Boston Book Festival
Chris & I had a great time at the Boston Book Festival last weekend.
We went to the Church of the Covenant to hear Robin Young interview Alexander McCall Smith. Ostensibly, he was talking about the Isabel Dalhousie novels, but he ranged pretty widely, as he is wont to do. He talked about the Isabel Dalhousie Fellowship he set up at the University of Edinburgh. He seemed very tickled to have set that up, and very excited that the first Isabel Dalhousie professor is Edward Mendelson of Columbia, who is the literary executor of W. H. Auden. After the talk, he answered a lot of great questions from the audience.
After browsing the book stalls some more, we headed over to Trinity church to hear Tom Ashbrook chair a great panel on politics with five great writers: Michael Sandel, Randall Kennedy, Lawrence Lessig, Nancy L. Cohen, and Philip K. Howard.
They had an interesting discussion of what’s happened to American politics and what can be done to fix it. Most of their points centered around the idea that most Americans have lost interest in politics because they see the game as being rigged and don’t think that there’s much to be gained by thinking about it. As a result, a few interested players are able to shanghai the system and use it to get what they want while everyone else turns their back on the process.
That was just the tiniest bit of what was going on around Copley Square. We would have loved to stay all day and go to a lot more sessions, but we had a lot of hatches to batten at home before Sandy got here.