The National Book Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary on the Mall Sept. 25 and Jewish authors were there to celebrate. Including Jonathan Safran Foer, the son of Sixth & I’s executive director, who touted his foray into nonfiction, and Allegra Goodman, first published immediately after high school and the novelist behind one of my favorite works of fiction, Kaaterskill Falls.
Goodman’s latest novel, The Cookbook Collector, brings together book collectors, environmentalists, DotCom computer scientists and Bialystocker Jews into a rich tapestry. She shared a brief excerpt with a packed audience in the Poetry and Prose tent, talked about her writing style and took a few questions. Engaged and energetic she reminisced over her cookbook-collecting research at Harvard’s Schlesinger Library and drafting a climactic argument at her local Home Depot.
Her presentation ran short-just under 25 minutes-but afterwards, as I mingled with other assertive fans, she shook my hand and allowed me to gush over how much I loved Kaaterskill Falls, a book which chronicles a small Hasidic community in the 1970s. Her attention to detail, and grace with these complex characters opened up a new world to me.
Goodman will again be in Washington to promote The Cookbook Collector at the DCJCC’s book festival on Oct. 24. Follow @DCJewishLitFest on Twitter for more up-to-date info on this event, to take place between Oct. 17 and 27. Reading never dies!
Watch part of Allegra Goodman’s presentation here. Apologies for the shaky camerawork; anyone want to buy me a tripod? 😛 Sound came out pretty good.