As obvious as this may sound at first, the 28th annual
Author Richard Russo was attending with his daughter, illustrator Kate Russo. They collaborated on "Interventions," a series of individually bound stories gathered in a slipcase. "We didn't set out to make an anti-book but more of a pro-book book," he told a packed house, adding that "Interventions" won't be released digitally: "It doesn't make sense to us to make a beautiful object then sell it in an unbeautiful way."
Benjamin van Loon, seated behind a table on South Dearborn Street promoting his small, year-old, Chicago-based press, Anobium Books ("strange, surreal and insectile literature"), quipped that, as a publisher, "print almost feels like a guilty pleasure now. As a writer, I almost tell editors, 'Put it in a print, and you can pay me less.'"
That sentiment seemed to be in the air: Asked by an audience member if there was a digital archive in the works of his half-century of legendary cartooning, something that could be "downloaded,"
Not that the sentiment was universally shared.
Talk show host and chef
It should also be noted there's something very there and tangible about a brassy Rachael Ray. Just as there's something even more present about 80-year-old Dan Rather. He appeared Saturday at the library to discuss his new memoir. Reminding the audience that his own former job as a talking head was (and is) often seen as insubstantial, intangible, he said: "My father was mystified someone could make a living by talking."
Also very much there at Printers Row: "Friday Night Lights" author
There's no there there, he explained.
There is, however, a nice there there in the $5,000 given to Jeremy T. Wilson, a Chicago tutor whose story "Everything Is Going to Be Okay" won him the
Perhaps the oddest reminder of the persistence of literary presence, though, were the two — count 'em two — vendors at Printers Row selling T-shirts that featured mostly obscure literary references to authors and cultural icons. On Polk Street, there was Novel-T, a Brooklyn-based business selling mock literary baseball jerseys. The hottest seller was
Around the corner on Dearborn Street was Lou Bank, a longtime Chicago marketing guy who, for the past 13 years, has been selling Novel-Tees, featuring references to Nick Hornby, Jonathan Lethem, Andrew Vachss,
"This is a (Chuck) Klosterman reference on this shirt, right?" the man asked.
"Right," Bank replied. "One hundred percent of proceeds go to the National Association to Protect Children. We don't keep a dime, Chuck doesn't get a dime, Bruce doesn't need a dime, Shakespeare hasn't asked."