Neighborhood Travels

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books just celebrated its 21st annual event and yet this was the first time I ever attended.  For many years I thought about going but, as is often the case, I just never made it over to LA for the big weekend in April.   Back then I had no idea how large it was or what I was missing!

This is a huge affair with more than 600 authors reading or signing or talking about books.   There were programs that I didn’t even try to attend.  I spent my day wandering the stalls with the naïve intention of not buying anything.

This year the weather hadn’t cooperated and Saturday had been rainy.  The forecast for Sunday wasn’t too certain either, but it was go now or miss it again.  Thank goodness I went.  The day was perfect.  There were rows and rows of stalls and I strolled along with my blue tote bag and, contrary to my plan, managed to collect a few things.White pavilion-like stalls lined up in front of the USC campus

The festival took place on the campus of USC, the University of Southern California.  It’s a very lovely campus.  Of course the Trojan Marching Band was on hand to inspire some spirit and get us moving. USC Trojan Marching Band at Festival of Books

I stopped for coffee in the Student Union area.  This place has a piazza feel to it.  There are umbrella-covered tables strategically positioned throughout the square.  There isn’t any commercial signage but I managed to find the Coffee Bean with a little help from people who knew that it was tucked inside the buildings.  I really liked this staircase which I studied as I sipped.  The combination of shapes and curves really caught my eye.  It was so graceful.Staircase and umbrellas at USC student union

As inviting as the Student Union was, I had to keep moving.

Being a dog owner I had to grab a shot of this statue of George Tirebiter.  The men who were sitting there seemed to like the spot they had chosen so I included them.Statue of George Tirebiter

Okay, I admit I find puppets a lot of fun.  When I reached this stall with the countless animal puppets, well I had to stop.  The owner was busy with the ostrich.  The two of them (can I say that?) were singing I Could Have Danced All Night.  The line about spreading my wings was particularly well done.Woman with ostrich puppet

For me one of the hits of the festival was meeting Jon Klassen who was doing a book signing.  I have a couple of his books, well actually I now have another because I purchased I Want My Hat Back.  My all-time favorite by him is This Is Not My Hat.  Check it out if you like picture books.  It’s the 2013 Caldecott Medal winner.  Jon Klassen at Festival of Books signing latest book for a fan

Now that I know about the Festival of Books I’ll plan to attend next year.  It’s an easy trip from Union Station.  There’s a free USC shuttle service.  Basically, that means I don’t have to bother driving downtown.  Yes, I’ll mark my calendar for next year.  I have a feeling I have a lot more to see, and there’s definitely something for everyone.

Elizabeth Boatman

Traveler, explorer, memory maker and someone who's just downright curious about stuff. It's all about finding joy.

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