LA Times Festival of Books Rousing (and Raising) Readers Today through 5 p.m.

This is one busy weekend in Southern California, RMT’ers. Not only is it Grand Prix Weekend but today is also the last day for the LA Times Festival of Books!

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Heading over toward the "Hero Complex" at the LA Times Festival of Books.

Heading over toward the “Hero Complex” at the LA Times Festival of Books.

T on board the CSPAN bus at Festival of Books 2014.

T on board the CSPAN bus at Festival of Books 2014.

Scooby Doo! Where are you... Going?! Turns out we'd just missed him on the Children's Stage a few minutes before making our way into the kid-centric quad of this year's Festival of Books.

Scooby Doo! Where are you… Going?! Turns out we’d just missed him on the Children’s Stage a few minutes before making our way into the kid-centric quad of this year’s Festival of Books.

This free fan-fest descends one weekend each year either upon the UCLA or USC campus, and is the largest free book festival in the nation (you can go here for more general information about the event). This year it was USC‘s turn to host all of the literal literary fun. Hundreds if not thousands of authors, performers, and other book-related (or not) exhibitors register for the opportunity to talk with fans, sign books, and distribute free swag to the 150,000 attendees over the course of the two-day event. You can link to today’s schedule of events here; a map can be found here.

T in front of my former workplace at USC's campus. Memories!

T in front of my former workplace at USC’s campus. Memories!

While general attendance is free to all (i.e., walking around through the booths, talking with exhibitors, and taking in the entertainment from all the various stages and in between), reserved seating for conversations and other more intimate lectures book up well in advance. If you see something you would have enjoyed attending on the schedule this year and missed out, I encourage you to get online weeks if not months ahead of next year’s event to secure your tickets (PS – those tickets are free, too, but there’s a small service charge for online ticketing fees).

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T doing a little book (and toy) window shopping at this year's LA Times Festival of Books.

T doing a little book (and toy) window shopping at this year’s LA Times Festival of Books.

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T took home these two books from this year's Festival of Books.

T took home these two books from this year’s Festival of Books.

Our family happened to be at the Natural History Museum Saturday for the free member preview of the Butterfly Pavilion (another post on that another day soon, promise – two’s the limit today!), so we decided to cross the street and take a stroll through the Festival of Books for about an hour or two. There was live music on the USC stage near the center of campus, and also a lot of book booths that captured T’s interest.

One of the lines we waited in...

One of the lines we waited in…

... to spin this wheel... to win a bookmark. Not the best marketing ploy when the author noticed that people were leaving disappointed because they didn't get a shark hat. D'oh!

… to spin this wheel… to win a bookmark. Not the best marketing ploy when the author noticed that people were leaving disappointed because they didn’t get a shark hat. D’oh!

Oh, and again, free stuff everywhere. But fair warning, to get much of that free stuff, there are a lot of lines, a lot of people, and a lot of waiting around involved. Having said that, bring your sunscreen; although the weather forecast isn’t for hot, sunny weather, for whatever reason the USC campus was sunny and bright by around 2 p.m. Saturday. And if you forget your sunscreen, don’t worry. You can always stop by the First Aid booths for some – yes – free samples.

Today is the final day of the LA Times Festival of Books at the USC campus in Exposition Park; all events wrap up around 5 p.m. For more information on the go you can download their free app from iTunes or pick up a map and schedule of today’s events near the main entrances off Exposition or Jefferson Boulevards. Parking is $10 at various lots in and around campus, and the event is Metro-accessible.

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