Wednesday, November 22, 2017
News Roundup

Festival of Reading draws hundreds of Judy Blume fans

RECOMMENDED READING


ST. PETERSBURG — Alice Copeland clutched two books with sweaty palms as she walked away from the author who wrote them.

"I'm still kind of jittery," Copeland, 12, said after meeting Judy Blume, a writer famous for her young adult fiction.

Copeland was one of hundreds in line to meet Blume, who headlined the 23rd annual Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading on Saturday. Book lovers from in and out of town gathered at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus to hear from more than 50 authors.

The festival kicked off with a talk from Blume, 77, about her newest book, the adult novel In the Unlikely Event. But first Blume reminded the audience why they were there.

"I am your childhood," she said, eliciting a burst of applause from the packed ballroom.

Her latest, one of four books Blume has geared toward an adult audience, is based on true events from the winter of 1951-52 when three airplanes crashed in Blume's hometown of Elizabeth, N.J., killing more than 100 people.

The book took her five years to write, she said, because much of it was based on news stories and interviews with people she grew up with. Many of the memories they shared ended up in the book, which is told from multiple points of view. Blume offered some advice for readers who may get confused by the changing perspectives.

"Don't worry about all these characters," she said. "Read them as little vignettes."

After the talk, Blume held a book signing, where a line wrapped around the inside of the building and out the front door at one point. Her mass of fans ranged from children to seniors, a sign of Blume's ability to transcend generations.

Copeland and her friend Stephanie Rizzo, 33, said their love for Blume's novels helped close their 21-year age gap. Rizzo pointed to Blume's 1970 novel Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, about a sixth-grade girl working her way through life as a pre-teen.

"The things that happened to Margaret in the '70s are completely relatable to Alice growing up in 2015," Rizzo said. "We have something we both bond over."

Blume signed her last book about two hours after the meet-and-greet began. The Key West resident had never visited the Tampa Bay area before, she said, but the fans she met here were unlike any in the 30 cities she's visited on her book tour so far.

"They had the most energetic, lively response," she said. "I just wish it could've been longer."

Contact Kathryn Varn at (727) 893-8913 or [email protected] Follow @kathrynvarn.

Comments
Charities see greater need, donations during holidays after Irma

Charities see greater need, donations during holidays after Irma

Charities that feed the poor around Tampa Bay say they’ve seen a bump in demand since Hurricane Irma that is continuing into the holidays.But they also are reporting a spike in donations they are attributing to a neighbor-helping-neighbor spirit in t...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
Mountains beckon, but family sticks with beleaguered Seminole Heights for Thanksgiving this year

Mountains beckon, but family sticks with beleaguered Seminole Heights for Thanksgiving this year

TAMPA — Before the killings began, Bob and Vivian Fiallo envisioned having Thanksgiving at their North Carolina mountain getaway.Most years, the couple spends the holiday at their tidy, brick-faced home on North Olney Avenue, in the heart of Southeas...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Forecast: Foggy, then partly cloudy Thanksgiving Eve before holiday rain takes hold across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Foggy, then partly cloudy Thanksgiving Eve before holiday rain takes hold across Tampa Bay

A foggy, then partly cloudy day precedes what potentially could be a wet and dreary Thanksgiving across Tampa Bay.Deep moisture in the region has produced thick fog early Wednesday morning, with visibility reduced to a quarter-mile in some areas — in...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
What would drive a man to shoot someone 17 times?

What would drive a man to shoot someone 17 times?

Anthony Roy and his wife retired to Clearwater to escape the violence in Washington, D.C. They moved into a house owned by his mother, and they loved it there. Then uninvited guests started loitering in their back yard and dealing drugs. They couldn&...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: Seminole Heights family shows strength over Thanksgiving; How ‘A Christmas Carol’ was born; Amazon’s crushing retail this holiday season; remembering David Cassidy

The Daystarter: Seminole Heights family shows strength over Thanksgiving; How ‘A Christmas Carol’ was born; Amazon’s crushing retail this holiday season; remembering David Cassidy

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.10News WTSPThe latest 7-day forecast• Increased moisture will produce thick morning fog, then give way to warm temperatures, partly cloudy skies and a small chance of rain. Com...
Updated: 1 hour ago
How ‘A Christmas Carol’ was born

How ‘A Christmas Carol’ was born

Charles Dickens’ best-known and most beloved book almost didn’t happen. In 1843, Dickens, then 31, was already dealing with the downside of international success. He had followed bestsellers like Oliver Twist with several flops and was s...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Some cities faced with all-or-nothing medical marijuana rules are playing it safe

Some cities faced with all-or-nothing medical marijuana rules are playing it safe

When it comes to weighing the options for regulating medical marijuana through the law passed this year, Dunedin city commissioners declared local governments face a "conundrum" and "a false dilemma."They said they would welcome a dispensary in the c...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Hometown Pasco for Nov. 24

Hometown Pasco for Nov. 24

We want your news! Hometown Pasco is devoted to everyday life in our county, whether it’s snapshots from your family reunion, recreational sporting event, news from your last club meeting or just a few lines thanking someone for a job well do...
Published: 11/22/17
Bowen: A legislative wish list for which to be thankful

Bowen: A legislative wish list for which to be thankful

This column took some time to compose. The initial scribbling came late on the night of Sept. 10 inside Pasco’s Emergency Operations Center as Hurricane Irma tracked across the county. Away from family. Stuck in a too-small work space with a bunch of...
Published: 11/22/17
Fennelly: USF-UCF rivalry needs more than directional disrespect

Fennelly: USF-UCF rivalry needs more than directional disrespect

TAMPA — It’s the biggest football game in USF history. It’s two days and 90 miles away. USF at UCF. The 9-1 Bulls against the 10-0 Knights. It’s USF coach Charlie Strong against UCF/Florida/Nebraska coach Scott Frost. It̵...
Updated: 8 minutes ago