Classical KUSC Blog

April 30, 2011

2011 Festival of Books: Saturday, Day 1

Filed under: Kelsey McConnell — classicalkusc @ 11:28 am

11:30 AM

Greetings, Resident Bookworm here. It’s a beautiful day on the busy USC campus and I have touched down at the Festival of Books.

It looks like Jennifer Egan can add another award to her, presumably sagging, shelf of accolades; last night Egan’s novel won the LA Times Book Prize for fiction. A full list of winners is available at Latimes.com

It’s the Festival’s first year here at USC, after a long run across town at UCLA. Why the change in venue? The literature I was given leaves it at a rather vague “The Times believes this change in venue will provide a foundation for continued success.”

I’ve heard a couple other reasons: better parking situation and the ability to attract a more diverse crowd. The Festival attendees at UCLA always seemed diverse to me, so I can’t really comment on the second point, but I will say parking sure didn’t seem easier here. Perhaps this is a good time to admit that as a graduate of UCLA, I am not wholly unbiased in this comparison.

For a more impartial opinion, I’ll turn to the young girl I heard say to her mom, as they strolled through campus en route to the joyful noise of patrons visiting a line of white tents: “Mom, do you like it here? Because I like it here.”

It’s time for this Bookworm to do some exploring!

2:30 PM

Can you hear that? The Festival is certainly in full swing. There is a main line of tents and stalls bisecting the campus at Trousdale Parkway, with a seemingly endless number of smaller tent fingers reaching through a great deal more of USC’s plazas, quads and open areas. I got into the sold-out panel with author Daniel Hernandez that I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post. One reason I like the Festival of books is that it gets me into an academic setting without requiring any of those pesky student loans. I was always a zealous student, but while you, of course, keep learning outside of school, it’s not often in a formal setting. So I enjoy that the Festival gets me back in a seat with a swivel-arm desk, under lines of bright florescent lights, looking up at platforms and podiums and an expanse of blackboard.

I also enjoy that the Festival corrals many of my favorite bookstores from across LA into a single location. I’ve already tracked down a few of these favorites, namely Skylight Books (Los Feliz) and Book Soup (Sunset Strip). I still want to hunt down Vroman’s (Pasadena), Getty Publications (a great stop for anyone who likes beautiful books), Huntington Library Press, Traveler’s Bookcase and Angel City Press (the perfect place to find books about aspects of Los Angeles you’ve either never thought about or always wondered about). Clearly, I have my work cut out for me!

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