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Books! Real books! Real, full of paper and words and sometimes photos and drawings, books! Let’s celebrate books! Let’s go to the National Mall, walk on the new grass (Hooray! New September grass! Now that summer is over it’s the perfect time to get cold again and not walk on the grass!) and witness some of the greatest living minds speak about the work. And also the better half of the fourth hour of the Today show. Hoda is coming!

We love the National Book Fest. We like, really love it. In 2011 we filed a mutli-media explosion full of gorgeous photos and Garrison Keillor on camera (WEIRD) and talked to Bob Marley’s daughter.

Last year we spoke to R.L. Stine (SPOOKY!!!), took some adorable photos of children drawing in Daniel Tiger’s trolley and event got some Street Style shots. Readers can be fashionable. Or dress up like characters in their favorite books. It’s more likely that they’re in costume. Nice people.


This year looks to be just as amazing as last year’s. And the year before. Maybe as amazing as both put together. I’m not sure. It’s going to be hard to top hanging out with the lady responsible for True Blood. But we’ll try.

Here are our picks for the Top 5 Authors To Freak Out Over Like You’re Some Weird Misery-like Character at the 2013 National Book Festival

5. Hoda Kotb

Presentation Saturday, September 21 5:20 to 6:05pm, Book Signing 3:30 to 4:30pm

Kathie Lee’s better half makes a return appearance to the Book Fest. The real journalist has turned into a real fun lady. She was here in 2011 to promote “Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer and Kathie Lee.” She’s back with “Ten Years Later: Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives.”

4. Margaret Atwood

Presentation Saturday, September 21 10:55 to 11:40am, Book Signing 12 to 1pm

“The Blind Assassin” author is also the inventor of the LongPen, something that lets an author sign books from a remote location. WTF? We’re going to ask why, huh, what?

3. Joyce Carol Oates

Presentation Sunday, September 22 1:50 to 2:35pm, Book Signing 3 to 4pm

Maybe the biggest name here. She won the National Book Award in 1970. She’s published more than 40 novels. She writes 8-hours a day in shorthand. She can be your inspiration.

2. Linda Ronstadt

Presentation Saturday, September 21 10 to 10:45am, Book Signing 11:30am to 12:30pm

The singer recently announced she has Parkinson’s but she’s still a badass legend. She was able to wow Johnny Cash, has a pet cow and sand “Heart Like a Wheel.” We should be friends.

1. Don DeLillo

Presentation Saturday, September 21 10 to 10:45am, Book Signing 12 to 1pm

Let’s get sad! Remember “White Noise?” Let’s get super sad!