For some it began with Go Dog Go, Busy, Busy Town or Green Eggs and Ham.
The tears may have started with the dogs, Old Yeller, Sounder and Where the Red Fern Grows. The love of travel was perhaps whetted by The Razor’s Edge or frightened by Heart of Darkness. The lure of the sea baited with Moby Dick.
Books illuminate and amuse, educate and infuriate, calm and caress. They are also markers of who we were when we read them and sometimes who we want to be.
To lose ourselves in the imaginative trance of reading is to take a vacation with no traffic, bad weather or overpriced dinners. But reading offers not just an escape, although it does this superbly. It also travels inward, helping to plot the story of our own lives. Literal or metaphorical, each book changes us ever so slightly.
This weekend the Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival returns to the Island as it does every other year to celebrate reading and writers. The festival has added a day this year. On Saturday authors will speak on panels at the Harbor View Hotel. On Sunday they will give readings on the grounds of the Chilmark Community Center.
Below are interviews with several of the authors. Take a moment to get to know them before visiting the writers in person. Then head out, schedule in hand, ready to encounter the hip hop underground of New York city, the history of music at Columbia Records, the fiery world of abolition according to John Brown, the inner life of William Styron, behind the scenes of the Whitey Bulger trial, and much, much more — all without ever leaving the Island.
Read interviews with selected authors and reviews of their books:
Rose Styron: A Life Through Letters, William Styron Holds Forth
Richard Russo: Richard Russo on Remembering Home, and Elsewhere
Maggie Shipstead: West Coaster Goes Native to Write Life of New England Wasp Family
Adam Mansbach: Hip Hop Graffiti Novel Celebrates Lasting Legacy of Ephemera
Tony Horwitz: Finding Your Voice in the Faltering Silence
Mariana Cook: Faces of Justice Reflect Their Struggle