Jun 162010

Dark clouds hung in the sky. The weather report said to expect rain. Right before noon, it dropped from eighty to the mid-sixties. Great … The rain ended in Wicker Park around two in the afternoon. That’s when we decided to make our way to the Printer’s Row Book Fair. The parking space Gods were in our favor as we found a space a block away from the fair.

When we walked in, I noticed a few things. For one, it wasn’t as crowded as previous years. I attributed that to the abysmal weather, but the diehard fans of books, fellow writers and readers were in show. I also noticed that the fair was smaller this year and there weren’t many tables. That was a bummer. I always look forward to seeing the many bookstores, authors and lit pubs. Maybe it was just too expensive for them to pull off this year? Whatever it was, I found it rather unfortunate. The Printer’s Row Book Fair is one of the best festivals in Chicago. Period.

Walking in the rain @ the Printers Row Book Fair 2010

This year I had an agenda. I was going to hit all of the Chicago literary publications and buy some of their back issues. As a writer, it’s a good idea to have a sample issue in which to refer to when figuring out where to send your work for potential publication. You also want to be supportive of your industry. It’s also pretty cheap. You can usually find back issues for about half the cost of a regular issue. So, I bought a few back issues of After Hours and The Common Review.

As I continued to walk around, I saw a table stacked with beautiful, old hardcover books. On a whim, I purchased The Old Wives Tale by Arnold Bennett.

The Old Wives Tale

The Old Wives Tale by A. Bennett

I also found a small Chi-town publisher by the name of the Chicago Review Press and I couldn’t pass up one of the books sitting on the table. Zombie Movies, The Ultimate Guide by Glenn Kay. It was calling me. This book is a huge guide detailing zombie movies from the 1930’s through today. I know I’ll use that one for sure. We love zombie movies.

I also came across a few other interesting things and people this year. There is an interactive fiction video game called 1893: A World’s Fair Mystery. In this game, you are able to wander around the grounds of the 1893 world’s fair and read about the exhibits.

Here’s what I found about the game on their Web Site:

“A theft on the fairgrounds! Precious diamonds stolen from the Kimberly Diamond Mining Exhibit! An urgent telegram from your old partner arrives, requesting your help to solve the mystery. How can you refuse? And besides, you’ve been dying to see the wonder of the age everyone has been talking about, this Columbian Exposition. And so, dossier in hand, you take the next train to Chicago.

But this is no simple theft. And as theft turns to kidnapping, and kidnapping to murder, you find yourself at the center of a plot the extent of which you can only begin to imagine…”

It sounds rather interesting and innovative. I’m down for trying this game out in the future.

I also came across a writer by the name of Nick Valentino. He has a book out called Thomas Riley. Apparently, it’s a pretty exciting adventure novel. I didn’t purchase it as adventure novels aren’t really my thing, but I found Nick to be an extremely charismatic author and sales person. If I were into adventure novels, I would have purchased one from him. The woman sitting at the next table seemed rather annoyed. Maybe it was because he was selling more books than her. Come on folks, don’t be haters.

I hope the Printer’s Row Book Fair continues to live on, so keep showing up to support. It’s one of the best festivals in Chicago and something you have to experience for yourself to believe.

Printers Row Book Fair, Chicago 2010

Books, books everywhere


  4 Responses to “My take on the Printer’s Row Book Fair, Chicago 2010”

  1. I think the rain definitely had an effect. I thought about squeezing the fair in on an already busy weekend and decided it wasn’t worth the effort if rain was predicted. No one wants wet books!

  2. That’s true. I felt so bad for the vendors, but they were ready to throw those blue, plastic tarps over the books the moment they felt a drop of rain. The ones I bought were dry!

  3. Thanks so much for the kind words about Nick. He is a gem. ANd perhaps you should consider his book. I knew nothing about Steampunk before he submitted to us, and now I am HOOKED!

    Karen Syed

  4. I might just check it out. Thanks!

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