Last weekend, I was lucky enough to attend the Festival of Books in L.A. The drive to the UCLA campus takes me about an hour and fifteen minutes with no traffic. Several book bloggers were planning to be there, so I was super excited to meet them and also to attend a few panels. Basically, there's nothing more fun than a weekend of books topped off with some book blog talk. ;)
I've already put off writing this post for so long because I feel there is so much to share. And since so many others have already blogged about the experience, I was trying to think of how I could put a fresh spin on it. So I'm just going to break it down into sections and share my highlights with you.
Meeting so many book bloggers was a definite highlight. I love how even though it was our first time to meet, I felt like I already knew them already. They are just as fun and wonderful in person as their online personalities. :) I do have to say I didn't realize Natasha was SO tiny, but other than that, everyone was just how I expected!
Having the chance to talk books and blogging with them was fun as well as talking about all those other things we don't talk about online as much. I enjoyed taking in the panels, having the chance to share dinner and also chill in Jill's suite later on Saturday night. I learned that quite a few of us feel overwhelmed by the community's explosion and sometimes the demands of blogging (as Tracy called it, our unpaid job), but ultimately are truly thankful to share our voices in this way. I'm excited to meet even more bloggers at BEA in New York and only wish I could meet you all. As it is, I don't think we'll be getting much quality time in New York with so many things to do and so many of us being there!
I really enjoy hearing from authors even if I have never read a thing they wrote and plan never to. There is just something so interesting about an author's perspective about what they do and why. While I was really excited to see S.E. Hinton who was an influence on me, I also looked forward to hearing from a bunch of authors I had never heard of.
I attended the Social Media panel first and will blog on the major idea from it that I agree with at a later time. I also attended the YA panel Problem Child which featured authors Laurie Halse Anderson, Nate Powell, Jacqueline Woodson, and Suzanne Phillips (couldn't find website). Guess how many books I've read by these authors? That's right, zilcho. Still enjoyed it, though, I have several of Anderson's on my TBR, am definitely interested in Swallow Me Whole by Nate Powell, and recently bought After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson. Lisa and I had to leave this panel early to head over to Window on the World. Long story short, as a result of this panel, I bought The Elegance of the Hedgehog and began frantically looking for French lessons in order to refresh my fading ability.
Sunday, I attended a panel on Middle Grade Fiction. I have an interest in kids literature and young adult literature and want to learn as much as I can about it. I loved this panel so much, it really made me wish I had a book in me to write for this age group. I enjoyed all the authors humor and insight, but I also enjoyed it when an ESL teacher said she uses middle grade fiction with her students and it has vastly improved their linguistic ability. I use children's books with my adult students and they are excellent tools. But I'll be writing more about that at a later time.
Finally, I attended the S.E. Hinton panel. I was totally and completely obsessed with her books the minute I discovered them and so I was really excited about this. I loved hearing from her. She is absolutely down to earth, gracious, and so funny! I really do want to read her latest books now, as well. I was genuinely touched when audience members got up and thanked her for all that The Outsiders had meant to them. When one audience member asked her if she ever tired of living in the shadow of The Outsiders, she responded that the response to this book has been such that she feels The Outsiders was a story that was meant to be written and she got picked to write it. I loved that! I really wish I had a free week where I could go back and enjoy her books all over again.
One last fun thing about the festival was the chance to go around to all the booths. Authors would be signing at bookstore booths, and I was able to snag some gifts I can't really talk about right at the moment! I also tried to give out some of my business cards, but let's face it, I'm not all that bold! Plus, sometimes I found you have to explain what a blog is!
I did meet author Judy Blundell in a booth, and also bought some autographed books without seeing the author. You can see my book loot below.
I think that's it for now! I had a grand time and hope to do it again! I think there should be books festivals every month!
SOME FUN PICTURES
This is how happy Natasha looks when she's twittering with you!
My Book Loot. As you can see, I got a lot of middle grade and YA because those are the kinds of books I don't get for review as often. I have no idea what that David book is---it was randomly passed out to me.
Questions? Please ask because I want to know what you want to know!!
In case you missed it, I also blogged about the Festival of Books here, and shared a vlog here.
And many of the awesome blogger friends I met up with blogged about it as well...here are there posts:
Books on the Brain
Book Chatter and Other Stuff
3 R's blog
Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Fizzy Thoughts (she has several in-depth looks at the panels, too!)
(If I missed yours, let me know!)