The National Book Festival

I can't imagine my life without books

  • BY Taryn Maister
  • August 5, 2018

As a kid, I was never into books. I saw them as an obligation, something assigned to me in school. Now, I can’t imagine my life without books - they’re my addiction - so being able to spend a few hours at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. was meaningful to me. 


The Library of Congress hosted the festival at the Washington Convention Center, which was packed with people from all walks of life. Much like the characters in my favorite books, everyone I met had a different story to share. I talked with the devoted mom who was standing in line to get a book signed for her kids, the dutiful husband who was saving a place in line for his wife who was lecture hopping, and the super-fan who had mountains of books in his backpack that he intended to get signed. There was just so much to do and not enough time. One minute you could be listening to the history of comic books and taking photos with Clifford the Big Red Dog, and the next you could be standing in line to get a book signed by the first female Secretary of State. Each book-signing line opened 2 hours before the start time and, as the lines opened, the fans came flooding in. I only had enough time to stand in two lines, the line for Sonia Sotomayor and the line for Madeleine Albright. For Albright, I was able to get there early enough so that I was one of the first 50 people in line, but there was a line behind me that seemed to stretch for miles.  


As one of my favorite TV show characters, Rory Gilmore, once said, “I live in two worlds. One is a world of books.” I left the festival feeling completely reenergized and thankful to have spent several hours in a place where my two worlds collided.