Scenes from the Festival of Books

An amalgam of observations and reports from the L.A. Times Festival of Books, held Saturday and Sunday at UCLA:

  • There were really long lines to have books signed by children's author Eric Carle and actress Kristen Chenoweth.
  • Original book festival author Ray Bradbury told his panel that if the Times doesn't resurrect the Book Review section, he isn't coming back. He also told how typed the manuscript for Farenheit 451 in the basement of UCLA's Powell Library, feeding dimes into a metered typewriter.
  • When Bradbury was wheeled out into Ackerman Union, some students who spotted him greeted the 88-year-old author with applause.
  • LAT publisher Eddy Hartenstein pledged publicly that the Times Book Prizes would continue next year, and at least some judges were already asked to return.
  • Royce Hall and Schoenberg Hall were not used as panel venues this year, apparently due to the expense of renting them from UCLA.The author green room in the Faculty Center put out its usual spread of food and drink.
  • Three people were taken to hospitals after a wind gust blew down a sign on Saturday.
  • Steve Lopez, all over the festival talking about "The Soloist," also was on NPR's Fresh Air on Friday night.
  • Times columnist Sandy Banks interviewed her daughter in front of a good crowd at the LAT tent.
  • The Guadalajara International Book Fair, which starts Nov. 28, will have a Los Angeles theme. A rep was around the festival pitching publishers about attending.
  • Author Frances Dinkelspiel ("Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California") had to leave early Sunday to get downtown and speak at the Farmers and Merchants Bank building at 4th and Main that was built by Hellman, her great-great grandfather. Blogdowntown
  • Nice collection of authors in the LAT Opinion pages today writing about why they read, among them Here in Malibu's Veronique de Turenne.
  • Times staffers were Twitter maniacs, sending hundreds of tweets from and about the festival. Jacket Copy, the Times' book staff's blog, posted extensively.
  • On the other hand, Sunday's Fiesta Broadway street festival located outside the Times building, and oriented at a Latino audience, merited just two Twitter messages by the Times.

More by Kevin Roderick:
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
Recent Books stories on LA Observed:
Pop Sixties
LA Observed Notes: Bookstore stays open, NPR pact
Al Franken in Los Angeles many times over
His British invasion - and ours
Press freedom under Trump and the Festival of Books
Amy Dawes, 56, journalist and author
Richard Schickel, 84, film critic, director and author
The Lost Journalism of Ring Lardner: An Interview with Ron Rapoport


LA Observed on Twitter