Virginia Festival of the Book. I've been meaning to attend ever since we moved to Virginia but every year, some conflict managed to come up. I decided that this year, I would absolutely attend and I'm glad I did.
The book festival lasts a week but given the distance from my home ( over 2 hours each way) I attended just one day. I chose Saturday because I had two friends reading that day: Alan Orloff, whose second mystery, "Killer Routine," just came out, and Valerie Patterson, whose YA novel "The Other Side of Blue" recently was released in paperback. It was great to see both of them present (that's Alan above on the panel "Death: Another Time, Another Place" with (l-r) moderator, Alan, Deanna Raybourn, Paul Robertson and John Connolly. Venues for readings are spread over the historic downtown, which gives you a chance to see the city as you go from one panel to another. It could've been a day in May, it was so gorgeous today. The seats were packed at every presentation. A special thank you to Festival Program Director Nancy Damon who, despite being pulled in twenty directions at once, took time to meet me and talk about next year's program.
Outside of the readings, I got to wander the pedestrian mall. Many of the restaurants have tables on the sidewalks, and they were crowded with people today. A few musicians played in the open air. Couples lounged on benches and on steps in the sunlight.
I stopped by New Dominion Bookstore and got to meet the owner. The shop is fabulous, tall and stuffed to the gills with a wonderful assortment of books, not just tables of bestsellers. It's the kind of bookshop where you can discover a book you've never heard of before. I wished for more time to browse. And I'm definitely looking forward to next year. I hope some of you will join me there.