Visiting the L.A. Times Festival of Books at USC

“In my view, nineteen pounds of old books are at least nineteen times as delicious as one pound of fresh caviar.” — Anne Fadiman

Last weekend I got to check out the Festival of Books. A 2-day book festival held all across the USC campus that featured book readings, lectures, author Q&A’s, cooking demos and lots and LOTS of books for sale. In other words, a very dangerous place for a book lover like me!


As a kid, I would visit discount book warehouse sales with my mom. We would spend hours searching for fun (and dirt cheap) books to read. This was long before Amazon and ebooks made books so accessible. With the internet, kindles and other such new technology at our fingertips, I wondered if people still got into paper books as much as I did. Well, I was happy to find that reading is alive and well in the city of Los Angeles!


It was nice to go to a festival that celebrated books – actual tangible, paper, hard cover books!  This place was packed.


Festival of Books was jam packed!

Festival of Books a.k.a. Bookchella was free, (save for $10 parking at the structures) and it was fun to walk about the USC campus. There were a lot of people walking around, talking, reading… it was really nice to see families enjoying the day. Be prepared to brave the crowds, long food lines and the hot California sun. Sounds a bit like Coachella? It sure felt like it!


Across the sprawling USC campus

amy shuster-backyardbite

Backyard Bite always making friends!

They crammed a lot of speakers and activities into those two days. I only wished that the speakers were on stage for more than 15-25 minutes. By the time I found the area of the campus that they were speaking, they were already wrapping up!! Sadly, I missed a few talks and demos I had wanted to see.


Mostly outdoors, be prepared to walk around the campus greens

I missed hearing Roy Choi talk with Jonathan Gold about his new book My Life, My City, My Food, I missed Suzanne Goin’s cooking demo, and Levar Burton of PBS’s Reading Rainbow talking about his new children’s book app.  It was a tad frustrating.

Their Book Fest app was indeed helpful though, as it alerted me about start times coming up. I definately recommend downloading it for next year if you go.


My friend @datingadvicegrl sings the reading rainbow theme song with Lavar Burton! Click this pic to watch the interview.

I was glad to be able buy some discounted cooking books and cute notecards and keepsakes from the DTLA book mobile.



Rad handmade book earings


Love these library note cards!

I also got to see Giada De Laurentiis from the Food Network talking about her new brother-sister culinary adventure book series, “Recipe for Adventure” — awesome.


“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”  – Ernest Hemingway

If you were ever curious about going to the Festival of Books, here are some photos you can click through and see what you might expect next year.


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