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Washington D.C. Gets Literary This Weekend

September is a big literary month here in the Washington, D.C., especially with the largest reading events of the year — The National Book Festival, the Virginia Festival of the Book, and the Baltimore Book Festival.

Even before these big festivals get kicked off, starting with The National Book Festival this weekend, Novel Places in Maryland is celebrating the 75th anniversary of The Hobbit.  Tonight at 6 p.m. readers will descend on the bookstore in Clarksburg to celebrate the book and the Tolkien legacy.  With moss hanging from the rafters of the upstairs bookstore in Clarksburg’s historic district, patrons are encouraged to dress up as their favorite characters from the books and take in the atmosphere as they walk through Bilbo Baggins’ door into the shire.  There’s even a prize for best costume.

Bookstore owner Patrick Darby says of The Hobbit, “It was the late 70’s when I picked up the The Hobbit, which is about the time Dungeons & Dragons rose to fame. It shaped my ‘personality’ when I role-played different characters and creatures. Even though The Hobbit is written as a children’s book, the descriptions of scenery and character interaction is brilliantly detailed. Its somewhat simplistic plot, where it was just an adventure with no reason for starting the quest, made a good primer to the intrigue of the ring in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.”  To learn more about the celebrations of Tolkien’s 75-year-old book, go here.

Also this weekend is the two-day book extravaganza that promotes reading not only among adults but kids as well.  The National Book Festival is in its 12th year.  I can hardly believe it’s been that long since the first one.  This year, I won’t be attending the first day of the festival, Saturday, Sept. 22, because my book club meets for our discussion of The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield at Novel Places.  But I do plan to attend some poetry readings, meet Charlaine Harris of Sookie Stackhouse fame, and generally relax with books around on Sunday, Sept. 23, the second day of the festival.  Please check out the rest of the goings on at the festival this year, plus the new online interactive media the festival is using this year.  So even if you don’t live in the D.C. area and cannot make the trip for your favorite authors, you can still hear them speak through the Library of Congress Website.

In addition to our book club meeting at the store, we’ll be attending a reading and discussion from two great translators, one of whom I consider a friend, and a poet whose work was translated.  If you are in the Clarksburg, Md., area, please stop by Novel Places to interact with Danish Poet Carsten Rene Nielsen and his translator David Keplinger as they talk about their work on House Inspections.

My friend, K.E. Semmel also will be on hand to talk about his two translations that came out in August, which I’m sure you’ve heard me go on and on about.  Hopefully, he can forgive me for not reading The Caller by Karin Fossum and The Absent One by Jussi Adler-Olsen ahead of the event.  They are on the to-read list and I had hoped to be finished with the book club pick sooner, but life gets in the way as worries about my dad and his surgery occupied my mind to distraction.

You probably thought I was done, but we also have two more festivals to look forward to next weekend:  The Baltimore Book Festival, which always showcases some great local authors and businesses and Virginia Festival of the Book, which I have yet to attend but receives rave reviews ever year.  Both of those festivals are the weekend of Sept. 28.  I’ll let you know more about those next week.

What bookish plans do you have for the weekend?

Comments

  1. I really had fun at the poetry/translator reading…and I added to my collection of poetry books. Thanks for “making” me go, LOL.
    Anna (Diary of an Eccentric)´s last blog post ..Mailbox Monday — September 24

  2. I sure wish I could have made it down there this weekend or next one!
    Julie P.´s last blog post ..Review: The Mom 100 Cookbook

  3. This sounds like heaven!! One of these days I will make it down there for this! And of course, meet up with you and Anna!!!!!!!!! 😀

  4. I’ll be at the National Book Fest! Next weekend I’m going up to NYC for KidLitCon, but September is definitely the month for books. Hope you enjoy all the events you’re attending!
    Cecelia´s last blog post ..leviathan – guest post by ginny of ginnylou studio