Weekend Reads #18: The National Book Festival

Weekend Reads is a weekly discussion on a variety of topics. At the end of the post, I’ll include what I plan to read on the weekend.

The question for this weekend:

So, what did you do this weekend?

I felt like talking about my weekend hence the question above. We have a three-day weekend here in the U.S. because tomorrow is Labor Day and already mine is off to a great start.

First, I woke at the ungodly hour of 5am yesterday to go zip lining in the Shenandoah Valley out in Virginia somewhere. It was a wonderful outing and I thoroughly enjoyed myself, though I was a bit nervous on the first zip line, which was weird because I wasn’t nervous when I went sky diving. (Smh, I’m such an odd ball.)

It was a wonderful, peaceful drive out west. I was looking forward to seeing the sun rise but it was too cloudy for that, plus I suspect that the sun had already risen when we left out (around 6) but the clouds were blocking it. I don’t know. I also looked forward to seeing some mountains. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a mountain before because whenever I think of mountains, I imagine some monstrosity of nature stretching into the sky, reaching for the limits of the limitless space beyond. We passed some formations that I believe were hills and saw some mounds in the distance that I took for mountains just to satiate that interest for now.

The zip lining was awesome and I highly suggest you go do it if you can. I felt as if I was swinging through the trees like Tarzan, or on a super secret mission to take out some evil enemy like in a spy movie. We were in the thick of some woods, which was a new experience for me but I loved it despite the bugs. I was on the look out for bears, wolves, snakes, and foxes, but all I saw were squirrels, a deer, spiders, and two stick bugs having sex (we unintentionally interrupted them and one, I think it was the lady, ran away. The other stood there looking forlorn.)

I was exhausted by the time I made it back to D.C. and was considering to not bother with the National Book Festival that I’ve wanted to attend for years but haven’t been able to, but my friends (awesome friends) encouraged me not to give up. By the time I got to the Convention Center where the festival was held, I had a migraine and other body parts threatened to hurt as well because of how tired I was. But then I saw this graffiti and felt a little better:

portrait of a minion
portrait of a minion

The Convention Center is huge. By the time I got there, I had just enough time to freshen up, drag on a presentable blouse, and get lost in the building (because I always get lost) before dashing off to see the one author I really wanted to see.

Marlon James
Marlon James

I enjoyed listening to him talk about his recently published book A Brief History of Seven Killings and what inspired him to write this story that’s based on the attempted assassination of Bob Marley. He sometimes touched on my favorite book of his, The Book of Night Women, as well. It was a wonderful presentation with lots of jokes throughout to make it light. As soon as it was done, I dashed off to purchase his new book. I intended to be first in line at his signing but, of course, I got distracted by the other books on the sale floor (Politics and Prose was the bookseller this year).

Like all the other book lovers in attendance, I had to look at ALL the books on display and fondle all the ones that appealed to me, sometimes reading a page or two or just the flap. Then I had to walk around with a few to convince myself to purchase them — Libba Bray’s Lair of Dreams, Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes, Meg Wolitzer’s Belzhar, and Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See — but I was steadfast in purchasing just one because I had to pay full price. Then came the long awaited moment when I meet James, tell him how great his book is, got him to sign the one I bought and the one I brought from home, and took a selfie. 😀

A Brief History of Seven Killings

The Book of Night Women 4

By the time I got home, I was so exhausted I skipped dinner and slept from 7pm to sometime this morning.

Today I’m chilling and reading this:

A Clash of Kings

I’m behind on book reviews/discussions so I don’t want to start a new book just yet.

How is your weekend so far and what do you plan to read?

14 thoughts on “Weekend Reads #18: The National Book Festival

  1. I love the Shenandoah valley! Zip-lining there sounds incredible. I’m glad you had a great time.

    I’ve always wanted to go to the National Book Festival! It was fun reading about your experience there.


    1. Thanks Emily! It was great and I’d love to do it again.
      The festival was great. You should attend next year if you can. Hopefully, I can attend the entire thing next year too or at least see all the authors I want to see.


  2. Hey, what a great sounding time you’re having!, all the ingredients for fun.
    Haha i think that might have been a male stick insect running 😀
    The Lady bug eats the poor stick fella when he’s done the business!!!, or maybe I’m thinking of praying mantis’s ?

    And two autographed books 2 add to your collection, happy days 🙂

    Over here this weekend was father’s day so off to my parents place for me.
    They live about five hundred click’s down south and it’s one spectacular drive.
    From here on the wild and wooded westcoast, the road alternates between the inland forest and the rocky coast, with towering peaks on every curve, then over the pass, past countless torrents of cascading waters.
    The road then enters the highland with it’s rocky outcrops and blue blue lakes, the smell of dry, and herb replacing that of wet and jungle.

    Recent snows melted on the roadside.

    From here dry and rocks become range and river, valley and hill….. Until, the hills are carpeted in the green of spring, undulating vast, the sky big, bleating lambs foretell the summer to come.

    The way back was blizzard, brown, blue, then green, the road empty, the sounds so good.

    Forgot to take my latest read, no time anyways, it’s, OH PURE AND RADIANT HEART, Lydia millet.


    1. Lol, I think that’s the praying mantis. Such a horrible way to go: pleasure then instant death. Lol.
      Ah the scenery sounds beautiful. That’s a great drive, except for the blizzard. It’s hard for me to imagine a blizzard as it’s blazing hot in my side of the world.
      Lol the title of the book made me think it’s a romance.


      1. Oh, that’s cleared that up , i see now the name and the praying are apt.

        The blizzard was fantastic!, glad though it was only 45 minutes, and I didn’t have to sleep in the car. Cool bananas, Hope you can find some shady spot to read or just some chillin B-)

        It’s absolutely a romance!, at least in some of the sence’s, maybe all. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds you had a fantastic day, Zezee! I can imagine how exhausted you must have been when you got home. The mountain photo on the right side is very pretty; reminds me of the mountains in Maine, near where my relatives live.

    Did you end up buying all four books, or just one of them?

    As for what I’m reading: I’m hoping to finish Uprooted by Naomi Novik tonight. It’s really good! Very charming and rustic, like a long-version Grimm fairy tale. I think the next book I’ll read after that will be Siege And Storm by Leigh Bardugo.


    1. Oh it was a wonderful day. I’d like to see more mountains though to thoroughly convince myself that I’ve seen one, lol.
      Nope, I bought just the one because it was about $30 and all the others were hardback and full-priced too.
      I’ll look out for your uprooted review if you do one. I’ve heard and read mixed reviews about it. People either love it or totally hate it.
      I read Shadow & Bone a few weeks ago and before I read it I kept thinking The Darkling was a thing, not a person, so that surprised me, lol.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I should have a review of Uprooted at Goodreads in a day or two. I can see why some readers might not have cared for it… But I personally enjoyed it, and thought it lived up to the praise from the reviews I’d read and trusted.

        What did you think of Shadow and Bone, besides your surprise about the Darkling?


        1. I think it was okay. It’s the type of story I usually go for where the protagonist starts out weak and unsure and gains confidence but after a while Alina started to annoy me and the Darkling’s character development disappointed me towards the end.

          Liked by 1 person

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