Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Literary LA: Festival of Books and a Book Drop Bash

Young Reader at LA Times Festival of Books
My status as a literary nerd is no secret, so I'm just going to cut to the chase and nerd out about last Saturday.

I headed out to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books during the day and followed it with an evening at the Library Foundation of Los Angeles' Book Drop Bash at the Central Library.  While reading is often a solitary affair, literary adventures like these are often best enjoyed among the company of those who love books too.  Lucky for me, the Festival of Books is an excellent place to gather with your book-loving friends.

It is also a great place to find book deals and get freebies - and who doesn't love those?  Although I've read The Hunger Games more times than I care to admit in this blog, it wasn't until this weekend that I bought them in hardcover format, spotting a great deal on the whole set!  To carry my spiffy new books, I stopped by the USC Viterbi School of Engineering booth for a free tote bag.  I was able to get one with the "too true" phrase "Sometimes it does take a rocket scientist".  My other favorite free thing I got was my name written in Arabic, where I also learned that there is no "ch" sound in the language.  

My Literary Haul from the Festival.
One of the best things about the festival, of course, is finding new books and bookish things.  One such discovery was that there are graphic novels of my favorite girl detective Nancy Drew (don't worry, Veronica Mars, I still love you), so naturally I bought a copy to check it out. I also bought a "#38 Shakespeare" Jersey-style T-shirt from Novel-T; in addition to getting a cool shirt, a portion of the sale supports a good cause.  As fate would have it, I also got this shirt just in time to celebrate The Bard's birthday yesterday in style!  

The Library Store on Wheels was also an awesome stop in my Festival of Books adventure.  The Library Store in Central Library is actually one of my favorite places, so I'm all for its mobile version - a cozy little truck filled with literary gems.  Here, I added to my buttons collection with some sassy pins: "I read banned books."; "Books are sexy", and "I'd rather be reading."  Make sure to follow them on Twitter and stop by for a visit of your own.  
Buttons from the Library Store.
The Library Store on Wheels
Throughout the festival there were plenty of performances and interviews being held on various stages.  My friend Jessica and I stopped by the the YA stage to catch a discussion with Gennifer Albin, Mark Frost, and Cornelia Funke, moderated by Cecil Castellucci.  A dynamic conversation, the authors talked about their inspirations, their backgrounds, and the rewards and challenges of writing in the Young Adult genre.  My favorite message was from Cornelia Funke who advised against formulaic writing and dumbing down content for readers.

Left-to-right: Cecil Castelucci, Gennifer Albin,
Mark Frost, and Cornelia Funke.
LA Times Festival of Books - #whatareyoureading Wall

Of course, no literary anything would be complete without that age-old question: "What Are You Reading?"  The festival offered a wall just for answers to that question.  As I'm always in the middle of several books, I had to think carefully without penning a novel-sized list of my own.  So I chose two books that I'm currently enjoying from up-and-coming writers: Daniel Gardina's The Last Night and Christopher Johnson's Between Two Brothers.    

Book Swap at the Book Drop Bash.
I left the festival and emerged at the Central Library a few hours later for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles' Book Drop Bash.  I can't think of a better place to party than the library.  

My friend Chris and I enjoyed an evening talking to fellow book lovers and writers and enjoying delicious sweets from Semi-Sweet Bakery.  I was also finally able to try Handsome Coffee, headquartered in the Los Angeles' Arts District.  Not only was it delicious, but it was a much-need pick-me-up by the end of the evening.   Part of the event was a book swap, including donations from various sponsors as well as guests.  So not only was this a party at a library, you were also able to drop off books you've already read and leave with new books to read.  Leftover books from the swap are then sold to benefit the Los Angeles Public Library.  A new book was a perfect party favor to close out an excellent book-filled day.

-Charity Tran, ExperienceLA Editor 

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