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Members of Booklovers Circle Share Their Love of Reading

Main Stage of the 2017 National Book Festival. Photo by Shawn Miller

The National Book Festival is free to the public, thanks to our sponsors and supporters. This includes the generous members of the Booklovers Circle who make a gift of $1,000 to support the festival and can experience the festival in a whole new way. Booklovers are recognized for their support with expedited entry, two Booklovers Circle access badges, reserved seating for the Main Stage, invitations to literary events throughout the year and other benefits.

Learn more and join the Booklovers Circle at this website.

Two current Booklovers from Maryland and Virginia share their thoughts on their love of reading and why they support the National Book Festival.

Deborah Grayson of Bowie, Maryland

Q: Tell us about your background and why you love reading.
A: I am a lifelong learner and educator. Thanks to my parents and maternal grandmother I was able to read before I started school, and it’s been a love affair with books ever since. I also have a book or a loaded Kindle in my bag at all times.

Q: What are your favorite parts of the National Book Festival – and how long have you been attending?
A: Making sure that we read all of the books of all of the authors we plan to see before the festival, chatting with other book lovers while milling around the festival, listening to the Q and A. I moved back home to metro D.C. 3 years ago. I have not missed a festival since I have been back.

Q: What is your favorite type of book to read or your favorite subjects?
A: I love it all. Literature was my first passion, so I always have that in the mix. I am also a heavy reader of history, biography, feminist theory and science and cultural studies. Currently I am rereading Ibram X. Kendi’s “Stamped from the Beginning,” and Nell Irvin Painter’s “Old in Art School.” I am also finishing up Celeste Ng’s “Everything I Never Told You” after enjoying “Little Fires Everywhere” earlier this summer.

Q: Why did you decide to join the Booklovers Circle?
A: To honor my grandmother.  She taught me to read early. Every Christmas, birthday or for no reason at all she gave me boxes filled with books on all kinds of subjects. I still have some of them. Plus I love the library. Especially the Library of Congress. My father would bring me when I was a child, and we would walk around or research random stuff.

Q: What benefits do you find useful or enjoy?
A: No waiting in line to get in to the book events. I have missed authors because the room was at capacity before. I also enjoy having the opportunity to attend different events throughout the year.

Dene Garbow of Alexandria, Virginia

Q: Tell us about your background and why you love reading.
A: I grew up in Chicago where my folks ran a small grocery store. At that time there were at least four daily newspapers (unbelievable now) all sold at my store. After school, I would go to the store for a snack and read all of them. I won all the prizes at the local library for most books read over the summer. My parents would warn me I would ruin my eyes reading so much and I would need glasses. I have worn them since age 13.

Q: How long have you been attending the National Book Festival?
A: I first attended Book Festival last year. Having priority access to hear the authors was a huge incentive to support the Festival .

Q: What is your favorite type of book to read or your favorite subjects?
A: Most of my reading is fiction, both current and classic, but the authors I went to hear think and write about social, historical and political issues. I want to be challenged and pulled out of my comfort zone. Roxanne Gay did that for me last year.

Q: Why do you think it’s important for others to support the National Book Festival?
A: Seeing the thousands of book lovers, so diverse, is the best reason for supporting the Book Festival. Connecting authors and readers is a wonderful feeling.

The 2020 Library of Congress National Book Festival, which is free for everyone, will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Saturday, Aug. 29. You can get up-to-the-minute news, schedule updates and other important festival information by subscribing to this blog. The festival is made possible by the generosity of sponsors. You too can support the festival by making a gift now.

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