LA Times Book Festival – a festival for all, even book lovers.
“Really? A book fair?”
“No, seriously – it was fun!”
I visited the annual LA Times Festival of Books held on the campus of University of Southern California in the heart of Los Angeles. And I hadn’t expected what I found. It was HUGE and wildly popular. There was food and loads of booths or kiosks all over the campus. There were lines to have anything and everything signed. There was music and too many seminars to see within the one day. But what really stuck me were the people attending – everyone! At every age, from every walk of life, including their dogs! And they were ready to shop. Now, perhaps the numbers of purchasing are down, but the fact that I could barely walk in a straight line between kiosks due to the massive crowds was something to note.
And all for books! Who knew?
Of course, there were heaps of people storming the stationary kiosks. In particular, the kiosk for Kinokuniya – one of the largest book sellers in Japan – was so crowded it was difficult to get under their tent. Their product overflowed onto makeshift tables just to spread the hoard out a bit. Also present was the exceedingly popular Chronicle Books booth. There were layers of people three deep around most of it. And finally, there was the ever-impressive Penguin Book Truck. With its New York license plates, it had been driven across the country stopping at various locations just to sell books from under its bright orange awnings. People simply wanted to buy something, anything that came off the truck!
It was an experience I would definitely recommend. It brought together authors, booksellers, and the public. Everyone seemed to be having a grand time and all in the name of books, literature, reading, and writing. It was artistic, fun, and featured the brand new Corvette for people to sit in thanks to their connection to Marvel. In other words, it kind of expanded to cover all interests and in doing so, it really felt like a fair or carnival.
If you get the chance, it might be worth your while to head out to one of these fairs – bring back some of the community fun that great stories can ignite.
Find a book fair through Scholastic: http://bookfairs.scholastic.com/bookfairs/cptoolkit/fairFinderST.do?method=showState
LA Times Festival of Books: http://events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks/
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