Why Book Festivals are Magic

Read Local Book Festival, Durham, NC

I had the pleasure of spending a few hot hours at the vibrant, eclectic Read Local Book Festival yesterday. I chatted with local authors and publishers and took home more books than my shoulders appreciated carrying. It was wonderful!

The best thing was how it made me feel: Connected. Inspired. Positive.

I hadn’t felt that way toward writing or books or the literary world in a while. Instead, I felt something between apathy and annoyance. Bogged down and desensitized by the endless stream of new books on my social media feeds. Overly marketed-to. Disillusioned by some of my author friends’ disheartening experiences with publishing their own works.

But, at the Read Local Festival, like at NC LitFest last year, I was surrounded by dozens of authors, all of them friendly, accessible and willing to engage about their work, their lives, their passions. Real people, with stories to tell, looking for folks who want a good story to read. Real writers, living not far from me, doing the writing thing, living the writing life.

It made me think that maybe there’s hope for me yet.

Maybe, if I keep at it, actually take a manuscript through the hot mess of a first draft, the hair-pulling fixes of a second draft, the slightly more sensical product of a third draft, and so on…I might actually get it to a state where it could see the light of someone else’s home.

It also made me excited to inhale a dozen new books, most of which weren’t even on my radar two days ago. That’s always a good thing. I figure I’ll probably never finish all the books I set my mind to reading, so why try to cull the list? Resistance is futile.

The best thing about discovering books through their authors is making that personal connection. I relish the privilege to talk to an author for a few minutes, learn about her, find out where a book’s seeds came from. Especially in an informal, unintimidating setting like yesterday’s (sometimes readings, even by the most animated of authors, can get a tad stuffy and stale and feel more like lectures than entertainment). It makes reading the book all the more special and interesting.

So, here I am, then. Rejuvenated, invigorated, replenished as both a writer and a reader. Eager to turn every page in every book I brought home. Feverish to make someone else feel that way about my work one day.


  6 comments for “Why Book Festivals are Magic

  1. Chris
    May 18, 2015 at 8:01 am

    I so wanted to go this event. I’m glad you had a good time!

    • Cornelia_LO
      May 18, 2015 at 9:03 am

      Thanks! It got a bit overwhelming at times, but it was definitely a good experience.

  2. May 18, 2015 at 9:06 am

    I hope they have something like this in Chapel Hill soon.

    • Cornelia_LO
      May 18, 2015 at 2:24 pm

      Yeah. The people there weren’t just Durhamites. (One of the authors I chatted with came up all the way from Charlotte.) It was organized/presented in part by, and benefited, the Durham County Library. Maybe we should ask the CHPL to host one soon…

  3. May 18, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    This was a wonderful post, Cornelia. I’m happy that you felt a connection to the authors and even more importantly, inspired. I will check into your writing. Thank you.

    • Cornelia_LO
      May 18, 2015 at 2:19 pm

      Thanks, Susan! And welcome! :)

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