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Los Angeles Festival of Books

This past weekend, my friends Jennifer, Renee, and I managed to visit the Los Angeles Festival of Books. It’s an annual convention/fair/outdoor thing filled to the brim with book sellers, authors, panelists, book signings, presenters…it’s sort of like your average anime/car/tech convention, except all about books.You might think, erroneously, that just because the word ‘Technology’ is in the name of our school that we all shun the humanities. Of course, that couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s a great humanities (and social science!) program here at Caltech, filled with interesting, engaging professors who happen to also beprolificresearchers. Where else could I say that while reading William Blake I got a chance to see the original book? That’s right, nowhere else.

The Festival of Books is held in UCLA, near Westwood Village. We decided to head out at a leisurely pace and stop for lunch ahead of time. A quick search of Zagat ratings turned up an interesting little vegan cafe calledNative Foodsvery close by. You might scoff at the vegan-ness, but most of the reviews were along the lines of "I love meat but this place is AWESOME!" I have no relation to the first part of that sentence, but I can attest that the food was pretty great. I got a ‘Greek Gyro’ bowl, with hummus and roasted pepper seitan, a wheat gluten-based meat substitute.

From the parking structure we needed to take a shuttle to get to the main part of the UCLA campus. Which is E-N-O-R-M-O-U-S. I know that Caltech is somewhat on the smaller side as far as college campuses go, but UCLA might possibly be a city in and of itself. The entire time, we kept imagining what life would be like if it took more than 5-10 minutes to walk anywhere on campus. The horror…

We decided to start in the East Side, where all the children’s stuff was. Renee and I recently discovered that our childhood reading cannons were more or less the same, so we basically wandered around alternating between "OH MY GOD do you remember these?" and "Wow I don’t recognize any of this we’re so old…" We even stopped by the Target-sponsored book store, which was more of a large tent.

There were a lot of…interesting stalls on the grown ups side. From the Ayn Rand Institute

There were a LOT of people at the event, and we even ran into fellow Techers.

There was even a ‘Cooking Stage,’ which we stumbled upon just in time to see Alicia Silverstone, of "Clueless" fame, talk about her book The Kind Diet, about her experiences being vegan. I have to say, celebrities should maintain their aura of mystery…

It was a fun day devoted entirely to our right brains, which welcomed the distraction. It’s nice to get away from campus every so often. There’s tons to do in Los Angeles, and being so close is definitely an advantage. Of course, there’s always the infamous Los Angeles traffic to contend with…

It’s already midterms week for us, so I’m glad I enjoyed myself before having to buckle down and do some hard core studying 🙁