My Take on Boston Book Fest


My friend Holly and I ventured north into the big scary city* to attend the Boston Book Fest on Saturday.  It was raining but not cold enough to deter us.   We bravely found a parking spot ($20 and right behind the Trinity Church on Copley Square – getting in was easy, getting back to the interstate was treacherous) and quickly scampered to the first event.     IMG_1638

The first session we chose was in the basement of the Trinity Church and it was a lovely venue, quite cozy.   The title was Book Worms and Net Crawlers and featured Ethan Gilsdorf, Ben Mezrich (I bought his latest book The Accidental Billionaires : The Founding of Facebook – A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal, but alas, I didn’t stick around to embarrass myself by asking for his autograph.)   I did take his picture – he’s on the right, Gilsdorf on the left.    IMG_1646(excuse my photo-taking skills – yea, whatever.   I thought Auto Setting was supposed to fix the blurries.)      Where was I?  OH!  David Pogue!   He.  Was.   Funny.     His book The World According to Twitter is a laugh riot, if it delivers more of the taste he gave us.     Gilsdorf’s book Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks is about the World of Gaming and explores the literature roots of this craze (J.R.R.Tolkein) and I’m almost interested in reading it but I’m sure most of the book is beyond my understanding of this side of current culture.   I guess that is all the more reason to read it.     He discussed why seemingly normal people might want to disappear into these live re-enaction weekends to fight medieval battles – for the chance to have a ‘Magic Moment’ where the current world dissolves and they feel like they are truly back in time.     IMG_1643 The moderator, unfortunately, had a bit of a monotone and I was actually embarrassed by his lack of enthusiasm as he presented the panelists.   They made up for it, though and were all very entertaining.

[Photo of me and Holly;  she’s considering which session to attend next.]

You might be wondering who or what this adorable purple and red lobster is doing.    If you recognize the little fella, then you must have read my post about the package I received from Nymeth.    She told me he wanted to ‘see the world’.  What better an opportunity than to take him along to Boston!   IMG_1647 He came in handy, when he jumped up and down and yelled “DAWN IS TOO FOND OF BOOKS!!!   WHERE ARE YOU??”     And that is how we came to meet Dawn and wave happily to her before the next session held in the beautiful Old South Church.        Titled Hodgman / Perrotta, this event introduced Holly to the guy in the Mac commercials (she doesn’t watch much TV and swears she doesn’t know what I’m talking about and had never seen him in her life).  IMG_1650

Yea, I know.  FUZZY. sorry!

I had NO IDEA that John Hodgman had a literary background!    He is extremely quick-witted.   By which I mean he is very funny and fast on his feet in terms of thinking up quick funny things to say.      Which I’m not.     I’m really not that funny when I have time to think about it and even time to edit what I type.    In other words, I’m excited to try some of his books!    I didn’t get in line to meet him, either.   And I am just as excited to read Tom Perrotta’s books, too!     He was just as cool.    He’s just not as famously face-famous, as Hodgman might put it.     Anyway.

We missed Dawn in the mass exodus of the church, found ourselves in the cafeteria of the Boston Public Library and somehow Dawn tracked us down, the awesome and diligent gal that she is.     I blame the rain on the difficulties.


Dawn thought up the name “Copley” for the lobster since his first outing was to Copley Square!


In one of our Twittering exchanges, I amused myself with the clever concept to have a secret phrase to say when we met so we would ‘know’ each other:

“The book is wet when it rains in Tibet.”

Dawn, who is ever more clever and amusing and has my utmost respect since she didn’t ignore me nor make fun of me for my silliness, offered this:

“The book will freeze if it snows in Belize,” as her response.

Aint she cute?    And I swear, even though this was the first time meeting her IN PERSON, I feel like I’ve known her forever.    It was very fun to share lunch with her in the BPL Courtyard.

IMG_1657 Dawn had to rush off to her Writer’s Workshop, so Holly and I rushed over to the Power of Place presentation which featured Anita Shreve, Anita Diamont, Elizabeth Nunez, and Carolina De Robertis and hosted by Kim McLarin.    Unfortunately we missed Anita Shreve’s bit, IMG_1659 we were treated to the author’s reading selections from their latest work.    Nunez has a lovely voice and I now want to read Anna in-Between.    I apologize that we were sneaking in during De Robertis’ time but I’m so glad we got to hear about Anita Diamant’s new historical fiction Day After Night which features Israel in the days after WWII.

next, we decided to explore the beautiful Copley Hotel IMG_1666 and just check if the Tea with Catie Copley was really full or not – maybe they’d let us sneak in.   And they did!    Catie is a trained service dog and is the official greeter of the hotel.    I can’t resist a childrens book when it’s in my face, so I bought one; especially because of  the mention of Catie’s dog toy being a stuffed lobster!  I’m easy.    I’m going to send it to my niece Ada Mae for Christmas.      And of course, kids say the darndest things.    After the author read the book, one of the darlings asked her ‘Did Catie really do that?  Is it REALLY true?’

