Sunday, October 12, 2008

Saturday Fun

The Southern Festival of Books was fun. There are fewer vendors each year, which is sad, but we attended some great sessions. One of the booths had audio tapes for $5 each or five for $20. Here's what I bought: Best Jazz Age Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald (2 cassettes), Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters (4 cassettes0, Great American Writers with stories from Ann Beattie, Arthur Miller, Joyce Carol Oates, John dos Passos, Isaac Bashevis Singer, John Updike, Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Wolfe, Langston Hughes, Jack Kerouac, and others (6 cassettes). The last two are read by a group of impressive actors such as Ossie Davis, Sam Waterston, Edward Asner, Julie Harris, and many other good readers. I'm looking forward to listening to those. The two others are Roosevelt and Churchill: Men of Secrets by David Stafford (8 cassettes) and The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope by Jonathan Alter (whom I've seen on MSNBC and NBC news shows and read in Newsweek). This one also has 8 cassettes and is something I thought might make me feel better to hear right now since we're in the same situation in our country we were when he took office. Here's what the back cover had:

Instead of becoming the dictator so many wanted in those first days, FDR rescued the banks, put men to work immediately, and laid the groundwork for his most
ambitious achievements, including what eventually became the Social Security Administration. Alter explains how FDR's background and experiences uniquely qualified him to pull off an astonishing conjuring act that saved both democracy and capitalism.
These audio books will keep me company while I work on decluttering the house. And yes I did teach American Literature and US History.

The sessions we attended were interesting. The first one had a panel with Marshall Chapman, Tommy Womack, and R. B. Morris, all singer-songwriters who have written books. Marshall Chapman has been around Nashville for about forty years when she came to Vanderbilt as a student and stayed as a songwriter. She's a hoot, a great entertainer, and interesting person. Tina and I cracked up at Tommy Womack. His wife was passing out bookmark-type things that had when his appearances would be and books. I told her I was glad to see which one he was, and she said, "Yeah, he's the charactery one," and he definitely is! He's quirky, creative, funny, articulate, and intelligent. I loved this song he sang titled "Alpha Male And The Canine Mystery Blood" from his CD THERE, I Said It! I found it on You Tube, and Marshall Chapman is on stage with him. I gave him a standing ovation after it all by myself.

Sherman Alexie was next and is quite a storyteller and very entertaining. He wrote the book and screenplay for Smoke Signals which he said has been seen by 99.9% of American Indians. I love that movie and his writing. He also wrote The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, The Toughest Indian in the World, and many more. He was absolutely hilarious and engaging. If you ever get a chance to hear him, please go.

Our last session was with Rick Bragg, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, whose memoirs All Over but the Shoutin' and The Prince of Frogtown chronicle life with his mother and abusive, alcoholic father and then his experience as a stepfather and wanting to hear some good stories about his father. I enjoyed hearing his personable, honest presentation.

It was a very good day but a little too hot, so it felt good to be in the War Memorial Auditorium during the afternoon. They have their schtick down pretty well by now. We went to Hot Kabobs after the festival for a tasty meal.


Berry Blog said...

Tremendously rich day.The breadth of your literary knowledge is astounding sometimes.
In our course up here this week, I am reading Kafka for my first time. Imagine that. How could I have missed that when Freud drew on his works so heavily to formulate his theories? sometimes I think there are more gaps in my education than