Saturday, July 23, 2011

Iowa City Book Festival 2011

I seriously should have my blogger license revoked... I did not take a single picture!! What was I thinking? Besides "gee it's really hot out!"

Never the less, I wanted to post on my time spent there, to me a little slice of heaven. :)

I looked forward to this for so long and was so happy to get to it. I was here on the University of Iowa campus at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and the host sight for the event was just down the hill in a square outside the University Main library called Gibson Square. I made arrangements with my best friend and she drove over and met me and we walked down.

I came to the Festival with a high level of hyperactive anticipation and while the actual atmospheric level wasn't quite on par with my energy it was still pretty dang fun! (after all I was sorta like a jack russel terrier at a superball convention as far as my excitement was concerned). Sara and I walked languidly up and down the walkways lined with vendors and authors with tables and tables of wonderful books!

There were a few authors that I wish I could have spent more just to pick up their book for having the diligence to come out in the heat and sit and talk with everyone about their work. And some looked pretty interesting!

There were flashes of brilliance... I saw a paper sign on a book shelf at a booth down the walkway a ways "Free Books" and of course had to make a beeline for.

The booth belonged to Defunct Books

521 E. Washington St., Iowa City, IA 52240
The bookstore is upstairs above the restaurant The Red Avocado. I'm going next week.

Anyway these guy had a brilliant idea and put stickers inside their free books for a dollar off with trade in. I mean I want to keep the book I got from them, but the ingenuity will garner me a customer and if I had picked up one just to read I most certainly would take it in as a trade in. Snaps to Defunct Books! 

So, as I was saying I did pick up a book there at their booth and it just happened to be ...buhm buhm buhm... A SK QUEST BOOK!!!

This is a photo from their facebook page. The caption reads:  "Waiting to be boxed up for the Great Book Giveaway at the Iowa City Book Festival in Gibson Square Saturday"

And there's my book. back row on the top... A first edition The Tommyknockers. The sign said limit 2 books per person but I felt so blessed I only had the heart to take one! :) 

Sara and I then had a quick bite to eat. (in any critique of the event I'd have to say eating and eating facilities were the only thing that could use some attention, a tent with some picnic tables, some shade, etc) and waited for a couple of author talks we wanted to hear. But alas, we were not able to get in to hear them. The engineers responsible for the seating in Shambaugh auditorium ought to be ashamed of themselves. The author was someone I had corresponded with and I really really wanted her to sign a copy of her book. So we just waited until the talk was over and I was first in line. She is an amazing lady! I was so glad to get to meet her in person. (her books are pretty awesome too!)

She is Heather Gudenkauf and I can not wait to get to her books!! I bought one and Sara bought the other and we'll swap when each is finished.


It was so much like having a backstage pass at a rock concert!! After that Sara and I went back to the table we had visited earlier and picked up the books we said "oh if it's still here I'll get this book". Sara bought a book on murders (she's a lawyer) from the guys who had a table focused on civil war...sorry I don't know the name of your shop or business guys...I'll update if someone lets me know. They had some seriously interesting looking books. 

I found one at the booth of The Haunted Bookshop (at least I'm 99% sure that's the booth it was, I didn't see a business card to grab) - where I may stop tomorrow if I get out of here in time.

Mon - Sun:11:00 am-7:00 pm
The have shop cats. I just LOVE that :)
It was at their booth in Gibson Square where I picked up very resonably a nice paperback copy of A Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood.

On trip two down to the Festival, I took my daughter down. It was pretty hot for her to be out very long so this was a much shorter trip. She picked up 3 books. Two from Prairie Lights' booth and one from Defunct Books. The ladies manning the Prairie Lights booth were discussing how good Gilead was so I had to chime in that I had JUST finished that on audio!! And how much I loved it. They told me that Marilynne Robinson lives right here in Iowa City. Her son was getting married that day in town. How totally cool!! Gyod I love this town! What books my oldest Angel picked up I can't quite remember, maybe I can con her into posting on her own blog about getting them and what they will mean to her.

Then, we took a quick trip through the main library and peeked in on an author talk in Shambaugh. It was Stephanie Kallos, author of Sing Them Home and Broken For You.

I wish we could have stayed longer. That one was a full house!!. We stood in the aisle for just a bit. Long enough that I bumped up Sing Them Home on my TBR pile. It's been there since mid-winter anyway!

Angel needed to sit down and take a break and she wanted REAL food. So we headed out the strip and decided Applebees sounded good as any. It was good food and not too crowded and plenty cool and that's exactly what we were looking for. And we had a good time together!

Sunday was a neat event, unfortunately this year I couldn't participate. In being a UNESCO City Of Literature, author readings were planned all over town in shops, coffeehouses, bookstores, parks, etc. Different times, different genres. There were several I certainly would have enjoyed seeing! It could have been like a pub crawl for the bookish-folk!

All in all, the day lived up to every single bit of my hyper anticipation and now I'm looking so forward to next year!! I want to lobby for an author reading over here at the hospital at the patients library. Or down in the atrium. I think that would be amazing :) Any helpers out there have any advice on how I can make that happen?

I would also like to get some of the area bloggers together! I think that would be a truly good time! Keep your calendars open. Who knows, it could happen!

Shewee this is the longest post I've ever done! Thank you to those of you who stuck with it to the end. :)


  1. This sounds very cool! I've never been to a book festival, but I'm most likely going to one in September, and I can't wait.

  2. You took in more than me and I live here! Haha. I hope you go to The Haunted Bookshop as it is THE BEST bookstore in Iowa City. The only one I shop at regularly. Nialle (the owner) is super awesome.

    And if you want to meet-up I'm game. Although I'll be gone quite a bit over the next week for RAGBRAI. Tweet or email me!

  3. I love book festivals so much. It looks like you all had a wonderful time!

  4. I stuck with it to the end, and enjoyed every sentence (and the photos too)! Makes me wish a similar event were held in my town, and wonder why we don't have a bookfest, given the fact that we probably have more bookstores per capita than anyplace in the U.S.!
    Great post, and glad you had fun with your daughter.