L.A. Times Festival of Books


Once again the Festival of Books was huge, crowded with book lovers, and fun. Unfortunately, the traffic on 405 going to the UCLA campus and back to my daughter’s was horrid. Since there weren’t any speakers on Sunday I HAD to see, I skipped Sunday’s session to miss the stop and go traffic.

It was fun on Saturday. I made it to the Silverberg, Harrison, and Haldeman panel. It was fascinating listening to them discuss how they got into writing in science fiction. More than once they made the excellent point that good science fiction needs good characters, just like any good fiction. It’s only the setting that’s different – and what then gets the genre denigrated somewhat. Someone in the audience asked why there weren’t more books about utopias rather than about dystopias. Someone on the panel (Silverberg, I think) quickly quipped “Bo-ring”. They then seriously answered that utopias don’t have any conflict. What’s a good novel or story without conflict?

I also stopped by the Mysterious Galaxy booth (no surprise). I was excited to see Connie Willis. Unfortunately I hadn’t found MG’s signing schedule on line to know she would be there because I would have brought my copy of All Seated on the Ground for her to sign. Unfortunately they were out of copies of The Doomsday Book, so I bought To Say Nothing of the Dog for her to sign.

Cornelia Funke was at another book stall as well. I finally got my signed copy of Inkheart that I’ve been wanting.

One of the highlights for me was sitting outside one tent watching people and reading the tent. It asked “What Are You Reading?” There were markers provided. People wrote down the names of books they either are reading or loved (who knows which?). There was everything from East of Eden to Fast Food Nation to Twilight to Catcher in the Rye to Good Night Moon. It was intriguing. I wonder if they put up a new, clean tent on Sunday to start again?

5/14/09 – I was at Mysterious Galaxy for their 16th birthday last weekend. The “What Are You Reading” wall was duplicated there for customers to write on. It’s still a good idea and was fun to read.