October 30, 2014

Boston Book Festival 2014

October is a fabulous time to be in Boston. There is just so much going on, and one of my fave things is the Boston Book Festival, which took place last weekend. There are so many events with wonderful authors, but honestly my fave thing is being surrounded by people who love reading. The Kids' Keynote was given by Rick Riordan, and the lines went around the block. It made me so happy to see so many excited kids there. The History Keynote was given by Doris Kearns Goodwin, and though I really wanted to see her, I opted out of the long, long lines. Here are the sessions I attended, and got to be in the front row for each one! As always click on photos to view larger.

First session of the day: Fiction with a Twist

Blurb: Thrillers, romances, and fantasy novels have always been segregated from so-called literary fiction on bookstore and library shelves. These days, however, even serious (and seriously successful) authors are embracing genre fiction. Bestselling YA author Lauren Oliver’s first foray into adult fiction is the ghost story Rooms. Ben Mezrich, best known for nonfiction like Bringing Down the House, offers a cinematic worldwide adventure in his novel Seven Wonders. And William Giraldi takes readers to the frozen north in his atmospheric thriller Hold the Dark. What brings these authors to explore new genres? Do they just offer a fun diversion, or are they breaking down barriers between literary categories? Robin Young, co-host of Here & Now on WBUR and NPR, will lead a discussion of these questions and more.

Photo: William Giraldi, Lauren Oliver, Ben Mezrich and Robin Young. Such a great panel discussion.

Second session of the day: South Asian Authors: Impact Across Genres

Blurb: The authors in this session write high-impact works spanning a range of subjects and genres. Vikas Swarup’s novel Q & A became the hit movie Slumdog Millionaire, while his latest, The Accidental Apprentice, is also slated to be adapted for film. Vikram Chandra’s latest novel is the thriller Sacred Games; his most recent book, Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty, explores the connections between technology and the art of writing. Journalist Geeta Anand’s nonfiction work, The Cure, about a father’s race to find a cure for the disease afflicting his two children, became the film Extraordinary Measures starring Harrison Ford. Ulka Anjaria, who teaches South Asian literature and film at Brandeis, will lead the wide-ranging conversation with these fascinating, multi-talented authors. Sponsored by the South Asian Arts Council.
(Due to travel complications, Vikas Swarup will be unable to join us for this session.)

Photo: Vikram Chandra, Geeta Anand and Ulka Anjaria talked about fiction and nonfiction in India and abroad.

Third session of the day:My Memoir, My Quest

Blurb: Each of the panelists here writes of a quest for self-discovery, a search for a deeper understanding of a subject with lasting, lifelong impact, or both. In My Life in Middlemarch, Rebecca Mead unpacks the many ways that nineteenth-century novelist George Eliot influenced her own life and career. Max Tegmark, in in Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality, reveals his theory of how mathematics explains the cosmos while also sharing the triumphs and setbacks of his own life in science. Joanna Rakoff, in My Salinger Year, reflects on a defining year spent answering J. D. Salinger’s fan mail. Moderated by by Ethan Gilsdorf, author of the memoir/pop culture investigation Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks. Sponsored by May K. Houghton.

Photo: Entertaining and informative panel discussion by Rebecca Mead, Max Tegmark, Joanna Rakoff and Ethan Gilsdorf.

Fourth session of the day: Fiction: Another Country

Blurb: The authors in this session use the whole globe as a canvas for their recent fiction.Joseph O’Neill’s The Dog, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, is set amid the singular landscape and complex social milieu of Dubai. In Euphoria, winner of the 2014 New England Book Award, Lily King charts a passionate love triangle among anthropologists working in 1930s New Guinea. And in Secrecy, Rupert Thomsonexplores issues of power, religion, and art while taking readers deep into Florence’s Medici court. Their engrossing discussion will be moderated by James Wood, book critic for the New Yorker.

Photo: The Joseph O'Neil, Lily King, Rupert Thomson and James Wood panel was a fab way to end a wonderful day.

If you have yet to check out the Boston Book Festival, you must go. Put it in your calendar for next October.

1 comment:

Millie Weber said...

Hi Elizabeth,
My name is Millie, I'm a university student doing a research project on literary festivals, and am looking for people who have attended a festival to fill out an online survey about their experiences. If you have the time, I'd be really interested to hear your opinion - depending on how much you write, it should take about 20-30 minutes. The survey is online at http://monasheducation.az1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_eS5yuFzISslKPTT
If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch - my email is maweb5 [at] student [dot] monash [dot] edu
All the best,