This fall there will be the Ninth Annual National Book Festival in DC.
Laura Bush started it up, with the help of the Library of Congress, while George Bush was president, modeling it on the very successful Texas Book Festival she started in Austin when GWB was governor here (have I mentioned she and I are both alumni of the School of Information at UT? We're practically twins).
Anyway, with the Bush family no longer in DC, there was a lot of talk about whether or not the National Book Festival would go on, but at the end of May, President and Mrs. Obama announced they would act as honorary chairs for the event and it would go forward as before. Since this is the first year I'd live close enough to actually consider going, there were some quiet cheers from my direction at this announcement.
The cheers were louder, though, two weeks ago, when they announced the author lineup. You can check out the whole list here, but I was particularly thrilled to see Shannon Hale, Kadir Nelson, Jeannette Walls, Lois Lowry, Sharon Creech, and Ken Burns on the list. And that's just the tip of the iceburg.
As we drove home that night from school and work, I told Bart, "I'm going to fly down for the day. It's only a $39 direct flight from Boston to DC. Do you want to come?"
I wasn't sure he'd want to, but to my joy, he immediately said, yes, that he wanted to come.
And then when I got on to Southwest to buy the tickets, I discovered that we had enough leftover credit from all the times I've cancelled and rebooked tickets at lower prices, or swapped free tickets for paid tickets (yes, I spend an unhealthy amount of time on Southwest, I'll admit) to cover the cost of both tickets entirely. Plus some. So our trip is completely paid for.
I am beside myself with joy at the idea of hopping on a plane in the morning, flying down to DC with my darling husband, spending the day hearing authors I love speak and hopefully meeting a few, and then flying home in time for a late dinner and then snuggling down into my own bed.
East Coast, you've already won me over.