Friday, October 16, 2009

Twin Cities Book Festival

This past Saturday I went to the Twin Cities Book Festival. It’s sponsored by Rain Taxi and I really didn’t know what it was all about. What I did know is Alison McGhee was doing a reading from her children’s books and some other authors were also reading (Robert Owen Butler, Lorrie Moore, and some folks I haven’t read).

After a bit of a parking debacle in the ramp across the street (not my debacle, somebody else who held up the line waaaay longer than needed), I have a pocket full of one dollar coins prominently featuring the head of James Polk.

I wander in and see tightly packed rows of tables. There’s not much going on with this part of the book festival. It’s kind of like the dealer’s room at a larger con, only with less ability to move around. I check the time and realize that I completely missed McGhee’s reading. I found out about the Festival from Alan DeNiro’s twitter, so I meander my way through the tables looking for the Rabid Transit table.

Now, here’s the weird thing. I signed up for some drawing / giveaway for artwork and the guy at the table saw my name on the sheet and as I asked him if he was Alan DeNiro he asked if I was the blogger. That’s right kids, due to my immense fame and a popularity unmatched even by Neil Gaiman, my name alone is enough to make people perk up.

We chatted a bit about various things and DeNiro seemed especially chuffed that I paid for one of the Rabid Transit chapbooks with the Polk dubloons (his book deals with an invasion and a breakdown of technological society in Minnesota). To be honest, as a fantasy reader, I was amused to have a pocketful of gilded largish coins to pay for stuff.

I picked up a couple of used books from the Rain Taxi booksale and having pretty well done everything that I wanted to do, I started for the door. I stopped for a moment to check the program to see if there was anything I really wanted to do that I missed. There wasn’t, but I saw a woman walking towards me who looked suspiciously like Alison McGhee. I wasn’t quite sure and I didn’t say anything, but I’m 90% convinced that it was McGhee. One of these days I’ll actually catch one of her readings and get to say hi, but not that day.

After that I left and went home, too.

The Book Festival was fine, but I’m not sure it was exactly my thing. I would have to look carefully at who will be there next year and plan better to get there for that particular reading. There’s some authors who I’d love to see read (besides McGhee, Louise Erdrich is probably first on that list), and Minnesota does have a very strong contingent of local authors so hopefully there will be someone I want to see next year. Outside of the reading, there’s not a lot going on. Maybe 60 or so vendors, small presses, a couple of bookstores and some authors I’ve never heard of and who may well be self published authors (I’m just guessing). The lineup of authors doing the reading was strong, though.

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