An Apology—and a Report from the National Book Festival

First of all, let me apologize to everyone who tried to post a comment in the Reading Room during the past several days and was unable to do so. This includes me. For various reasons, the online discussions of a thread normally close, automatically, after three days, though I’ve asked that my threads remain open for 10 days. However, this must be done “by hand” and to make sure it happens can be easily forgotten.

This past weekend, of course, was a busy one for book people here in Washington. The National Book Festival took place over two days this year, not to mention a gala dinner on Friday evening at the Thomas Jefferson building. I hadn’t participated in recent years—often because I was in Ohio helping my mother—but did want to be part of the 2011 festivities. On Saturday morning I conducted a public “conversation” with Toni Morrison—just a couple of kids from Lorain, Ohio, dishing about books, reading and the like. Then on Sunday afternoon, I introduced Garrison Keillor, who was, in essence, the closing act of the Festival. I was lucky in that I had to front for the two writers who least needed any introductions whatsoever.

Were any of the Reading Room members on the Mall this weekend? Would you share your own experiences and stories? What writers did you most enjoy? Do you have any suggestions on how to make the National Book Festival even better? Some of the events, I know, were filmed by C-Span so they may be cropping up on screen over the next week or two.

Michael Dirda

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