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Commentary: Columbus offers worthy opportunities, locations for bookworms during summer break

Caitlin Essig / Arts editor

Some students are going to leave Columbus for the summer, but the city will continue to thrive throughout the break. Each week, I’ll highlight an aspect of entertainment scheduled to take place in Columbus this summer.

Literature is not a word often associated with summertime, but that’s exactly what you might think of if Columbus is your home during this blazing season. Whether you want to get lost in a book or hear how one is written, read on to find out when and where you can get your bookworm on this summer.

Ohioana Book Festival: May 11

The only thing I would rather do besides curl up with a good book (or 10) is meet the masterminds behind them, and that’s exactly what the Ohioana Book Festival is here for.

This festival is scheduled to include more than 100 authors throughout the day’s events, many of whom will take part in roundtable discussions regarding all areas of literature. Among these writers are 10 “featured” authors, including Ellis Avery (The Teahouse Fire) and Robert Olmstead (The Coldest Night), who will be participating in special panels regarding their craft and tips on how to become a published author yourself.

Linda Hengst, executive director of Ohioana Library Association, said the festival will provide the perfect break from schoolwork for college students.

“All college students get overwhelmed with reading, but not fun reading,” Hengst said. “I think that this is a way to get away from the books that are bogging you down for (exams) and get back to the joy of reading.”

The event is free, and no prior registration is necessary. Doors are scheduled to open at 9:45 a.m. the day of the event at Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center, located at 546 Jack Gibbs Blvd., and will run until 4:30 p.m.

And did I mention there will be plenty of food trucks to go around at the event? Among these are Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and Green Meanie, so your appetite for both knowledge and delicious food is sure to be filled to the brim by the end of the day. 

The Book Loft of German Village: ongoing

I dream of one day owning a home that includes a room that has walls covered with floor-to-ceiling shelves, and on these shelves will be hundreds and hundreds of books. Until that happens, I’ll happily allow The Book Loft to fill this void in my life. I look forward to escaping the heat in this haven of words.

This literary paradise is home to 32 rooms that are bursting with books, from comics to how-to books to fantasy novels and everything in between.

As if that doesn’t sound perfect enough, there is also a beautiful courtyard surrounding the shop that provides the perfect backdrop to read those lovely new books you’re sure to purchase. Russ Iler, one of the owners of The Book Loft, said this is a popular hangout especially in the summer months.

“It’s a fun place to go and hang out, we’re a very unique bookstore,” Iler said. “And in the summer, our courtyard is lined by flowers. There’s really no (place) like us.”

The Book Loft is located at 631 S. 3rd St. and is open from 10 a.m.-11 p.m. every day. Don’t go if you have other plans for the day, as you’re sure to get lost in the stacks for several hours without realizing it.

Thurber House Evenings with Authors: May 21, June 3 and June 17

While the Ohioana Book Festival brings together many talented writers that call Ohio their home, the Thurber House instead invites a select few nationally recognized authors to speak on their writing. 

Authors not only answer questions from the audience but are also scheduled to read from their most recent published works as well as host a book signing at the end. 

Erin Deel, general house administrator at Thurber House, said these events are especially fun for people who want to pick the brain of someone with experience in the craft.

“The author gives a talk for about 45 minutes or so, and then there’s a question-and-answer period,” Deel said. “If (people are) interested, they have a chance to have that moment with the author and get into the author’s mind.”

As if this isn’t up close and personal enough, Thurber House also offers The Author’s Table tickets, which allow you to attend a sit-down dinner with the author as well as reserve seats at the event. If you’re as obsessed with having obscure claims to fame as much as I am, this is your chance to get one.

There are three author visits scheduled for the summer. Tracy Chevalier (“The Last Runaway”) is scheduled to speak May 21, Jeff Shaara (“A Chain of Thunder: A Novel on the Siege of Vicksburg”) is scheduled to speak June 3 and Steve Berry (“The King’s Deception: A Cotton Malone Novel”) is scheduled to speak June 17. All Evenings with Authors events are slated to occur at the Columbus Museum of Art, located at 480 E. Broad St. and begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for seniors and students. The Author’s Table tickets are $45.

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