I mean, look at this college student who purchased something like six books at the Philippine Expressions booth! I have no doubt she picked up many more at other spots:
Here's a shot of the booth itself. There was a strong and steady (and therefore heartening) stream of customers, many declaring their Filipino or partially Filipino heritage. People were looking for books to comfort their ailing grandfathers; books for their mothers (Cecilia's classic When the Rainbow Goddess Wept was snapped up by a man whose mother lived in the Philippines during WWII); books to shore up a curriculum or a dissertation; books for kids; and, of course, books for personal enjoyment. Cecilia, Zack, and I sat side-by-side chatting with browsers, making suggestions, and signing books.
Here are Zack and Cecilia Brainard. I basked all weekend in the glow of their literary starpower, I tell you.
Around lunchtime, Zack and I snuck off for a quick lunch, first hightailing it over to—where else?—the food area. Unfortunately, it was packed and lines of people were snaking haphazardly all over the place. Bringing all our resources to bear, and working up quite the sweat now, we headed off-campus where our eyes alighted on a bright yellow Denny's sign. "Hmmmm," Zack deliberated. "They're racist." True enough. Our search ended at last when a Burger King came into view. "YES!" we screamed.
And guess what? No lines! Except for in the ladies room. So you know what I did for the first time ever in my whole entire life? I used the men's room. It was disgusting; I will never do it again.
Finally, Whoppers and fries in hand, we sat down to wolf down our joyfully unhealthy lunches. And it was so effing fantastic because I got to hear all about the long and winding road Zack took towards the publication of Leche. And we talked about our mutual love of Daly City, and about life in Hawaii and Manila. On our way back to campus, he impressed me with his uncanny ability to recall exact lines from the classic 80s movie offerings St. Elmo's Fire and Pretty in Pink ("You break my heart," he rasped, just like Demi Moore. "But then again...you break everyone's heart."). We objectified Andrew McCarthy, after which Zack performed a spot-on impression of Andrew's character being thrown up against a school locker. He screwed his face up sideways and went all cockeyed, and I pretty much died laughing right there on the USC Campus ("Ally Sheedy is an alum," he pointed out in yet another dazzling display of pop culture knowledge). As we got closer to our end destination, we passed a booth whose awning announced "Self-Realization Books." "I'm going to write a self-realization book," proclaimed Zack. "It's going to be called I am I. Get it?" Hahahahahaha!
I would totally buy that book. And of course I bought a copy of Leche. I suggest you do the same, immediately. I started reading it on the plane home, and I felt sorry for the woman sitting next to me because I was laughing so uncontrollably that I think I scared her: she kept a tight grip on her pretty Prada bag and didn't dare fall asleep.
Our day at the LA Times Festival of Books was preceded by a very fun Authors Night, also hosted by Linda Nietes and Philippine Expressions Bookshop. You can read all about it (and see more pix!) here at the Re: Angelica's Daughters blog.