Celebrating Books

Yesterday I made my annual pilgrimage to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. This is the third time I’ve gone and I look forward to it every year. Warwick’s Books charters two buses and I did that again. It’s nice not having to drive up and back to LA but it can also be a little limiting: we arrived 5 minutes before the first panel I went to and the woman next to me on the bus had to leave her last session early to catch the bus. On the other hand, the price of the trip includes a swag bag and they bring local authors who lecture on the ride.

It’s held on the campus of UCLA; far and away the best part of the festival is just being on campus with so many people interested in books and publishing. The rest is gravy. Tommy Lasorda, longtime manager of the Los Angels Dodgers was there promoting his book I Live For This! Baseball’s Last True Believer. He’s a great storyteller and I was grateful to be there.

Part of the fun also is seeing the booths of all the different publishing houses and bookstores. They say it’s difficult to get a book published these days but given all the publishing houses that seems strange. So if you’re looking for Theosophical University Press or want to talk with someone from the Ayn Rand Institute this is your place.

One blemish this year is that I’ve noticed a number of people handing out leaflets for activities not related to books. The Jews for Jesus people were there handing out leaflets along with other Christian Churches. Obviously they have a right to be there and I’m not opposed to churches giving out information, but they were on public walkways and sometimes obstructed traffic. There was also a guy screaming about how people need to embrace atheism, especially in the African American Community, since religion is meant to keep people oppressed. Did I mention that he is as white as I am? Then again, UCLA is a public place and I’m not sure there’s anything anyone can do.

Bottom line: sign me up for next year.