A Festive Time Was Had By All…

The Los Angeles Festival of Books – the largest Book Festival in the US – was almost two weeks ago and I think I have just about recovered from the experience. This was the second year Meryton Press had a booth there, and the second year I have attended. Both have been amazing, yet very different experiences.

 Last year, along with MP’s managing editor Michele Reed, we had the calm, cool, collected, sweet, and awesomely talented author Karen M. Cox with us, as well as the outgoing, bubbly, fun and enthusiastic friends and boosters Lucy P and Julie C. This year, due to a combination of circumstances, it was just Michele and me. So, instead of hovering quietly on the periphery, content to straighten tables and sign the occasional book, I was forced to put myself out there.

I don’t like putting myself out there.

I’m much more comfortable keeping myself in here. In the corner, in the shadows, in the background. Let me tell you, for someone as introverted as I am, it’s tiring out there! It isn’t that I didn’t enjoy myself – the entire experience was fun as well as stretching – it’s just exhausting.

But enough about me – let me tell you about the festival.

First of all, it’s — A FESTIVAL. OF BOOKS! — do I really need to say more?

Apparently I do, because here I am still typing… The USC campus is lovely, we attended the taping of the NPR radio show ‘Wits’ where we laughed our heads off and rocked out to punk band Super Chunk (that is, if one can ‘rock out’ to a punk band… I’m a little out of touch), dined on Toad in the Hole, Scottish Rarebit and Trifle at the 90-year-old-and-still-going-strong Tam O’Shanter Restaurant and, of course, has the opportunity to meet (or watch from a safe distance) so many interesting and amazing people. Along with the wonderful festival attendees—some who, we found to our disbelief and delight, remembered us from last year and came specifically to find us again, and see what’s new—were these memorable characters:

Lots of women of a certain age and weight, who really, really, should know better, and wear a bra.

 But then there was Mugsy in the booth opposite us – the mellowest, best behaved boxer in the world. And yes, his book is called “Doggy Styles”. Imagine my relief when I realized it wasn’t a children’s book like I first thought.

Then there was the cranky man (who sorely needed a Kleenex ~shudder~), who figured he ought to yell at us because he was lost.

Next, in an adjacent booth, was Kevin Farrell, Drag Queen Tupperware Lady extraordinaire.

The avid Sci-Fi fan who shared the fascinating (but quite lengthy) history of Karen Joy Fowler, author of the Jane Austen Book Club and founder of the James Tiptree Jr Award for Sci-Fi and Fantasy.

And then (just across the way and a little more my speed) was the charming Sharon O’Connor of Music & Menus. I don’t have her picture, but you really should take a look at her website. I want to buy everything on it (and I made a good start over the weekend).

All in all it was an exhilarating, exhausting and rewarding time. I can’t wait to do it again next year!