Book Reviews

I had an awesome (sunburnt) time at LA Times Festival of Books 2013

Saturday | April 20, 2013

I couldn’t get a ride to LA in time this year, so instead I took the Metrolink. My first time on a California train! It was very exciting, and WOAH are the Metrolink trains fancy. They have three seating levels, including a very plush top level that lets you see all the sights.[1. which are unfortunately kind of crappy, because for some reason all the bits surrounding train tracks tend to be run down and bleh– except for the train stations themselves, which are fancy.] It takes about an hour to get into LA from Anaheim, AND you can get a weekend pass for only $10 (unlimited train rides). I’m totally going to go up to LA more now! Yay!
The train goes to LA Union Station, where– handily enough– Target has provided a shuttle bus to get you to the University of Southern California campus (about 20 minutes or so). Some shuttles are SUPER FANCY and some are barely better than school buses. (It’s not like you’re going to be on it for very long, though, so who cares.) DSCN1203
It was so hot. SO HOT. I’d brought sunglasses and an umbrella and whatever, but dragging all that shit around plus trying to dig into my bag for books and schedules was super annoying. So I mostly didn’t use them. So I got majorly sunburnt! FUN.
I also only got to do one thing, really, and that was get a copy of Flygirl signed by Sherri L. Smith. I got nervous going up to her so I didn’t get to say all that I wanted to say (sorry, SLS!), but YAY, autographed book! (Sidenote: the people working the Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop booth are tremendously nice! Everyone was hot and sweaty and feeling terrible, but the Mrs. Nelson’s people cheered everyone up and kept things organized.)
I also went to half (okay, not even half, about 15 minutes) of a YA panel (So Much For Normal) with Kiersten White, Rachel Cohn, Tahereh Mafi and Michelle Gagnon. I’ve never read any of their books but I have Strangelets on my TBR Wishlist and I think I may put Shatter Me on there as well. I wish I could have stayed longer but the panel was a) outdoors and b) in the direct sunlight which was causing all my electronics to melt. (Have I mentioned that I don’t do well in the heat? Because I don’t. I really, really don’t. This is why I’m glad BEA is indoors!)

Sunday | April 21, 2013

Because the trains run on a shortened schedule, and because it takes a while to get to campus on the shuttle, I unfortunately missed the first panel I wanted to go to at 11am: There Be Dragons! with Marie Brennan, Raymond E. Feist, and Robin Hobb. Dragoooooons, aw. 🙁
However, this meant that I could go the next panel at 12pm! That one was Call Me, Maybe? with Sarah Dessen, Gayle Foreman, Morgan Matson and Robin Benway. I went to the entrance line about half an hour before it started, and I’m glad I did because there was already a pretty big line to get in. They started seating us early, though, so I got a very good seat about six rows back from the front.
The thing about panels is that they let you get to know the authors was better than you would just stalking them on Twitter or whatever, and usually what happens with me is that I want to read EVERYTHING by ALL the authors afterwards. I’ve never had any desire to read If I Stay until this panel, and it’s entirely because GF was so funny and lovely and amazing. Same thing with Morgan Matson’s books– I’d already wanted to read Audrey, Wait! before the panel and though I haven’t read a new Sarah Dessen book in a while I’ll get to them eventually, so.
Topics discussed! What they were like at 15, how they got from 15 to where they are today (published authors), advice for young wannabe authors, what would they say to your 15-year-old self, how they work/write, and how aware they are of their readers when they’re writing. (I took notes but I don’t want to type them up, so there. Suffice it to say it was VERY FUN.) 2013-04-21 12.57.02
It’s interesting how almost every panel I went to at this Festival and the 2012 one assumed that lots of the panel attendees were wannabe authors (and also teenagers). I wonder why that was? None of the audience questions had to do with writing, or writing advice (I think), and it LOOKED like most of the people there were at least in their 20s if not older. Hm.
After the panel was a signing! Of course, I wished I’d had books from all the authors to sign, but I only had a Sarah Dessen book– my favorite, Keeping the Moon! The line was fairly long but not TERRIBLE. I think I only waited about 20 minutes to get to the front? I think possibly a lot of people from the panel got lost on the way to the signing area– it was in a weird place, in the cooking section– and so that kept the line fairly short for a little while.
Did not get to say all I wanted to say to SD because of time reasons and also I was nervous, but I DID manage to say at least one thing so that’s okay. And I got a picture! I got the last picture before they stopped doing pictures, and I feel super lucky and special and yay!
After that I had a little bit of time ’til my next signing, so I wandered around for a bit looking at stuff. It was VERY crowded, y’all. I read somewhere that upwards of 150,000 people show up to the Festival, and I’m pretty sure all of them were standing around the Scooby Doo booth.
My next (and last) book signing was with Marie Brennan! Yes, I brought the book with the pasta disaster page, and yes, I totally told her about it. And guess what! She recognized me/my tweet! How about that, eh? 😀 (I should have gotten a picture, too, but I was scared. Even the best advice in the world won’t help if you can’t apply it! Le sigh.)

The next post will be tips for attending the Festival! It’ll be up…sometime soon.


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