The book prizes are tonight, and, with Tig Notaro hosting, they will be our most fun yet. There’s still time to get tickets…
I’m Carolyn Kellogg, book editor of the Los Angeles Times, and for me, the book festival is an amazing time of year when we get to celebrate reading and meet authors face-to-face. And as someone who’s been involved with planning it for months, I have to say I love every panel and speaker equally.
That said, I want to highlight a couple of panels at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. You may still be able to get tickets to some; if they’re sold out, there’s a chance you’ll still get a seat if you wait in the standby line.
As I write, it’s the one-year anniversary of Prince’s death. The vastness of his brilliance is something that Ben Greenman tries to come to grips with in “Dig If You Will the Picture: Funk, Sex, God and Genius in the Music of Prince,” published last week. He’ll be on the panel And the Beat Goes On on Saturday at noon with Simon Reynolds, whose latest book is “Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and Its Legacy, from the Seventies to the Twenty-first Century,” and Tony Fletcher, author of “In the Midnight Hour: The Life and Soul of Wilson Pickett.” It will be moderated by The Times’ Jessica Gelt, a reporter with a rock-n-roll secret.
Also on Saturday at noon: Nonfiction: The Future Is Female featuring feminists from three generations. Lindy West, whose book is “Shrill,” is a millennial; the latest from Rebecca Solnit, a baby boomer, is “The Mother of All Questions”; and Betty Fussell, who is in her 80s, is a James Beard award-winning food writer (her new book is “Eat Live Love Die”) who decided, as a 21-year-old bride, that “housewifery wasn’t enough.” It will be moderated by Joy Press, The Times’ former book and pop culture editor (I think she’s Gen X — which would make it four generations).
The festival is full of smart people, but if you want to spend an hour in the company of the absolute smartest of the bunch, don’t miss Nonfiction: Science and Our World on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Its panelists include Sean Carroll, a theoretical physicist at Caltech whose new book is “The Big Picture,” Lawrence Weschler, who will be talking about his latest book, “Waves Passing in the Night: Walter Murch in the Land of the Astrophysicists,” and Bruce Watson, an L.A. Times book prize finalist for his “biography of light,” titled “Light: A Radiant History from Creation to the Quantum Age,” all moderated by The Times’ Alan Zarembo.
As book editor here, I’ve noticed that the books coming out of New York publishing don’t reflect the city I live in. At 4:30 p.m., I’ll be moderating a panel with two of our critics at large — Adriana Ramirez and Rigoberto Gonzalez — along with Rueben Martinez, recipient of our Innovator’s Award. During the panel, titled “Listen up, New York: Latino Readers & Writers Have Something to Say,” I’ll be asking about what publishing could learn from Latino writers and readers. Please bring your questions, complaints — and ideas.