On Saturday morning, we went to the Northwest Bookfest
for a few hours. Although we arrived at around 10:30, there were floods of folks heading down to Hangar 39 in the old Sandpoint Naval Station. It did a booklover’s heart good to see such crowds. R went to the Nick Bantock
interview, while I went to see one of my homies in the panel “Writing the Revolution: Political Writers Sound Off.” It was a great discussion, the sort that makes you want to seek out the work of the panelists and reassures you that readers really care about news, newspapers, and news Web sites. One of the panelists didn’t show up, which left the podium an all-male space, but the three guys were a nice cross-section: the moderator an old-time newspaper columnist in his 60s, Panelist No. 1 a middle-aged guy who has worked for years on alternative weeklies and now does a lot of writing for the Web, and Panelist No. 2 in his mid-20s who has spent most of his career writing and editing for the Web. And yet, despite their varied backgrounds, ages, and political views, they were all on the same page when it comes to journalism.
Walking around the bookfest was slightly weird since this is the first year I’ve had absolutely nothing to do but shop and panel-hop. In the festival’s early years I had to staff a stall, then last year I was on a panel (since a couple of folks didn’t show up it was just Dan Savage and I). It’s a nicely organized event combining mainstream publishing; a lot of space for local authors, most of them slightly crazy self-publishers; some big-name writers (Bantock and Chuck Palahniuk were just two of the famous types wandering around yesterday); a cool book arts section; and goofy things like big chess, a Scrabble station, and crafts areas.
I didn’t buy much—in fact just a wacky-looking book called The Cheese Monkeys: A Novel in Two Semesters
, which won me over with its crazy genius design. Oh, and naturally I also bought a souvenir T-shirt.