National Book Festival

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September 25th, 2005

 National Book Festival Washington DC


National Bookfest is an annual, one day event in Washington DC.  It takes place on the National Mall, which is a grassy area located in a Cross shape and that intersects from the US Capitol Building to the Washington Monument, from the White House to the Lincoln Memorial... It is hosted by the Vice President's wife.  Activities include readings, lectures, Q&A sessions and book signings.  Everything is free and books are available for sale from the Library of Congress, who puts up tents for the events. It's a long day.  So bring sunscreen, sunglasses, bug spray, something to sit on, water and good walking shoes. There is limited food and drinks available on the grounds itself.  Food is a little difficult to find in the surrounding areas as well; you'll either need to go into the city and search the one way streets or head back to the highway.  There are a couple temporary trucks set up though (mostly just hot dogs and hamburgers).  There are "porta-pottys" available but no fixed restrooms or changing areas for babies.  I don't like to use the porta-pottys, so we found a building open and went in there, but not all buildings are open since they are federal buildings.  So be aware of that. Don't forget your camera; as more then 70 authors are usually on the ground.  Some celebs included the ones below which I personally got to meet/see and people like John Glenn, Lynne Cheney (who wasn't there this time as the Vice President was having surgery on his knee), John Irving and many more. I got autographs form Andrea Mitchell, Leeza Gibbons, David McCullough, Meg Cabot, David Baldacci, Laurie Smith, RL Stine, Neil Gaiman and Jerry Pinkney.  I didn't have time for others, I would have liked to have gotten John Glenn and also John Irving.



Left to right:  Andrea Mitchell, Leeza Gibbons, David McCullough, Meg Cabot and Joesph Ellis

Left to right:  David Balducci, Laurie Smith, RL Stine, Neil Gaiman and Jerry Pinkney

Left to right: Crowd, The Tents/workers, General overview, and unknown author



First Lady Bookfest page

Library of Congress


National Bookfest

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September 29th, 2006

National Bookfest Washington, DC

This year, there weren't many authors that intrigued me. I really didn't have the time to get the ones I was contemplating anyway (Scott Turow, Michael Connelly). The authors this year included:  William Alexander, Marie Arana, Kai Bird, Taylor Branch, Douglas Brinkley, Geraldine Brooks, Christopher Buckley, Andrew Carroll, Cyrus Cassells, Kevin Clash, Andrew Clements, Harlan Coben, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Bryan Collier, Michael Connelly, Jim Cramer, Dick Davis, Tony Diterlizzi, Sharon Draper, Bruce Feiler, Vince Flynn, John Hope Franklin, G Garvin, Dana Gioia, Julia Glass, Doris Kerans Goodwin, John Grogan, Donald Hill, Daniel Hoffman, Khaled Hosseini, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Mary Karr, Elmer Kelton, Betsy Lewin, Sharyn McCrumb, John McCutcheon, Alice McDermott, Brad Meltzer, Steffanie Meyer, Sheila Moses, Kadir Nelson, Elise Paschen, Richard Peck, George Pelicanos, Nathaniel Philbrick, Kathy Reichs, Robert Remini, James Reston Jr., Jeanne Robinson, Sharon Robinson, Spider Robinson, Lucia St. Clair Robson, Louis Sachar, Marcus Samuelsson, Lisa Scottoline, Martin Sherwin, Daniel Silva, Alexander McCall Smith, Alexandra Stoddard, Deborah Tannen, Mark Teague, Terry Trueman, Scott Turow, Amy Uyematsu, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, Juidith Viorst, Mo Willems, Rosalind Wiseman, Bob Woodward, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, David Yezzi, Gennady Spirin (Artist for this year). Waited in line from 12:30 to 3:15 till Bob Woodward started to sign.  They released his new book early just for the signing so that was way cool (could read a few pages in line).  Scott got the artists signature on the poster while I waited in line; he also fetched drinks, got me another bag so I could sit on the wet ground, bought me a second book and this all kept him a little busy so he'd not have to wait in line so long.  Jeremy showed up; then we walked to the WWII Monument.  Before the Bookfest we went to the Natural History Museum. Anyway, another fun event.


