Reading List Challenge: Books by Festival Authors

Presuming I have no scheduling conflicts, next year will be my tenth year of attending the National Book Festival. One of the side-effects of attending the Festival is that I add new books to my to-read list. Like all additions to this list, sometimes it takes me a while to get around to reading them. Enter list-making fun! I decided to make a list of books to read before the next National Book Festival, one book from each year I attended, more or less. Each book has to be by an author I saw at the Festival, and must be either the book that the author was promoting at the time, or a book that was published prior to that year of the Festival.

Without further ado, here is the list:

2013: Taylor BranchParting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63

2012: Nalo HopkinsonSkin Folk and/or Raina Telgemeier‘s Smile.

2011: Isabel WilkersonThe Warmth of Other Suns and/or Sarah Vowell‘s Unfamiliar Fishes, and/or Siddhartha Mukherjee‘s The Emperor of Maladies.

2010: Olga GrushinThe Dream Life of Sukhanov or Anchee Min‘s The Last Empress or Timothy Egan‘s The Big Burn.

2009: re-read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (this happened to be a year where I had already read books by the authors I went to see). Walls’ book is one of my favorite memoirs and she gave one of my favorite Festival talks.

2008: Immaculee IlibagizaLeft to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust

2007: Actually, I’m going to skip doing this year. Looking over the books by the authors I saw that year, I am not interested in reading or re-reading any of them. Sorry, authors from 2007!

2005: Nevada BarrEndangered Species (Anna Pigeon #5). I was really into this series at one point in time – this will be a great reason to return to it and see if my tastes still run the same.

2004: Ian Caldwell & Dustin ThomasonThe Rule of Four. My friend who has also gone to the Festival with me every time enjoyed this book.


Going through the older programs, it’s a little painful to realize some of the authors I missed simply because I didn’t know who they were at the time, namely Connie Willis. There were also big-name authors who I still haven’t read but would have been entertaining to see: George R.R. Martin, Diana Gabaldon, Terry Pratchett.  Certainly being part of the book blogosphere has made me much more aware of authors. I scan over the author lists and bibliographies with a lot more familiarity now.

Have you read any of the books in my list?


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5 responses to “Reading List Challenge: Books by Festival Authors

  1. I’ll put in a plug for The Emperor of All Maladies. It’s a hefty book, but it told a very good story about the history of cancer treatments. It was one of the best books I read last year. Incidentally, your 2011 choices look the strongest to me right off the bat.

  2. cp

    Thank you for reminding me of Immaculee Ilibagiza – Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust. Her book was on my mental TBR list but I’d somehow forgotten it. Now I keep a written list on my laptop and each entry includes the reason why I put the book there. It works much better for me. Anyway… thanks! Left to Tell is back on the list.

    • I keep a similar list on Goodreads – I too like to remember what spurred me to want to read the book. Glad I could help brign Ilibagiza’s book back on your radar!

  3. Pingback: Liberty Falling by Nevada Barr and The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason | A Good Stopping Point

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