I’m about to reveal a secret about attending the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC that I found useful and sadly will probably forget next year. But this is something I learned the hard way, by being late to the first author panel I wanted to see which included Tim Federle and Stephan Pastis. (Apologies to Ellis Weiner, who was also on the panel but whose presence doesn’t add to my narrative)
TL; DR: Stephan Pastis has more fans but I like Tim Federle more so I can live with the choices that I made.
First off, my route to USC was a fairly straight forward jaunt down the 110 from Pasadena. There’s an offramp (Exposition Blvd) and you know it’s the right one because during LATFOB the right lane backs up a lot from all the people who are trying to get to the festival. The secret of course is not to be these people. There’s another offramp just a half mile further which also services the area. Take MLK, and then go all the way over to Vermont and park in PSA (Parking Structure A). Everybody else is fighting over parking on the other side of the campus and while this isn’t easy peasy Japanesey (…don’t judge me…) doing this will probably make your day a little happier and your smile a little brighter.
OR you could just take light rail because the expo line stops right next to USC. That’s magical.
I didn’t leave as early as I wanted to and I did hit some traffic so I missed Marie Lu. Somehow, unexpectedly, I had found copies of the first two books in the Legend series in my library. I had hoped to get them signed at either Mysterious Galaxy or a publisher booth she was at before 11 but as I didn’t even hit the start of the 11 o’clock panel it goes without saying although I’m using a lot of words to say this, I didn’t get to see her.
Water. bridge. troll. (Water under the bridge. Trolls live under bridges. Trolls are made out of water?)
I was fairly eager to see Tim Federle though. I was rather fond of Better Nate Than Ever, and I believe my goodreads rating is currently and Advocacy 5 (out of 5) stars. There’s a chance I might see him later in the week but who knows. Meteor could destroy us all by then…
And Stephan Pastis. I have quite a few collections of Pearls Before Swine. Not as many as I’d like. And I didn’t remember to gather them before coming, but I did bring his new book, Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made. Sadly the line for his signing was very very long and I decided to go instead to Ned Vizzini and Chris Columbus. I knew Stephan was going to be at the kobo booth later so I hoped that I could get my signature then.
Panel was hosted by the very capable Aaron Hartzler whose new book, Rapture Practice just came out. It’s a memoir written about his experiences in his midwestern christian high school as a young gay man in the … mid 90s? (I know how old he is, but that doesn’t mean you get to)
I’m completely blanking on anything that was said. Isn’t this awful? I must have been super late. Part of the problem I find is that you have to acclimate to the layout of the campus and then try to find out where things are. I really think the map could be better designed to help people find things. Oh, and the app could be better designed to help people find things. You shouldn’t just use the same image you have on the printed map for the app.
App Rant: I think it would be nice if the app did things like warned you when your panel started, told you where the signing area for the panels were, and showed you little pins on a map where these areas were. Also it should use the location support on the phone to identify where you are on the map. That’s not as large a rant as I thought. Hrm. Maybe I’m getting docile. But really, it feels like a lazy, cross platform app that somebody whipped together in html.
Go. Go and buy the damn book and read it. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it a lot more than anything else I would say in this post. Should I mention it’s about a young boy who takes an adventure to New York to audition for a musical? There are those amongst you to whom this would be appealing to.
For some reason it kinda reminded me of From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler, written by the great E. L. Konigsberg who just passed. You should read that book too.