Southern California

Pages Aplenty: LA Times Festival of Books

This mondo lit gathering is two decades along and as lit-tastic as ever.

You don't need to go out on a limb — or the well-worn spine of a novel, if you prefer — to make the claim that literature brims with copious amounts of rain.

Wet weather is featured prominently in books like "Pride & Prejudice" and "A Farewell to Arms," as well as a host of YA works — hello "Twilight" -- and kid-cute picture books, too.

Thus it feels fitting, if a little daunting, that a semi-howler of a spring storm should visit Southern California the very weekend upon which our region's largest literary festival, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, shall grandly unfurl.

Those unfurling dates? Saturday, April 9 and Sunday, April 10.

The fest, which began in 1996, isn't all outdoors, of course, though it takes up a good chunk of the University of Southern California campus. And, of course, umbrellas and galoshes are fine ways to forge through any sudden squalls. (Rain gear, too, feels as though it hails from literaturedom, perhaps from works such as "Moby Dick" or "A Perfect Storm.")

It's free to attend — even the wet stuff can't dampen that fantastic fact — and the lineup of lit majors set to show should summon anyone out of the house. Jane Smiley, Luis Alfaro, Meghan Daum, Jonathan Gold, and many others will make the scene, via panels, conversations, and such. (It isn't all fiction writers, do note; essayists and memoirists and humorists and so on all are accounted for.)

There's plenty for the tots to do, too, like meet entomologist Adam Lazarus at the KCET booth. (If your young'uns like bugs, make a date to swing by for all the STEM-tastic fun.) Various charming entertainments, and live music, too, also play longtime roles at the gathering.

And, as is tradition, oodles of book sellers'll be out with their word-filled wares, so look for deals, rarities, or that strange find you weren't expecting but totally need to own.

Maybe you'll even read it come some future rainy afternoon, and you'll pay a kind thought to the rainy-ish weekend you spent at the 2016 Festival of Books. It is very bookish to go out and boldly weather the weather, just like our favorite fictional heroes do on frequent occasion.

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