Yes, I know it’s raining and that means a stay-at-home night for some number of residents who harbor an overwhelming fear of precipitation. For those of you among the more adventurous, however, this is a great literary night. Michael Chabon, author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and more recently of Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son, is giving a talk at the Central Library, and noir genius James Ellroy is presenting and signing his new novel, Blood’s a Rover, at Skylight. If that just whets your literary appetite, there’s more wordy goodness on Thursday when Wallace Shawn, who cowrote My Dinner with Andre and has just authored Essays, a book which promises to be more exciting than its title, talks with Bruce Wagner at Hammer and Jane Smiley signs her latest, her first novel for young readers, The Georges and the Jewels, at Borders Northridge. I admit I’m a first line fetishist, and Smiley’s novel satisfies. It begins like this, “Sometimes when you fall off your horse, you just don’t want to get right back on.” Amen, Jane.
It’s time again for LA Times Festival of Books. While all the stoners and cool kids will be baking in the sun at Coachella, the book worms, writers, and political geeks will spending the last weekend of April in the air conditioned halls of UCLA with our favorite authors.
On Saturday alone, panels will include Christoper Rice, Robert Crais, T. Jefferson Parker, Joseph Wambaugh, Michael Connelly, Tommy Lasorda, Bill Plaschke, Gore Vidal, Jane Smiley, Arianna Huffington, Leonard Maltin, Peter Biskind, Kenneth Turan, Tom Hayden, Hugh Hewitt, Dr. Laura Schelssinger, and more… thats just a handful of names I recognize.
Its surprising that the Times isn’t featuring more bloggers this year – especially considering focus and attention their website has given to blogs lately – but I can’t complain too much: L.A. Now’s Veronique de Turenne is interviewing Carolyn and Lisa See, The Homicide Report’s Jill Leovy is moderating a panel on inner city non-fiction, Carolyn Kellogg is moderating a panel with first time authors, and LA Observed’s Kevin Roderick has a panel called “California: The Great Experiment.”
Still, I’d love to see Tony Pierce in conversation with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Or Blog Downtown’s Eric Richardson moderating a panel on community journalism. Or Cindy Mosqueda and El Chavo! on Latino bloggers. (I could go on, but please leave similar suggestions in the comments).
The LA Times Festival of Books is also totally free, besides parking and food – but take the bus and pack a lunch (unlike Coachella the Fest will allow you to bring food onsite). Tickets, via Ticketmaster, will be made available at noon on Sunday, April 20th.