Weekend Update: Renaissance Festival

This weekend I’m “time-traveling to fun” (:P) at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. In addition to jousting (!!!) and over-consumption of my favorite vice, food (shhh, don’t tell the books!), I thought I’d do a bit of “time-traveling” on the blog with a throwback read about nerd culture.

Into the Wild Nerd YonderJulie Halpern’s Into the Wild Nerd Yonder is a funny coming-of-age tale that a lot of young adults (and adults) will relate to. The protagonist Jessie is a sophomore in high school, suddenly deserted by her old friends and feeling quite uncool. She’s met some new friends who are into Dungeons & Dragons and math, but she’s not sure if she’s ready to, in the immortal words of Mean Girls, “commit social suicide” and join the geeky clique.

Delightfully honest, this navigation of high school politics and self-identity will resonate with readers, even if you weren’t/aren’t a self-proclaimed nerd. Jessie has plenty of prejudice to overcome, and it’s great that she realizes that nerds are real people, not just stereotypes. Additionally, it’s fantastic that a young adult book displays such a healthy relationship between a teen and their family as well as a normal, non-creepy or misogynistic love interest.

And, bonus! They attend a Renn Faire at the ending, camping out and participating to a level that I haven’t attained yet with costumes and the whole shebang. Maybe next year 😉

P.S. I highly recommend that you attend a Renaissance festival if you can. They’re quite common across the United States, particularly in the fall, and don’t fret if it isn’t your cup of tea – many of my less-nerdy friends loved it for the endless eats and entertainment!

Weekend Update: National Book Festival!

2014 National Book Festival Poster Artist: Bob StaakeFor those of you in the greater DC area this weekend, take the opportunity to attend the National Book Festival today! Held on Saturday, August 30th from 10 am – 10 pm in the Convention Center, it is the perfect opportunity to escape the sweltering heat by way of a good book.

This year, they have pavilions on Poetry & Prose, Culinary Arts, Fiction & Mystery, Science, History & Biography, and Contemporary Life. For children, they have the Picture Books, Children’s, and Teens rooms as well as a PBS Kids station. Authors will be speaking throughout the day and also have dedicated times for book signing. Politics & Prose will be selling books from all the authors on-site.

This year for the first time, they’re holding evening events, including a special panel on Graphic Novels as well as a presentation on “Great Books to Great Movies.”

This event is hosted by the Library of Congress and, most importantly, free of charge! For more information on getting to the Convention Center (conveniently located on the Yellow/Green metro lines and close to several other metro routes) and the schedule, check out the National Book Festival website – http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/.