TSS – 27 September 2009 National Book Festival Update!



So, posting the pictures last night was very ambitious!  I thought I would get to do it, but we didn’t get home until midnight!  It was absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to do it again next year, though I’m definitely going to have a more concrete plan.  National Book Festival turned into Tim O’Brien day, which is actually perfectly fine with me!  But I would have liked to see a few more people.


I’m always impressed by events they hold on the Mall.  No matter how many times I go to DC, no matter how many times I see all the monuments, they’re still impressive.  Even on cloudy days like this!  Which means that none of my pictures came out that great, but I have evidence that I was there!  So I really can’t complain.  I loved all the tents, even though they didn’t do much to get us out of the rain.  By the end of the day, I was soaking wet, but I wouldn’t dream of complaining!  I got to meet Tim O’Brien!  And I got to shake his hand!  TWICE.  And it was full of awesome.


Whenever we travel to DC (every other month or so, during the semester), we take a ridiculous amount of pictures on the Metro.  P1010423Because it’s fun, and even though we technically live in the burbs of DC, it’s nice to just pretend we’re tourists.  Pretend?  Just kidding, we really are.  Metros are still exciting and I’m going to document that excitement.  If some snarky “local” wants to say something about it, go right ahead.  This is me, and She, of A Book Blog.  Period. I told you we knew each other!  I do not lie.   I’m on the right, she’s on the left.  Now you know what I look like!  GASP.  In the blue is my roommate!  She is awesome!  And likes books, but does not blog about them.  Yet.


Look at those lines!  I totally underestimated how many people were going to be there!  I think most people did.  We did not have our schedules planned out well, so I only ended up being able to meet Tim O’Brien and Mark Kurlansky, but She and our roommate, got to see Paula Deen!  Which I know they were really excited about.  I would have liked to see Paula, but Tim O’Brien was my priority!  And I was FIFTH in line.  Plus, I got to meet some cool people who were numbers 4, 6 and 7 in line. We talked about books and book recommendations and blogging.


THIS IS THE WORST ANGLE OF ME EVER.  But I am willing to share that with you because LOOK WHO IT IS.  That is TIM O’BRIEN.  Really!!!!!!!!  He is the nicest man, really.  I told him that he was one of my favorite authors and he said that that was a wonderful thing to hear and he shook my hand, TWICE.  And it was really worth it standing in line for two hours in the rain to be able to say, “You’re an amazing writer.  Your stories changed my life.” My first review for Regular Rumination was The Things They Carried, so it is definitely a sentimental thing.  Plus, I’m pretty sure that he’s one of the best authors on the planet, and one of the nicest.

Fortunately we also got to hP1010453ear him do some readings.  He was AMAZING!!!!  At 62, O’Brien is father of two children under the age of 8 and he has began writing a book about his experiences as an older father.  He read us the most beautiful letter to his oldest son.  There was not a dry eye in the audience, including my own.  Then he read excerpts from the last chapter of The Things They Carried which is also a really sad section.  He said that it was a lot harder to read the passages than he thought it would be.  Even though I wish I had met some more authors, I wouldn’t have given up meeting Tim O’Brien and hearing him speak for anything.  It was a once in a lifetime experience, and I’m thrilled.  I couldn’t stop smiling after we left the Mall to get some food in Adams Morgan.


More terrible, touristy pictures of metros!  The Adams Morgan metro stop has this ridiculously tall escalator that is terrifying!  But also fun.  We ate at this amazing Irish pub and had perfect cold, rainy food.  She and I had shepherd’s pie and Werehousecat had fish and chips.  I was pretty jealous of the fish and chips, but the shepherd’s pie was amazing.  I finished it off when I got home for a little midnight snack.

So I’m sure you’re wondering what Glee has to do with my day in DC, but after dinner we met up with a friend from high school and went to see his ADORABLE house.  I’m very jealous of his house.  While we were there, we watched the first two episodes of Glee and I just haven’t had the chance to tell you HOW MUCH I LOVE GLEE.  It’s so campy and wonderful and everyone should watch it.  AND LAUGH.  I think the last episode was the best, with the football players dancing.  Priceless!  I also love Kurt.  And want to hear the football player with the mohawk sing more.

