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First Impressions of the Book Festival

August 15, 2011

It's like a book circus! There are even tents!

The Edinburgh Book Festival is a big reason I’m delighted to be in Edinburgh right now. It’s like… all the good things of the Festival and the Fringe– and also a special book circus!
Because, that’s the best explanation I can think of for it: A book circus, for readers and book lovers, by readers and writers and book lovers. (With a corporate sponsorship assist from local newspapers.)

I love the details of the space- it has the suddenness of a circus occupying the square, but also lovely detailed touches, like a pub all its own which doubles as a reading venue, and a cafe in the bookstore space, with couches as well as tables.

It’s definitely cozy here. Possibly because I’m in a city on holiday, or a city that has an intrinsic cultural understanding of things like rain and cakes with tea. I’m delighted by the book shop, and only barely restraining myself from making off with armloads of lovely books. (Now that I have a Kindle, packing books to take home is weird- easier and more digital, with priority given to the Scottish-only treats that haven’t made the e-book translation)
While taking a break from ogling books in the festival book shop tent, I had a very nice conversation with a woman who allowed me, and then my parents, to share her table. Maggie has lived in places like London and Melbourne, and is happy to be back in Edinburgh, catching up on reading Scottish writers. She and my dad had a spirited discussion of Scottish mysteries, a genre all their own: tartan noir.
The conversation rambled delightfully to all the places readers’ conversations go- book recommendations, favorite cities, authors, how there are so many books to keep track of.

Found this on the shelves at the Book Festival. Not going to buy it, glad it exists though.

I have a few tickets to author events over the next few festival weeks, and of course the weird and lovely Fringe Festival music and theater to attend to… but I’d love to spend as much time as possible just being cozy in the book shop, discovering new Scottish authors and poets, and having conversations like the one I had today.

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