The Southern Festival of Books is in its 27th year, Nashville Tennessee. It's my favorite time of year, the weather is perfectly orange and yellow and there's always a colorful moment that happens like sipping lemonade and chatting with Garrison Keillor.
This year, Mimi insisted on seeing Kenneth Oppel and hearing about the Nest. I already have a stack of his dragon books, plus, we're always looking for our next Pen Pal author for the Linebaugh library, so I was affirmatory! Oppel is our age group - 4,5 and 6th graders.
You never know what you'll learn at these sessions that are held in state room around the and underneath the plaza.
This is what we learned:
Issshh, that's a bit creepy.
Someone asked Oppel how much creepiness do you put in a novel?
The Creepometer, if you will.
Well, he didn't see this as particularly creepy. And besides kids think on a whole different level than adults. But, he did put in some of the anxieties that he had as a child.
Someone asked about the importance of writing "an issues" book.
He said, "I didn't set out to write this book as an issues book, I wrote it as a
baby being born in a wasp-nest book."
ha ha. Okay, that's funny.
Mimi was no longer amused.
Where's the nest? Where's the baby-bird lunch? Hmmm.
She wanted to go to another session.
Yet, I was intriqued! Plus, Oppel is cute. Not Mimi's type.
He read a few passages from the book., and saying it is really a story about temptation and a strive for perfection that may not be a good thing. I felt it could also be a story of dealing with the experience and fears of another baby in the house that may replace you in the family.
The human baby brother is sick. The kid telling the story has anxieties, so Oppel coined a new genre: Sick Lit, which is also apparent in a lot of new fiction. Plus, this may be aliens instead.
So, of course, I got the book, got all my dragon books signed and can't wait to find out what happens to that kid and the baby and the sick baby and the aliens or maybe not aliens. And wasps are really creepy, we have those giant nests in Cheboygan that looked like they will collectively eat you. The creepometer is at an 8.6.
Mimi not really interested, so she went and saw Lauren Groff and appreciated the Delicate Edible Birds instead.
The beauty of the festival is that this is something for everyone.