is, by nature of the written word, a visual art; so please show me what makes a story important.
I bought several books at the festival. Unfortunately, my reading backlog stopped me from making the decision to purchase more. (As I sit here typing this blog, I have ten physical books, an audio book, and two lecture series awaiting my attention, and there are at least as many unread books in my bedroom that have been shelved for the time being.) Between writing, photography, my day job, and my other responsibilities, I rarely have enough hours in a day to accomplish everything I set out to do, but some progress is better than no progress. I picked up business cards from the writers’ whose works interested me but which I passed up for the time being. Winter will set in soon enough and bring a slowdown in my day-to-day life which I hope to fill with additional reading.