The fourth or seventh or something largest book festival in the USofA is coming to Tucson this weekend. The tents have been up for ten days. Volunteers have been publicizing and strategizing and organizing and the authors are arriving as you read this. There's a dinner tonight and then session after session after session of writers, creators, designers, thinkers..... and tens of thousands of people.
Brenda Starr doesn't like crowds; she won't be joining me. Elizibeth has plans, as 16 year olds will, so I won't be picking her up on my way downtown. JannyLou is nursing an ailing daughter-in-law in Phoenix; she's not returning until Sunday. I'm on my own, and that's just fine.
There's something quite wonderful about wandering around a space where wandering is not considered bizarre. I can stop and visit my friends at the Humanities Seminars booth without worrying that I am boring a companion. I can choose to sit in on what interests me, and only what interests me. It's self-indulgent, it's intellectually stimulating, and it's free.
Yes, free, from the parking to the presentations. There are books and souvenirs for purchase, of course, but the circus performers and the Science Center and the story tellers and the musicians are there for the listening, no charge at all.
In 2010, the first year I attended, I walked right in to hear Alice Hoffman and Elmore Leonard and Robert Crais. Last year, the lines were out the door and down the staircase and out the next door... and that was an hour before the start of the talk. I've found it more useful to seek out the smaller venues, the secondary presentations by the major authors, to follow my guilty pleasures (Tucson mystery writers) and indulge my inner geek (Merle Reagle).
The only problem is deciding how to be in three places at the same time on Saturday morning at 10:30.
I have comfortable shoes, a carry-all for my water and my snack and my moleskine and some great pens and pencils. I'll have my Kindle, because it's easier to track where I'm going on the bigger screen, but my phone will be charged and ready to photograph the scene. There is an insert to last Sunday's paper sitting on my kitchen table. It lists everything I need to know, organized in every way imaginable. I'll drool over it tomorrow, then enter my plans on the Android App.
I've always relied on the paper schedule, but this year the Festival's website has added a feature that makes electronics the obvious default - there's a locator feature which will tell me where I am and where I need to be.
I'm linking to the posts I've written from previous Festivals. If you're in town, be sure to stop by. I'll be tweeting my locations..... after all, I do have that app.... if you want to join me.
Love at the TFOB
Smiling at the TFOB
Tucson Festival of Books
Words of Wisdom from the TFOB