On this past Saturday, October 24, I attended the first annual Boston Book Festival, which was held at the Boston Public Library, as well as the nearby Old South Church and the Trinity Church, both of which are situated right on the centrally-located and much visited Copley Square.
By the likes of what I saw on a rainy and dreary October fall day this book festival is off to a roaring good start and well on its way to becoming a Boston tradition. I know, these are some pretty big words, but the list of established authors who spoke was quite impressive and the turnout was extraordinary and quite engaging in the different venues that were offered on a schedule that began at 9 in the morning and ended with a packed house at the Old South Church that came to listen to Orhan Pamuk, a Turkish novelist, who received the Nobel prize for literature in 2006.
As Mr. Pamuk talked about and read from his most recent literary effort, The Museum of Innocence, the audience sat spellbound, as they heard tales of life and mores in Turkey during the 1970’s.
But there was a lot more happening here besides the presentation by Orhan, for all throughout the day various panels, lectures and performances were simultaneously happening at several locations through out the library and two churches. If that wasn’t enough, Copley Square was filled with outdoor booths, manned by various book vendors and non-profit organizations from around New England and beyond. There was even a bandstand, where live music was scheduled during the morning and afternoon.The white tent kept the bands dry, but the listening audience had to stand in the intermittent rain to hear the music.
The outdoor vendors were a great place to browse through a myriad of great, book titles or make contact with various Boston institutions such as Berklee College of Music, the Boston Globe, Boston Children’s Museum and the Brattle Bookstore. You could also buy fresh hot coffee, homemade ice cream or sausage sandwiches.
Topics at the various panels and lecture halls included The Future of Reading, Poetry as Music, Sports Writing, the Power of Place, plus many other timely and entertaining topics. All in all, this first annual happening was a big success and I along with a lot of other New England book lovers and readers look forward to next year’s event.