I love/hate the Festival of Books


I have a love-hate relationship with the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. On the one hand, Iíve been a bookworm since I was a little mocosa (snot-nosed brat). As a kid, I usually couldnít afford to actually buy books, so I settled on borrowing what I could find at my local LA County and school libraries.

I love the fact that dozens of booksellers, small and large, independent and corporate, gather in one location for two days out of the year. These days, with gas so expensive and less free time, it would be a hassle to drive all the way down to Santa Ana to visit one of the best Latino bookstores in Southern California, LibrerÌa MartÌnez. During the festival, I donít have to worry about that, because I can drive to UCLA and find the bookstore in the middle of Royce Quad.

The festival also draws distinguished writers of fiction and nonfiction from all over the United States. If you get a ticket to a panel, you might discover a new and refreshing young writer. Lastly, the festival features something for everyone, even kids.

Thatís where my love ends.

Now, for the hate and what I canít stand about the festival. Basically, I hate what the festival does to the UCLA campus. All year long the groundskeepers work hard to keep the grass on all the lawns pretty and green. The tents and platforms they put on the grass leave it looking horrible. And then there are so many people. It takes five days to set up and another few days to take everything down. Itís all so disruptive. I just want to go to school in a nice place that isnít always being used for some television or movie filming or serving the greater Los Angeles community.

Who said universities are supposed to serve the surrounding community?

5 thoughts on “I love/hate the Festival of Books”

  1. I used to HATE that about UCLA too. Especially when I had summer school and self-important asshole PA would stop me as I walked to and from class because they were filming a shitty reality show at a certain plaza or walkway. But when I complained to a classmate, he reminded me that the money coming in to the university from rental fees is greatly in need especially considering the budget cuts. It’s just a shitty situation all around. :(

  2. “I just want to go to school in a nice place that isnít always being used for some television or movie filming or serving the greater Los Angeles community.” – try not going to school in fucking LOS ANGELES then!

  3. “Who said universities are supposed to serve the surrounding community?”

    Haha… the chancellor, that’s who! I work in communications for UCLA and this is one of his oft-repeated “initiatives” … pounded into our heads AGAIN and AGAIN…

  4. Jessica, I know the university gets a lot of revenue from filming, but I highly doubt any of that goes into offsetting student fees or saving the jobs of student affairs professionals. I’ve gotten payment from filmings, but it was only $200. There are 3 full-time positions dedicated to UCLA being connected to the film industry.

    WTF, gee, don’t tell me where I can and cannot go to school. Part of what I said was me just being facetious. Just ’cause I go to school here doesn’t mean I have to like being disrupted frequently for something that is not related to teaching, research of service. You know… the mission of the university?

    Hack, you mean the UCLA in LA initiative?

  5. I’m a grad. student at UCLA and I have to admit that although I love the festival of books, it completely takes over campus to the point that its impossible to get to class without tripping over cords, negotiating giant tents, and generally getting lost. It’s wonderful, but it’s also a circus.

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