LA Times Festival of Books

Yesterday I went to the LA Times Festival of Books at USC (boo! hiss!) with some friends to hear Margaret Atwood speak and peruse the vendors. As always, Southern California showed up, making for a crowded campus and traffic. It was also warmer than it has been, as it seems to be every year. Like I've said earlier, I'm a little over walking around the tents, but we did manage to find a tent with $8 books and I was able to pick up some texts that my senior class will be reading next year (so it doesn't count as book buying, for the record). Most of the smaller tents are really random, which can be entertaining (like the Scientologists), but most are obviously there to make a buck (realtors, travel agents, etc...). Nonetheless, it's an entire weekend devoted to books and reading, which is fine by me.

[Back lit, as always]
he best part, besides the company, was definitely hearing Atwood speak. I've been a fan ever since I read The Handmaid's Tale in high school, so it was something I had looked forward to (we actually almost missed it all together- traffic was a total bitch and we had to practically run to make it in on time). She was unsurprisingly intelligent and well-informed on the industry, as well as unexpectedly funny. She spoke about her upcoming book, how her family's role in then field of biology influenced her, and how technology (like Twitter) has connected her to readers and other issues that she's involved in. I appreciated the fact that she made it a point to say that readers and novel-writing aren't going anywhere. She made the comparison between a dead animal feeding other organisms at one particular moment and a dead author "feeding" others for many, many years, in various fields (she actually illustrated this in two drawings- see one below). She was gracious to those who asked her questions and identified with her work. She was definitely worth the drive. 

[source: Margaret Atwood]
All in all it was a nice way to spend a day- I wish there had been more authors I was interested in and that Allison Bechdel hadn't canceled, though. 

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