BookFest Beginnings

BookFest began in the Fall of 1994 when I was planning on going back to school. Kevin and I went to Powell's City of Books. We were complaining about our financial situation and wished that we could just live in Powell's or buy all their books. In those few moments, our grand plan was born.

The first year, we saved $10 a month from September to September with the goal of spending it all GUILT-FREE, in one fell swoop.

The following September, we went to Powell's and spend HOURS searching for the perfect BookFest books. We closed the place down and began our ritual of going to Kevin's house to unveil our books to the other.

It didn't take long for us to move the spending from September to June to give us the summer to read our books (Although I have failed miserably at reading them all...)

Our ritual always includes planning the date, going to Powell's. We set up meeting times in the Annie Hughes coffee shop to determine how much time we need. We are NOT ALLOWED TO LOOK AT THE OTHER PERSON'S BOOKS...although we sometimes get a peek. The first trip was around 6 hours long, but we don't need that long anymore. When we are done, we go to Hunan in Morgan's Alley (unless they are closed...they are closed on Sundays) and have dinner. After that, we go to Kevin's for the unveiling.

We have little contests: Most Attractive Book Cover, Closest to the Dollar Amount without Going Over, Most Unlikely Purchase, Highest Volume for the Dollar Amount... (recently, we have started noting books that we both bought at some point during this ritual - books that we both buy on the same day, etc.)

We tried going to the West Side Powell's and we tried going to Coastal Bookstores, but it just didn't work for us, so we decided that BookFest was really a Powell's adventure.

People always want to come with us on our annual adventure. This is not allowed. This is the one day every year that Kevin and I devote to each other. But don't despair - this does not mean that you can't do a BookFest of your own.

Below is a partial list of books. I don't think either of us thought it would go on this long and I didn't think to keep a list until later in the game...I tend to try to keep my books together from BookFest (not always successful), but I haven't really made an effort to grab the years that are missing. I will at some point...

1995 - Year One partial list
The English Patient
The Pull of the MoonThe
Night Trilogy
Say Uncle
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Nine Parts of Desire
The Little House on the Prarie Series
Sophie's World
The Ya Ya Sisterhood
1996 Year Two
1997 Year Three
1998 Year Four
1999 Year Five
2000 Year Six
2001 (Bookfest 7):
Written on the Body
Never Change
Teaching Pigs to Sing
Alex and Zee
Tending Roses
Cranberry Queen
The Song and the Truth
Wild Life
River Angel
2002 BookFest 8 - $20/month
Report from Ground Zero Dennis Smith
Dating Big Bird Laura Zigman
A Just Response Vanden Heuvel
The Flight of the Maidens Jane Gardam
Purple America Rick Moody
True to Form Elizabeth Berg
Thinner, Blonder, Whiter Elizabeth Maquire
The Unwanted Gaze: The Destruction of Privacy in America Jeffrey Rosen
South of Reason Cindy Eppes
The Powerbook Jeanette Winterson
A Song Flung Up to Heaven Maya Angelou
A Theory of Relativity Jacquelyn Mitchard
Sunday's Silence Gina B. Nahai
Inside 9-11: What Really Happened DER SPIEGEL magazine
Spilling Clarence Anne Ursu
Book Fest 2003-$25/month 9th Year!! (Bookfest 9)
Unless Carol Shields
Water Witches Chris Bohjalian
April Witch Majgull Axelson
Pigs in Heaven Barbara Kingsolver
Sweet Agony Nancy Huston
The Solace of Leaving Early Haven Kimmel
The Savage Girl Alex Shakar
Timbuktu Paul Auster
Giving Up America Pearl Abraham
Sunday Jews Hortense Calisher
The Effect of Living Backwards Heidi Julavits
The Usual Rules Joyce Maynard
Say When Elizabeth Berg
The Seduction of Silence Bem Le Hunte
Water Marked Helen Elaine Lee
Crescent Diana Abu-Jaber
Flickerbook Leila Berg
My Real Name is Lisa David Alexander
The Hiding Place Trezza Azzopardi
Martin Bauman; or A Sure Thing David Leavitt
The Marble Quilt David Leavitt
Perma Red Debra Magpie Earling
The Cure for Death by Lightning Gail Anderson-Dargatz
Gabriella's Book of Fire Venero Armanno
2004 BookFest 10
2005 BookFest 11
2006 BookFest 12
2007 Bookfest 13 6/10/07
A Thousand Splendid Suns
Lost Girls
Ten We Came to the End
What You Have Left
Dream When You're Feeling Blue
Falling Man
Sirens of Baghdad
Last Summer (of You and Me)
Diary of a Young Girl
102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers
Measure of a Man
Between, Georgia
High Fidelity
A Tree Grows in BrooklynAbout a Boy
2008 7/13/08 BookFest 14
BOOKFEST 2008 Haul :)
An Obedient Father - Akhil Sharma
What is the What - David Eggers
Rush Home Road - Lori Lansens
The Tall Pine Polka - Lorna Landvik
Lost and Found - Carolyn Parkhurst
The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted - Elizabeth Berg
The 351 Books of Irma Acuri - David Bajo
Giraffe - JM Ledgard
Self Storage - Gayle Brandeis
Say You're One of Tem - Uwem Akpan
Enlightenment - Maureen Freely
Playing with the The Lizard Cage - Karen Connelly
Firefly Lane - Kristin Hannah
Dear American Airlines - Jonathan Miles
Girls In Trucks - Katie Crouch
The Rope Walk = Carrie Brown
2009 BookFest 15
2010 7/10/10 BookFest 16
Four Corners of the Sky
The Imperfectionists
Writing Circle
Perfect Reader
The Rehearsal
Things that Keep Us Here
A Thousand Cuts
Cookbook Collector
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
Beyond the Miracle Worker
The Last Time I Saw You
The Secret Daughter
Sign for Drowning
Mathilda Savitch
Waiting for Rescue
The Survival in Auschwitz
Blue Notebook
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
The Mysterious Benedict Society

2011 BookFest Books: