Sunday afternoon at the LA Times Festival of Books

May 03, 2009 by Lisa Newton

Welcome to the LA Times Festival of Books

Last Sunday, I went to the 14th Annual LA Times Festival of Books.

I’ve been looking forward to attending this event nonetheless; but ever since my friend Frank, a long time LA resident, told me about how much he enjoyed going to it previously. I couldn’t wait.

Who wouldn’t want to attend a free event featuring authors, book signings and over 300 exhibitor booths representing all kinds of booksellers, publishers, literacy organizations, think tanks, and cultural institutions.

With nearly 450 exhibitors attending, every literary genre was represented at the LA Times Festival of Books.

The LA Times Festival of Books also included discussions, interviews, lectures, musical performances, book signings, and children’s activities. Held on the beautiful UCLA campus, the Festival of Books was the place to be.

Since its humble beginnings in 1996, the Book Festival has become one of the largest and most prestigious book festivals in the country, attracting more than 130,000 book lovers annually.

Many of the panel discussions were held inside various lecture halls on the UCLA campus; however, outside was a cornucopia of events with treats such as entertainment at the Target Children’s Stage, the Los Angeles Times Stage, the Culinary Stage, the Etc. Stage, the Hoy Cultural Stage and the Poetry Stage.

For families with children, there was face painting, book readings, arts and crafts.

Although I wasn’t able to attend any of the indoor panel discussions, I’d like to share a few of the photos I took. Because the Festival of Books is traditionally held on the last weekend in April, it will definitely be on my annual list of events to attend in the future.

Mike Farrell

Here, at the Book Soup booth, Mike Farrell, who starred as BJ Hunnicutt on M*A*S*H, was signing his book, “Of Mule and Man” for a recent buyer. He was just one of the hundreds of authors present.

The Cooking Stage

Speaking on the Cooking Stage was Giada De Laurentiis, host of Food Network’s “Giada at Home” and author of “Everyday Italian.”

Clifford the Big Red Dog

The line for children waiting to have their picture taken with Clifford the Big Red Dog was moving pretty fast. And No–I didn’t sit on Clifford’s lap.

Face Penciling

Face painting (or in this case, face penciling), always a popular children’s attraction, was manned by volunteers who help make this event possible.

Let's rest our feet for a while

After a long day of walking, talking, and listening, what better way to relax than sitting with a group of friends and discussing the day’s bibliophile highlights.

As a side note, at Reading by 9 booth, Scholastic Books was giving away a children’s book. Fortunately, I received one entitled, “Princess Chamomile Gets her Way,” by Hiawyn Oram.

I’d love to give away a copy of this book to one of my readers. Just leave a comment on this post why books are important to you, and I’ll pick the best sponsor and send it to you, along with the “Parent Reading Guide” provided by the Los Angeles Times.

On a more serious note, I briefly talked to:

Michael Jason Overstreet, author of the book, “71 Days The Media Assault on Obama” and Lior Sasson, Director of Cultural Affairs for the Consulate General of Israel, who was promoting “Cycling in Israel” on behalf of the Israel Ministry of Tourism; the promoters of the Lincoln Bicentennial, which is having an annual tribute across the country celebrating the 200th birthday of all things and books about one of our greatest President Abraham Lincoln (As an aside, I found out from the gentleman holding court at the booth that Congress actually provided their funding through a special bill); and of course there were plenty of sundry communists, anarchists, conspiratorial universalists and others vocalizing their agendas via books and alternative lifestyles via pamphlets, newsletters, and barkers.

I found everybody that I interviewed to take my questions fairly, and addressed every one of my alternative points of view proffered, as an invitation for further dialogue.

To be honest—to fully cover an event like this would take weeks if not months. So I can’t wait till the next one where I’ll be the first to get there and the last to leave.

I don’t have as much time for reading as I’d like, but when I do have time, reading is one of my most relaxing activities I love.

Let's Go to the Children's Area

So as we wrap up this story which book have you read lately that reminds you of your neighborhood while you’re Travelin’ Local?

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Books, Culture, SoCal, UCLA, Westside LA

8 Responses to “Sunday afternoon at the LA Times Festival of Books”

  1. Lance says:

    HI Lisa,
    Sounds like a wonderful event you attended! It looks so summer-y, I love it! I’ve been a slacker recently on reading books…reminds me I should pick something new up.

    Lance’s last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day


  2. Paisley (Paisley Thoughts) says:

    Your great pics and words show waht a valued event this is. Reading and books are very important where I live because without reading and books we will never reach first world status. Such an interesting post. Thank you.

    Paisley (Paisley Thoughts)’s last blog post..The Last Word


  3. David says:

    Comprehensive coverage of this exciting and fun event. Your already ranked on Google. Be that as it may, I enjoyed your interview blurb, and am still asking myself why didn’t you sit on Clifford’s lap?


  4. Tess The Bold Life says:

    Wow I always wish I could walk into your city from my computer but today took the cake.

    I have loved books since I was a kid. I’m always reading at least 4 at once.

    When we moved from MI to AZ I realized how many I owned and took boxes to the local library.

    I don’t have any desire to buy a Kindle because I can’t smell the book, underline, highlight or star what I want to remember and come back too.

    I’m coming next year. Let me know where to meet you and we can meet up!

    PS Did I tell you I love books and I love to read?!?


  5. Patricia says:

    Wow I would love this event and I would join Tess is falling into the computer and walking out to see all the books and authors and delights. I love to read.
    Although I can’t smell the books on my Kindle II, I still love it because I can highlight and ID parts of the books I love and take notes at just the right spots…and I always own that book with out needing boxes to haul it around!…
    But I still love the sights and sounds and energy of books and reading. I was so sorry to hear that there was no funding for the Poetry festival on the East Coast this year…
    There was so much color and life in your photography – thank you
    for sharing and taking us there.

    Patricia’s last blog post..anniversary


  6. LisaNewton says:

    @ Lance It was a fairly warm day, by LA stands, although I went in the late afternoon, so I had on knee length shorts with a sweatshirt. Please let me know what book you decide to read first.

    @ Paisley I totally agree, especially for kids. I love the idea of the Reading by 9 program.

    @ David Wow, I had no idea about the Google part. I’ll have to look. Thanks for the heads up.

    @ Tess I’m so happy you told me you’re coming here, and I’ll be happy to meet you when you come. Just email me at lisajnewton at gmail dot com as the time approaches. My only regret about the day is that I didn’t have more time to spend there.

    @ Patricia I don’t have a Kindle and have only seen one once. It looked great. I do love the feel of books, but would also like the idea of just sticking the Kindle in my purse and taking it anywhere. Some of the books I read are too big to fit…………….:)


  7. Mike Foster says:

    Hi Lisa! This post makes me miss southern California. I used to go to all the wonderful used book stores when I lived down there, as well as this event a few times. I also went to the Burbank book fair every year, though I’m not sure if it’s still around. As an admitted bibliophile and huge collector, I smiled, with a pang of envy, as I read this.


    Mike Foster’s last blog post..That’s Amore!


  8. LisaNewton says:

    @ Mike If you ever get down here, please let me know. I’d love to do lunch sometime, and maybe check out a book fair………….:)


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