Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Wisconsin Book Festival

First, an apology: I always try to write blog posts that are interesting to everyone. Nevertheless, I'm going to digress for one entry to write about the Wisconsin Book Festival; if it is not possible for you to attend this lovely event, come back to this blog in a few days for my next book review.

The Wisconsin Book Festival will be held October 18-22, 2006, at venues around Madison. The final schedule has not yet been released, but check the Festival Web site for it soon. I have attended events at the last two festivals and have enjoyed them enormously. At the book festival you can find readings, discussions, workshops, exhibits by publishers and booksellers and lots of happy readers. It's so exhilarating to be surrounded by so many book lovers. This year's presenters are a varied and sophisticated group, including Michael Chabon, Marge Piercy, Jane Hamilton, Alice McDermott, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Kevin Henkes, Lois Lowry, and lots of others. For a complete list of participants, click here. Here is a reading list of books by featured authors, if you are hoping to read some of them before the festival.

I tried to get the book festival organizers to create a sidebar graphic for bloggers who want to advertise the festival. I even gave them a donation, in hopes of convincing them. They told me it was a good idea, but I still haven't seen one. I guess they are busy. I'll put a link to the festival home page on my sidebar anyway.

I once had a conversation with someone where we compared the hobby of reading with the hobby of watching sports. It was a silly discussion. In our own fair city, a University of Wisconsin Badger football game attracts upwards of 50,000 fans, most of whom try to park on my street. Certainly readers take their obsession as seriously as football fans do. Yet because reading is a solitary activity, it never gets the attention that sports attract. What would it be like to share a passion with so many other people? I just can't imagine it, but when I attend the Wisconsin Book Festival I get a taste of it. It's a total celebration of books and reading, and every year I come home really excited, with an exhaustive list of books I want to read. (And I've yet to see a drunken book festival attendee pee on my lawn.)


High Power Rocketry said...

: )

Anonymous said...

Hm, yes, interesting that they can't do a quick blogging sidebar. Where are their priorities?!?!?
This is a great post. I just want to second your recommendation about the festival...last year I saw Philip Gourevitch talk there on the state of book publishing and his takeover of The Paris Review...and, although it might sound like I'm exaggerating for effect (I've been known to do that), it changed my life. He was AWESOME. Can't wait to go to some sessions this year too...

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