A few weekends ago I attended the second annualSavannah Book Festival. There were a number of repeat authors from last year but also enough new faces to make things interesting. Out of the three "authors" that I heard speak, my favorite would have to have been the fascinating Julia Reed and the engaging Tara Guerard. Both women fell under the "lifestyle" category of author. I put author in quotes only because Tara Guerard revealed that she actually didn't pen the book herself. Which at first made me wonder why on earth she was participating, but I promptly got over it and enjoyed what she had to say.
Tara Geurard is the creativity behind the event planning company Soiree, located out of Charleston, SC. Geurard is recognized as one of the South's leading wedding designers. She revealed several interesting tidbits during her speech. The most important bit of information that I took away from the lecture was the fact that however many people you invite to any event, on average you can count on 70% actually showing up. Her book, Southern Weddings: New Looks from the Old South, is just captivating. Even for one not planning a wedding, it provides a slew of ideas for even just a casual get together. During her Q&A someone asked Geurard something along the lines of where she finds inspiration lately. Her response was interesting, but not unexpected, she, like a lot of us, is inspired by blogs and her company is starting up one of their own. She's working on her second book, which I'll be eager to peruse once it's released.
Julia Reed, the highlight of last years festival for me, once again did not disappoint. Besides being an author, Reed is a writer for Newsweek and The New York Times magazine. Hermost recent books were both released during the summer of 2008. Reed did not intend to be promoting both books at the same time. The reason for this tandem promotion could have been the subject of a short story at least, but instead was turned into a chapter in her book. As she neared completion of her book, Reed's home was broken into and her laptop, on which she was writing The House on First Street: My New Orleans Story (which offers a brilliantly funny and original portrait of New Orleans and its eccentric denizens), was stolen. She had (big suprise) not backed up what she had written. So having to start from scratch, she rewrote the book. That being the reason why Ham Biscuits, Hostess Gowns, and Other Southern Specialties: An Entertaining Life (a collection of her food columns for The New York Times Magazine), was being promoted at the same time as THOFS. At last years lecture Reed revealed some insider information about Hilary Clinton. This year the juicy information was about Anna Wintour. Reed, who recently left her position as contributing editor at Vogue, revealed that Ms. Wintour is indeed as devilish as the title and subject matter of a certain book purport her to be. I could not get enough of Reed's THOFS, devouring it as quickly as one might a pimento cheese sandwich (if you like that sort of thing). Her stories of growing up in Greenwood Mississippi then her relocation to New Orleans permanently after a sojourn in NYC are captivating. I cannot gush enough about this woman.
Apparently one of the authors I skipped (and now regret missing), Adam Davies, was a smashing success, not to mention quite the looker. I was informed that even though his lecture took place in one of the numerous "houses of the lord" that can be found in Savannah, he didn't hold back from discussing the secular subject matter of his novels. Davies was an editorial assistant at Random House and is now a professor at SCAD. His first novel, The Frog King, is being made into a movie directed by Darren Starr. He of Sex and the City and the defunct, but much beloved by me at least, Cashmere Mafia. His two other novels are Goodbye Lemon and Mine All Mine, both of which sound intriguing.
Cheers to another successful Savannah Book Festival.
Already penciled into the day planner is a 4 day mini vacay to Las Vegas in early April with my Mom. Not having been to Vegas since a drive through the city on our way to the grandparents house in Arizona when I was a child, I'm desperate for some not to be missed tips about the impending trip. So far we're scheduled to stay at The Palazzo, have tickets to see Bette Midler (who we love as much as any gay man), and have dinner reservations at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill. Other than that I need some suggestions. I'm considering tickets to Cirque du Soleil's "O", meals at Thomas Keller's Bouchon, Hash House A Go Go, and The Buffet At The Wynn. Any other tips would be much appreciated. Oh and please keep them PG, for the sake of my Mom.