I have (sadly) returned from a weekend in the land of Booktopia (known to the rest of the world as Oxford, Mississippi). Three days of talking books with 75 like-minded people — it was truly heaven on earth.
We started the festivities on Friday with a panel discussion featuring Tom Franklin, Kevin Brockmeier and Susan Gregg Gilmore about Southern writing. Then we moved on to a tour of William Faulkner’s home, Rowan Oak, which was lovely; though I don’t think it will help me understand his writing any better.
My Saturday began with a discussion with Ellen F. Brown, author of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. I have since started this book – a story about how GWTW came to life and became the worldwide phenomenon both in print and on screen – and it is fascinating to read; some of the same headaches experienced in publishing then still exist today. Then I went to a discussion with Susan Gregg Gilmore which became a wonderfully thoughtful one about race and its still strong influence on life in the South. A recording of a “live” Books on the Nightstand podcast followed (watch for it — I participated!) , then an event with all of the participating authors at Square Books, the “official” bookstore of Booktopia Oxford (this event was also recorded and will be part of future BOTNS podcasts). Sunday morning featured a discussion of the future of books and e-books, which featured a really cool app that Richard Mason (scheduled to be at Booktopia but had to cancel due to illness) created for his novel The History of a Pleasure Seeker; it’s not available yet but it is REALLY cool.
In between sessions, I spent time with old and new friends talking about books (my to-read list once again grew exponentially) and browsing the three Square Books locations in Oxford. Yes, I did buy some books (surprised?) but the store offered free shipping to send them home so I’m eagerly awaiting its delivery and I will show off my purchases then.
I can’t wait to return to Booktopia — hopefully sooner rather than later!