My LA Times Festival of Books Top/Bottom 10

My LA Times Festival of Books Top 10

1. Chatting with Patti Smith in the Green Room and trying not to go all fangirl as I raved about her music and her awesome memoir "Just Kids." She told me she loves detective fiction. Who knew?

2. Hanging out with all the author friends I haven't seen since the last LATFoB.

3. The food at the LA Times Book Awards reception Friday night, especially the braised brussel sprouts.

4. Funny astrophysicist Gregory Benford, who introduced the Science & Technology Award. More Strangelovian presenters, please.

5. Meeting my new Facebook Friend Olga Grushin, who writes gorgeous novels about Moscow under Communism.

6. No heat wave.

7. Chocolate and cookies that several readers brought me when I signed their books. Y'all are sweet.

8. Shorter commute, as I live on the Eastside.

9. Listening to Mississippi Man Tom Franklin, winner of the LA Times Mystery Book Award, tell grisly tales about deer, knives and toxic waste.

10. Having an author escort recount how he stood guard over a NY Times Best-selling male author who looked in vain for a bathroom, then ended up 'watering the bushes' because he was late for his panel.

10. Being surrounded by 100,000 other people who luurrrvvee books.

My LA Times Festival of Books Bottom 10

1. No Mystery Bookstore Booth because the store closed. I miss the military precision with which the staff lined up 10 authors an hour, elbow to elbow, to autograph books, then kicked us out for the next wave.

2. Having to navigate a brand new campus just when I'd figured out UCLA and the giant booth sprawl.

3. When author Stewart Woods told the three female authors on my panel to relax because we revise and spend too much time writing. He told us he writes 1 hour a day and puts out three books a year. Naturally, this made us even more tense.

4. No time for café con leche with Cuban-American detective writer and real life PI Carolina Garcia Aguilera. The chica had our panel in stitches with her Miami stories.

5. Frantic searching for bathrooms between panels and signings. Unlike big macho male NY Times bestselling authors, we ladies have a harder time.

6. But not impossible. I stood guard this weekend while a desperate female hiked into the shrubbery between buildings and watered the bushes.

7. Having to skip all the panels and author signings I wanted to see because of my own panels and signings.

8. Missing the Granta party Saturday night because I was too tired and wimped out.

9. Not being able to wear high heels cuz of all the walking.

10. No Happy Hour booze in the Green Room. Maybe next year.

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