Portland is one of the most literate cities in the country and so when we throw a book festival, it's a big deal. Every year I make sure to make my way down to the sea of literature that is Wordstock. This Book-A-Palooza is a cornucopia of books, authors, readings, workshops and signings. The festival runs Thursday through Sunday with the main focus being The Book Fair at the Convention Center Saturday and Sunday 9am – 6pm.
The list of authors participating is completely overwhelming so here are the ones that caught my eye:
John Hodgman– You might recognize John Hodgman from The Daily Show on Comedy Central, but if not you've seen him play "PC" on many of the recent Mac commercials on TV. Despite the fact that people often say I look like Hodgman (I don't damn it), he's my top pick for Wordstock. Hodgman is as smart as he is funny, and it would be a mistake to miss him.
Heather Vogel Frederick – A true luminary in the youth lit category, Heather Frederick has penned a wide range of award winning books including: The Mother-Daughter Book Club, Much Ado About Anne, The Voyage of Patience Goodspeed and Spy Mice: For Your Paws Only. If you've got kids, make sure you don't miss Heather Frederick.
Monica Drake – Put simply, Monica Drake is fucking amazing. Her book Clown Girl is inventive, original and extremely entertaining. Everyone knows that Chuck Palahniuk comes from Portland, and someday soon they'll know Monica Drake. Catch her now so you can say "I knew her when…"
Jamie S. Rich and Joelle Jones – like peanut butter and jelly these two prominent Portland comic book creators are as complimentary to each other as you can get. Jamie Rich's latest Have You Seen The Horizon Lately is one of the best undiscovered books of the year and Joelle Jones's doodles are better than 75% of all the artists out there. Joelle is also a hot rising star with a new book out with DC.
In addition to the festival, Saturday night is the Text Ball at the Left Bank Project. I'm a huge fan of this venue which continues to develop as one of THE places in Portland to throw a bash!
The Text Ball is an opportunity for Portland's rich literary arts scene to celebrate itself while supporting one of its most beloved organizations, the Independent Publishing Resource Center. Attendees are invited to come "dressed as text" and compete for prizes for the most grammatically-correct costumes. The theme this year is FIGURES OF SPEECH.
The Text Ball takes place Saturday from 6-11 at Left Bank Project 240 N Broadway.
The Wordstock web site sucks (Widen & Kennedy did a crappy ass job on it) but the physical booklet with the schedule is actually usable. So for the complete guide your best bet is to drop by Powells and snag a copy or pick one up at the show itself.