I chose the morning activities, so it was Holly’s turn to pick for the afternoon.     The crowd was growing and we were astonished to discover that the line for the 4 pm session to discuss The Obama Year (featuring Jack Beatty, David Gergen, Lani Guinier, Michael Porter and Tom Ashbrook ) was already snaking through the book stacks at BPL!    Sure enough, they turned away the people six spots ahead of us – we were SO CLOSE.     We looked in on the Thrillers and Killers session but didn’t want to sit on the cold marble floor and not see who were were listening to.    (Stephen Carter, Andre Dubus III, Joseph Finder and Jessica Stern)


So we sped back home.

Where I was greeted by the fabulous cooking skills of my incredible husband!   IMG_1675 IMG_1676 IMG_1677He smoked meatloaf and salmon and sausages, whipped up potato salad and chopped up the mix for cole slaw.    I only wish I could have enjoyed a beer but I had coffee instead.    I was ready to sit down to the computer and cheer my heart out for the read-a-thon.



* Holly went to school in Boston Proper but I am rather intimidated by the famously hellish driving conditions.  That’s why I took her along – she was supposed to be my guide and calmer-downer.       It wasn’t easy but we somehow did a u=turn over the T tracks in front of Northeastern to get back onto Mass Ave and eventually onto I-95 South.


29 thoughts on “My Take on Boston Book Fest

  1. This sounds like a great event. I know Boston Bibliophile was also planning on attending. I’d love to do this sometime. Thanks for sharing the pics and fun with all of us.

  2. What a wild ride! When I read your post I was in each of these panels with you (“oh, sorry for coming in late. excuse me. pardon me. watch your toes!”).

    It was so great to meet you and Holly – yes, it does seem like we already knew each other 🙂 You just wait until I get the blooper reels online. We’ll have to practice before our next secret agent adventure!

    How lucky are you to get tea with Catie Copley and a homemade dinner waiting for you at home?!? I did have a beer with my (take-out) pizza when I got home; if I knew you were having cheer-energizing coffee, I would have had another one for you.

    C’mon, driving in Boston is really not that bad; we’ll have to get you up here again. Oh, and make sure Holly looks up my butternut squash soup recipe; really, it runs circles around the BPL’s Harvest Soup.

  3. That does sound like a very fun day! I didn’t know Hodgman had a literary background either. (I don’t watch much TV, but I do know the Mac commercials.) I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Dawn, too and she is fabulous!

  4. Oh, Care. This post made me happy for SO many reasons 😀 I’m very glad you and Dawn had such a good time. And how nice to see Copley seeing the world, meeting bloggers, living the good life 😀

  5. Thanks for the vicarious thrills of the Boston Book Festival. How fun and lucky that you got to see John Hodgeman. He is so funny. Although I didn’t know he had a literary background, it is clear from his segments on The Daily Show that he is smart as a whip.

  6. Sounds like you had a great time. I’m sorry I missed this fest! I’m glad you got to meet Dawn! She rocks. Love that the lobster made the rounds, much like Anna and I taking The Girl’s bear around NYC!

    I was hoping you saw Anita Shreve, so I could hear the details…bummer.

    Love all the photos, even the blurry ones. I went to school in Boston as well, and sure do miss it.

  7. Oh Oh Oh … I’m so incredibly jealous! I would want to see all these authors and meet Dawn and WoW .. what a great time you had! I wish I was that little lobster! Perhaps I could attempt this event in the future! : )

  8. What a wonderful account – I love it! And so cute that the lobster had a good time too. I was so interested to hear about Gilsdorf – I have ordered his book for my son who is a keen world of warcraft player, although I am a bit worried most of it will go over his head. But you never know! There may be bits in there he really enjoys. This sounds like a fabulous event and I’m impressed you got to so many sessions without having to go shopping (a weakness of mine….).

  9. Wow, that sounds like a fun event! Loved your recap and Copley is a very handsome lobster – but I will feel sad next time I’m chowing down on his yummy Atlantic cousins 😉

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