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!
Filed under: book clubs, Book Reviews, books, Family, kids, Life, parenting, reading, Reading Groups Tagged: | authors, book clubs, books, California, children, childrens books, Family, jill smolinski, joshua henkin, kids, LA Times Festival of Books, Life, matrimony, parenting, reading, Reading Groups, sunday salon, the next thing on my list, UCLA, weekends, writers