Monday, May 03, 2010

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, 2010

Like its name, spring has many positive connotations to it. It is a time of rebirth after the long winter; people tend to their gardens; flowers and plants are in full bloom. It is also a time when my allergies and sinuses kick into gear, which is not such a pleasant experience; but, aside from that, spring is a season that shouts sunshine, hope and life. It is also the season for the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, one of my favorite events of the year.

Unlike previous years, my husband and I were only able to attend one day this year. We'd splurged on tickets to the local Broadway season last summer and it just so happened that one of the show dates fell right on the weekend of the book festival. So, while many of my fellow bloggers were enjoying a Saturday at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Anjin and I were bouncing in our seats to the tunes from Hairspray. It was a fun show, another reminder of why I love attending the theater so much. While I entertained the idea of jumping in the car and meeting the book blogger gang at Jerry's Deli for dinner that evening, it really wasn't a possibility. Oh well.

Sunday, April 25th, couldn't get here soon enough. Anjin and I made the long drive into Los Angeles, arriving too late to attend our first panel by mere minutes. I wasn't too heartbroken, although just a little disappointed. In years past, I had a habit of arranging a very tight schedule for us, panel-wise, and this year I wanted to take a more relaxed approach and spend more time outdoors, browsing the booths. So, when I chose to attend the discussion panel between John Green and David Levithan, it was more because I figured it would be funny--and I was in the mood for funny. Plus, I had just finished reading a book by John Green after having finally succumbed to the peer pressure of fellow book bloggers. It wasn't meant to be, however. Instead, Anjin and I wandered around a few of the booths and were first in line for the John Green and David Levithan book signing, me armed with my copy of Will Greyson, Will Greyson. It's a good thing we were too because the line began growing even before the panel let out. As we were leaving, the end of the line wasn't anywhere in sight.

Anjin and I didn't have much time, but we raced over to our next venue, our other panel for the day. This one was one my husband had been most looking forward to. Writer Ed Brubaker (author of the graphic novels Scene of the Crime, Captain America, Dare Devil, Incognito, and Criminal) along with Oliver Simon (author of the graphic novels The Exterminators and Gen13) and Mike Mignola (author of the graphic novels Hellboy and BPRD) made up the panel. Geoff Boucher was the moderator. It was quite an entertaining panel, both funny and interesting. They discussed the differences in writing for indies versus the major publishers, their take on writing about superheroes, and the influence of Hollywood on comics and vice versa, among other topics. Even though this area is more my husband's than mine, I have read a short story and one graphic novel by Ed Brubaker, which I really liked, and so I was eager to see him as well. After the panel, we had the opportunity to meet Simon Oliver and Ed Brubaker and have them sign a couple of books for us.

The rest of the afternoon was wide open. Or so my husband thought. I actually had highlighted a couple of author signings in the schedule that I wanted to try and get to. Along the way we were able to grab a bite to eat and then visited the booths, sometimes doubling back to see who new might have showed up at the booths featuring author signings. I got to shake Kwei Quartey's hand and tell him how much I loved his book Wife of the Gods, hobnob with authors Juliet Blackwell, author of Secondhand Spirits, and Sophie Littlefield, author of A Bad Day for Sorry. I also introduced myself to crime fiction authors Denise Hamilton and Elizabeth George. One of my must see authors that day was Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians, who was gracious and humble when faced with a crazed book lover.

Overall, it was a terrific day. The weather was sunny and perfect, and I remembered to put on sunscreen. At the end of the day, my feet were sore and my shoulder ached a bit from my bag full of books, but it was well worth it.

