The St. Louis Annual Jewish Book Festival— now in its 43rd year—is nationally recognized as one of the best and largest in the country with more than 10,000 audience members every year. The event features nationally known authors, best-selling books, and a select group of Missouri writers. The extensive range of topics includes business, cooking, economics, family, fiction, history, music, religion, sports, and more.
Needless to say, this is a very big deal in the publishing world and something I have always aspired to be a part of. This month, my dream came true. I was invited to be on a panel of Missouri authors moderated by a popular radio and TV commentator.
We didn’t know what questions the moderator was going to ask, which was a little unsettling, but I prepared as if I were cramming for a final exam. My preparation paid off. I was relaxed and ready for just about any question the moderator could ask. He obviously crammed as well, because he knew all about us and our books, and his questions were thoughtful and on target.
After the panel discussion, we sat at separate tables and signed our books for people who had purchased them at the bookstore across the lobby. That was the best part of the day. Talking about How to Age with Grace with people who had all kinds of questions about aging—for themselves or their parents—was the reason I wrote the book. Holding a published book in your hand is not the goal. the goal is to create a conversation.
I sold some books and I bought a book. I chatted with other authors and book buyers. My only regret is that I did not get to hear any of the major presentations, but I’m told I can watch videos of them. The book I bought from the other nonfiction author on the panel is called Look Up: The Unexpected Guide to Good. The author is Jan Sokoloff Harneess. It is a delightful book—uplifting and light but full of wisdom and “not at all PollyAnna” in the words of the author.