This past weekend was the Los Angeles Times’ Festival of Books. Some friends and I spent most of Saturday at USC enjoying the many literary events.
It was a beautiful day to visit the SC campus in the heart of Downtown.
Authors from so many genres were brought together for topical panel conversations moderated by LA Times’ reporters, editors, and honored authors. Our schedule began at 10:30 and didn’t stop until the festival was over. The day started off with “The Body and The Brain: Food, Health, and Self Care”, a very interesting discussion about the socio-economic and cultural issues that may lead to lack of prevention and/or lack of care for our neediest communities.
Next up, “History: American Arguments”, which was one of my favorites of the day. The authors were truly experts on their subject matter but were also great speakers. There’s something about people who are passionate about what they do. They pull you in. I could have listened to them all day.
That same passion continued into the conversation with three biographers, moderated by A. Scott Berg – a Pulitzer winner himself – called “Biography: American Icons, Complicated Heroes”. The authors had various subjects – musician James Brown, television personality Julia Child, and obscure playwright Lillian Hellman.
The next conversation was with Ed Bacon, a local Episcopalian priest among other things. I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to spend an hour listening to a religious conversation, especially one centered around his new book. Instead I took a bit of a break to look at some of the independent book vendors. When I finished my shopping, the conversation was still in progress so I met my friends inside the auditorium. I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed his point of view, his laidback personality, and his non-preachy preaching. His views on current issues were very un-churchlike – liberal and accepting. I’m glad I attended, even if I had missed part of it.
We quickly walked from one end of the campus to the other and just made it for the conversation “Humor: Vastly Inappropriate.” Four women comedians discussed sex, politics, family, and their new books. They were freaking hilarious.
The last, but certainly not least, conversation was with Gavin Newsom (former Mayor of San Francisco and California’s current Lt. Governor). It was the one I’d been waiting for ALL DAY. As Mayor, he brought universal healthcare to San Francisco and has been an unwavering supporter of the environment and marriage equality. He’s a typical politician who likes to talk, but throughout most of his conversation I shouted, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” (inside my head of course) for a variety of reasons, but mostly because of what he had to say. His new book Citizenville How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government demonstrates how antiquated our government’s current technology is and how regular citizens can become more involved and engaged in what is going on with the use of technology.
Books and good conversation – what a nice way to spend a Saturday.