I would not recommend the National Book Festival, disappointingly. Perhaps I am used to a more “intimate” relationship with novels and their authors, being so plugged in to the Historical Novel Society or maybe it’s my dislike of million-copy NYT bestsellers (generally), and the hubris that accompanies many of their authors. . . .There was nothing personal and inviting about this “festival.” I stood in line in the 90 degree heat-swollen day to get a quick glimpse of Ken Follett as he quickly signed a bookplate without so much as a word. And of course, the book was not released early, and since I was not the only person disappointed in the “discrepancy” and “lack of communication” regarding this issue, I can assume that most of the fans there were as expectant as I was. Other than signings, there were author readings and discussions in various tents, but the crowds were large; space, limited; and the weather, uncomfortable. Not what I was looking for at all. Much hype and little substance.
That being said, I am still looking forward to reading Follett’s latest, but I shall simply pretend I never had this experience.