In the age of funny lists on the internet, a lot of humanity’s drive, pride and passion continue to be funneled into the printed medium. A 1,000-page manifesto, a flipbook, or a bound collection of East LA murals doesn’t have the same presence on the screen of a photo of e-reader. Hence the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, held on the UCLA campus.
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Aside from the hundreds of activists and eccentrics vending their wares, the Festival staged readings and Q&As with some of the most respected and controversial names-above-the-book-titles, from McSweeney’s founder Dave Eggers to efficiency guru Timothy Ferris to LA Confidential crime-novelist James Ellroy.
Naturally, Los Angeles can’t let a book fair happen without ushering in some celebrities from the visual media including Alicia Silverstone, Pam Grier, Daisy Fuentes and Todd Bridges with subject matter from memoirs to cookbooks.
One must acknowledge that the worldwide economic bust deeply wounded the publishing business. While loading up his unsold books on Sunday afternoon, one publisher was heard to remark “It gets a little worse every year.”
Anyone who showed up for the Festival had the pleasure of absorbing the rich culture surrounding a medium that, despite its diminished profile, still fascinates with the depth of its variety and dedication. If you weren’t there, you can’t imagine everything you missed.