Okay, back to the books.


Here are all the books I got signed!  I met Mark Kurlansky and, obviously, Tim O’Brien.  My roommates graciously got Paula Deen to sign a cookbook for my mom.  Z, my boyfriend, really likes Mark Kurlansky so I got him a book signed, too, for Christmas.  Tim O’Brien and Kurlansky personalized, but Paula Deen was way too busy.  She had so many people in her line, it looped around three or four times.  We were pretty far back in the line, but most people got in to see her.

P1010461 Paula Deen!

P1010462Tim O’Brien!

P1010464Mark Kurlansky

Other than that time when I fell on the Metro and bruised my butt, it was an AMAZING day!  Longest day ever, but still amazing.  I can’t wait until next year, when I will get there earlier and plan out the day so I can see more people speak.  Tim O’Brien!

28 thoughts on “TSS – 27 September 2009 National Book Festival Update!

  1. You were there? I was in the Tim O’Brien tent too! For me, the day was all about Marilynne Robinson, but O’Brien’s reading was excellent. Very moving. There were quite a few book bloggers there; some of us met up for dinner afterward. A great day!

    1. Teresa,

      So many bloggers were there and I didn’t get to meet them :(! But fun that we were in the same tent! I was sitting in one of the aisles on my purple bag. It was a blast, I can’t wait to go again next year. I’ll have to join you all for dinner!!

    1. Amanda,

      My avatar isn’t even fair because I don’t actually wear glasses… I just wore them to look more bookish!!! I’m such a dork 😉 I really had a great time and I wish it was going on every weekend.

  2. I really should read The Things They Carried. Why haven’t I yet?

    I’ve read Kurlansky’s The White Man in the Tree and Other Stories, which was nice. I really want to read Cod or Salt (for the SPice of Life Reading Challenge).

    ANd oh it was so nice to see you. Thanks for sharing your photos. 🙂

    1. Claire:

      I read Salt and loved it. I got Cod for my boyfriend and he said it was really good. Please read The Things They Carried! It’s amazing (obviously I think this).

      I just need to see what you look like now!

  3. I LOVE DC! I actually almost got a job there after graduation. I didn’t know there was a big book-fest going on this week – I SO would have gone.

    I love the Metro too. It was the first subway I ever took by myself. I’m glad it was so easy!

    Have you seen Washington Union station? GORGEOUS. It’s like a luxury mall, only it’s a train station!

    1. EL Fay:

      It is one of the easier subways. Worst subway ever: MADRID. I got so lost! I have actually never been inside Washington Union. I’ve sat on the tracks there, but never gone inside the station. Is it nicer than Philadelphia? I love that train station!

  4. What a fun post! And I loved seeing pics of you!

    The Things They Carried is one of those books that I know I should read, but I shy away from because I have an extreme reaction to war/millitary stories (comes from being a military brat I think!).

    1. Eva:

      Though parts of it are extreme, it’s definitely worth the read. It paints such a human picture of war. I hope you’ll read it one day!

  5. I can’t believe I didn’t get to meet you at the book blogger dinner in D.C. at Elephant and Castle! Ugh. Since you live in the burbs of D.C. we should meet up sometime and talk books.

    I missed O’Brien, but I’ve seen him at a previous National Book Festival when July July was published. Love that man’s writing.

    1. Serena:

      I’m also bummed that I missed out on the blogger dinner! We should totally meet up! I think I’m going to read July, July next. Maybe. I’m not sure. I have three of his books to read. Can’t decide, can’t decide!

  6. NBF blah blah blah GLEEEEEEEEEEE!!! 🙂 Glad you had fun at the book festival–I really wish there were more bloggers in Texas (or that Texas was smaller). But GLEE. I’m obsessed. It’s been a long time since a show has made me so happy. I watched it once tonight and then turned it on again in the background while doing some catch up blogging. So glad there are so many others who love it too.

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