Wordstock Roundup

Geek Culture

Wordstock Children's StageWordstock Children's Stage

Nancy Tillman, Marla Frazee, Julie Paschkis, and Brie Spangler talk about illustrating children's books. Photo: Jonathan Liu

This weekend I had the great good fortune to attend Portland’s annual celebration of the written word. My wife is a rockstar for letting me get away all weekend. Wordstock, a 2-day book festival, was held this past weekend in Portland, Oregon. I had the chance to attend and speak to many different authors and artists. This year I focused largely on middle-grade and young-adult novels (here’s my sneak peek), but I do have a few kids’ books and some for adults up my sleeve as well. Expect to see several more interviews and full book reviews in the next couple of weeks.

One of the coolest things I experienced this weekend was not just the chance to talk to authors myself, but hearing authors have conversations with one another about writing and about books they love. It’s one thing to attend a panel where everyone has structured presentations in their PR mode, and they are there to focus on the work that they are promoting. But it’s another thing to get them together in a room, off-stage, and hear them gab about their own love of reading. I was happy to be a fly on the wall, for example, while Jonathan Auxier (Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes) and Maile Meloy (The Apothecary) traded banter and shared author stories.

I’m going to hold off on mentioning everything I read for this weekend, but I want to highlight a couple that I’m very excited about but won’t be writing up right away: either because they arrived too late for me to read before Wordstock, or else because for scheduling reasons I didn’t manage to get their authors interviewed this weekend. Hopefully I’ll be able to follow up with them later. There’s Wildwood by Colin Meloy & Carson Ellis, Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver, Oil and Water by Steve Duin and Shannon Wheeler, and Darius Logan: Super Justice Force by D. F. Walker, just to name a few.

I also added a few unexpected books to my list over the weekend: This Is US: The New All-American Family by David Marin, about a single guy who adopted three young Mexican-American kids; The Return of King Doug from Oni Press, which is a play on “Chosen One” fantasy stories; and Spartacus and the Circle of Shadows, by Molly E. Johnson, from a local independent publisher.

I even ran into Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe. Since he had a full schedule, we didn’t sit down to another formal interview, but I did get the chance to hear a little bit of his reading and chat with him about his upcoming collection of short stories. With Charles’ astonishing talent for illuminating all things geeky and all things family, look for his new work to be showcased on GeekDad for sure (due sometime next year). In the meantime, if you haven’t read HTLSIASFU, you’re missing out on some great stuff.

I had a great time, I’m completely exhausted, and there will be a lot of very cool books and author interviews on GeekDad soon, so stay tuned.

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