1) Bob Woodward 2) Crowd, 3) Bob Woodward again 4) Gennady Spirin 5) Bob Woodward Sign


1) Mounted Police 2) Security 3) Signing area


National Bookfest

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September 29th, 2007

National Bookfest Washington, DC


This year, there weren't many authors that intrigued me.  I got Mercer Mayer to sign my posters and Harry Turtledove signed a bookplate for me and a book for my friend.  I waited in line for over an hour for Joyce Carol Oates who refused to sign my bookplate because she was only signing her new book.  There was a guy in back of me who had an anthology signed by like 19 other authors and only she was missing; I guess she refused that too! Boycott her further books... she's not very nice.  I mean if she's worried about someone selling her sig, she could just sign one and dedicate it.  If she is worried about them having a bookplate, what good is a bookplate without a book?  If I didn't have one then, I'd get one.  Well now she lost a sale and not only that, I and others are spreading the word.  While there, there were a number of festivals going on including a Greek festival, a WWII gathering, a marathon, a cycle race and more.  It was INSANE to get a parking space or go anywhere in the city as a number of streets were blocked off.  On the way back home, an accident on I-95 made it a LONG 6 hour trip to get home.  It took literally 2 hours and 48 minutes to go 12 miles!  It was almost as bad as that one year that took us over 7 hours going there and over 5 coming back.  Normal time is 2.5-3.5 hours and on long weekend holidays or rush hour, maybe 4 hours.  So you can see how nightmarish this was.  Bookfest is free.  Recommend bug spray, suntan lotion (I got burned pretty good), sunglasses, a sweater in the car "just in case", and they have porta potties and a couple food vendors (not as many as they should considering the amount of people) and the limited menu consists of pretzels, fries, chips, ice cream, soda and hot dogs.  That's about it.  It's 8.05 for hot dog, small soda and fries.  Crazy.  The Bookfest gives out free water though (warm). Good walking shoes are recommended and money for parking.  Parking is free only on weekends on SOME  metered streets.  Many streets have no parking at all and the garages charge as much as 10.00 an hour.  We stayed at the Sheraton hotel and they charged 16.00 to park.


Left to Right: 1) C-Span Bus 2) Patricia MacLachlan 3) Harry Turtledove 4) Protesters 5) Stephen Hunter

Left to Right: 1) Susan Vreeland 2) Tents and Washington Monument 3) Mercer Mayer 4) Unknown Author (if you know please email) 5) Victoria Rowell


National Bookfest

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September 27th, 2008

National Bookfest Washington, DC


Authors this year included:


Rick Atkinson, Tiki Barber, Mary Brigid Barrett, Louis Bayard, Ellen Birnbaum, Eavan Boland, Jan Brett, Geraldine Brooks, Marc Brown, Sandra Brown, Warren Brown, Joseph Bruchac, Marcus Buckingham, David A. Carter, Eleanor Clift, Doreen Cronin, Elsa Cross, Marisa de los Santos, Michael Dobbs, Kimberly Dozier, Sharon M. Draper, George Duran, Arthur Frommer, Pauline Frommer, Neil Gaiman, Philippa Gregory, Michael Harper, Tony Horwitz, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Immaculée Ilibagiza, Walter Isaacson, Steven Kellogg, Betsy Lewin, Bob Lanier, Michael Lind, David Maraniss, James McBride, Brad Meltzer, Julie Morgenstern, Kadir Nelson, Katherine Paterson, Molly Peacock, Andrea Davis Pinkney, Richard Price, Francine Prose, Doreen Rappaport, Matthew Reinhart, Mike Richman, Cokie Roberts, Peter Robinson, J. Allyn Rosser, Salman Rushdie, Kay Ryan, Robert Sabuda, Bob Schieffer, Nancy Schulman, Daniel Schorr, Jon Scieszka, Cathy Scott, David Shannon, Judy Sierra, Michelle Singletary, Alexander McCall Smith, Charles R. Smith Jr.,  R. L. Stine,  Paul Theroux, Judith Viorst, Dionne Warwick, Gordon S. Wood


