Much has changed in the book business since the Los Angeles Times launched its Festival of Books 17 years ago, but the FOB — as it is fondly known — remains the premier event of the literary calendar for the more than 100,000 readers and writers who never miss it.
The headliners at the 2011 edition of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books range from literary luminaries like Carolyn See, Dave Eggers, T.C. Boyle and Jennifer Egan, to fitness icon Jillian Michaels and master prestidigitator Ricky Jay, but the biggest news is the change of venue. After a 15-year run at the UCLA campus, the event has moved to the lively and welcoming campus of the University of Southern California in downtown Los Angeles.
Nextbook, an organization devoted to Jewish literature, culture and ideas (www.nextbook.org) came to L.A. last weekend, staging a full day festival at UCLA's MacGowan and Freud theaters called "Acting Jewish: Film, TV, Comedy, Music," the first of what it hopes to be an annual event.
You never forget your first, and mine was Milton Steinberg. Not his novel, "As a Driven Leaf." I'd read that later in life, after my wife, a rabbi, looked at me unbelievingly one day and said, "You've never read 'As a Driven Leaf?'"
Organizers of the third South Orange County Interfaith Walk for Hunger and Cultural Fair invite the public to participate in the Oct. 26 event, which promises to build bridges between faiths while fulfilling the mitzvah of feeding the hungry.
Jewish books are hot these days.
"I was in all of one spelling bee in my life," confides Myla Goldberg, the author of "Bee Season," who'll read from her stunning debut novel at the Jewish Book Festival this week. The overachiever was in the fourth grade, and she smugly expected to win - until she was asked to spell "tomorrow," her Achilles-heel word. She spelled it "tomarrow."