Category Archives: Festivals

World Book Capital 2012

Thanks to Jen Robinson’s Book Page, I recently became aware that Yerevan, Armenia has been named the World Book Capital for 2012 by UNESCO.

As an Armenian, I am incredibly proud of this news. Armenia has a rich and troubled history, but it also has a beautiful culture deeply rooted in the arts and sciences.

UNESCO Press Release:

Yerevan is the twelfth city to be designated World Book Capital after Madrid (2001), Alexandria (2002), New Delhi (2003), Antwerp (2004), Montreal (2005), Turin (2006), Bogota (2007), Amsterdam (2008), Beirut (2009), Ljubljana (2010) and Buenos Aires (2011).

The city of Yerevan was chosen for the quality and variety of its programme, which is “very detailed, realistic and rooted in the social fabric of the city, focused on the universal and involving all the stakeholders involved in the book industry”, according to the members of the selection committee.

“I congratulate the city of Yerevan, which has presented a particularly interesting programme with many different themes, including the freedom of expression, as well as several activities for children, who will be the readers and authors of tomorrow”, said Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO. “Mobilizing the entire world of books and reading, from authors to printers and publishers, will undoubtedly help to make the Yerevan programme a major success, with a sustainable impact,” she added.

Every year, UNESCO and the three major international professional organizations from the world of books – the International Publishers Association (IPA), the International Booksellers Federation (IBF) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) – designate a city as World Book Capital for one year, between two consecutive celebrations of World Book and Copyright Day (23 April). This initiative is a collaborative effort between representatives of the main stakeholders in the book industry, as well as a commitment by cities to promote books and reading.

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Happy Bastille Day! (Paris in July)

What is Bastille Day? Bastille Day is the annual French celebration of the storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution in 1789. It is formally known as La Fête Nationale. In Paris, there will be the annual parade down the Rue Champs-Elysees today. Other cities around the world will be hosting their own French celebrations and weekend gatherings. I was supposed to go the French Festival in Santa Barbara this weekend, but it was canceled. That still won’t stop me from learning about and participating in Bastille Day in the Bay Area!

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Books of Interest – Bastille Day Reads

Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution – Simon Schama (Paperback, 976 pages, Vintage, list price: $29.95)

Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution Michelle Moran, (Hardcover, 464 pages, Crown, list price: $25.00)

A Place of Greater Safety Hilary Mantel, (Paperback, 768 pages, Picador, list price: $18)

Online Resources

Bastille Day

Bastille Day Pomp and Pageantry (Washington Post)

French Revolution – Bastille Day (History Channel.com)

Paris in July

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In addition to the Agatha Christie Summer Celebration that I want to take part in, I am also signed up for the 2nd Annual Paris in July, hosted by Thyme for Tea and Book Bath.

Paris in July 2010Given my penchant for reading books set in France or Paris, this should be a piece of cake, or rather a piece of eclair, a roll of croissant, etc.

I spent 6 days of my honeymoon in Paris this April. I spent a grand total of 9 days in France when you include the weekend stay in Arles in Provance. I am desperate to get back, and Paris in July is a wonderful way for me to relive my days in Europe.

I even have plans to attend the 24th Annual French Festival in Santa Barbara this year. Paris in July is a month long blog-love for all things French and Parisian. It will run from July 1st to July 31st this year and the rules are fairly simple:

There will be no rules or targets in terms of how much you need to do or complete in order to be a part of Paris in July – just blog about anything French and you can join in. Some ideas for the month might include:
– Reading a French book – fiction or non-fiction
– Watching a French movie
– Listening to French music
– Cooking French food
– Experiencing French art, architecture or travel (lucky Tamara!)
– Or anything else French inspired you can think of…

I hope you will sign up with me for this fun event!!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

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The one day of the year where all of the United States decides it wants to be Irish. Afterall, who can turn down green beer, green festivities and the age-old tradition of pinching anyone who isn’t wearing green? You know out-grow the last tradition.

Since I haven’t been able to compile a list myself, I’ll link you to some great Irish Authors Booklists around the web to help further the celebration!

NYPL – Irish Authors Booklist

Chicago Public Library – St. Patrick’s Day Booklist (for kids)

MyShelf – St. Patrick’s Day Fiction

Irish Writers Online A-Z Index

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The Charles Dicken’s Fair

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For the past 31 years in San Francisco, a large group of volunteers puts on a 4 weekend event known as The Charles Dicken’s Fair.

Despite having lived in the Bay Area for 20 years of my life, this was the first year that I actually went, and it was fantastic. I felt like I traveled back in time. People dressed up in costume of the era, I saw an actual Punch and Judy puppet show, saw characters from Dicken’s books walking around the lot and ate lots of good authentic British food. The fair, for the most part are rows and rows of shops and little carts selling specialized goods (Victorian costume and clothing, jewelery, candy, etc).

There was a Fezziwigs Warehouse as soon as you walk in, and the entire place was mapped out using character names and city references from all of the Dicken’s books. An avid Dicken’s fan would have loved it. I’ve only read a few of his books and those few and far between each other. I had my book club read A Christmas Carol and we went to The Dicken’s Fair as our first Book Club Field Trip. Needless to say, we didn’t actually discuss A Christmas Carol because its a story so many people know by heart and one that the movies replicate exactly from the books, including specific lines and narration. Gonzo’s narration in A Muppet Christmas Carol is taken directly from the book.

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Now for some picture proof of the awesomeness of the Dicken’s Fair.

This hat shop we went to was AMAZING. I think we tried on every hat inside, including stray feathers we stuck in our hair.  (I think we look like swash-bucklers in this photo — fyi, I’m the one on the left).

This is Fezziwig’s Warehouse during a dance. They also played games with people from the audience.

Dicken's Fair - Fezziwig's Warehouse by you.

This is the stage for the Punch and Judy Show:

Punch and Judy Puppet Theater by you.