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The Brooklyn Book Festival 2019: Great Weather, Lotsa Readers

Ellen Levitt

Posted on September 22, 2019 20:23

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This weekend was the annual Brooklyn Book Festival, a popular event best known for its Sunday festival of panels and lectures, book sellers and more.

Sunday, September 22 was the main (and final) day of the Brooklyn Book Festival, a yearly event since 2006 that appeals to a wide variety of New Yorkers. This "festival day and literary marketplace" features readings, panel discussions, live music, and a few hundred book sellers, publishers, and other groups. This event is held around Brooklyn Borough Hall, a stately building with gardens, a large fountain, and surrounded by court buildings and office buildings.

Attendees of this festival can grow dizzy with the many options to listen to well-known and obscure writers, as well as buy books and other publications (and get lots of freebies as well) and even meet, schmooze with and network with writers, editors, publishers and other folks in the industry. And while not everyone is a Brooklyn native, or resident, there is some emphasis on our fair borough, aka Kings County.

I have attended this event for many years, and even spoke on a panel one time (about Brooklyn history and architecture). For the past few years I have hawked my books AND promoted a group to which I belong, the Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative (BJHI). This year, by myself, I repped the BJHI and sold copies of two of my books, at Booth 343.

I am not the type to sit back shyly and silently hope people will look at my books and the materials I had for the BJHI; I greeted people and waved them over, engaged them in discussions, encouraged them to purchase things and take fliers. It was tiring, and I spent six hours doing this with only one bathroom break when my friend Sherryl stopped by to watch the table. But I know quite well that I have to hustle, and some people had interesting questions or topics to chat about.

I did observe some of the other tables, occupied by publishers, book sellers, authors, schools, and other groups. Some tables were like me, gregarious and open to visitors, while others were quiet and more than a bit awkward. I couldn't even tell you the name of the small press at the table next to mine, manned by a glum young man who did little more than watch people pick up his books, put them down and walk away. 

One of the best aspects of the Festival, in my estimation, is that all different types of people attend. Oh-so-artsy hipsters walk beside elderly Brooklyn residents. Families with tykes in strollers stroll by out-of-town tourists. Men and women, young and old, various races and ethnicities, people with "cool" T-shirts and people with mismatched outfits. Especially due to the sunny, mild weather, all kinds of people came to the Festival. And a few bought my books The Lost Synagogues of Brooklyn (Avotaynu) and Walking Manhattan (Wilderness Press).

As a lifelong Brooklynite who hopes to live here all my days, I appreciate the hoopla, activities and vibe of the Book Festival each year. And promoting literacy is wonderful.

 

Ellen Levitt

Posted on September 22, 2019 20:23

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Source: HuffPost
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