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I went to the LA Times Book Fair a million years ago.  No? It was only a couple of weeks ago?  Geez, it’s been a very trying couple of weeks.  Well, I’ll try to remember what I thought about it since it was only a couple of weeks ago and not a million years ago, as you claim (though I doubt you).

First I remember it was crowded.  Very very crowded.  And I remember that it was a mistake to bring my giant mountain of a stroller.  Next time I’ll bring the lithe umbrella stroller.

That’s right, I said next time, because I also remember that the book fair was wonderful.  I only wish I’d been a little more organized.  There were tons of speakers (like Trisha Yearwood talking about food and music), workshops, and kids readers and performances (like Henry Winkler reading his new children’s book).  I was a little overwhelmed by all of this, figuring I would just make a plan when I got there.  You know, go with the flow?

Well there was no flow.  There were too many people there to have any kind of flow.  So next year, I’ll make a plan.  I’ll bring my print-out lineup with me and circle in red pen what I want to see.

I will also refrain from purchasing any books for at least three months before the Book Fair.  Ok, maybe only two months.  All right, just a month, but I’m holding firm to that limit.

Each pathway of the fair was lined with vendor stalls.  Most of the vendors were books sellers, although various writing groups and special interests were thrown in here and there (like the LA area mystery writers or the California-based Muslim group handing out copies of the Koran-for free! I almost took one but I figured I don’t actually read the Bible that much, I don’t know how much time I’d actually devote to reading the Koran).  Many of the book sellers had writers available throughout the day to sign a copy of their book, some even gave impromptu interviews.

I must admit, I was a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the materials available.  There were literally books everywhere!  I didn’t know where to start!  My mom kept urging me to look at the books every time I oohed or aaahed over a particular stall, but I hesitated, knowing I could lose myself in just one shop for hours.

I was also very conscious of my son’s presence.  I had intended to take C to the children’s music performances, but we were always slightly off schedule and the stage was thronged by masses of young families.

Fortunately, C didn’t seem to mind.  He was very happy just to lay back in his gargantuan stroller and people watch.  No crying or fussing at all, for the entire time we were there!  It was a small miracle!  And one that makes me think I can tote him with me to any outdoor festival, just as long as there are lots of people and frozen treats (we shared a snow cone, it was a big hit with the little guy).

All in all it was a good day, one I can’t wait to repeat next year.

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