Leading Historians, Novelists, Poets and Children’s Writers Are Among the Authors to be Featured during U.S. 2018 National Book Festival

The Washington, D.C. Convention Center at Mount Vernon Square courtesy of APK like a lollipop under CC BY-SA 3.0 license



Dozens of best-selling authors, leading historians, American poets and children’s writers will be featured speakers at the U.S. Library of Congress 2018 National Book Festival. The festival will be held on Saturday, Sept. 1, from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.  This year’s schedule includes a wide-ranging mix of authors and genres.


HISTORY and BIOGRAPHY

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will discuss her new book, Fascism: A Warning, a history of fascism in the 20th century and how its legacy shapes the world.

Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin will speak about her new book, Leadership in Turbulent Times, an examination of leadership based on four presidents she has studied most closely.

Historian Jon Meacham will discuss his new book, The Soul of America, about critical times in our history when hope overcame fear and division.

Alexander Hamilton biographer Ron Chernow is back with a new biography of Ulysses S. Grant.

POETRY and WRITING

Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith will join the festival for a conversation with former Poet Laureate Robert Hass about the making of poetry.


American Author, Amy Tan (b. 1952). Her work explores mother-daughter relationships and the Chinese American experience. Public Domain photo courtesy of Robert Foothorap


Best-selling author Amy Tan will discuss her new memoir, Where the Past Begins, A Writer’s Memoir, delving into memories of her traumatic childhood, the inspiration behind her fiction writings and the workings of her mind as a writer.

CHILDREN and TEENS

Children’s author and Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz will discuss his debut picture book, Island Born, about a girl who can’t remember the island where she immigrated from – so she imagines it with help from family and friends.

Matt de la Peña and Loren Long will discuss their new children’s book, Love.

Leigh Bardugo will speak about her series, Six of Crows, a young adult best-seller.

Jacqueline Woodson, the Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, will discuss two new books she has been writing.

Novelists

Isabel Allende will discuss her novel In the Midst of Winter. The story is about an academic who rear-ends a car driven by an undocumented immigrant and an adventure that unfolds.

Dave Eggars will discuss his new book, The Monk of Mokha, the true story of a young Yemeni American man’s quest to resurrect the ancient art of Yemeni coffee but is trapped by civil war.


American Novelist and Short Story Writer, Jennifer Egan (b. 1962), is the author of several novels and a short story collection. Her new novel, Manhattan Beach, published last fall, has been awarded the 2018 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. Her last novel, A Visit From the Goon Squad, won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Los Angeles Times book prize. Also a journalist, she has written frequently in the New York Times Magazine. Photo courtesy of David Shankbone under CC BY 3.0.


Jennifer Egan will discuss her historical novel Manhattan Beach, set in the docks of Brooklyn during World War II when a girl becomes the first female diver on the squad.

Additional authors—including the Main Stage lineup—and other details of the festival will be announced in the coming months.

More information and updates will be available on the National Book Festival website at loc.gov/bookfest/.

Later this summer, the National Book Festival app will be updated with complete presenter, schedule and wayfinding information for iOS or Android smartphones. Follow the festival on Twitter @librarycongress with hashtag #NatBookFest.


The Main Reading Room of the U.S. Library of Congress courtesy of Carol M. Highsmith. Public domain.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov, and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.


ABOUT

B Street Books, 2018 Reading Challenge … and Steve Wiencek’s online independent bookstore, Scholar and Poet Books


“The Bookshop has a thousand books,
All colors, hues, and tinges,
And every cover is a door
That turns on magic hinges.”
American poet, Nancy Byrd Turner (1880-1971)

One of the great fun things in life is popping into a used-book store and exploring the shelves, finding old friends and making new ones. Our local is B Street Books, a brave little independent that’s managed to keep its doors open when so many others are forced to close down.  If you live in San Mateo, California and haven’t been there, do go. Wherever you live in this world, be sure to support independent bookstores, whether they sell new and/or used books. They are as necessary to the spirit of democracy as schools and libraries.

“The replacement of independent bookstores by firms such as Barnes & Noble, Waterstones or Borders superficially provided a wide range of reading, but their policies further limited choice.” Sara Ayad, The History of the Book in 100 Books: The Complete Story, From Egypt to E-Book

B Street Books’ owner and staff put together a reading challenge for 2018.  It’s the bookish equivalent of Dr. Terry Wahl‘s functional-medicine challenge to eat two-hundred different fruits and veggies over the course of the year, something to force explorations beyond the easy, obvious and/or habitual.

“Read a book,” the B Street team encourage …

  • published in the year you were born;
  • published more than 200 years ago;
  • written by someone with the same initials as yours;
  • longer than 500 pages;
  • shorter than 100 pages;
  • in a genre you don’t usually read;
  • based on the cover art;
  • that challenges your views;
  • that you were supposed to finish in high school;
  • recommended by a friend;
  • recommended by a child;
  • on which a movie is based;
  • with a one-word title;
  • that you loved as a youngster;
  • that is set in or near your home town;
  • that has won a Pulitzer Prize; and,
  • that you bought a B Street Books.

