2014 brooklyn book festival!

brooklyn book festival was today!  it’s definitely one of the events i look forward to all year because it’s stuffed full with awesome publishers and authors and panels, and i always have a great time, and this year was no exception.

one.  chip kidd (knopf) and helen yentus (riverhead)!  both art directors, both incredible designers — originally, when the program first came out for bkbf, peter mendelsund was also on the list of panelists, but he was edited out later *sadface* — i could listen to book designers sit and talk about book design for hours.  days even.  i did not know that helen yentus designed those fab covers for camus’ list; the one for the fall is particularly ingenious.

two.  i found waldo!

three.  jeff vandermeer!!!  and lev grossman and deji olukotun!  (though i confess i was mainly there for vandermeer …)  when asked about the trilogy format, vandermeer said that he tried to keep in mind all the things he doesn’t like about trilogies.  like, for instance, when characters have those aha! moments in the third books to wrap things up.  and, when a woman asked a question (very frustratedly, i might add) about what she’s supposed to do with the usual advice of “write what you know,” as part of his response, he said, “you can know a lot about something but not know how to write it.”  (these are very loose “quotes.”  i can only whip out my iphone, put in my passcode, and pull up evernote so fast.)  (i used to be analogue with my note-taking at events, but that never really worked because my handwriting is such shit …)

and, when asked what was next for them, grossman said he needed to get out of the magicians because he’s been immersed in that world for ten years, olukotun said he was working on a next book, and vandermeer said, “cryogenic sleep.”

four.  ROXANE GAY.  can i just sit here and type up quotes (or “quotes”) of awesome things she said?  ok.

  • one of the things about modern discourse is that it’s like people are shouting at each other more often (or instead of) hearing or listening.
  • in response to anna holmes admitting she doesn’t really feel much towards beyonce, “have you seen her body???”
  • if your child’s only role model is beyonce, then you’re a bad parent.  you shouldn’t have a single role model but many.
  • we have to stop being so desperate to attach the label “role model” on any popular person.  we should be looking more at the people on the ground.
  • it takes some audacity as a woman and as a person of color to believe that your voice matters and that you aren’t just taking up unnecessary space.
  • (she also talked about ina garten and how she plans her teaching schedule so she’s free to watch ina garten’s show from 4-5 p.m. everyday.)
  • (she loves teaching.  it inspires her to keep taking risks because, if her students are putting their vulnerabilities on the page, then she should be, too.  teaching also keeps her on top of current fiction and non-fiction.)
  • (her recommendations to a ten-year-old who wants to be a writer:  believe in yourself, that your voice matters.  write everyday [if you can].  read.  read above your age [if your parents are okay with it].  read outside your comfort zone.  read everything.  keep writing.)
  • (the thing that depresses [distresses?] her most about the current world is the continued prevalence of sexual violence against women.  it’s unthinkable that we live in a world where boys are going to college still not knowing what rape is.)
  • even though i have low self-esteem, i still believe in myself.  and even if i don’t, i have a support system of people who do.

roxane gay is awesome.  bad feminist is awesome, too.  idk what you’re doing if you haven’t picked it up and started reading it yet.

five.  why, yes, it is always croissant weather.  even when it’s disgustingly humid.  like today was.

six. i always come back from the brooklyn book festival lighter in monetary funds but richer in tote bags, publications, and books.  though this is a lighter haul pubs/books-wise than previous years’ … i didn’t pay for any of the tote bags, though!  harperperennial and penguin were both giving away tote bags (with a minimum purchase), and the london review gave away tote bags if you signed up for their email newsletter, and the writer’s foundry just gave ‘em away for free!  :D

(i also bought mangoes.  because i love mangoes.)

and, with that, good night!