What I’d See If I Could See Things: A Texas Book Festival Dream Weekend.

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So, I will not be attending many events during TXBF weekend. I will be in the shadow of the capitol all weekend, but I’ll be slinging books at the PRH/BookPeople tent. I’m not complaining. In fact, putting books directly into the hands of customers is one of my favorite things to do.

I wanted to take a quick moment to mention a handful of events that I will be especially sad to miss.

Oh, and if you don’t go to TXBF, please start. It’s a Texas book lover’s nirvana.

Here’s what I’d see if I could in chronological order:

Saturday:

  • Yuyi Morales reads from her new picture book, RUDAS. It’s an amazing book, and your kiddos will be fully entertained! (Saturday, 10:30, Children’s Read Me a Story Tent)
  • Jacqueline Woodson reads from her new book, ANOTHER BROOKLYN. This is Brit Bennett’s favorite book of 2016, so I’m already hooked. Woodson is a literary superstar, and she’ll be paired with debut novelist Kaitlyn Greenidge, so it’s sure to be a wonderful, important discussion.  (Saturday,  11, Central Presbyterian)
  • Ottessa Moshfegh and a group of O’Henry Award winners will be talking about their work. The O’Henry Awards has a reputation for finding young, talented writers on the rise, and Moshfegh is right up their alley. In 10 years you’ll be saying, ‘I knew her back in the day!’  (Saturday, 11:45, Capitol Extension Room E2.028)
  • Nick Offerman will be talking to Lois Kim about his new book, GOOD CLEAN FUN.  Offerman is humorous and earnest, and so so so smart. (Saturday, 12:30, First Baptist Church)
  • The celebration of Latin Amer Lit will feature Cardenas, Neuman, Rabasa, and Ruiz-Camacho! Need I say more? So much great work is flowing out of LA right now, and these four are the tip of the spear. (Saturday, 12:30, Ahora Si Tent)
  • Phoebe Robinson! Phoebe F*#@ing Robinson!!!! Phoebe’s new book YOU CAN’T TOUCH MY HAIR is funny and poignant and is required reading for living in 2016. Oh, and she’s super cool. (Saturday, 1:00, Capitol Extension Room E2.014)
  • Eileen Myles is a legend. Truly one of the most important voices in American letters, Myles has something to say that you need to hear. The uber intelligent Jenn Shapland will be moderating, so that guarantees a fine show. (Saturday, 2:00, Central Presbyterian)
  • Jessica Luther’s book UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT is one of the more important works, especially to Texans, especially to parents, especially to humans who are currently alive. Taking a look at sexual assault and college football is not the easiest way to earn a living, but some are called to a cause, and we should listen to what Ms. Luther found. (Saturday, 2:00,C Span Tent)

Sunday –

  • Molly Frisinger and her team of taco scientists wrote a wonderful book called THE TACO CLEANSE. Tongue placed firmly in cheek, this book will have you laughing all the way to a healthy(?) vegan, taco lifestyle. (Sunday, 11:00, Food Tent)
  • Yaa Gyasi’s HOMECOMING is one of those special debuts that will be talked about for decades. Gyasi will be joined by two other new voices, Belle Boggs and Jade Chang, to show Texans just what the future of Literature looks like. (Sunday, 11:30,Capitol Extension Room E2.036 )
  • Marisa Silver (LITTLE NOTHING) & Stephen Graham Jones (MONGRELS) will be talking to me about their genre bending, world building works of literary fiction. I’m so honored to be the moderator for this, and I hope to see all of y’all there!  (Sunday, 1:30, Capitol Extension Room E2.010)
  • TXBF is such a wonderful place to learn about things you never knew you wanted to know, and Lydia Pyne’s exploration of seven skulls as a way of understanding the history of humans is so jaw droppingly good that you’ll wonder why you never became a scientist, it’ll also have you rubbing and poking your own head for clues. (Saturday, 12:15, Capitol Extension Room E2.016)
  • Benjamin Rybeck and Steve Toltz are so awesome. Their awesomeness might only be eclipsed by the awesome awesomeness of Doug Dorst. This panel will be writers who are writer’s writers talking about working through struggles with little hope for a pot of gold. It” be awesome! (Sunday, 12:15, Capitol Extension Room E2.010)
  • Jose Skinner is a Iowa Writer’s alum, a chronicler of real folks, in real situations, and is on the verge of becoming known as one of the great short story tellers of out time. His work is already there, but we need to catch up to him. You can start at TXBF. (Sunday, 2:00, Capitol Extension Room E2.030).

There’s so much more to see, and so much more to do. I hope I see all of y’all at the Capitol this weekend. Come see me in the RHP/BookPeople booth, I’ll sell you a book, and the world will be a happier place.

Thanks so much.

Brian Contine, Bookseller

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