City Paper is not for tourists
However you come down on the past eight years of neocon rule, the National Book Festival that the First Lady’s office helped create is inarguably a good thing. A few writers—Sharon Olds, most notably—have refused to participate in the event to better register a complaint about its makers, but with the imminent departure of Laura Bush, there’s genuine cause to worry that the fest may not reappear. And that’s inarguably a bad thing. Removing the fest from the National Mall not only means the doofy kickball players win, it takes a real whack at the city’s cultural life—between the high-class novelists, C-SPAN tote bags, and children singalongs, few D.C. events so perfectly capture the city’s wonky-nerdy-playful qualities. The long book-signing lines aren’t much fun, but the opportunity to see a wide range of poets, writers, and historians at their most open and playful in one spot is hard to pass up. Mark your calendars: the next (final?) one is Sept. 27.