Toady comes to Austin

The author Jacqueline Kelly gave a talk at the Texas Book Festival about her sequel to the literary classic “The Wind in the Willows,” which is called, appropriately, “Return to the Willows.”

Kelly explained how having grown up loving Kenneth Grahame’s original and living for over fifty years with the story’s beloved characters in her head, she felt compelled to write her sequel.

Some new characters appear this time round, including Toad’s nephew, Humphrey, who has a propensity to use pyrotechnics, and Matilda, a spirited and brave water rat who becomes a love interest for Ratty.

There was more adult fare at the festival in the form of the Haymarket Books stand that bristled with books detailing many of the wrongs of American and contemporary society.

Present, also, was the indomitable Naomi Wolf talking about her new book “Vagina: A New Biography.” She pointed out how a woman’s reproductive parts goes by many names, including “the heavenly gate,” “pink burrito,” or, as one man had informed her, “the Force.”

She spoke about the unconscious dialectic in society that punishes women for having pleasure and how women can resist such subordination by being better informed about the close connection between brain activity and the vagina.

She also had some relationship advice for men about who to treat their partners.

“If you want a woman to enthusiastically jump on you for the rest of your life, you have to be nice to her.”