We attended for the fourth year in a row.  Next year I may have to make a "continued page" as I love going every year and don't want this page to get too long!  This year was a bit different for us.  We arrived a little later than usual as we were going to go to the Aquarium first with our son, but traffic was a bear and his house was further than we thought.  So we decided to get there first and do the Aquarium later.  Anyway, I got into Jan Brett's line about 9:30 after buying books; with over 70 authors, I had to pick and choose and every year I get the poster artist and that was a priority.  While buying books, Laura and Jenna Bush were already signing. I had no idea they'd be there or I'd of begged to go there first... so I missed that.  If I'd of done that, Jan Brett would've been a no-go though as I was the last person in the first line and they cut off her line 8 people or so before me.  But after begging, the first line finished and the other 4 lines were out of luck!  Sad.  While I waited to get my annual poster signed, Scott and Jeremy went to Salman Rushdie's line and to get lunch (yes, before the time I got Jan's sig, it was lunchtime already).  Scott also had the problem of going several blocks to the car to get the battery for the camera which he forgot. After returning, he got Salman's sig (released my son to let him go home as he was bored) and I went to Dionne Warwick's line. I spied next to her line the Matthew Reinhart Line which I wanted, but there were already a few hundred people and I knew there was no way I was going to make it.  Even if Scott got in the line, it would've been impossible.  So after that, we left.  It was almost over by then!  Neil Gaiman's line was several blocks long... again!  He's most popular for some reason.  I know people wanted me to get Tiki Barber's sig, but there was no time, plus they were all picky.  Now, they will only sign their books and usually only the newest ones which you have to buy there.  It's expensive that way and they make more money.  Also, many insist on personalizing or refuse to personalize all together.  Mostly, some people will only sign ONE item but some will sign more depending on time.  I only got three items this year.  It was a far cry from 2005 and 2006!  Anyway, National Bookfest is an event annually (less than 10 years running) and they put up tents where speakers read from books or lecture or read poetry.  This year was the year of the states, and they had a tent with tables of every state, with goodies for kids like stickers, buttons, pamphlets and such things to learn about the states.  There is always one or two book tents to buy books.   Also, there is a couple of food carts, a small carousel in the area, and they give out free tote bags, posters and water.  It's a lot of waiting and standing. So bring a stool or blanket or good walking shoes, umbrella (it rained this weekend), water, something to roll your books around is better than the tote as it starts to get heavy.  Bring plenty of film for the camera, cell phone and a buddy to help you in lines, money for those expensive books and food (three hot dogs two sodas and one fries cost 22.00).  Plan to spend ALL day.  Also pick 2-4 authors you want the most and don't bring old books or too many from one author.  Odds are you will not get them signed.



1) Dionne Warwick 2) Dionne Warwick 3) Tiki Barber 4) Tiki Barber 5) Salmon Rushdie


1) Neil  Gaiman's line... or one of them (he had several) 2) Bookfest from across the reflecting pool in front of the Capitol 3) Various Tents/Volunteers


National Bookfest

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September 26th, 2009

National Bookfest Washington, DC


Sabiha Al Khemir, Julia Alvarez, David Baldacci, Dan Balz, Mary Brigid Barrett, Holly Black, Judy Blume, Douglas Brinkley, Ken Burns, Patrick Carman, Lee Child, Mary Jane Clark, Margaret Coel, Michael Connelly, Sharon Creech, Carmen Agra Deedy

Paula Deen, Junot Díaz, Kate DiCamillo, Tony DiTerlizzi, Kirstin Downey, Dayton Duncan, W. Ralph Eubanks, Julia Glass, Annette Gordon-Reed, Nikki Grimes, John Grisham, Shannon Hale, Craig Hatkoff, Edward Hirsch, Jane Hirshfield, Gwen Ifill

John Irving, Craig Johnson, Haynes Johnson, Steven Kellogg, Liz Kessler, Sue Monk Kidd, Jeff Kinney, Mark Kurlansky, Lois Lowry, Valerie Martínez, Megan McDonald, Jon Meacham, Ana Menendez, Rickey Minor, Walter Mosley, Azar Nafisi, Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah, Kadir Nelson, Katherine Neville

Tim O'Brien, James Patterson, George Pelecanos, Jodi Picoult, Jerry Pinkney, Rick Riordan, Marilynne Robinson, Sharon Robinson, S.J. Rozan, Kay Ryan, Charles Santore, Simon Schama, Jon Scieszka, Lisa Scottoline, David Shannon, Daniel Silva, Patricia Smith, Nicholas Sparks, Patricia Sullivan, James L. Swanson, Ann Kidd Taylor, David A. Taylor, Jeannette Walls, Colson Whitehead, Mo Willems, Jacqueline Woodson, David Wroblewski


This is the fifth year in attendance. It did start to rain while there.  We took our sons with us.  Even with four of us there, we only managed three authors and one artist.  They  were (Viewable autographs on the autograph site): John Irving, John Grisham, James Patterson, and Charles Santore.  the same things were there including pavilions with kids activities, poetry readings, lectures and places to buy books. John Grisham had fairly large security like he was a rock star. While there we did do an embassy hunt which nearly ends my embassy project.  See that in the Travel section under Washington DC and Foreign Embassies. One more trip will finish the project.  We took other photos which will be online later; but in the meantime, enjoy the photos from this event:


1) Author John Irving 2) Author John Grisham 3) Author James Patterson 4) Artist Charles Santore and 5) Crowd (which seems to expand annually)


1) Characters from books 2) A man on the bicycle who can't speak who carries a dog with him; he's got throat cancer from smoking and touts the evils of tobacco/tobacco companies and 5) the annual Washington monument photo.

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