Books I Couldn't Resist Buying at the Festival:
Secondhand Spirits by Juliet Blackwell
This Body of Death by Elizabeth George
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Last Embrace by Denise Hamilton
A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield
Bahamarama by Bob Morris (The Mysterious Galaxy was giving away one paperback for every hardback sold at their booth--and this was the complimentary book I was given)
Chas: The Knowledge (Hellblazer) by Simon Oliver & Goran Sud┼żuka

Anjin's Loot (which is also going on my TBR pile to read):
Hexed: The Devil I Know by Michael Alan Nelson, Emma Rios, Cris Peter, & Marshall Dillon
The Unknown by Mark Waid, Minck Oosterveer & Marshall Dillon

Other book blogger's recaps of the Festival:
Anjin from Bullet Points
Amy from My Friend Amy
Florinda from the 3 R's Blog
Leah from Amused By Books
Mark from Random Ramblings From Sunny Southern CA
Softdrink from Fizzy Thoughts
Thea from the Book Smugglers
Ti from Book Chatter
Trish from Hey Lady! Watcha Readin'?
Did I miss your LATFOB recap? Let me know and I'll add your link!

What new books made it into your home recently?

© 2010, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. Your trip to the broadway show and the LA Times Festival of Books sound loads of fun to me, Wendy! How I wish I have the opportunity to attend either of them. I'm glad you had a wonderful time, and I look forward to reading your thoughts on those books you bought! :)

  2. Sounds like a wonderful day. I hope that some year I can schedule a vacation that coordinates with this fantastic event.

    I love broadway musicals! I just wish they weren't so expensive :(

    Have a great week, Wendy!

  3. Ooh sounds like a lot of fun! I really wish I lived near something like this!

  4. What a great event! I don't read much crime or mystery fiction but a friend recommended Denise Hamilton's Eve Diamond series and I read them all - really enjoyed them. I wonder if she plans to add to the series any time soon as it's been a few years.

  5. The theater and books - what a great way to spend the weekend!

  6. Sounds like a fantastic weekend! I also love musicals but I have trouble finding people my age who feel that same way. And I know I wouldn't be able to resist picking up a few books if I were lucky enough to head to a festival.

  7. Melody - It was a lot of fun. It's nice having a theater so close now where I can see shows, and not having to drive out to L.A. each time. The theater in town was just refurbished and it looks great. I do wish our seats were better though.

    I'm really excited about reading the books. I am going to try and be good this year and not put off reading them like I have books I've gotten at festivals in the past. I'm so bad about that!

    Molly - I would love it if you could attend the festival, Molly! It's so much fun and definitely worth a visit to L.A. if you get the chance.

    The local theater here isn't quite as bad price wise as other theaters, but, depending on where you want to sit, it can be steep. I hate that the best seats tend to run so much more than the other seats, especially when so many sat empty this season. I'd sit in those seats in a hot minute if they brought the prices down. Of course, so would everyone else. LOL

    Jen - It's one good reason to living near a big city like L.A.

    Mary - Denise Hamilton did mention that she is working on another book so hopefully we'll see that soon!

    There were about 400 or so authors at the festival from all walks of life. It's quite exciting to be surrounded by so many book lovers.

    Kathy - It was a nice way to spend the weekend. I was so exhausted after the festival.

    Meghan - I had a great time. If you lived closer, I'd go to the musicals with you! I'm lucky that my husband enjoys going.

    I tried to cut back my spending at the festival this year. It wasn't easy. LOL

  8. That sounds like a terrific way to spend a weekend - a Broadway musical and then the Festival of Books! Which John Green did you read? And did you love it?

  9. Sounds like the relaxed low-key plan worked for the festival. Happy reading.

  10. Oh my! It sounds like you had a wonderful time at the fair and you got to meet so many great authors! Coupled with the fact that you got a chance to see Hairspray, this sounds like a perfect weekend!! So glad you had an awesome time!!

  11. Well, you missed Saturday at FoB for a fun reason - but we definitely missed you! I've never seen Hairspray on stage, but the movie is a very good time and I have a bunch of songs from the soundtrack on my iPod.

    If I'd gone back to FoB on Sunday, I was thinking of going to Kwei Quartey's panel - I enjoyed Wife of the Gods too.

    Sounds like you had a good time, and thanks for linking to my recap, Wendy :-). Next year at UCLA!

