Fall for the Blog: Lifestyle staff prepares for upcoming book festival

Fourth Estate follows events of the Fifteenth Annual Fall for the Book Festival through Fall for the Blog.

The Lifestyle Staff at Fourth Estate eagerly anticipates the upcoming Fall for the Book festival at Mason.

Arrielle Brooks is excited to see Courtney Brkic, a Mason professor and writer. “I’m really looking forward to seeing GMU professor Courtney Brkic read from her new novel on Wednesday," Arrielle said. "I’ve only recently met her in person, as she teaches my Forms of Fiction class, but I’ve been told how enlightening she is by friends who have had her before. She really is charming, and I’m curious about her fiction. Much of her work so far, including her latest book The First Rule of Swimming, has focused on her Croatian background. Hearing her read her novel, which also features a woman exploring her Croatian background, would give me some insight into a culture I’m unfamiliar with.”

Angela Woolsey also looks forward to fiction authors presenting this year.  “I am particularly excited about novelists Bonnie Jo Campbell and Mary Kay Zuravleff. They will perform a joint reading on Tuesday at 6:00 PM in Research Building I Room 163," Angela said. "As an English major who loves fiction and hopes to write novels someday, I think their talk will be informative and insightful from both a reader’s and a writer’s perspective, especially since, according the Fall for the Book schedule, their reading will be accompanied by a craft talk. I also think it is a good idea to support up-and-coming who are still establishing themselves within the industry."

Cheryl Aubin is a children’s book author who wrote, The Survivor Tree." Lifestyle Reporter Savannah Norton wrote, "I am looking forward to seeing her talk about her book because she wrote this story about the tragedy of 9/11 from a different stand point.  Her story is inspired by a pear tree that was damaged during the incident.  She makes the reader look at a different point of view then the obvious.  Aubin seems to have a great creative sense to her writing that can really make you think”

 For those interested less in fiction and more in historical non-fiction, David Dorsey wrote, “One of the greatest feuds in American history was that between the Hatfields and the McCoys, holding a special place in my heart because of my Hatfield ancestry. The revered historian Dean King, author of “The Feud: The Hatfields & McCoys: The True Story,” will be in attendance. A chance to see him stirs my blood, and adding to this Mr. King has penned books on other subjects near and dear to my heart. His biography on the reclusive author of the Aubrey-Maturin series (does Master and Commander ring any bells) Patrick O’Brian: Patrick O’Brian: A Life Revealed, was groundbreaking in its own way. Such and author on such diverse and fascinating subjects is sure to be a spectacular time.”

Stephanie Watkins said, “The one that stands out far above the rest is Dave Barry.  He is a Pulitzer Prize winner, but that's not how I know of him.  Growing up, Dave Barry wrote the humor article at the back of the Washington Post magazine.  Every Sunday when the paper came, I was always eager to open it and see what this week's topic was.  I was sure that whatever it would be would be intelligent, witty, and relevant.  He never failed to deliver an interesting and funny article, and I became a devoted fan because of it.”

Fairfax county also proves to be major Barry fans, for he will be presented an award at the Fairfax Prize Presentation on Sunday at the Sherwood Center in Fairfax. He is a VIP member of the festival along with Cheryl Strayed and David Baldacci.

“I can’t wait to hear from David Baldacci," wrote Haley McComber. " I have heard him speak a couple times before, he even spoke at my high school graduation. He has such talent, yet is so humble.  He will make you laugh out loud with his sense of humor.  As an aspiring writer, he has given me some of the advice that has helped me get to where I am today.”

Some of our lifestyle staff members are most excited for the chance to share their own work. Lifestyle Reporter Meghann Patterson wrote, “I’m most looking forward to the Poetry Slam on Sept. 24. I’ve been an avid poet bsince the age of nine and I’ve always found inspiration for my own writing by listen to the works of others. Mason has a lot of poets coming this semester.

"I can’t say that I have a favorite poet but my favorite style of poetry is free verse," Meghann said, "However, I am interested in hearing the poetic styling’s of Sonia Sanchez. I’ve learned a little bit about her and have read a couple of her poems in my English classes.”

For those seeking a better social and global understanding, like Cameron Shuler, writers Shane Lopez and Lisa Breglia promote a talk focused on these topics.

Cameron wrote, "Shane Lopez seeks to answer this question through researching measures of hope, engagement, and well-being in relation to the minds of United States public school students. In his most recent book, 'Making Hope Happen' Lopez researches the importance of hope in the face of difficulties and challenges life can tend to offer.

Lisa Breglia, the director of Mason’s Global Affairs Program and Global Interdisciplinary Programs, offers a new perspective on the effects of Mexico’s intensive offshore oil industry on Gulf Coast communities in her new book Living With Oil: Promises, Peaks, and Declines on Mexico’s Gulf Coast."

As for me, there are so many authors and genres covered by the festival that it is difficult to choose. One of the top authors I wish to see is Seth Goldman, Honest Tea CEO and recent co-author of "Mission in a Bottle." Other than being a focus for a recent print lifestyle article, he’s an amazing person with a hopeful story. He has a youthful outlook on life, with years of experience packed into a book specifically designed for people at all stages of life to enjoy. I am personally excited to see how he presents the book to a college audience, and what lessons he can impart to Mason entepreneurs.

For a full list of authors and descriptions of their work, visit www.fallforthebook.org.


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