Book festival reflections

Happy Wednesday! I hope everyone is enjoying this slightly warmer weather. I enjoyed it a bit too much last week as it may have contributed to the illness I’m now fighting. I went to the doctor yesterday and she put me on prednisone to help me cope with a viral sinus infection. ‘Tis the season!

This past Saturday, Mom and I went to Downtown Des Moines’ first-ever DSM Book Festival at Capital Square. It was wonderful! I could not believe how many people attended. The place was packed, contrary to what the photo below might suggest. -_-

I’m not sure why I’m even sharing this photo, as I took it late in the day so there’s not much of a crowd. But it gives you a vague idea of the setup.

There was something for everyone! Several vendors were on hand to sell their own books or book-related products (handmade jewelry and journals made with recycled book covers). Organizations such as the Iowa Jewish Historical Society and the State Library of Iowa educated attendees. There were discussion sessions on specific books as well as reading-related crafting and cooking activities.

Garth Stein

Many attendees seemed especially excited about appearances by widely-known authors Garth Stein (“The Art of Racing in the Rain”), Nnedi Okorafor (“The Black Panther”) and Susan Orlean (“The Library Book”). Mom and I attended Stein’s session and I bought a copy of his book to have him sign. He had a lot of interesting insights to share about the world of publishing and where he drew inspiration for his best-known work. “The Art of Racing in the Rain” has been adapted into a film that will be released later this year and stars Milo Ventimiglia, Amanda Seyfried and Kevin Costner.

As much as I enjoyed hearing Stein speak, the highlight of the day was attending a couple of panel discussions featuring Iowa authors. “The Ins, Outs and Everything in Between” and the Iowa Authors’ Panel that followed were pretty much one and the same, but with different guests. The writers, who specialize in various styles from crime to memoir, shared about their personal journeys and offered advice about the unique process of writing and how it looks different for everyone.

Between the panels, I had a chance to network a bit. That got me excited about some opportunities to exercise my writing muscles. When I returned to my seat for the Iowa Authors’ Panel, I couldn’t help thinking one of the guests looked familiar. Then I saw the two books she had brought with her and realized I was sitting just a couple of feet away from Kimberly Stuart! I reviewed “Sugar” back in February 2017 and met her a few months later, completely by chance, at a Barnes and Noble in West Des Moines. And then, of course, we moved up here a few more months after that.

Kimberly and I reconnected after the panel and had a very nice visit. She was so kind and encouraging. Of course, I couldn’t leave without buying a copy of her latest book, “Heart Land,” and having her sign it.

I left the book festival with a very full heart and the confidence boost I need in order to not only dive deeper into books, but more importantly to start writing more and with greater intention. There’s so much I have to offer the world, and while there are obstacles, there are far more opportunities.

Thank you for coming up to share this special day with me, Mom!

My biggest fan and me
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2 thoughts on “Book festival reflections

  1. Pingback: REVIEW: “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein | That Book Lady Blog

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