In a world of televisions and smartphones, books are like gold. Inconspicuous paperbacks have the power to transport readers to far off adventures and back into the past, as hardcovers suck literary lovers into immersive biographies and heart-pounding thrillers. While television services can be faulty and cell phone power fades, books live on to provide entertainment and escape to anyone who picks up their pages.
Here in the Hudson Valley, book culture runs strong. Not only does the region boast a number of charming bookstores and shops, but it is also home to an impressive lineup of book fairs and festivals. Bookmark our list (pun absolutely intended) and hop aboard the reading rainbow when the leaves begin to fall.
Spencertown Academy Arts Center, 790 Rte 203, Spencertown
Aug 31 – Sept 3
As one of the larger book fests in the region, Spencertown’s annual event fills Labor Day weekend with a nonstop schedule of to-dos. Book lovers can find a new favorite in the giant used book sale, pop into discussions and readings with notable authors, and bring the kids to the children’s program. This year, authors Sandra/Sandy Allen, Jamie Cat Callan, Linda Dahl, Carol Durant, Donna Kaz, Jessica Keener, Karen Schoemer, and John Michael Varese will be in attendance. Admission is free, with the exception of the Member’s Preview book-buying event on Friday, August 31.
Polish Community Center, 225 Washington Ave Ext, Albany
Sept 23, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Diehard bookworms will swoon when they spot the gems on offer at this antiquarian book fair. Swing by the community center to ooh and aah over the antique and out-of-print books and manuscripts on display. Other paper goods, like postcards, maps, posters, and photographs, will also be around for show and for sale.
University at Albany, Campus Center, 1400 Washington Ave, Albany
Although the Albany Book Festival is new to the local literary scene, it already promises to be a valuable addition. The two-day attraction features a packed schedule of panel discussions, literary vendors, and around 100 local authors. Francis Lam will discuss The Splendid Table, while Laura Lippman explores the world of mystery and Annette Gordon-Reed chats about the history of The Hemingses of Monticello. Presenting authors include historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and Gregory Maguire, of Wicked fame, to name only a few. In addition to numerous panel discussions and presentations, there will also be writing workshops and young adult and children’s events.
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Bell Middle School, 50 Senter St, Chappaqua
Sept 29, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Bring the littlest readers to Chappaqua for a full day session designed to show kids just how fun books can be. More than 90 authors and illustrators, including Alan Katz, Gail Levine, and Mark Teague, will be onsite for book signings and readings. On top of that, kids can take a break with fun activities, entertainment, and food throughout the day.
Railroad Ave, Warwick
Oct 6, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Since the Warwick festival began in September 2005, it has steadily grown in size and popularity to welcome nearly 2,000 visitors in 2017. After kids pick out a few new books and meet and greet the authors who created them, the whole family can settle down to listen to the Uncle Brothers Band before wandering into the village for a bite to eat at one of the sweet cafes. A portion of the proceeds from the day benefits the Albert Wisner Public Library, which was named the Best Small Library in America by Library Journal in 2016.
Crestview Conference Center, 440 West Nyack Rd, West Nyack
October 24, 8 a.m – 3 p.m.
The return of the one-day youth literary conference, an intimate workshop-style event for 100 child and teen participants, is designed to open young readers’ minds to the world of books and writing. Keynote speaker Nick Glass will kick things off with a talk titled, “From De-Silencing to Empowering Discussions About Race and Culture With Diverse Books.” After two breakout discussions and book sale segments, attendees can end the day with an author presentation on Sandra Uwiringiyumana and her book, How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child.