To be fair, Levi and I went to the Vegas Valley Book Festival yesterday knowing I was going to spend too much money. And I did–I got a pile of books, many of which were super cheap (the Scholastic tent had everything on sale half off!) and some of which were a little pricey. (Imagine my heartbreak when I buy $10 novels from emerging writers at a table, only to find out their books are priced on Amazon at $8. Shame on you, emerging authors. You’re supposed to be expanding your audience, not fleecing them.) Anyway, when we got back home, we sat around and read a good chunk out everything we’d bought and had a great time doing it. Here are a few of my favorite buys from Las Vegas locals:
I found a few spectacular stories in a copy of Witness magazine, edited by Maile Chapman at UNLV. I never got the chance to work with Professor Chapman, but I read her book, and it is chock full of gorgeous neo-gothic imagery and spooky undertones. The copy of Witness I picked up was the “ghosts” issue, which of course was not as supernatural as I’d like, but I knew that going in. Still, these stories give me what I want when I read lit: rich imagery and atmosphere, intricate sentence structure, implications about what it means to be alive.
Also in terms of lit, I picked up a print copy of Helen: A Literary Magazine, and found it to be as full of great art and photography as it was full of fiction. I’d been excited about them for awhile, as from their pdf issues they appeared to be a local magazine with great visual design, high production values, and vivid prose and poetry. I emphasize this because (full disclosure) I got an acceptance from them a while ago that made me super tickled pink. It is a production I am really honored to be apart of, and being able to read a print copy as opposed to the pdf copies I already have makes the reading experience more palpable.
Finally, Levi and I also picked up a collection of short comics from local authors, published by Pop! Goes the Icon boutique publishing house. These comics were written and illustrated by people with boots on the ground here in Vegas, or at least on the ground on Fremont street, which is where all the cool kids hang out. (Admittedly, I’ve been thinking more and more about setting up the family in a place downtown–it’s just so rough-around-the-edges charming!–and that’s when I realize I am a filthy hipster just like the rest of them.) Anyway, the comics could be construed as similar to the environment that lent to their creation; rough-around-the-edges and charming.
Next year, I’m going to plan on spending a bit more time hanging out at the book festival, as I wasn’t able to actually attend any of the talks, which was irksome. But still, it was an awesome time, and I met a bunch of awesome people. And now I’ve got a heap of awesome stuff to read.