Day one was exciting for me, but day two was going to be even better. After a great night’s sleep, I dove into the festival head first again!
First stop this morning was to see Paulette Jiles and Stephen Harrigan present “Old News Made New.” Ms. Jiles’ new book “News of the World” has been nominated for the National Book Award and is the best example of historical fiction I have read in a long time. Their reflections on their research and story ideas were fascinating. I greatly enjoyed Paulette’s book and am looking forward to digging into Mr. Harrigan’s “A Friend of Mr. Lincoln” this week!
After browsing all of the fun merchant tents and picking myself up a bookish item or two, I made my way to The Capitol building and greatly enjoyed Jade Chang, “The Wangs vs. the World” and Rufi Thorpe, “Dear Fang, With Love.” They each read from their books and kept us all laughing and engaged while discussing their humorous looks at the “family road trip, redefined.” It was lovely to get to speak to Ms. Chang. As the mother of a 22 year old man myself, her character of Andrew in “Wangs” truly resonated with me and she was a delight to speak with.
The last event for the day was the one I had been anticipating all weekend. Truly my favorite book this year has been Amor Towles’ “A Gentleman in Moscow” and one of my past favorites has been Maria Semple’s “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” To have a chance to hear two of my favorite writers together was something not to be missed. Ms. Semple read from her new book “Today Will Be Different” and had us all hanging on her every word. Mr. Towles’ presentation on how he imagined The Count in “A Gentleman in Moscow” was so well researched and his background history on the Russian Revolution added even more dimension to a story I have fallen in love with. If you haven’t read this book yet, get it now, immediately. You will not be sorry. The Count is sure to be an enduring character in literary history for years to come.
After off and on rain showers all weekend, the festival closed with the most gorgeous rainbow over the grounds of the Capitol, proving that reading, is indeed, heavenly! So long Austin! See you next year!