Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books Retrospective

I've been spending lots of time lately attending writing-related events, which you know about if you read my blog posts here.  I'd mentioned here last week that I would be attending the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books last weekend--and that's what I did. 

I was there for a few hours on both days since I had signed up to sign books and volunteer at different booths.  The weather prediction was rain both days, but it only rained on Saturday and, fortunately, it wasn't horrible.  I thank and admire the people who set up all the many booths, though, all of them shrouded in plastic and canvas with canvas roofs, too.  Some of those canvas roofs stored water, and I did see some large amounts of water falling out of them--one actually hitting a booth worker, poor guy. 

So which booths did I attend?  Well, there was a whole section devoted to mysteries.  On Saturday, I first staffed the Mystery Writers of America booth, helping to tell people, particularly those who enjoy writing and reading mysteries, about the organization.  Then I signed books right next door at the Mystery Ink booth. 

On Sunday, I volunteered for a couple of hours at the Romance Writers of America booth.  Later, I signed books at the Sisters in Crime booth. 

That's not all I did, though.  I wandered throughout the campus and checked out other booths and, yes, even bought books--what a surprise. 

But the highlight of the event for me, in addition to the booth staffings and book signings, was the demonstration of TSA K-9s!  I had to leave the Romance Writers booth a little early to get to the Travel Stage where the demo was held.  The speaker who was there when I arrived talked about how to protect items you carry when you travel.  Though his talk was interesting, I wasn't thrilled that he spoke too long and appeared to bite into the K-9s' time.   

The demo, when it started, was great!  Two TSA (Transportation Security Administration) officers, who were also trainers, had their K-9s with them, as they would when they patrolled airports. The trainers had kids from the audience take zipped-up travel bags around the area and hide them under seats for the dogs to sniff and determine which one had "explosives" in it--and one remaining on stage actually did, although we were told it was just part of an explosive concoction and, obviously, not armed. 

One dog was young and not completely trained, so he wasn't very astute when it came to zeroing in on the bag with "explosives."  The other one was perfect and knew it immediately when he got close to it and sniffed it, pointing it out.  His trainer rewarded him with a thrown toy to play with.  I later also got to talk to that trainer and get more information on the process.   

So not only did I have a great time with book-related things, but with dog-related things, too!  Plus, it was a convenient event since I was able to take the Los Angeles Metro both ways and not have to worry about traffic and parking. 

Now I get to look forward to next year's LATFOB!  Oh, and yes, at the end of this month I head to Malice Domestic in Bethesda, MD.


Betty Hechtman said...

I'm glad you weren't rained out. The dog demo sounds interesting. Great idea about taking the train.

Linda O. Johnston said...

It's convenient for me to take the Metro to USC. I enjoyed the LA Times Festival at UCLA but I'm glad they moved it. And yes, the dog demo was definitely interesting.