I just got back from a day spent out at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. This is a gathering on the campus of UCLA where readers, writers, fans of the written word, students, the famed, unknowns, and bestselling authors from all over the country come to read, sign, chat about books, sell books, buy books and simply celebrate the written word. Not a couple of spinsters from Rhode Island, mind you, but the entire West Coast of the country seemed to be out there today. (Well over a hundred thousand people.) Packed — I mean PACKED — crowds with some of the most famous authors in the nation sitting side by side with absolute nobodies (yep, I was there… LOL!). All in all, probably over a million books available from self-published first timers to genuine literary legends, all of them gathered this weekend to celebrate… you guessed it… books.
It was rockin’!!
Especially because I got to meet S.E. Hinton today. I mean this is the author of The Outsiders, a book which people claim gave birth to the Young Adult novel. Let’s just say that without this genre of fiction, yours truly truly might not be yours truly.
But that wasn’t even the best moment for me. The best moment for me was that I brought my 2 year old daughter out there (this is her second time in attendance — we got a little streak going) and let her choose whatever she wanted. Her choice of titles today yielded an Eric Carle book. (Yep, he was out there today.) And right now, before she goes to bed tonight, we are reading The Very Busy Spider.
Me, I am gonna spend the night with a new title by Thomas Newkirk called Holding on to Good Ideas in a Time of Bad Ones. I hear the book is great.
And if does for me anywhere near what Eric Carle did for my little girl, consider me a lucky ducky.
Mark Twain once said about his demise, “Tales of my death are greatly exaggerated,” I say, “Fables about the death of reading are exceedingly hyperbolic.”
READING IS ALIVE IN AMERICA. Very much so. Matter of fact, I’d suggest that we are all reading more than we ever have before. Books have simply become a part of the reading pie and not the whole darn thing — yet folks are still drinking ’em down.
And it looks like they will be for quite long time. Is the book sky really falling? Seems to me, not so much.