[Editor's Note: The Wordstock Festival overtook the city of Portland from November 6th through the 9th. Check out a photo slide show here.]
With nearly 200 authors on-hand, the fourth installment of Wordstock, Portland's annual literary festival, was quite the success. A book lover's playground, Wordstock featured over 150 exhibitors, including independent bookshops, local publishers, and small presses. The only problem faced by festival-goers was how best to apportion their time between the ten author stages, numerous workshops, and many panel discussions.
This year's overall attendance exceeded last year's, and some of the weekend's biggest draws were for authors John Hodgman (More Information Than You Require), Alison Bechdel (Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, The Essential Dykes to Watch Out for), and Lynda Barry (What It Is).
Bibliophiles from around the Portland area descended on the convention center in droves, with coffees in hand and books on their mind. Inside the event (as in any great novel), it seemed as though the outside world had been momentarily suspended, with conversations focused on literary musings, rather than on the ailing economy or the historic election of the week previous. Though much has been made lately about the declining readership habits of America, there is something altogether heartening about watching thousands of your neighbors descend upon a central locale for no other reason than to celebrate their love of books.
Before long, Wordstock will undoubtedly become yet another Portland institution the rest of the nation gazes upon in envy.
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Jeremy Garber is the Events Coordinator for Powell's Books. In addition to the printed word, he has a lasting affinity for vinyl records, alphabet hotels, hummingbirds, fresh berries, and baseball (Go Phils!).
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