Culture Corner

Boston Book Festival, Part III: The Books

I’ve blogged about the panels and my awesome workshop, but I haven’t written about the plethora of books I purchased!

Going into the day, I set aside $40 knowing there would be book deals of some sort and that I would end up purchasing at least one book to get signed from a great panel presentation. I was very proud of myself, by the end of the day I only went over by $13! Honestly, I expected it to be closer to going over by $30. The major problem however is I’ve added an additional 14 books to my bookshelf to read (that are now staring at me) and an additional at least 20+ books to my list of books to read eventually (some of those I bought were already on my list). I encourage you to check out my bookshelf for books that are physically (or digitally) sitting on my bookshelf(/Kindle) waiting to be read, and check out the green on my reading list to see all the new additions as they are books I didn’t purchase I now want to read!

So without further ado here is my collection of new purchases!

You can see the festival program and the One City One Story booklet bottom center. The short story was a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be. It was The Whore’s Child by Richard Russo, and was about a nun in a writing course and her professor’s views/opinions. I thought it was well written and an intriguing enough story, if a bit bland overall. I didn’t go to the discussion, but I am glad I read it.

On the bottom left and bottom right you can see the two books I took with me to get signed, Fun Home by Alison Bechdel and The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje. Below are the autographed title pages. And yes that drawing in Fun Home is from Ms. Bechdel. (How cool is that!)

Michael Ondaatje’s keynote was a perfect ending to the day. It wasn’t overstated and it wasn’t overproduced. It was a simple sit down with the author and Homi Bhabha. Mr. Bhabha gave a general overview of The Cat’s Table and of Ondaatje’s most recent works and then Ondaatje read from The Cat’s Table, a brief on stage discussion followed, and then there was an open question and answer session. I thought Ondaatje’s responses to the questions were pertinent and humorous. I can’t imagine he still enjoys being asked about The English Patient (especially whether or not he enjoyed the film adaptation) when he’s written three novels since. There were a few great questions about his writing process, his interpretation/representation of Canada, his Sri Lanka heritage, and immigrant experience. What I found most interesting, was Ondaatje aligned with everything else I heard throughout the day—he starts writing with the most minute detail, The English Patient started with a nurse talking to a patient in a bed and it all stemmed from there.

Now for the rest of the books!

Every year I know I’m going to find quite a few additional books that I want to read, and each year I’ve been inspired by one author to actually purchase their book and get it signed. This year’s awesome author/excuse to buy a brand new book was Ethan Gilsdorf’s Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks.

I’ve already written about him here, but here’s a copy of my signed title page to the right. You can see the cover sort of in the middle of the picture on top of the bag.

But now I’m sure you’re curious about all of the other books in the picture. I purchased them in two purchases from two AWESOME book sellers. I purchased the first four from Raven Used Books based in Cambridge, MA and those are the four across the top of the picture (from left to right):

My second purchase, was a similar deal that I did last year, a bag of books for $10. Literally, whatever I could get into that Symposium bag (which is a really nice cloth reusable bag actually) was $10. I didn’t stuff it, and probably could’ve fit a few more in, but I thought I got a nice random selection and am looking forward to exploring the new authors. I got the following (clockwise from bottom left):

The steals of this group are definitely Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, it wasn’t on my list, but I’ve wanted to read it for ages; and The Bad Girl, I recognized Vargas Llosa, but couldn’t place it and lo and behold he’s the 2010 Nobel Prize winner for literature.

3 thoughts on “Boston Book Festival, Part III: The Books”

  1. I’ve actually read it once before and I loved it and can’t wait to re-read it! I hope Bechdel comes out with another book soon – I know she just recently edited Best American Comics.


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