Posted by: GeekHiker | April 28, 2008

Festival of Books

There’s nothing quite like the Festival of Books. Despite the reputation LA has as a vacuous, non-reading town, thousands of people show up on the UCLA to celebrate the written word. That’ by any definition, is pretty cool.

Of course, it also happened to be blisteringly hot. It was my only complaint of the day, really, as I drained my Camelbak, downed giant sodas and even went for the oh-my-God-I-can’t-believe-it’s-so-sweet-it-hurts cherry Slushie.

Buh, oh, maaaaan, did it taste good…

The day was spent wandering amongst the tents and books, temptation everywhere. At least I held back on picking up tons of publisher catalogs this time around.

I did attend one discussion, called “California: the Great Experiment” with some authors of California history books, discussing the past and possible future of the state. It was fascinating, both as a discussion and with the questions asked by the audience.

Besides that, the day was spent wandering around, looking at books:

FoB 02
Festival Entrance

FoB 04

FoB 01
Booths at the bottom of the steps

FoB 03
The Janss Steps. You’ll try to avoid going up and down them all day. You’ll fail.

FoB 05
Where else can you get these? How can you not want a Shakespeare or Austen action figure? LOL

So what books did I get?

Ask the Pilot (I’ve the author’s column on for a while, so I got his book)
Signspotting 2 (half price!)
Time Out California (Free!)
The Bad Driver’s Handbook (I needed some funny)

But the real pleasure of the Festival was meeting an artist I’ve long been a fan of: Keith Knight. I’ve been reading “The K Chronicles” ever since I was in college. He used to live in the Bay Area and recently moved down here (to my old neighborhood, no less) to pursue additional projects, all of which is chronicled in the semi-autobiographical weekly cartoon.

I bought his books, which he autographed with a signature and quick sketch (it amazes me when anybody can turn out a drawing in 30 seconds flat). We chatted for a while about life and projects and all that. It was a real pleasure.

Go check him out. Read his comics at Salon, which have only gotten better over the years as he has delved into more personal things in his life. His comics about his wife’s (whom he lovingly calls “The Wifey”) health scare a while back were particularly poignant; his strip on bacon was sublime. He has no idea who the GeekHiker is, but he gets the GeekHiker recommendation anyway. 🙂



  1. I just turned so green with envy…especially when I read the part about the slurpy. That’s awesome you met one of the writers you’re a huge fan of!

  2. The Wife has one of those Jane Austin action figures. It might have been a gift from one of her English Class students.

  3. God bless slushies…it’s wicked cold here these days…I’m jealous of the heat…

  4. Mel Heth – Yeah, yeah, imagine how I felt about your weekend! LOL

    Homer-Dog – Heh, the perfect gift for The Wife

    cripkitty – Heh, it was pretty tasty!

  5. […] a completely separate note: a couple of weeks ago, as you may recall, I met the artist Keith Knight at the Festival of Books, chatted with him, and bought his […]

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