…And That’s A Wrap

The LA Times Festival of Books is done. I have a godawful early wake-up call for my flight back to New York tomorrow and about a day or so to recover before Edgar Week is in full swing. So the short version of this weekend was:

  • Fabulous. Can’t wait to come back next year because bar none, it’s the best book festival I’ve been to for reasons already explained yesterday.
  • Humbling. People wanted me to sign their books, scrawl on posters and have their pictures taken with me. Eh, what?
  • Atypical, since the only panels I attended were the ones I moderated and I spent half the time in the green room (or, as Tod Goldberg put it, “once you’re in the green room you can never go back.“) But Jacket Copy’s coverage has been wall-to-wall and John Fox (whom I wanted to meet and did not, dammit!) was in roving video reporter mode and there is tons more.
  • Fleeting. As in, too many people to say brief hellos to or glimpse across a crowded way or talk to briefly when going in the opposite direction. There’s never enough time, is there?
  • Adventurous. As in, Koreatown and the 405 experience.
  • Overwhelming. Combine over 100,000 people and 90+ degrees and stir. The net effect means that nap beds and a pool would be great additions for next year!
  • Offbeat. Like the following exchange with an author escort, roughly sophomore-in-college-age and wearing an LA Times Festival of Books t-shirt like all the other volunteers:

HIM: So are you an author?
ME: Depends what you mean. I haven’t written a whole book of my own yet.
HIM: Oh, that’s too bad.
ME: No, not at all. I also write for the LA Times.
HIM: Oh, I don’t read the LA Times.
ME: Oh [somewhat confused] then why did you volunteer?
HIM [points to another escort]: It was her idea.

  • Gratifying. As in, so many people to thank, but most of all, to Maret, Jill, Stevie, all the volunteers and author escorts who clearly worked their asses off and kept their enthusiasms running throughout to make the festival so memorable, not just for me but for everybody. So if you can go next year or any year, go. It’s so worth it.