Subject: Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
Hi Ziners, and especially a greeting to book fans!

I am back home after spending the better part of the weekend on the UCLA campus at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. It is a huge event - the largest open-to-the-public book/reading event in the country. Over 130,000 people were expected this year. I thought I would share a few details in case Ziners might be interested in attending next year.

The main attraction for many people is a chance to engage with authors in person. You can listen to them as part of moderated panels or one-on-one interviews, get them to autograph copies of their books for you or listen to them at any of the numerous readings throughout the weekend. This year the well known participants included Dave Barry, Frank McCourt, Taylor Branch, Gore Vidal, Larry Flynt, Dr. Laura Schlesinger, Joyce Carol Oates, Joan Didion, Michael Connelly, Amy Tan, Scott Turow, Gay Talese and Mary Higgins Clark. Ray Bradbury unfortunately had to cancel at the last minute because of health problems. There were celebrities reading children's books they had written - John Lithgow, Henry Winkler, Rhea Perlman and Billy Crystal. Another 360 authors also participated in one way or another. Plus music, exhibitors from the world of books and loads of stuff for kids. Far too much for one weekend! Oh, and did I mention that all of these events were free?

The highlight of the weekend for me was seeing some of my heroes - the funny men. I love people who can make me laugh so it was a great treat to spend an hour listening to Carl Reiner. 84 years old and still as energetic and funny as ever. I also enjoyed a panel of comic strip writers including Berke Brethed who created Bloom County for which he won a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning. His characters are some of my all time favorites.

It is always the last weekend in April in case you want to make plans for 2007.

I hope everyone else had a great weekend too. Mark in Los Angeles