The Sunday Salon: UCF Book Festival

Yesterday, Ben and I headed over to Orlando for the UCF Book Festival. Last year got there, saw Billy Collins, and went home. This year, we decided to experience more of the festival by attending some of the author panels (the festival also got a a lot bigger in its second year and drew some really good authors).

Blood and Poison Across the Centuries: True Tales of Crime and Science
Holly Tucker; Douglas Starr; Deborah Blum

This panel was SO interesting. I really just wanted to see Holly Tucker because I’d heard such great things about Blood Work, but now I want to read all three of their books.

Family Secrets
Lori Roy; Susan Hubbard; Eleanor Brown

This panel didn’t end up being much about Family Secrets but I LOVE Eleanor Brown and she is even better in person than she is on Twitter. After the panel, I was able to meet her and have her sign my copy of The Weird Sisters (which you all should read because it is amazing).

In case you can’t tell, Eleanor Brown signed my book “To Books! To Shakespeare! To Twitter!” which is pretty much the best inscription ever. You all should definitely follower her on twitter (@eleanorwrites). Because she’s awesome. I also got my copy of Blood Work signed and purchased a copy of Bent Road by Lori Roy after her panel.

After the festival, we met up with a few other Florida bloggers for dinner and had a blast. Book bloggers are just so easy to get along with.

(clockwise from bottom left)
Jason (Jenny’s husband), Jenny @ Take Me Away, Sandy @ You’ve Gotta Read This, Liz @ Cleverly Inked
Heather at Book Addiction, Heather at Raging Bibliomania, Me, Ben

As bloggers in Florida, I think we often feel a little more isolated than some other parts of the country so it was really nice to hang out with everyone and I hope we do it again soon.

All in all, a VERY good, bookish day.

TSS – Billy Collins & Poetry

Yesterday, Ben and I made the 2-hour drive (where’s that high speed rail?) to Orlando to attend the very first University of Central Florida Book Festival. Authors, publishers, and readers spent the day listening to lectures and readings, meeting writers, and buying books. This festival caught my eye pretty early, and if it had been in Tampa, I would have no hesitation about going. But it was in Orlando, so something bigger than that had to convince us to attend. That thing was Billy Collins.

I am not a poetry reader. I believe I recently shared the root of this problem with you: too much John Donne in AP English 10 years ago. However, Ben does enjoy poetry (English teachers and their poetry *shakes head*) and his favorite poet is Billy Collins. And I just really wanted to meet someone who had been the U.S. Poet Laureate (can I be the laureate of something?) So we went to the festival primarily for him.

He was a delight. Funny, quick, and all-over entertaining. He read us some of his poems and I found myself thoroughly enjoying them. His poems are about everything and anything, from a lost chess piece, to a spring day, to Virginia Woolf and her inflatable canoe. Perhaps poems are better spoken than read (and at least I don’t have to analyze these ones in a timed writing).

After he was done speaking, he signed our books. He was friendly and seemed to enjoy speaking with his fans. He joked about how Ben actually knew how to find a title page, and asked where I went to school and worked. I don’t get to author signings like those of you in the more literary cities do, so I don’t have much to compare him to, but I can’t imagine all writers are like that. If they are, I must start going to more of these things and perhaps move to one of those literary cities.

I thought this experience was fitting for National Poetry Month and I may just give poetry another chance now. Ten years should be a long enough recovery time, right?