The second day of the Ann Arbor Book Festival is history, and so am I. Tomorrow I’m doing my best Willie Nelson imitation, on the road again, trekking from Michigan back to New Jersey. On the drive over, I listened to William Shatner’s extremely entertaining Up Till Now, his autobiography. I still have a couple of hours to go, and after that’s done, I’ll need to kill another seven hours or so with another audiobook.
The best way to recount the day may be through photos, so here they come.
Some of the authors attending the festival participated in the Author Breakfast. One of them was Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul, and Mary.
Since I may never have this opportunity again, I promptly stole the poster after the event was finished. (I got permission, so I suppose I didn’t exactly steal it, but it sounds better that way.)
I attended the newspaper panel, which surprisingly didn’t turn out to be filled with doom and gloom. And someone in the audience suggested a bit of brilliance: why not turn the newspapers into cable television? Now before you run for the hills, listen to this proposal: what if the major newspapers got together and formed a collective and offered their services like cable, meaning the papers would be available for a set fee? Just like the way we don’t have a la carte service for cable (i.e., only getting the channels we want), we’ll get the whole shebang and just pick and choose what we want to read. Of course, this doesn’t address the issue that right now, where all newspapers are free online, so there’s still that thorny issue to work out. But I think this idea may have legs. Certainly the cable companies have figured out how to wring every last cent from our hard-earned dollars, so why not newspapers? Seriously. I’d be all for journalism to survive, in every which way.
Katie Crouch and I took the stage and read excerpts from our respective debut novels. I read the first chapter minus a few paragraphs (to keep it under 20 minutes), and Katie read from a second-person section from her novel, Girls in Trucks. I loved what she read — it was both funny and heartbreaking. Her second book, Men and Dogs, will be coming out on April 2010.
Steve Amick, Valerie Laken, and Colson Whitehead each read a bit from their respective novels. The session was about “Place as Theme,” and each of them had something illuminating to say about it. Whitehead, as expected, brought the house down, referencing Star Trek and D&D and even ending his reading with a made-up mathematical equation. He’s just one really hilarious guy, with expert delivery of his material.
The Celebrity Spelling Bee was a blast! The incumbent champion was ousted when he misspelled “arithmetically” (spelled without the “h”). The new champion spelled “erroneously” without an error.
And there you have it. Another long day, but also another lovely day. The Ann Arbor Book Festival was packed to the hilt with things to do, but it was also just a joy to be a part of this great event.