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National Book Festival, Part 2

October 4, 2006

So, as I said in Part 1 of this post, the festival had a full schedule of authors appearing to discuss their latest works. Some of the authors that were there included: Brad Meltzer, Michael Connelly, Alice McDermott, and Nathaniel Philbrick. From looking at the festival’s website it seemed like previous years had much better authors. I am secretly hoping that JK Rowling will appear next year!

 Anyway, with the Collin factor involved I didn’t get to sit and hear nearly as many authors as I would have liked.  I really wanted to see Bob Woodward since State of Denial is in the news quite a bit. It would have been cool to listen to the man who broke Watergate. Unfortunately, he was the absolute last speaker of the day at 4:00 and Collin was not making it that long.  I was able to hear 2 great authors speak though.

The first was Khaled Hosseini author of The Kite Runner. What a great speaker. He has the voice of a story teller….very engaging. He spoke about how The Kite Runner evolved from his own childhood in Afghanistan. His father was a diplomat and the family happened to move to France for this reason right before the Soviets invaded in the country. Mr. Hosseini said that the character of Hassan was loosely based on a servant in his own childhood household. This servant was poor and illiterate, but he and Mr. Hosseini became good friends. Mr. Hosseini eventually taught him how to read and write. Furthermore, he said that he has been working on his new novel for the last couple of years and hopes to be done with it soon. He did not say the title, but said that it focused on the lives of Afghan women.

The second author I heard was Douglas Brinkley. I bought his new book, The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This was the first time I heard in person from someone who experienced Katrina. Brinkley and his family had to escape from their home in New Orleans.  Wow, he spoke very powerfully about the plight of the people there and how bad it still is. He also told several incredible stories about the heroism that took place during the catastrophe. Brinkley was also a great speaker.

All in all, the festival was awesome. We (or at least I) definitely plan to make it an annual pilgrimage. Now I’m thinking about The Great Read in the Park coming up October 15th in Central Park!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 4, 2006 2:11 pm

    If Khaled Hosseini’s second book is anything like his first, I’ll be first in line at the bookstore. I am really bummed to have missed the festival. Both my husband (who listened to The Kite Runner on CD) and I would have loved to hear him speak.
    – Stephanie

  2. October 4, 2006 3:15 pm

    I would love to hear Hosseini talk about his book. How exciting for you.

    Stephanie, did Hosseini read the book on CD? If so, I may have to check it out. I loved the book.

  3. October 4, 2006 5:59 pm

    I believe that he did. My husband really enjoyed listening to it.
    – Stephanie

  4. Sheri permalink
    October 4, 2006 7:33 pm

    I’m a Louisiana native, I grew up about 60 miles south of New orleans (yes, you can go south of N.O.) but was living and in and had just recently moved out of New Orleans when Katrina hit. Though we were extremly blessed to have not been living there at the time, our house was still for sale in New orleans when katrina hit. My neighborhood was THE LAST AREA of N.O. to flood. I didn’t know the fate of our house for almost 7 days. I will never forget the moment when I saw an ariel satalite photo of our house, taken 2 days after the storm. No less than 9 feet of water….the house was totaled…. You know I cried alot that week, not for my house, but for New Orleans, the people, the life force drained away…The house was for sale, so we left it furnished. We lost all of our furniture. That was hard, but I thought alot about my favorite bookshelf…it was black, purchased as a college freshman at LSU with a Spiegal chargecard…I had spent almost a decade cultivating this bookshelf. It was beautiful…Jeanette Winterson, Henry Miller, Aldous Huxley, all the icons from my rebellious youth were displayed proudly on my black bookshelf. I left it there..thinking it would be fine unitl we sold the house…then I could move it along with all the other furniture…
    I saw it in a photo a friend took for me. The bookshelf had toppled over and floated into te next room. I could see books scatterd all over the floor, wide open, splayed, bloated books…it was a sad day.

    Douglas Brinkley is a respected man in new Orleans, I was happy to hear he is out there speaking out about the storm, keeping the spirit of New orleans alive.

  5. Sheri permalink
    October 4, 2006 7:34 pm

    PLEASE try to forgive my multiple spelling errors in the above post. I am writing and trying to parent 2 crazy little boys at the same time!

  6. October 4, 2006 8:42 pm

    I would have loved to have heard Hosseini speak, too. Loved The Kite Runner and will buy his next book as soon as it lays down!

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