Festival attracts readers, celebrities
Posted May 1, 2009
Carmin Hermosillo
Staff Writer

Both quads at the University of California Los Angeles were filled with book lovers, celebrities and authors as UCLA hosted its 14th annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

The two-day celebration, is unique to any other festival of books because of its variety to appeal to all different types of readers and its star attraction.

More than 130,000 people were expected to attend the free event.

Spectators had more than three hundred exhibits to explore and of them more than one hundred had authors hosting book signings.

The exhibits included Target’s children’s stage located in the family fun zone, where celebrities such as Brooke Shields had the chance to read her book, “It’s the Best Day Ever, Dad.”

“Its my First time at the book fair. I’ll definitely come again, the children’s quad was really well put together,” said Cassandra Hernandez, Baldwin Park resident.

At the fun zone children were able to make their own newspaper by using strips of articles and comics from the Los Angeles Time newspaper and putting them together.

The festival also launched the new Hoy Cultural Neighborhood, where it showcased Latino culture readings, art shows and even mariachi and marimba music.

“I expected it to be small and intimate with one genre, I did not expect it too fill two quads,” Hernandez said.

Additional to the various stages that hosted entertainment was the culinary stage that had cooking demonstrations from Giada De Laurentiis from the Food Network.

Although books were the main attraction of the festival, there were some top name celebrities that also brought in crowds.

“I came because my girlfriend wanted to see Giada De Laurentiis from the Food Network, but I definitely wouldn’t mind coming again,” Matthew Luongo said.

The ambiance continues to bring back people who are interested in books, and also volunteers such as Jeane Brown who is a second year volunteer at the information booth and gives back to the community.

“It is a day in the city for authors and lovers of literature to come together and to meet and have fun,” Brown said.

The rows of tents that lined the UCLA campus proved to be a little overwhelming for some of the readers.

“You want to know what’s going on because there are so many people here, all you see is endless rows of tents,” said Andrew Lim, student of University of California Irvine.

With the scores of tents available for browsing, Lim said he enjoyed the $5 bookstore the most.

“The most interesting stand is the five dollar bookstore. They have a lot of random books with old pages that it feels like you will totally learn something if you read them,” Lim said.

Not only did the festival have readings and entertainment but also a costume contest which took place at the Hoy Cultural stage, where people were able to dress up as their favorite Hispanic icons and win prizes.

The variety of books was showcased in the Comic strip area that was dedicated to the Japanese graphic novels and superheros.

This area was focused to show how the comics have integrated pop culture in books and movies.

Festival guests even had a designated area to have their old books evaluated by members of the Southern California Antiquarian Booksellers of America.

If the books were of value, the guests had the opportunity to sell their books.

The Festival of Books carried everything from the old to the new and just about every genre.

For information about the festival of books and to see other listings near visit www.latimes.com.

Carmin Hermosillo can be reached at carmin.hermosillo@laverne.edu.

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