Courtesy of Emily Wall
From little children to middle-aged couples, book lovers gathered at the 12th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival Sept. 22 and 23 to celebrate their love for reading.
The event was co-chaired by President Barack and Michelle Obama, but there was no confirmed sighting of them.
Conveniently located right outside the Smithsonian Metro station, the festival encompassed the National Mall between 14th and 7th Street. The location was also beautiful, with blue skies on both days highlighting the Washington Monument on one side and the Capitol Building on the other.
Barnes & Noble sponsored the festival and offered books for sale in the “Books Sale” tent. Volunteers dressed in hot pink shirts handed out maps of the festival as people walked into the tent.
Inside, nine tables were spread out, each selling a different genre from “How to Write” to “Fiction and Mystery.” The tables coincided with the tents around the festival, and books by the authors at the festival were for sale. It was convenient for those who want a book signed but the prices were high since most books were hardcover.
Once the book shopping was done, there were many tents to explore. Most tents featured genre-specific guest speakers, but a few had special events inside.
The Library of Congress Pavilion gave an insider’s look at the nation’s famous literary landmark. History buffs could ask librarians any question and could use the World Digital Library to explore cultural treasures worldwide. Even kids had activities, from learning about genealogy to a reading from Pippi Longstocking.
Let’s Read America also offered readings and other activities for children and their parents. In the pavilion, children got the chance to make their own book.
Arthur, of the eponymous PBS children’s series, was spotted around the tent.
But what every book lover comes for is to meet the authors. Eight authors signed at a time in front of lines 60 people long. The big name for AU students this year was John Green, author of “The Fault in Our Stars.” He spoke for 45 minutes on Sept. 22 in front of a packed tent of “Nerdfighters” (a nickname for fans of the “vlogbrothers,” a video blog series that Green cohosts with his brother, Hank). He also signed for three hours after his presentation.
Other famous authors included children’s horror writer R.L. Stein, “The Virgin Suicides” author Jeffrey Eugenides, “Eragon” series writer Christopher Paolini and popular teen writer Lois Lowry.
Jewel, a Canadian singer and children’s book author, also presented and signed books. Renowned journalist and author Bob Woodward, who reported on the Watergate scandal, was also in attendance to present and sign books.
Most people stayed for a few hours and then returned to their cars or to the Metro carrying bright pink reusable bags filled with treasures from yet another successful book festival.