5:15 a.m. - *scratch* *scratch* Pawing at the blanket covering my shoulder, my early bird of a cat cries, "Mew. Meow. MEOW!" In my sleepy daze, I offer him a little pat on the head and promptly roll over to get a little more sleep. It is Saturday after all.
5:30 a.m. - "Meow." *scratch* Ugh. "Fine," I tell the wicked little devil who is keeping me from sleeping in. "I'm up!" Of course, now the dog is up too and wanting to play.
The weather was lovely, if a little too warm. Still, no complaints from me. It was a perfect day for the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and nothing was going to dampen my enthusiasm. My husband and I had a great time, browsing through many of the booths, attending book signings and some of the author discussion panels that were held throughout the day.
My favorite panel turned out to be one that Anjin was particularly interested in attending. Jeph Loeb, most recently of Heroes fame, was joined by Mike Mignola (Hellboy) and Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) to discuss Comics: Superheroes of the Page and Screen. Moderator Geoff Boucher (L.A. Times Reporter) did not have to do very much to get the three men talking about their careers in the comic book and film industry. The conversation was entertaining as well as informative. The stigma surrounding comic books was a roadblock for a number of years in getting the books taken seriously as movie fodder. With the popularity of the genre in recent years, it is getting much easier. Jeph Loeb, sadly, would not give away any spoilers for the third season of Heroes.
Rushing across campus, we were able to make it to our second panel of the day just in time. The topic of the morning was Mystery: The Literary Detective. I admit that one of the reasons I was interested in this particular panel was the chance to see Peter Robinson, author of the Inspector Banks series. However, I was also very curious to see how the topic itself would be addressed. Joining Peter Robinson were authors Leslie Klinger and April Smith. Sarah Weinman was the moderator. There was a little discussion of the history and evolution of the literary detective, beginning with Edgar Allan Poe. April Smith and Peter Robinson shared details of their own process of writing and creating their characters while Leslie Klinger offered his input based on past research he had done for his nonfiction work. It was an interesting discussion that touched slightly on the literary fiction versus genre fiction debate, if only to demonstrate how ambiguous such labels can be.
I could not pass up the opportunity to take in the Fiction: Lives on the Page panel, featuring Elizabeth Berg, Anne Taylor Fleming, Joanne Harris, and Elizabeth Strout, moderated by Amy Wallen. It was quite interesting to learn how each author breathes life into her characters, pulling from her own experiences initially, but then branching out from there, letting the characters take the lead.
The time we spent checking out the different booths proved quite fruitful. We got to see authors Harlan Coben, T. Jefferson Parker, John Lescroart, Laura Levine, Robert Crais, and Joanne Fluke among others. My heart skipped a beat just being around them all! I did tell you about my being star struck by authors before? It's awful.
I met a couple of authors I was not familiar with: Dan Fesperman and Louise Ure, both of whom were the nicest people. Looking back, I think I made a fool of myself in front of Dan Fesperman. I asked a couple of inane questions. He was extremely polite, however, and his books sound especially good. Louise Ure's books also caught my interest set in Arizona, one of my favorite settings. I felt a strong bond with Louise Ure immediately. Maybe it had something to do with her admission that she buys a lot of books too. Louise Ure said she thinks she might have stopped by my blog at some point, which both scared and thrilled me. Scared because, well, I am a shy person and feel more comfortable as a wallflower. Thrilled because she'd actually heard of my little blog!
This was the first year the festival sported a Comix Strip section, which really wasn't much at all, but it was something, I suppose. Anjin came upon one booth in particular that drew him in. We got the chance to meet comic book writer Michael Alan Nelson who seemed like a great guy.
I did manage to find a few books that caught my fancy. Several made their way home with me:
The Woods by Harlan Coben
Lie in the Dark by Dan Fesperman
The Small Boat of Great Sorrows by Dan Fesperman
The Jane Austen Club by Karen Joy Fowler
Summer of the Big Bachi by Naomi Hirahara
Sun Storm by Åsa Larsson
Dissolution by C.J. Sansom
Forcing Amaryllis by Louise Ure