West Hollywood Book Fair Brings Out Avid Readers

The 10th annual event attracts a good number of people, anxious to meet authors, examine books and have a good time.

The second day of West Hollywood’s big literary weekend turned out to be as popular as the first. While droves of people came out for the a large number also came out for the 10th Annual West Hollywood Book Fair held on Sunday.

Officials reported that turn out was good, although they did not have an official count of the number attending. This year’s fair moved slightly south, happening mainly on the new plaza in front of the library, an area that had been fenced off in recent years while the library was being constructed.

Book lovers seemed particularly happy with the festival, several saying they liked having the extra room the new plaza provided to spread out. They also liked the fact that many events were happening in the new library too.

“This has become my favorite book festival,” said Glendale resident Anita Johnson, an avid reader who says she tries to attend all the book festivals held in the region. “This is just the right size. I can spend the afternoon here, browse the books, listen to the panels, meet some authors. It’s perfect.”

Others attending the Weho Book Fair for the first time were equally impressed.

“It’s really nice to see this level of interest,” said Matthew Baume, who moved to West Hollywood from San Francisco in May. “The culture of LA can sometimes deemphasize literature, so it’s a relief to see its so important to so many people.”

Hundreds of authors were on hand to sign copies of their books, as well as participate in panel discussions. Those panel discussions, as usual, proved to be a highlight of the fair, as the authors shared anecdotes about their writing techniques and the business of publishing.

A large number of actors turned authors were on hand including Brady Bunch mom Florence Henderson, E.T. mom Dee Wallace and Waltons mom Michael Learned, plus Family Ties mom Meredith Baxter, who came out as a lesbian two years ago.

Not to be outdone by the women, male celebrities hawking their new books included Jackass star Steve O. and former TV Hercules Kevin Sorbo. 

“I can’t believe I actually got to meet Catwoman,” said one fan after a panel with actress Julie Newmar, who portrayed Catwoman in the 1960s Batman TV series. Newmar was there promoting her book, The Conscious Catwoman Explains Life on Earth, where she shares her life philosophy.

The comics and graphic novels area seemed especially lively as fans discussed super-heroes, movies and more. A particularly hot topic was DC Comics decision to reboot all their superhero titles starting with the September releases. Consensus was mixed about whether that was a wise move by the publishers of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

For kids, there were plenty of shows and activities to keep them busy. Parents seemed glad to see their children so engaged, hoping it would spur them to read more.

“I’ve got a teenager who hates reading,” said one mother who brought her 5-year-old son, “so I’m really trying to encourage this one to read more.”

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