The books I started out with this year are the ones I got for Christmas from my son:

I’ve linked you to Amazon for these books but that doesn’t mean you can’t scope them out at your local independent or check with Steve (below) to see if he has copies available.


Speaking of independents:

Check Out

Scholar and Poet Books

Steve Wiencek helped out with the September 2016 issue of The BeZine, which addressed environmental issues.  You can read his feature article, Nature … Place … Community HERE.  Steve says of his independent online store:  “We are experienced book, music and video sellers. Our extensive and varied inventory includes a large collection of classical music CDs, LPs and sheet music; colorful and hard-to-find vintage GGA pulp fiction paperbacks; vintage children’s books and more! Find us and like us on Facebook, please!”


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

How to Win Readers and Influence Booksellers, a word to the wise writer

Seen at my fave used-book store – B Street Books (San Mateo, CA) – a long time ago.


I once had a survival job* at a brick-and-mortar mega-bookstore. Authors would sometimes come in to see how their books were doing, where their books were displayed and so forth. Those of the narcissistic variety were sure to posture and try to throw their weight around. They would want to talk with the manager and a bookseller or two, hoping to get sales stats and to bully staff into recommending their books to customers. There was little trust. They were sure their publishers weren’t reporting sales honestly. This last, of course, would affect royalties. These writers were condescending as well as rude.

As you might imagine, strut-and-push strategies achieve nothing. Bookstore management and staff are forbidden to share sales data with anyone, including authors. Staff don’t have control over the placement of books in the store. That’s dictated by corporate, which has negotiated contractual agreements with publisher regarding book placement.

Having said that, it’s actually a good idea to go into bookstores and talk to staff. If it’s not a busy day, introduce yourself.  You might ask about their jobs, how they like them, what kind of books they read. Show some interest in booksellers. Remember the adage about honey vs. vinegar.

“I did discover that if you’re interested in low wages, a bookstore ranks below retail clothing sales, except the hours are worse.” Sue Grafton, American novelist (detective stories)

Working in a mega-bookstore might sound romantic to a bibliophile, but it’s hard work. It’s pretty thankless and it’s not well-paid. It involves lifting and moving heavy boxes of books, pushing H-carts, dragging hand trucks, dealing with demanding customers and stressed managers. There are no civilized corner offices with windows. There are shabby lunchrooms and rushed-half-hour lunches, two ten-minute breaks. There are sore feet and aching backs. Our regional manager used to say that if you didn’t hurt at the end of a shift you weren’t doing your job.

Resetting the store after closing is not the sweet enchanted thing illustrated in the video below. It’s fast paced and onerous. Everyone is tired.  Some people will close the store late at night and have to be back early in the morning without having had enough sleep.

If you do visit bookstores, say “thank you” for all the hard work. Congratulate the booksellers on the store’s appearance. Drizzle a little honey. Booksellers will remember you as kind and be more inclined to read and recommend your books.

* a survival job is not a career position just something taken to pay the bills until more appropriate work is found

Note: If you are viewing this post from an email subscription, it’s likely you’ll have to link through to the site to play the video.

This post is dedicated to booksellers everywhere. 

© 2016, Jamie Dedes

U.S. Library of Congress, 17th National Book Festival to Be Livestreamed on Facebook


Early heads-up: Mark your calendars for the 17th Library of Congress National Book Festival, which is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 2, at the Washington Convention Center.

Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden

Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden, announced that the main-stage author presentations will be live-streamed on Facebook. Details on the scheduled authors are presented in the video below, which includes the Washington Post’s book editor, Ron Charles, discussing books, authors, and expectations.

Among those noted is David McCullough (The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge), historian, writer and lecturer. Other presenters include J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Ellegy: A Memoir of Family and Culture in Crisis) and Diana Gabaldon (the eight book Outlander Series).   

Where: facebook.com/libraryofcongress/  (This is a public site. You don’t have to be on Facebook to watch.

if you are reading from an email subcription, you’ll likely have to link through to this site to view the video.


Livestream: Collections as Data, July 25:: the relevance, accessibility and other benefits of making digital collections available as data and ready for computational analysis. The Library of Congress is hosting a day-long livestreamed event that will feature case-studies and impact stories of applying digital methods to analyzing and sharing collections.

Where: facebook.com/libraryofcongress/  (This is a public site. You don’t have to be on Facebook to watch.


RELATED:

The U.S. Library of Congress Launches New Software to Simplify the Downloading of Braille and Audio Reading Material

NEW LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS: U.S. Senate Confirms first woman and first African-American as Librarian of Congress


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY