Let's Back to Book Festivals

I passed my qualifying exams!

What an odd process the whole thing was. Days of answering written questions, followed by a tense three hour interview. Each of my committee members was very different, and it was surreal for all of us to pack into a tiny, bland little classroom to determine my fate in the program. I am glad I do not have to do it again.

I saw a squirrel carrying an easter egg, pausing to nibble at whatever candy was inside. I too sometimes feel like this.

I saw a squirrel carrying an easter egg, pausing to nibble at whatever candy was inside. I too sometimes feel like this.

2019 has been strange. Because of my exams, I only went to one day of the LA Times Festival of Books. Making things even stranger, because YALLWEST has been moved to mid-May, I will not be attending this year, as I will be on the East Coast. So, there will be no reunions, no panels, and no wondering about the future of my writing as I eat grilled cheese from a truck.

But there were a few nice things at the Festival of Books. The Taiwan Tourism Bureau showed up in force with their excellent carnival game, where participants try and guide a metal loop around a winding wire without touching the wire. I won chopsticks this year.

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The Ripped Bodice, a romance bookstore in Culver City, had their debut at the Festival and decked out their tent like an old school carnival. One of their tables was a stack of lovingly wrapped books, the covers hidden, and the contents summarized in a post-it on the cover. Blind dates with books. They brought their famous one-eyed dog for photos, as well as a wheel for prizes. I bought one of the tote bags. I bought it because it was cute, but after a week of lugging books back and forth from the university, I can review this tote bag and give it five stars. 10/10. Would purchase again.

The tote in question.

The tote in question.

A young patron selects a bookmark design at the International Printing Museum’s booth.

A young patron selects a bookmark design at the International Printing Museum’s booth.

Another standout was the International Printing Museum, which brought a pair of 19th century home printing presses, which they demonstrated. Festival-goers waited in line for their own freshly printed bookmarks. As someone who has crudely attempted print-making, the bookmarks were lovely, and it makes me want to go to Torrance to visit their museum.

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I drifted through some outdoor YA panels, not because of disinterest, but because when the conversation turns to the market and writing, you have a tendency to hear the same things over and over. And, the sky was very blue and there were so many other things to do.

With the day at the festival over, I joined a friend for Korean bbq, and we drank cold beers and grilled an absurd quantity of meat. Devoured many little plates of banchan. It feels like summer is just around the corner.