The Sunday Salon: The Weekend in Books

We’re having another scorching hot weekend here in Southern California, but the heat (hovering around 90) wasn’t enough to keep me away from the 13th Annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at UCLA.  The festival is a huge special event that brings writers, publishers, book sellers and readers together.  We visited dozens of booths and it was all very exciting for me.  Authors are like Rock Stars in my world.  Not so much for my kids, though, who did a lot of complaining about the heat while spooning frozen lemonade into their mouths and soaking their feet in the big fountain on the quad.  I should have left the whiners at home!

We talked to Lori Nelson, author of a delightful book for girls called Hillary’s Big Business Adventure , about a 5th grader from Baltimore who has all kinds of entrepreneurial ideas.  This was right up my kids’ alley as they are Lemonade Stand Queens and are always dreaming up new ways to make cash.  My 5th grader actually has brochures and business cards made up for a business idea she has.  The book was written for kids a bit younger than mine, though, so I didn’t buy it, but 4-8 year olds would love it.  The illustrations are outstanding.

We also had a celebrity sighting.  Marilu Henner was at the Borders booth signing her new book Total Health Makeover.  She looked cute in a spring dress and sun hat and laughed when my husband called out, “We loved you on The Apprentice!”

Of the many panels and workshops at the festival there were three I’d hoped to attend, but we got there just in time for the first only to discover it was way on the other side of the sprawling campus.  The other 2 were happening at 2:30 and 4, but by 1pm we were melting in the heat and couldn’t take any more.  We all agreed it was time to leave.

I was excited to find a signed first edition of Matrimony by Joshua Henkin in my mailbox when I got home, sent to me by the author himself!  I look forward to starting it today.  Josh is going to do a guest post for me in the next few days about book clubs, and I’ll be giving away a copy of his book, so keep an eye out for that.  Matrimony is also the May selection for the online book club at Every Day I Write The Book Blog.  You might be able to score a copy of it over there if you hurry!  They are (were?) giving them away to those who want to participate in the discussion.

Last night we had a neighborhood BBQ to attend.  Our friends across the street recently hired an au pair from Brazil to care for their 3 year old twins for the next year. A new Brazilian au pair is a great excuse to party, I always say! 

By the time we came home at 8:30 I was so pooped from being out in the heat all day that I didn’t feel like reading (or maybe it was the massive amounts of bbq’d meat and the 3 beers I consumed that made me feel couch potato-ish).  Luckily Juno arrived in my mailbox from Netflix this weekend, so I popped it into the dvd player, not expecting too much, but I loved it! I laughed, I cried, I marveled at Ellen Page’s talent, her range of emotions, her character’s extensive and colorful vocabulary.  It is smart, funny, touching.  If you haven’t seen it, I insist you go check it out right now!  Or later.  Whatever works.  But do it!  You won’t regret it.

Ok, back to books.  I just gobbled up The Next Thing On My List by Jill Smolinski for my book club.  It’s a breezy whirlwind of a book, quick and light and fun, but also thought provoking.  June Parker gives an acquaintance, Marissa, a ride home one night after a Weight Watchers meeting.  They get in a crash on the freeway and Marissa dies.  Later June comes across a list in Marissa’s purse of 20 things she wanted to do before she turned 25.  There are large and small items on the list, ranging from “kiss a stranger” to “change someone’s life”.  The book is about June’s mission to finish the list for Marissa.  My book club is meeting on May 4th to discuss TNTOML, and the author has graciously agreed to join us by speaker phone.  I’ve asked everyone to bring their own list of 5 things they’d like to do before their next big birthday, but now I’m having trouble coming up with 5 things for my own list!   I keep reminding myself that they don’t need to be profound, just something new, but it’s not easy.  What would be on your list?    

Have a beautiful Sunday!


17 Responses

  1. TNTOML sounds like such a cute read! Thanks for the review. I am now smack dab in the middle of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation and LOVING it!

  2. You are the second person to post about the Festival of Books. I don’t what I’m more envious of that or the weather. It’s thundering and lightning here at the moment. But then who ever promised that life would be fair.

  3. I really loved Juno and on my list of 5Things, I would include the following:
    Graduating law school
    Traveling to Paris
    Visiting the Ranforest
    Getting a piece of fiction published

  4. We were at the Festival of Books yesterday too – no (recognizable) author sightings, and no panels for us either, but some pleasant browsing and a good time. Hope it’s not quite as warm for next year’s festival, though.

  5. How funny-I feel that way when I bring my whiner somewhere fun for me and he’s ready to go 😉 I thought that TNTOML sounds really good..I’m gonna check it out.

  6. To finish up my five reading challenges…lol!

  7. Thanks for all the great comments! I hope you all had a nice Sunday.

    Steph, the Carnation book has been on my TBR list since you mentioned it on your blog months ago!

    Ann, don’t be envious of the weather. It’s way too hot (over 100 today).

    Beastmomma-Juno was adorable! I wanted to hug her! You have a really ambitious list. For my list I was thinking more along the lines of sponsoring an underprivileged child and cleaning out the closet under the stairs.

    Florinda, I also hope next year is a tad cooler! I’ll leave the kids behind and go with a friend!

    Samantha-TNTOML is very cute. If you read it, come back and let me know what you think.

    J.Kaye-Good luck with that! 5 challenges is about 3 too many for me!

  8. Just watched Juno last night myself – and holy moly was that a good movie.

    5 Things
    1. Get a draft of my book finished.
    2. Take a camping trip to the Smoky Mountains
    3. Get a kitten/s
    4. Finish my basement
    5. Read 100 books

  9. […] , Life , Travel Tags: Birthdays, Goals, Volunteer Lisa at Books on the Brain has a delightful Sunday Salon post full of good stuff and today, I want to answer her question of the Five Things I want to do before […]

  10. Andi, great list, but are you aware that kittens become CATS??

  11. the cover of matrimony is so cool…it speaks to me for some reason. 🙂

  12. You are so lucky to be so close to the LA Book Festival! I’m so jealous! TNTOML sounds like a great read. I’ll have to pick up a copy. Your list idea for your book club is great. Let us know how your discussion goes. Have a good week!

  13. It sounds like you had a nice time inbetween the whining and heat. My husband and I had a fun time, although my husband probably would have preferred we stuck to one day instead of going back the second day.

    Juno was a good movie, wasn’t it?

    I will definitely have to check out your interview with the author of Matrimony. I won an autographed copy of his book awhile ago, but still haven’t managed to get to it.

    Have a great week!

  14. I’m green with envy. Colorado hardly ever has book fests because our huge Republican contingent is so busy hatin’ all o’ them there neo hippie tree-huggers that have orgies and good drugs and stuff that they don’t have time (or the brain cells) to read!

    I’m going to think of 5 things…later. You’re right, it’s pretty difficult!

  15. TNTOML sounds like the next book I should read when I need a break from the pile of must-reads again. Sounds good. And Juno is going on the Netflix queue.

  16. AAAARGHHH! I’m so jealous. We would never have anything as cool as that book fest here.

    I read a book that sounds very similar to The Next Thing on My List, except it was a husband/wife situation where the husband died and she fulfilled his list and added a few things of her own.

    Juno will be next on my list.

  17. I’ve heard such good things about Juno. I can’t remember if I saw it at the video store here yet but I’ll have to try to see it sometime. Good luck coming up with your 5 things.

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