It is quite frankly embarrassing how long it has taken me to write about my experiences at the book festival this year. It’s an annual event that occurs on Labor Day weekend. Labor Day. It’s been a month and I’m just now writing it! During the summer, I would have had this up the next day, but school has crippled my quick posting, and now weeks have passed before I finally mustered up the courage to write. The book festival, by the way, was AMAZING.
This is my third year going, and I’ve loved every minute of it. The first year, my mother and I went because my favorite author at the time, Margaret Haddix, was going to be there. We watched her speak and got my books signed, bought many discount books, and watched other authors talk about their new books. The next year, my two friends and I all went together to see the author of the Princess Academy, Shannon Hale. By this time, my obsession with bookmarks had taken hold, and we spent the day scrounging the tables for candy and bookmarks, as well as listening to many authors speak. Also, Decatur has many little shops and restaurants to peruse through to keep us entertained between authors.
This year, my best friend, my mom, and I all went for many different authors. The first was Susan Pfeffer, author of Life as We Knew It, Sara Shepard, author of Pretty Little Liars, and Marie Rutkoski, author of The Kronos Chronicles. The festival is a weekend long event, but unfortunately, we were only able to go on Sunday. Otherwise, I would have also loved to meet the author of Rot and Ruin, Jonathan Maberry. As it was, we met a lot of interesting people strolling around the streets of the festival.
As soon as we arrived, we frantically scurried over to the young adult stage to watch four authors present their books. It was quite entertaining. They answered questions and explained their muses and strategies for writing. After we listened to their banter, we hopped into the line, thinking it wouldn’t be too long. We were very, very wrong. The four authors brought quite a crowd, and we waited impatiently for what seemed like hours. It wasn’t really hours. Instead, we sweated and groaned for about 20 minutes. All the authors (I don’t remember who all was there…) were extremely entertaining. They flawlessly interacted with one another and the audience. I came for Marie Rutkoski because I had her book, The Cabinet of Wonders. My mother (who is an elementary school librarian) picked it up for me years ago at one of her book fairs. I procrastinated on reading it for a while, but when I finally did, I enjoyed it greatly. I never did get around to reading the rest of the series, but all the books presented sparked my interest.
My mother so graciously bought us popsicles in our agony as we waited in line. And not just any popsicles. Popsicles from the King of Pops. Literally. These are the best popsicles ever. The King always has strange and delightful flavors including raspberry limeade and nectarine vanilla. They sound gross, but they’re usually heavenly. I look forward to the festival for three main reasons: signings, cheap books/bookmarks, and KING OF POPS. I made a bookmark about these pops, which is how you know they are seriously wonderful.
Anyway, after we cooled ourselves off with the popsicles, the whole weather changed to match the snack. The wind started to blow and the dark clouds rushed in to rain on our parade. The real dilemma was the fact that both my friend and I were in tank tops and shorts ready for a day under the blazing Georgia sun. Instead, we got a day racing around in the puddles and a dark afternoon. Nothing can ruin the book festival though, and our day carried on. Before the rain began, we bobbed through the people to a quaint restaurant that I can’t remember the name of (this is what I get for writing this a month later). After most of the rain ceased, we headed back to the teen stage to watch the end of Sara Shepard’s spiel about her famous book series.
My friend loved them, so I watched waited in that dreadful line all for her (you’re welcome, Sylvia). We missed most of her speech, due to the need for food and the rain, so we just moseyed on over to the already accumulating line of fans. Sylvia had a plethora of Pretty Little Liar books. We had six in total, and Sara Shepard was sweet enough to write a cute little phrase in each of them. I bet her hand was killing her by the end of the day!
As we stood around, Susan Pfeffer began her bit. Sylvia actually was the one who told me to read her books, and while I loved them, they seemed too real to me. I still highly recommend picking them up for a read. You can see my review by clicking the link above.
We got smarter after the first two author groups. This time, we only watched in the chairs for a couple minutes, then ducked into the line to watch the rest from there. Sylvia, again, had three out of the four books in her series, and I had none. But being the wonderful friend she is, my name is right there alongside hers and Susan Pfeffer’s. All the authors that we listened to were funny and
interesting. They had fabulous stories, experiences, and advice on writing successful books. No one just spoke about the obvious questions: What’s your inspiration, why do you write, how do you begin, etc… While they did cover the basics, they also went farther in to explain their personal lives and character development and many other things.
In addition, we hopped from table to table to read about all the things everyone had to offer!! Honestly, I was just for the bookmarks...
And got loads of those little things! Considering it is a BOOK festival, and bookmarks are prime ways of advertising, they were a necessity at every stand. A whooping 55 was added to my collection that night. Without this annual bookmark-fest, it would take me many more months than it usually does to get me to 100. Needless to say, I was one happy bookmark-hoarding girl.
Not to mention the stands selling books. Since I am very very cheap, I live for moments where I can get a book for a couple bucks. It’s like finding a Coach purse in a thrift shop when I get good books at places like this. And I got many good ones. They had tents of books 3 for $10, but I was still hesitant on that. Fortunately, when closing time rolled around, book were practically being thrown at us. A dollar a book, and it was a wonder I didn’t buy more. As it was, I got 9 books. Most of them were popular novels, too.
Don’t ask about the Quran, they were giving it away. And why not? Some of them, like A Little Princess and To Kill a Mockingbird, I’ve already read, but they were the kind of books you just need to own. Also, I’ve completed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime since then, and The Phantom Tollbooth (which I have yet to review).
It was difficult to stop rummaging through all the novels stacked up on shelves and in boxes under the teetering tents. Reality struck hard when I realized that even if they are only a dollar or two, the money will add up, and I tore myself away from the piles.
Sadly, a good many of the displays were half-packed due to the weather, and some of them were already gone. On the one hand, it wasn’t as crowded as it could have been, but we didn’t get to preview as much things as I would have liked.
As we were strutting away with our book bounty, the workers were still bellowing, “ONE DOLLAR BOOKS! ONLY A DOLLAR!” Just as we were headed towards the exit, my mother ran into none other than John Lewis. *gasp!*
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I had no idea who he was at first. My mom stopped and talked to him about his new book, and I stood there smiling wondering who this strange man was. Then, she started introducing herself and us, and I knew he must be important for two reasons.
1.) He seemed very adapt to greeting people. His handshake was firm and his voice was strong. 2.) He had an entourage. If you ever want to be anyone of significance, gain an entourage. (Adding this valuable piece to your appearance will make you seem important even if you’re not.)
After John Lewis explained who he was, I was baffled. This man marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He is practically a walking history book! I would give anything to pick his brain for a while about all his experiences during that time. It must be riveting to live through a time period so crucial as to alter our whole way of life. But maybe we’re living through one now, and we don’t even know it.
That’s some deep stuff, right there.
All in all, when we met him, it tied off my day into a nice pretty bow. If only I knew who he was before I met him…. I would have gotten so much more out of it.
I anticipate the book festival all year. I’m not even kidding. It’s like a book-themed Trick-Or-Treating session. Who wouldn’t love that!? This is one of the first dates I put on my calendar at the beginning of the year. My giddy heart awaits the festival with a growing excitement when the time comes close. I get depressed when it’s over. I love this festival. Period. End of story.
I need to find more book related events to attend and frolic in their wonderfulness. Hopefully I can find another one soon, because I have 11 months to go until the Decatur Book Festival. 😦
If you couldn’t already tell, I definitely recommend this to anyone. It has interesting stands, popular authors, and a myriad of bookmarks. The city of Decatur is filled with adorable shops and restaurants all around this area. Anyone, not just my bookmark-loving, reading-is-my-life self will have a blast here.