  12. I missed seeing you but we'll have to get together some other time! I'm glad you enjoyed the day you were able to be there!

  13. A day there is better than nothing, which is what I got! I just ordered This Body of Death on audio from the library! I can't wait! I love George.

  14. Carrie - I read An Abundance of Katherines. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I'm trying to talk my husband into reading it now. :-)

    Serena - I think it was a good way to go, especially since we were only able to attend the one day.

    Zibilee - We had a blast. If only the weekend had been a little longer. :-)

    Florinda - I like the movie, Hairspray, too. The stage show was slightly different but still very good. And I love the music from it. :-)

    I hadn't planned to run into Kwei Quartey but am so glad I did. He's such a nice person. We talked a little about his upcoming book, which we're both impatient about seeing released.

    Amy - I missed seeing you as well. I hadn't realized until I was reading the recaps that Thea was at the same panel I was on Sunday.

    Sandy - Yes, being able to go one day is good. We almost weren't able to go at all. I've only read one Elizabeth George book so far. I really liked it and hope to read more by her.

  15. You experienced the part that I never get to experience (the book signing part). I attend back-to- back panels and then have little or no time to actually shop and a book signing is out of the question.

    Next year, I'd like to be a bit more casual about it.

  16. Sounds like you really enjoyed the festival. I went in 2007 and had a great time. I would have liked to have gone this year but I thought I was going to be in Germany for work so I didn't plan for it. Next year I am really hoping I will be able to clear my schedule and go!

  17. It sounds like you had a fun time at the show and the festival. Hopefully someday soon I'll be able to get a chance to go to a book festival. They sound fabulous!

  18. Ti - Last year was the first time I attended signings directly after the panels. I would catch random authors at the bookstore booths if I was lucky. And I always had back to back panels. It's fun to do it that way, but I've decided I like having a little more wiggle room.

    Kathleen - I hope you will be able to make it next year! Going to Germany would be nice too. I'm sorry you didn't get to go.

    Alyce - I wish I could join all those going to BEA this year. All the planning and hype make it sound like it will be so much fun.

  19. Sounds like a fantastic weekend full of books *and* a musical! Actually, that sounds pretty heavenly. Two of my great loves! Too bad you missed that first panel, but it sounds like it gave you a good jump on the signing line! Sounds like you met a great bunch of authors, too! =)

  20. That sounds like such a blast! I know it's hard to decide to balance between walking around the booths and going to readings isn't it. I'm looking forward to the Lev Grossman book!

  21. That was quite a panel of graphic novel writers! Sounds like you had a great weekend all around.

  22. Megan - We cut it really close getting there. My husband had been up late the night before. I'm a little disappointed we missed it, but I'm not sure I would have been able to get my book signed otherwise since the next panel was so close on the heels of the other. It worked out.

    Iliana - I think that's why I like going both days--more time to do everything. With the drive and all that walking around though, two days is getting to be too much. We'll see how we fill next year.

    Lisa - My husband was in heaven during that panel. Ed Brubaker was running late initially (he got lost) and I could tell my husband was starting to get disappointed. Ed was the reason he wanted to attend that panel in the first place.

  23. So glad you enjoyed your day at the Festival of Books. Yet again I was unable to go. I don't know what it is with me and the month of April, but it wasn't meant to be.

  24. Terri - I do hope you will be able to come one of these years. April is a tough month to work around, I know. I'm just glad I was able to go at all this year!

  25. Thank you for sharing, Wendy! I like the sound of the John Green with David Levithan session. I was at a book signing thingy before and oh boy, the end of the line, as you've said, was no where in sight. I didn't even think when I grab the book and just quickly make it to the queue before it got even longer.

    I so wanted to be where you were at. Envy, envy...

  26. Alice - I hope someday you will be able to attend the festival, Alice. It's such a great experience.

  27. I saw the original movie of Hairspray and love it :) Sound like you had a great time at the festival, Wendy :)

  28. Julia - I really liked the musical version of the movie. It was so fun watching Christopher Walken and John Travolta together. :-)


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