National Book Festival

National Book Festival Poster 2013Every year the Library of Congress hosts the National Book Festival on the National Mall.  After four and a half years in DC, I finally made it, and all I can say is – I’m going back every year!

Here’s how it works: a ton of tents broken out by category, with authors speaking all day.  The authors are also usually available to sign books as well.  Having not planned the day out, I wandered through the tents and tried to find an interesting author who would be speaking soon.  I happened to arrive at just the right tent at just the right time.

Christopher Buckley was being introduced as I walked up.  After flipping through the book given at to me at information I learned he’d previously been a speech writer for Vice President George H. W. Bush, and editor of Forbes.  Instead of talking about his book he spoke about titling books.  If you aren’t familiar with Christopher Buckley, he is a satirist.  Which really means, his stories are amazing.  I can’t even begin to recount what he said, but it made me want to check out his books, the latest of which is They Eat Puppies Don’t Them?  I did not realize he wrote Thank You For Smoking Either.  Check them out!

As I said, the National Book Festival’s main sponsor is The Library of Congress.  So remember when they started tracking all public tweets and people were trying to figure out why, and frantically making their Twitter accounts private?  The Library of Congress is truly up on tech, well, as are librarians in general.  If you couldn’t keep up with what was happening, couldn’t make it, or wondered if you were missing something else amazing in another tent – there was a hashtag for that!  A busy one too.  #NatBookFest was active all weekend, and I caught what I was missing from other authors while there.

Another great thing about the National Book Festival: its amazingly kid friendly!  PBS Kids had their own tent, with characters from their shows, readings and fun stuff for kids to do.  There was also an entire tent and author category dedicated to kids books.  (In case you were curious it was also the most picked over section in the book sellers tent as well.)

Like I said, I’m going back next year. I’ll have it planned out better, and make sure I’m there to catch as much as possible.  If you’re looking for a good time to visit DC, that isn’t a bad weekend to do it!  Nice weather, the overflow of tourists from the summer are gone, and you have this great event sitting among some of the best museums in country.

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