Bookish Ramblings – Fall 2015

      I consider myself very fortunate to have good friends and family to support me throughout the year with my host of medical problems (chronic migraine headaches, fast-developing cataracts, and more). I treasure these people and thank them for all manner of things, especially for facilitating my continued attendance at various book festivals. Before having cataract surgery, it was close to impossible for me to drive great distances due to obvious vision issues. Add to that the fact that I have a migraine headache each and every day (yes, I do mean every day!), it becomes problematic to drive great distances simply because I have no way of knowing if the migraine headache will ratchet up from moderate to severe and thus interfere with my ability to safely travel home. As a result, I’m usually in need of a travel companion whenever I’m attempting to go more than an hour away from home.



Festival #1: 
      This year, one of my friends from a local book group, Shelley, was gracious enough to travel with me to a regional book festival in August, the Lewisburg Literary Festival. (Also met up with another book group friend, Veronica, and her husband.) I’m the type of person that’s willing to drive up to four hours just to meet one of my favorite authors, so the day-trip to Lewisburg was nothing more than a scenic drive to me. Of course, getting to hear both Wiley Cash and Kathryn Stockett, as well as getting books signed by both authors was the highpoint of the day. Spending the day with two of my bookish friends, Shelley and Veronica were additional bonuses. An extra bonus was not having that day’s migraine interfere with driving to and from Lewisburg or being able to enjoy the presentations by Mr. Cash and Ms. Stockett. BTW, if you ever get the opportunity to hear either of these authors speak, go!

Festival #2:

     I’ve spent the past few years raving about the BookMarks festival in Winston-Salem, NC to friends and family. I’ve had the pleasure of taking my nieces to this festival and they’ve enjoyed it as well. This year, one of my bookish friends from North Carolina (a fantastic romance author and former local librarian) decided to attend the festival and we talked another local librarian into attending. My youngest brother, twin diva 8-year-old nieces, and I drove down to spend the weekend in Winston-Salem and attend this year’s festival. The author lineup was amazing: Garth Stein, R.L. Stine, Sandra Brown, Diane Ackerman, Pat Conroy, Cassandra King, Ron Rash, Candace Bushnell, Damon Tweedy, Elizabeth Berg, Patricia Park, Kwame Alexander, Aisha Saeed, and many more. For me, the hardest decisions were which presentation to attend (I wanted to hear everyone) and which books to buy (I wanted them all). My nieces were excited to get books and have them signed by the authors. One of the twins deliberated for close to 10 minutes over what should be signed in her book (told you they were divas). This one-day festival is well worth the trip in my not-so-humble-opinion. Of course, since I didn’t have to drive, I spent the trip down and back reading.

Festival #3:

     The West Virginia Book Festival returns this year, YAY! Due to budget cuts and funding issues, this festival has been on hiatus for the past two years. However, the WV Book Festival returns this weekend with a bang. Friday evening features Neil Gaiman. Yes, Neil Gaiman will be at the West Virginia Book Festival in Charleston, WV on Friday, October 23rd at 7:00 PM at the Charleston Civic Center. Saturday, October 24th will feature Homer Hickam, Jacqueline Woodson, Jeff Shaara, and Jodi Picoult. To say that I’m excited about this festival is a major understatement. This year’s book festival is part of FestivALL Fall, so there are plenty of events happening around town for everyone. I’ll be with the books and book people!


Do you attend any local or regional book festivals? 

Bookish Ramblings

I’m sorry to say I missed both the Books by the Banks festival in Cincinnati, Ohio AND the West Virginia Book Festival in Charleston WV last weekend. Yes it was another series of migraine headaches, and yes I’m pretty bummed about missing both events. I’m especially disappointed in missing the West Virginia Book Festival after reading the following blog entry about Lee Child and his Jack Reacher novels: 
Thanks to Ms. Maguire I’ll be adding the Jack Reacher series to my mountainous TBR list. (BTW, Ms. Maguire is one of the leaders of the CTC Mall Book Group with Ms. Blessing. Both are employees of the Kanawha County Public Library and have done a wonderful job at the last two book club meetings.) Have you read any Jack Reacher novels? If so, what are your thoughts?


Today was the second meeting of the Charleston Town Center (CTC) Mall Book Group. This group meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month from 11:30 A.M. – 12:30 P.M. in the Community Room at Panera in the mall. We just discussed Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (an excellent book; if you haven’t read it then get it, read it or at least add it to your TBR list). Although the book deals with some harrowing and distressing historical events, it is done so in a respectful manner that ends with a sense of hopefulness despite our history of cruelty and intolerance toward one another. Of course I’ve had to also add all of Ms. de Rosnay’s books (or at least those books available in English) to my TBR list . . . I think the online list is over 300 books long. I’m sad to say that not all of Ms. de Rosnay’s books are available in English. (I knew I should have worked harder at studying French in high school and college all those years ago.)


Next month’s CTC Mall Book Group meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 23rd. The book we’ll be discussing is A Parchment of Leaves by Silas House. If you’re interested and work in or near Charleston WV, please join us.

Since the migraine headaches appear to have eased a bit (diminished but not gone), I’ve got to get back to reading.