Tucson, the 33rd largest city in the United States hosts the 4th largest book festival in the country. Every year the festival draws more and more people–well over a hundred thousand. That might make you rethink some of the negative stereotypes about Arizona!
Once again Mr. Valentine was there, and off the top of my head, here are a few quick observations:
- I volunteered to moderate a session, which I’d never done before. All that entails is introducing the speakers and thanking them at the end–but I was more nervous than if I’d been speaking.
- The weather was perfect–low to mid 70’s and sunny. Considering what a ridiculously hot winter we’ve had, the nice day was a pleasant surprise. I forgot to wear sunscreen, though. Bad boy!
- I enjoyed speaking with folks at a couple of booths run by Native Americans. I even scored a couple of free tickets to the Amerind Museum out at Texas Canyon. I hadn’t even known there was an Amerind Museum out there–but now that I know, I’ll make the drive.
- As I neared a booth featuring a book about the Rapture, a dude walked by with a sign and shouting we were all damned unless we repented our sins and idolatry right now! The man at the booth winced and made a point of telling me, “That’s not what we are all about!”
I met numerous writers, some of whom I already knew, some I didn’t. Here are a few things I learned in conversations (not sessions):
- Anne Perry lives in England, which uses the metric system–but when I translated today’s temperature for her, she said she hasn’t bothered to learn metric. She was brought up using Imperial measures and that what she’s going to stick with. Although I’m ‘bilingual’, I can sympathize with her.
- Valerie Plame, outed as a CIA operative a few years ago, now writes spy novels. She’s very approachable and friendly–and she apologized to me because she isn’t compulsive about her writing. I wondered whether she though all writers are obsessive-compulsives. (Nah. Some of us are simply crazy.)
Finally, I ran into several acquaintances and/or friends, including Gini Koch, Ben Bova, Nancy Holder, Kristin Lamb, Janni Lee Simner, Larry Hammer, and more.
I leave you with one of the pieces of music that my orchestra played on Saturday and Sunday, with a juicy oboe solo. (Note: This is a French Orchestra; I haven’t gotten the recording of our performance yet.)
Have any of you ever been to a book festival? If so, what was your favorite part?