Saturday, March 17, 2012

Tucson Festival of Books - 2 days of bliss and awesomeness!

Where words become Imagination.....

Chilly and windy on Saturday morning but I am NOT to be deterred. We are there bright and early. I swear, they even saved us the same parking space as last year!! How nice! The crowds were ginormous on Saturday though - 80,000 people that day alone. Everyone was happy and it was a contagiously fun place to be.
  • I heard Alice Hoffman read from her newest book about the Masada, The Dovekeepers. Amazing! I heart her now.
  • I attended a Professional Development class on writing with students. Taught by Ralph Fletcher, only one of the biggest writing gurus in the education-world! I couldn't believe that the place wasn't packed to the gills. Somehow folks weren't aware that educators pay $$$$ for workshops with him. I tried not to squeal with glee, but I got more than a was fantastic!
  • Hot Crime, Hard Science; Forensic Nonfiction - 3 Historians who spoke on the CNN panel about famous nonfiction discoveries....circulation and transfusions, the development of early forensics in France, the Poisoner's Handbook and the study of the fascinating study of poisons and finally the new forensic science brought to America around the 1920's-30's. I learned a LOT! Stretched my brain.
  • Queen Elizabeth and her World - Louis Bayard, Margaret George (yes, THE Margaret George, of the 800 page novels!!) and Jennifer Lee Carrell. Totally an historians afternoon. I was amazed at the amount of research and crafting of words and story that these authors do. Wow~!
  • Last, but not least, for my Saturday schedule was Cozies Need Respect capably moderated by Lesa Holstine from Lesa's Book Critiques and the Glendale Library!! Kate Carlisle, Earlene Fowler, and Avery Aames were the panelists. Gosh - a bibliophile mystery series, quilting mysteries, and a cheese shop series. I was getting hungry by the end!! I've not read many 'cozies' as I guess I really didn't give them the respect that they deserve....I know, I hang my head in shame. After the discussion I really did decide to try a few of them and I've been pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed how these authors could speak to the definition of the genre and alluded to the 'cozy idea' as one for marketing - marketing to women. As a definition Avery Aames defined cozy as a book that would probably not have bad language, sex or gritty, bloody-CSI type crime on the page. The sleuth is an amateur and typically has a 'community' of friends or supporters around them. My definition would probably be - Could I give this book to my mom?? It was a fun end to a fantastic Saturday - - I did NOT want to leave except that I really was tired and hungry! There was no time to shop or eat as I ran from class to class. What was a book-nerd to do?!?!?

I returned to the festival the Sunday morning, this time without my intrepid book-cohort (who had to return home to the valley for other non-bookish obligations...sad, isn't it!) Now I was on my own and I can really power-shop!! I hit a few booths before the crowds arrived and then the day began ....
  • Brad Meltzer was the star speaker for the event and spoke at the Star Pavillion. He was S.U.P.E.R.!! I discovered a new hero!! He was funny, thoughtful, intriguing, honest, forthright, and powerful. He spoke about his family, his beliefs, his books, his History Channel TV show - Decoded, and the legacy we leave behind of ourselves. It was truly the most powerful message I have heard in AGES!
  • Wicked Women was a panel with Thomas Perry (love him - true gentleman) Robert Dugoni, Lisa Lutz, moderated by Barbara Peters. Well done and funny. I have got to get Thomas Perry's new book....note to self! I met the nicest lady from Green Valley - we could be friends, I know.
  • Deadlier than the Male was a panel with JA Jance, Betty Webb, and Elizabeth Gunn and was not my first choice but it was great. I had headed to a Women in History class but the lines were painfully long and I was just not in that sort of mood - soooooo....I headed to the center of the festival and took in these three grand dames of mysteries set in Tucson/Arizona. It was a terrific panel.
  • About the Brain. This is where true serendipity plays a part! CNN hosted panels all weekend long and this one really appealed to me. As I wandered into the theater I found a seat and asked if it was taken, as I climbed over the young woman sitting down I looked closely and it was Alyce from At Home with Books!!!!!! Yeah!! She's all the way from the northwest, folks!! That's a lot of wing flappin' and now we find each other amongst 100,000 bookies?!?!? I can't even find the bathroom. Well we had fun time catching up and then the brain-busting began. The topic was fascinating. Moonwalking with Einstein; The Art and Science of remembering Everything, Annoying; The Science of What Bugs You, and Save Your Brain - three books to be added for my reading pleasure and edutainment!! Wow!
  • Lastly - oh say it ain't so....Doing Your Research or Doctor vs Lawyer; the Final Contest with Steve Berry (lawyer) and Michael Palmer (doctor) moderated by Josh Bazell (doctor!) Totally cool. Their research tips and ideas were fantastic and fun. I loved this class.

Here, I'll show you my wares!! I hit up a second hand bookstore tent and found a couple of these beauties for $1!!! I shopped the UA bookstore, the tents and even found the Kettle Corn booth (before the long lines!) I loved running into authors just wandering around (like me) looking for the perfect book to read. It was a slice of heaven. A reading weekend.

The other slice of heaven was staying at Casa de Mellor... aka my mom's house. Rich and I took my mom and stepdad to the airport Saturday morning so they could leave on a cruise. I was handed the keys to the casa and told to have fun, feed the birds and water the plants. No problemo!! They live in the foothills in a canyon with little cell coverage, plenty of views, sunshine and wild critters. I was in heaven. I would be there still if a cute guy hadn't returned to pick me up come late Monday afternoon. I guess I will have to give up my life of sitting on the patio and reading ALL day. Here at home on Spring Break I have interspersed the patio sitting with library trips and QT runs....

Ahhhh. I feel my blood pressure returning to normal. Yep, this Spring Break is awesome.


Alyce said...

I somehow missed the cheaper books. :) I had a great time chatting with you. Loved that coincidence!

Cathy said...

Your mom's house sounds fantastic. I'm so glad you had a great time in Tucson. One of these years, I'm going to go!