May Fever
May 1, 2011

It’s the first day of May and all things should be “spring-y” and full of light and goodness. But what they should be and what some of them are, are not necessarily the same. I beg your forgiveness, but I must make this short. I promise to be back next week with all the cheeriness this month brings.

Upcoming Book Festivals:
May is one of the busiest months for book festivals. That’s no surprise given the generally nice weather in most parts of the country. We begin the month with four of them.

Location: Athens, Ohio
Festival: Spring Literary Festival
Date: May 4-6
This three-day festival hosted by Ohio University brings visiting writers of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction together for a series of lectures and readings. Guests include Rosellen Brown, Rita Dove, Debra Marquart, Padgett Powell, and Tobias Wolff. It opens Wednesday night at 7:30 pm and runs through Friday with the last event opening at 8:30 pm. The events are free, and books will be available for purchase after each event.

Location: Columbus, Ohio
Festival: Ohioana Book Festival 
Date: May 7
Also in Ohio, this festival is a one-day event from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm. More than 100 (mostly Ohio) authors will be appearing, and throughout the day there will be readings, panel discussions, special children’s activities, a book appraisal clinic, a B&N bookstore, and even a Starbuck’s Café. The opening ceremony will feature the Ohioana Robert Fox Awards for Young Writers and a Poetry Out Loud Competition.

Location: Hudson, New York
Festival: Hudson Children’s Book Festival
Date: May 7
Celebrating its third year, this festival will be held from 10:00 am 4:00 pm at the Hudson Junior and Senior High School. More than 100 children’s and young adult authors and illustrators will be there to talk with attendees, sign books, and join panels and presentations that will go on all day. In addition, there will be thirty exhibitors. Plus, it’s all free.

Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Festival: Boston Book and Paper Exposition and Sale
Date: May 7
This festival is a “celebration of the world of classic” (“antiquarian and vintage books, ephemera, vintage photographs, maps, autographs,, historic documents, prints, vintage postcards, and much more”) so if you love books, even if you can’t afford antiquarian books, go. Nearly 100 exhibitors will be attending. There is so much to see at these, and the talks alone are priceless. This year, they include Bad Counterfeit versus Good Counterfeit, The Amazing Origin of Paper in China, Postage Stamps, Books as Weapons, The Last Muster: Images of the Revolutionary War Generation, Women of the Civil War. There are also exhibits on bookbinding, artistic and limited edition books, and others from the International Paper Museum and Museum of Printing. A free book  appraisal clinic is also available between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm.

The Pub House:
Bardsong Press is a publisher you have likely near heard of, but if you enjoy  Celtic culture from its ancient beginnings to its modern evolution in novels, anthologies of poetry, and short fiction it is worth checking out for readers  drawn British history, its Celtic roots, and the Arthurian legend.

Their selection is small. Perhaps the best is the Macsen’s Treasure Series, a total of four books to date that encompasses four books. The first is Into the Path of Gods. Based in the war-torn fifth century, the story follows spy and master of disguise Marcus ap Iorwerth as he meets Claerwen, a woman of vision. Claerwen’s unwitting involvement in a conspiracy to locate the sacred symbols of Britain’s high kings (Macsen’s Treasure) ensnare them both in a quest for the truth. Book two of the series is In the Shadow of Dragons has Marcus ap Iorwerth summoned by the mysterious druid Myrddin Emrys to unearth the conspirators who are bent on assassinating the king. He and his now-wife Claerwen discover not one but two different conspiracies and endure profound personal loss while pushing Britain toward a future with freedom, peace, and King Arthur. The Anvil Stone is the third book, which turns the struggle personal. Marcus ap Iorwert and Claerwen find their plans to unite Britain’s feuding internal factions and derail the encroaching Saxon threat at the mercy of the warring factions who have also mounted a desperate search for one of Britain’s most cherished symbols—a magnificent sword of the ancient high kings that has been lost for decades. How can he get a source, also an assassin bent on killing him, to lead them to the sword? In the final book, A Land Beyond Ravens,  the secrets that Marcus ap Iorwerth holds may be the thing that kills him. His and Claerwen’s work over three decades is coming to fruition—Arthur is on the brink of adulthood and showing promise as a leader—but the emerging Christian church is also gaining power, enough to shift control of Britain. Can they help prevent the church from crushing Arthur’s chances of becoming king, especially because Marcus’s efforts may spell his own doom—that Claerwen sees?

Imaging Books & Reading:
Mark Parisi and Harper Lee might seem an odd couple . . . unless you look at it just right.

Of Interest:
Henry VIII: Man and Monarch is an online exhibition from the British Library that is the perfect place to spend some time if you are a fan (or even a detester) of  King Henry VIII. They have placed digital copies of many documents that he signed, notated or received online including Sir Thomas More’s last letter to him, a letter from Henry to Wolsey, a composition, what is likely his own copy of the Great Bible, and his Psalter (you can turn the pages and see his marginalia). Technology really shines here. Use it!

Until next week, read well, read often and read on!




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