For those of you who remember New York is Book Country, I lamented its demise, hoping beyond hope it would return. But, alas, that was not to be. Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 56th Street closed to traffic, filled with new books, old books, mysteries, children’s books. It was an annual tradition for my daughter and me.
With NYBC no longer, three years ago Susan and I were forced to venture into a foreign country–Brooklyn–to its renowned book festival and we’ve gone ever since. This year, our first panel was Mary Karr (of Lit fame-Susan loved her memoir) and Nelson George, music critic, discussing music and books and the poetry of music. Ms. Carr is funny and engaging and these two friends made us smile. Susan jotted down three or four books they recommended to add to her pile.
Next Walter Mosley and Eoin Colfer discussed mysteries. An odd coupling, it was like a comedy routine with Colfer being the comic and Mosley the straight man. I like Mosley’s Fearless Jones series, but it appears Mosley is concentrating on his new series starring Leonid McGill.
The Grand Finale was Wallace Shawn (“Inconceivable!”–yes I watch The Princess Bride but do not love the book), Fran Leibowitz and Deborah Eisenberg discussing why we are discontented. Three different personalities agreeing on the state of the world.
Susan pushed my reading horizons by suggesting I buy Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson, which I did. I promise to get to it, after King Lear, which I must read before we see the play in October.
The crowds attending this festival have fostered my belief that interest in good literature will never die and the printed page still has life left in it.
P.S. An essential part of this annual pilgrimage is our walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, rain or shine. Susan had always wanted to do this and, those of you who know me, know I have a thing for bridges, especially the Brooklyn Bridge and the Bunker Hill Bridge outside of Boston. Dinner with various children of ours topped off a perfect day. If you haven’t treated yourself to the Brooklyn Book Festival, put it on your calendar for next year.