Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Bay Area Book Festival!

Earlier this month I journeyed out to Berkeley for the Bay Area Book Festival, a huge, FREE book festival held every year in downtown Berkeley! It has authors and speakers, bookish activities and of course loads of book vendors. Even though I've lived in the area forever, I didn't learn about this festival until last year??! Back story: I was exploring downtown with two friends (we were actually looking for the store Half Price Books, not knowing we'd run into something way better), when we notice half the streets downtown are filled with white canopies. We went further in and learned we'd walked into the second day of the Bay Area Book Festival! I was bummed I didn't know about it sooner, because I'd have actually made PLANS to go, rather than just stumble upon it. So when I got home I followed it on all social media so I'd remember to plan out a trip the following year. And I did! My mom and I love going to bookish events together, so I asked her to go with me this year!

Lol just kidding. So over Frozen right now. Also my mom isn't Idina Menzel with ice powers.

One of the first things we decided to check out was Lacuna (pictured in the first post image). Lacuna is described as an "art installation made out of 50,000 books" (think used books, library discards, things like that). The books were all donated by the Internet Archive, and the most exiting part? They're all free to take! We wanted to visit Lacuna before too many of the books were gone, and I'm glad we did. I saw some people taking away wagons full of books, which was a bit excessive, I thought. It also made it a little difficult to look through things. Even so I ended up grabbing two books: Pop Apocalypse and How to Become Ridiculously Well-Read in One Evening. My mom grabbed one of her favorite books, Kiki Strike! After Lacuna we had some time to roam the festival a bit before heading to our first author panel.

My "IDK what's going on but it sure looks interesting" face. Next to Lacuna was a bunch of these spiky inflatable tents, where
they encouraged children to hang out and read. Wouldn't mind having my own spiky tent, if I had a backyard.

My mom wanted to go to the Tom Stienstra panel at 1:30 (he writes about camping and stuff), so we went to go wait in line for that. For all the author events you're able to buy tickets on the website beforehand to be certain you have a seat, but she didn't have a ticket so we were in the stand-by line. However a woman in the ticketed line said she had an extra and invited my mom to go in with her, so I went off to see more while she was in the panel (camping isn't really my thing). After that ended it was almost time for the panel I bought tickets for, with one of my favorite writers, Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese, Boxers & Saints)! I was so excited! The panel also featured Tim Federle (Tequila Mockingbird, Better Nate than Ever) and Jason Reynolds (As Brave as You, All American Boys). It was a lot of fun, and I got to sit right in the front row (which was both cool and awkward). After the panel they headed outside to sign books. I wasn't sure if book signings were going to happen or not, but I had brought my copy of American Born Chinese with me because YOU NEVER KNOW, and I'm so glad that I did. I waited in line and Gene Yang signed my book, then he let me take a selfie of us! That night I turned it all into a photo collage because YAY.

Have you noticed I'm really bad at taking selfies yet? I have another pic where less of my face is cut off, but I think this one's funnier :P

Those were the only panels we planned to go to, so the rest of the day was just for roaming around. The vendors were organized by genre, which I like. I wanted to see as much as I could, but when there's only so many hours of the festival it's nice to be able to prioritize the things you know you want to see, just to be sure you don't run out of time. I haaate getting lost, so I printed out a map of the festival the day before.

Literary Lane, Writers Row, Eco Alley, Radical Row, Inspirational Ave, and Teen Town.

There's a lot of free bookish loot to be found, but one of my favorites were these stickers from the Star Wars: Epic Yarns series that I got at the Chronicle Books table. Felted Star Wars characters! So cute. Haven't figured out where to put them yet, though??! Bullet journal? Phone case? On my comic book boxes?! Hmmm. There was also a set of postcards from their other series, Cozy Classics, which I also wanted but they wouldn't let me take both, hahah.

San Francisco Center of the Book had a pop-up shop where you could make your own mini notebook using an old-timey letterpress! Mine got a little smudged at the top, but that just adds character, right? I also got to try Ben & Jerry's for the first time! It was super yum, now I know why everyone loves it so much. #Winning

I'm so glad I was able to go to the festival, I'd been waiting for a year and it was definitely worth the wait! My mom also had a great time which I was happy about, because how dumb would I have looked if I dragged her all the way out to Berkeley and she didn't even like it, hahah. Can't wait to see what they have planned for next year! 

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