Monday, July 16, 2012

Iowa City Book Festival

I sometimes have to pinch myself to realize where we live is not a fairytale- no really!  I and my family are so lucky to live in such a great town.  Living in a college town gives you so much access.  You have sports, arts, entertainment, museums, diversity, etc, etc.  This weekend was the fourth annual Iowa City Book Festival.  I went with the family last year and thoroughly enjoyed it.  My in-laws were here for last year's festival and my mother in-law and I enjoyed it so much I invited them out for this year's festival.  Last year I spent about equal time with the kids and also going to "adult readings/presentations".  This year I was all about me.  Now don't get me wrong the kids still participated- exhibit 1 and 2 below.

 Youngest making some great book marks.

Oldest getting his "stamp on".

The kids also with grandparents and husband went to 2 children's author reads.  We all met up for lunch and then the kids and the two guys went back to our house while my mother in-law and I moved onto more readings/presentations.

I really enjoy listening to people talk about reading and writing and so took some notes throughout the day and here are some of my observations and favorite quotes/ideas from authors I listened too.

Is Memoir Fact of Fiction?
Larry Baker was the author I most enjoyed listening too during this hour.  He talked about how people who write memoirs may conflate, bend, and stretch the truth, but he feels they are some of the most courageous authors in all of writing.  He also talked about how novelists can "create something true that is not real".  My favorite idea he spoke about: "The common denominator for reader and writer is a common life" and that the reader brings to the novel what you have already read (or maybe you could add in their lived).

I then met my mother in-law to listen to Evelyn Birkby.  This "young lady" will be 93 at the end of the month. She has written a weekly newspaper column since 1949 (yep 63 years).  Her column is on home-making and includes a recipe each week.  She then went onto become a part of the radio broadcasting group called Kitchen-Klatter (Radio Home-makers).  She talked about the importance of taking advantage of opportunities that come your way.  Instead of saying no say I will try.  She talked about the importance of keeping a notebook with you always (my mother in-law and I laughed because we both are pretty obsessed with notebooks- my problem is I have too many and really should be better about condensing them down to a work one and home one).  She said these notebooks are good not only for us, but for our children.  She of course discussed food which she feels is such a connection point for women.  Food has been a way for women to share, communicate, comfort, and respond in times of need to other women.  She was one of those people you wish you could bottle up her personality and out look on life and take a little bit each and every day to become a more "alive and happy" person.  

We then went to this publishing talk.  I don't know much about Publishing so I thought it would be interesting to listen to.  It was o.k.  One author was self published and she was very fascinating, soft spoken and passionate about her work.  The 2nd publisher was from the University Press and talked about the mechanics of getting published by a University Press.  The third was this guy who owned his own publishing company.  He was o.k. but I just couldn't connect with his flippant responses and "snarkiness".  

Last reading of the day was Laura Moriarty who is the author of "The Chaperone".  It is a book based on the trip Louise Brooks (silent film star) took when 15 and the chaperone that traveled with her from Witchita Kansas to New York City.  She read two passages from her book and she was just so genuinely enjoyable to listen too.  I enjoyed her talk/read so much I sent her a "thank you" today.  She has accomplished much: 4 books in 10 years, raising an 8 year old, professor of creative writing at University of Kansas.  She was so happy/passionate and totally genuine. She was the type of person you knew had not lost her sense of sense during her year's of success as an author. I wish I could sit in on a class of hers.  

It was a great day and spending it with my mother in-law and discussing the authors and their styles/books made the day that much more enjoyable.  If anything I realize lately how happy I am when reading a book or learning about the process behind writing the books.  Along with running I've begun to realize reading/writing for me is my own daily "happy pill".   

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