Happy May, everyone! I’m feeling particularly chipper today because I am FINALLY getting over a brutal cold. Ugh. This thing was a monster. The moment I realized I could swallow again without pain was a hallelujah occasion, and the first night I noticed I wasn’t coughing up a lung and half my spleen felt like a deer eating out of my hand. “KEEP VERY STILL… DON’T COUGH… DON’T… COUGH…”
While I was sick, I had plans to go to the famous Los Angeles Festival of Books on April 23rd, and after missing it every year thus far, I was determined to go even if I had to wear a face mask and be carted around in a wheelbarrow. Come on, guys. It’s a FESTIVAL… of BOOKS! I had to.
It was hosted by the University of Southern California, a gorgeous campus full of brick architecture with a European flair. White tents sprawled up and down the grounds; as soon as I thought we’d covered them all, there were more. As expected, they were selling books, represented almost entirely by small presses, organizations (Mystery Writers of America, etc), local bookshops, or the authors themselves. This could have been a great chance to support independent writers, but each tent was so crammed with people that I could barely elbow around them, plus the sellers were always sitting right across their table, staring at us with anticipation. Not a social situation I favor, being the introvert I am, plus I like a chance to leisurely read a few pages before buying a book. I also didn’t want to get my germy hands on everything, so I politely hung back, which meant walking past a lot of tents and squinting at covers when a gap opened in the throng. Merp.
Couldn’t help thinking it’d be fun to have my own booth someday, though… 🙂
There were big names there too! Margaret Atwood, Chuck Palahniuk, John Scalzi, a billion more but I didn’t read the whole list. The big namers were interviewed or held presentations in an auditorium, on a TON of topics – travel memoirs, characterization in crime fiction, building a brand, screen adaptations, gay literature, SO MANY MORE. I’m sad I couldn’t attend any; most were sold out before I even looked at the schedule. I would have loved to see Atwood’s talk about adapting The Handmaid’s Tale for the TV show. (So good, btw. There was actually a procession of red-and-white clad handmaids that went through the festival at one point.) Next time I’m going to skip the tents and focus on talks. And I’m going to sign up EARLY, dang it!
In summary, not convenient for book-buying unless you’re comfortable being watched and squashed, but I’d go back for the interviews.
Tell me, have any of you been to a city book fair? What was it like?