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Book lovers turned out in force on Saturday, October 11 for Books By The Banks: Cincinnati USA Book Festival. For six hours the Duke Energy Convention Center in downtown Cincinnati was abuzz with activity as fans met their favorite authors, listened to panel discussions and author presentations, and met staff from local sponsors, which included both local public and university library systems, arts organizations, and theaters. Representatives from the Ohioana Library and the Ohio Center For The Book were there, and it was a great pleasure for me to speak with these folks and staff at local libraries. In addition to the literary history aspect of this blog, I want to start including more notices of regional literary events, so I am grateful to have met these people who work to keep books and literacy alive in this part of the midwest.

Jasper Fforde signing books at Books By The Banks.

Jasper Fforde signing books at Books By The Banks.

It was also heartening in this age of e-readers to see the long line snaking around the room as customers waited to purchase their books. That’s not a knock on electronic media, but it is a nod to the book itself, the item you can hold in your hand, that is not dependent on batteries or outlets, that can be signed by an author, that bears the creases and weathering of time and the affection of repeated reading. You can’t sign a Kindle.

Volunteers and kids having fun at Books By The Banks.

Volunteers and kids having fun at Books By The Banks.

Kids and teens had their own areas for special activities as well, and it was heartening indeed to see so many families there, enjoying the day and participating in crafts, watching demonstrations, and listening to stories.

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Author Matt Holm.

Matt Holm

John Scalzi

John Scalzi

Wonderful too was the interaction between writers and readers. The authors, whether a well known figure like Marc Brown, or local writers there for the first time, clearly enjoyed meeting and speaking with fans.

Marc Brown, famous for his beloved children's character Arthur, signs books at Books By The Banks.

Marc Brown, famous for his beloved children’s character Arthur, signs books at Books By The Banks.

I left Books By The Banks feeling uplifted. We get used to seeing a lot of bad news in our times, and the news of late and throughout this past year has been pretty disheartening. But my few hours at Books By The Banks were a refreshing reminder of some of the good things of this world.

 

I look forward to being back next year.

 

Patrick Kerin

 

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