Festival of BOOKS! (throws books up like confetti) (ow) (ouch) (oof)


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… πŸ™‚

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?

~ Noel


27 thoughts on “Festival of BOOKS! (throws books up like confetti) (ow) (ouch) (oof)

  1. Sounds like a great event. I’ve never been but I live about an hourish drive from the Hay festival, if you’ve ever heard of it. One of my more outlandish fever dreams is to attend as an author one day.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sounds awesome! …At least in theory. I’m planning to hit my first book festival this spring, too — the Queens Book Festival at the end of May. There are supposed to be several events surrounding Americanah (the first New York City Community Read). Thanks for the reminder to look into tickets… πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t believe it took me so long to attend this one. I’ve lived either IN Los Angeles or close enough to visit for, ohhh, 12 years now?? But I also hadn’t heard of it until just a few years ago, so I guess that lets me off the hook a little bit. Slightly. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great. Thanks. Just what I needed, ANOTHER thing to add to my list of stuff to do πŸ™‚ Never been to one but I’d love to. How about we make a deal – I’ll come to the first one you have to attend as an author? πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes count me in too! Very jealous that you have such an event on your doorstep, it sounds amazing. Would love to see Margaret Atwood talk. Never been to book festival, just a local conference and a couple of readings, need to get out there more! Hope the cold is well and truly on the way out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was soooo bummed I couldn’t see Margaret Atwood’s talk, especially with the release of the new TV adaptation! Arrrg! The Handmaid’s Tale has been my top favorite novel for 10 years now. Have you read that one? Any others of hers that you like?


      • Hi, yes have read it two or three times, one of my favourites too. I also enjoyed The Blind Assassin and Cat’s Eye too, more than the Oryx and Crake series. Not sure the TV adaptation is coming to these parts…

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve only seen 2 episodes of it so far but it’s well done, I hope you’re able to see it sometime. I liked the first Oryx and Crake book but haven’t gotten to the rest. I’ve read bits of her other books, but none captivated me like Handmaid’s did.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Sad as it is, I didn’t know that book festivals were a thing πŸ˜… It sounds amazing, though. Time to frantically google events in Chicago and Milwaukee!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Book festivals are awesome. I don’t think I’ve been to any official ones, but I’ve been to some that were disguised as other things, a common trend lately it seems.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yesterday I went to the first annual book fair in San Diego and I can totally relate to the awkward feeling of having the authors stare at you from across the table expecting you to buy and not being able to reach booths on account of the crowd πŸ˜†… I had a great time but still…

    Liked by 1 person

      • For the most part they were local and/or new authors who were unknown to me but a couple of the military history authors were known to me as well as Kiersten White. I was glad to pick up books from both 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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