Books a zillion - Dunwoody Crier: Our Columnists

Books a zillion

Don Farmer | Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 9:00 am

Being around a zillion books in one relatively small space is a heady, heartening experience.

Add in the thousands of people who crowd into that space for a weekend — people who love books, write books, sell books, and read books  —  and you have a soft adrenalin flow. It’s not a rush, but it’s a feeling of comfort, of satisfaction.

I refer to the recent Decatur Book Festival, a weekend full of hopes and dreams, soaring prose and serene poetry, all in book form.

One can wander the sometimes crunchy sidewalks and closed off streets of downtown Decatur and feel the zeal of writers and would-be writers, whose stacks of books seem to be straining at their bindings, with silent cries of, “Pick me up, thumb through me, buy me-buy-me.”

The overall mood of the visitors, the non-book people who came to see the book people and their wares, was pleasant and smiley.  One example: The grim posters in one booth hawking a book about a world revolution being the only answer to – I’m not sure to what –  were tamped and tempered by the many displays of books for children. 

The festival featured about a million kids, more kids with kids’ books than vats of kettle corn and funnel cakes.

Speaking of kids, a lot of them were wheeled around the festival grounds in knee-high gems of mechanical engineering, looking more like shrunken SUVs than strollers. 

A few of those children-conveyance devices didn’t even have kids in the seats. They were on their dads’ shoulders or in mom’s arms. The seats were full of baby feeding systems, quarts of sunscreen products and, yes, a bunch of books. Books about babies and books about baby animals for human babies.

We spent a lot of time at the “Emerging Writers” tent, where the festival allowed a lot of us EW’s to talk briefly to an audience about our books. Then we had a chance to sign books for people who bought them after hearing our riveting, five-minute presentation.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house (tent) and I’m quite sure the 98 percent humidity had nothing to do with it.

One highlight of the festival was the performance by an a cappella group of Emory University students, known as “No Strings Attached.” These nine guys are terrific. 

Their close harmony is so good you just know there’s a major degree of intensity as they perform. But their easy-going, smooth moves through newish and oldish songs that everybody knows made for a feel-good festival highlight. Check out “No Strings Attached” on Facebook.

Other book festival notes:

Two of metro Atlanta’s best independent book stores were there in good form to support the festival – Eagle Eye Book Shop, at 2076 N. Decatur Road, and FoxTale Book Shoppe in historic downtown Woodstock.

In terms of full disclosure, both stores have our new novel, “Deadly News,” in stock and can have it ordered and shipped anywhere. But if you can get into the stores, do so. It is a lot of fun.

Speaking of fun, my favorite one-liner about the book festival came from a bartender at a pub on the Decatur square.

“I’ve never seen so many people getting so excited about (face scrunched up in surprise) reading!”

Fancy that.