Saturday, November 1, 2008

Texas Book Festival 2008, Capitol grounds, Austin

I'll be bringing Morgann to her first book festival later on in the morning, but have a lot of planning (and dishes) to do now, so this is a relatively short first post of NaBloPoMo. Our chosen sessions start at 11, I have a few errands to do beforehand (including a 'scrip pickup), and I've no idea what sort of parking will remain by the time we arrive. I'll be packing as much food as possible for myself, so I won't be tempted to spend money on eating (I'll save it for fry bread at the Pow Wow later in the afternoon). Anyway, these are the sessions we hope to attend:

11-11:45 Reading the Classics This is not your father's list of classics. In the delightful essays in Classics for Pleasure, Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Dirda introduces nearly 90 of the world’s most entertaining books. Writing with affection as well as authority, Dirda covers masterpieces of fantasy and science fiction, horror and adventure, as well as epics, history, essay, and children's literature. Organized thematically, these are works that have shaped our imaginations. Love's Mysteries moves from Sappho and Arthurian romance to Soren Kierkegaard and Georgette Heyer. In other categories Dirda discusses not only Dracula and Sherlock Holmes but also the Tao Te Ching and Icelandic sagas, Frederick Douglass, and Fowler’s Modern English Usage. Whether writing about Petronius or Perelman, Dirda makes literature come alive. Classics for Pleasure is a perfect companion for any reading group or lover of books.


Jim Hightower National radio commentator, writer, and public speaker, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks. His book Swim Against the Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow tells the stories of mavericks who have broken free of the corporate tentacles, free of business-as-usual politics, free of top-down elites, revealing paths that regular folks can use to escape those rigid, hierarchical structures and discover a bit more satisfaction in life. As political columnist Molly Ivins said, "If Will Rogers and Mother Jones had a baby, Jim Hightower would be that rambunctious child – mad as hell, with a sense of humor."

[I'll have to see what sort of mood I'm in when we get there]

12-12:45 Mother on Fire: A True Story About Parenting Sandra Tsing Loh is the fiercest, funniest, and most incredibly honest and self-deprecating voice to emerge from the “mommy war” debates. In Mother on Fire: A True Motherf%#$@ Story About Parenting!, she fires away with her trademark hilarious satire of societal and personal irks large and small. Prompted by her own midlife crisis, Loh throws her frantic energy into the harrowing heart of contemporary, dysfunctional L.A. life. When she realizes she can’t afford private school for her daughter, her only alternative is her neighborhood’s public school where most of the kids qualify for free lunches and the academic quality is less than stellar. In a theater-of-the-absurd-style odyssey, Loh documents her “year of living dangerously” among pompous school admissions officials, lactose-intolerant, Prius-driving parents, mafia dons of public radio, vindictive bosses, and old friends with new money as she first kisses ass — then kicks it.

1-1:45 Slob-Proof: Real-Life Home Decorating Solutions Debbie Wiener presents her practical home-design book, Slob Proof! Real-Life Home Decorating Solutions, that offers realistic, attractive, and comfortable design solutions to families overrun by messy kids, muddy dogs, and sloppy spouses who make beige carpeting an endangered species. What these families (and even sloppy singles) need are reasonable, no-nonsense design choices that can withstand the wear and tear of real everyday life and still look great.

3-4 Memo to the President-Elect Whichever candidate wins the presidential election the Tuesday after the Festival weekend, he is going to inherit a raft of problems to solve – among them, the need to attempt to unify the country. The writers on this panel, some of the nation's most astute political observers, will offer their insights about the first steps our next president should be taking. David Patterson, senior editor at publisher Henry Holt & Co., moderates.

Authors: John Stauffer
Reihan Salam
Bob Moser
Ross Douthat

I still don't know if BookCrossing is going to have a presence like they did last year. I'll still bring books to release, and I'll grab a program to see if they're listed.

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