L.A. Times Festival of Books 2018
True to my word of last year's festival of books, we took it much slower this year at the L.A. Times Festival of Books and we enjoyed it a lot more! Yes, we didn't meet as many authors, but we also had more time to be inspired and to read and to write. Well, the bookworm girls had time to read and write. Mr. Bookworm and I were too busy listening to talks and managing the heat.
Even though we had reserved tickets for the YA fantasy talk at 11am (with Marie Lu! among other fantasy writers), we just didn't get there in time. Pro tip: the weekend before, there are tickets available for a nominal fee for the talks that are held indoors so that it's not too crowded. Never fear: we made it to the YA stage instead and I got to awkwardly fangirl over Gayle Forman. The complete panel was articulate and interesting, and the audience was eating everything up. I know I wasn't the only writer in the audience taking notes.
Pro tip: authors sign books after their respective panels, but they also may have another signing scheduled at a different time in the festival. For example, Gayle Forman was also scheduled to sign books later that day at the Penguin Teen tent. So if you can't decide between meeting two favorites, you may be able to sort it out.
Pro tip (note to self for next year): bring a parasol or umbrella for standing in line. The heat gets to you after a while. I'm definitely planning on bringing the Bookworm Girls' Slytherin and Hufflepuff umbrellas next year. Or maybe I'll have to get my own Hufflepuff one. :D
Pro tip: I don't know how NOT to awkwardly fangirl over a writer. But I will purchase a book copy of my fave books before coming to meet them. The Mrs. Nelson's tent had Gayle Forman's latest novel, I Have Lost My Way, which I happily purchased. But I really wanted a signed copy of Where She Went, and they only had If I Stay. I have both on my kindle. No worries. I will bring a newly purchased copy of Where She Went to YallWest this weekend, if I hopefully make it there. Depends on Mini Me, who is returning from Astro Camp, and how exhausted she may be afterwards.
This year we had time to WANDER. And just like it's important to have unstructured playtime, it's important to have unscheduled time during a book festival because you never know what you may find otherwise!
Little Lion took a break for ice cream, while Mr. Bookworm and Mini Me hiked it out to the edge of campus to get us boba. (Taro milk tea for me, of course.) We also wandered back to the YA stage and Mr. Bookworm listened in the way back to the talk while Mini Me couldn't stop writing in her notebook, and Little Lion read in the shade.
Little Lion and I also wandered into the book signing of a book I've been wanting to get, Zinnia and the Bees by Danielle Davis. I'd been hearing about this book in the Bookstagram community and it was in my 'saved' Book collections on IG, which is my TBR/TBB list. (To Be Read/To Be Bought, I guess that doesn't sound right. :D) Davis was a delight to meet, and Little Lion finished her book right away, reading in the shade, on the way home, and the next day after school. There is no true testament to a good book than someone having to finish it right away. As in I couldn't pry it out of her hands to look at it myself! I hope to rectify that soon and review it here on the blog.
Leslie Odom, Jr
There were many authors we wanted to see this year—in the end, it all boiled down to LESLIE ODOM, JR. If you know anything about my kids this year, it's that they are true HamFans. In other words, they are major fans of the musical, Hamilton, and Leslie Odom, Jr is the actor who originally played Aaron Burr.
Odom penned a memoir of sorts—or, as he described it when he was approached about writing a book, he wrote some words of wisdom like he would impart at a commencement address, or to the college kids he'd work with during master classes as a guest teacher. Failing Up is a great book for any creative type, words of wisdom that culminate in basically the fact that you shouldn't give up striving toward something that you love. We scheduled our visit around his appearance—late Sunday afternoon.
And we don't regret it. Odom is as inspiring (and humble) as he is talented, and he gave such thoughtful answers. He even sang the beginning to "Dear Theodosia" as he was goaded into singing by the interviewer plus the audience. And he took it all in stride. The girls and I were awestruck as we met him. He graciously smiled for our photos (no posed photos allowed as he was only there for an hour and the line was loooooooooong. Much kudos to his team and the volunteers for getting everyone through).
When you smile, you knock me out, I fall apart.
Dear Leslie Odom, Jr,
Thanks for living up to the hype.
The Bookworm Family
Tell Dr. Bookworm
Please note that the Bookworm Girls and I were sort of speechless when we met Leslie Odom, Jr. And I'm usually good at awkwardly babbling and embarrassing my girls at the same time (see my Gayle Forman meeting above). But when we finally got to the front of the line, we were hurrying so other fans could get in too. Mr. Odom, Jr, however, did not seem rushed. He was cool as a cucumber and all smiles.
Who have you awkwardly fangirled over when you met in person?