My favorite time of year in Tennessee is October. The leaves start to change, coating the landscape in crisp reds and yellows. And I have an excuse to dig out my favorite tights and scarves from the back of my closet. My social calendar starts to revolve around weekend bonfires. And my favorite event of the year takes place, The Southern Festival of Books.
Authors from all over come to downtown Nashville to do readings, participate in panel discussions, and sign books for fans. I love going to writer talks even if I’ve never read their books. Writers are the best story tellers, so what they have to say is generally captivating. I always learn something new and walk away with a list of books I want to read.
Some takeaways this year
When asked about feeling comfortable as an outsider in a new situation, “I bring the party with me.” A mantra to live by.
Ann Patchett and Margaret Renkl
If you want to help the environment, don’t rake your leaves.
Last year I saw V.E. Schwab speak. She was fantastic; I immediately bought her book. It took me all year to get around to reading it, but I loved it so much and now want to read everything she’s ever written. I’m on the final book of A Darker Shade of Magic and have Vicious ready to go next.
At her talk, she told the story of being the first person she knew to read Harry Potter, something I also experienced. When asked, she was able to sort all her main characters into their Hogwarts houses. I have reached the age where my peers are creating the culture. There’s something about sharing the same cultural touchstones with writers (or screenwriters, or journalists, or musicians) that makes their books or movies or articles or whatever so much more personal and relatable. It’s something I didn’t know I was missing, but right now cartoons, movies, books, etc are more my sensibility than they’ve ever been. It’s the best.