I’ve written about the Portland Book Festival several times over the years (some in its former incarnation as Wordstock), but this year will be a bit different: it’s mostly free, it’s two weeks long, and it’s online!
Remember book fairs when you were a kid? I recall walking into cafeteria or gym or library, where there would be tables set up with piles and piles of books to browse. You’d get those book fair catalogs ahead of time so you could look at all the cool titles that would be there and make up a wish list, but then when you got there might be some other titles that caught your eye. The Portland Book Festival is a little like that, except there are also author interviews and book readings, and it’s for kids and grown-ups. If you’re a book lover, it’s like little taste of paradise for a weekend.
Well, because of the pandemic, this year we miss out a bit on the experience of browsing the physical stacks of books with fellow readers. However, I am excited that the online format means that people outside of the Portland area will finally have the opportunity to participate, and the extended length means there’s less overlap to aggravate my FOMO. There’s a kids’ storytime on Saturday with on-demand videos from a long list of writers and illustrators. There are a few ticketed events: unfortunately it’s too late now to get tickets to tonight’s event with Jess Walter, but there’s still time to buy tickets for Margaret Atwood and Isabel Wilkerson.
Registration is free at PDXBookfest.org.