Writers, by trade, are a solitary lot. That is, unless it’s April. The season is upon us when the people who make books (novelists, poets, agents, critics, journalists, editors, publishers, booksellers) get together with the people who read books (you) to hobnob in the massive, corporate-sponsored, pseudo-academic, literary-salon carnival and parking nightmare known affectionately as the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Here authors are rock stars. Every year, the list gets bigger. This time: Chris Abani, Aimee Bender, Tod Goldberg, Mary Higgins Clark, Robert Crais, Larry Flynt, Arianna Huffington, Chip Kidd, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Joan Didion, Frank McCourt, Joyce Carol Oates, R.L. Stine, Gore Vidal and, literally, hundreds of other authors are slated to speak/read/sign/teach/hang out in tents. There will be food, music, storytelling for kids, exhibitor booths (everyone from Borders to Beyond Baroque) and panel discussions on every conceivable genre, including “Quirky Nonfiction,” “Science Writing: Metaphysics and Beyond,” “The Art of the Obituary” and “Personal Stories From Iraq.” Kicking off the festival, on April 28, the winners of the Times’ Book Prizes are announced (will it be Murakami, Gaitskill, Doctorow, García Márquez or Hornby?). Then, on Saturday night, the Rock Bottom Remainders, a band of super writers (Dave Barry, Amy Tan, Matt Groening, Scott Turow and others) who play instruments, will perform at a benefit concert for 826LA at Royce Hall. And they say nobody reads in L.A.
Los Angeles Times Festival of Books; Sat., April 29, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. & Sun., April 30, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; UCLA campus. Tickets required for all panel discussions, available free at Ticketmaster. Parking $8. Festival admission is free. Rock Bottom Remainders at Besides the Music concert, April 29, 8 p.m., Royce Hall, $25-$50; (310) 825-2101.