Paper or plastic. Creamy or crunchy. White or wheat. Regular or decaf. Some choices are easier to make, especially when it comes to choosing which talks to attend on BookFest Sunday, with its impressive lineup of established and emerging writers. We forgive you if you feel wracked with indecision when presented with the sheer breadth of options. In one room, join a panel discussion about the relevance of literary criticism today featuring a Skyped-in Harold Bloom, the pre-eminent scholar (in)famous for his views on who belongs in the Western canon. Across the hall, Benjamin Taylor talks about his recent project -- editing Saul Bellow’s letters -- with Joyce Carol Oates, who has also written extensively about Bellow. Meanwhile, a buzzed-about young writers such as The Flame Alphabet author Ben Marcus converses with Adam Levin (some say he’s the literary heir to David Foster Wallace). Later, learn more about the ongoing influence of Cynthia Ozick, one of the great living Jewish American authors, who’s present via video link. Psychotherapist Irvin Yalom tells the story of how the Nazis preserved the library of Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza during World War II, a fascinating historical footnote that serves as the background for his novel The Spinoza Problem. Talks by novelist Nicole Krauss and U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine bookend (ahem) the very literary day that proves books still have the power to draw a crowd.
Sun., Feb. 26, 11 a.m., 2012