If you happen not to be in Los Angeles this weekend -- and that's unfortunate, because temperatures here have finally dropped below 100 --the optimal places to be are Boston and Austin. Both are holding book festivals.
The Texas Book Festival is bigger, for sure, because it's Texas, after all. More than 250 writers will appear, representing more than just the literary Lone Star State. The roster includes novelists Joyce Carol Oates, James Ellroy, Colson Whitehead, Maggie Shipstead, Marlon James, Edan Lepucki, Darcey Steinke, Jeff VanderMeer, Emily St. John Mandel, Jenny Offill, Eimear McBride, Bret Anthony Johnson and Meg Wolitzer.
Also scheduled to appear Oct. 25-26 are Cesar Chavez biographer Miriam Pawel, Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright (who will also be performing with his band, Who Do), poet Dean Young, essayists Katha Pollitt and Leslie Jamison, cultural chronicler Ilan Stavans, Buzzfeed Books' Isaac Fitzgerald, literary erasure writer Austin Kleon, former L.A. Times staffer Hector Tobar, YA author Jacqueline Woodson, and children's book author Jon Scieszka.
Martin Amis, Walter Mosley, Lidia Bastianich and Mac Barnett will appear at the kickoff gala on Oct. 24. Proceeds from the big-ticket event support literary programs in Texas.
Over at the Boston Book Festival, there will be 150 writers participating from Oct. 24-25 on the Boston Common; most events are free. If you're in Beantown, you might see Susan Minot give the fiction keynote Friday evening, Doris Kearns Goodwin give the history keynote on Saturday afternoon, or the kids keynote given by Rick Riordan Saturday morning.
Other writers scheduled to appear are ZZ Packer, Rebecca Mead, Steve Almond, Vikram Chandra, Joseph O'Neill, Lauren Oliver and Scott Westerfeld. Wesley Stace will bring his combination of music and books with Stacey d'Erasmo and Kate Racculia.
There will also be ticketed events nearby with architect Norman Foster and musician Herbie Hancock.
The honorary Phil Collins Award for being in two places at once goes to Meg Wolitzer, who will be in conversation with Claire Messud in Boston on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and that afternoon on a YA panel at 4:15 -- and make it to Texas to appear on a panel Sunday at 1:30 p.m.