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?