Book Fair shines bright in Hollywood

  Last Sunday, the ninth annual West Hollywood Book Fair was held at West Hollywood Park.¬†While it didn't quite compare to the LA Times Festival of Books held yearly at UCLA, it did not shy away from controversial politics, obscene humor, and mystery. Contemporary fiction was well represented, and for those who cannot escape the vast fascination of vampires, there was certainly an abundance of material.

The West Hollywood Book Fair featured 15 stages, 300 authors and artists, and 150 exhibitors-- a small increase of participants from the year prior.  Crowds attended to enjoy panels and performances, though the greater purpose was to promote reading, writing and literacy in the community.

Eighth-grade English teacher Rachel Morhus who came with a couple of students commented on the surprising amount of kids at this year's event. "If you know a kid who regards reading only as homework, this is the perfect place to turn them on to books through storytelling, mini-playwriting workshops, comics and graphic-novel seminars," Morhus said.

During the afternoon, screenwriters gathered at The Writing Room Schedule workshop to have a free lesson from memoirist, essayist, and poet Diana M. Raab. The UCLA Writers Program and the Santa Barbara Writers Conference professor took the opportunity to send everyone afterwards to the UCLA Writers Program booth for a raffle, which included a prize of free classes for a week.

The evening program consisted of some really interesting and intriguing programs. The storytelling panel consisted of the California Paranormal Private Investigators telling real ghost hunting experiences. MacBeezy's "MacBeth Hip Hopera" was Shakespeare like no one has ever seen him before. The Tragedy of Macbeth was represented in an alternate tartan-clad universe.

Highlights of this year's event included Molly Ringwald's conversation with Susan Anderson. The brat-pack princess was there to promote her book titled "Getting the Pretty Back."

"Her book is clearly a woman's dream bible: It is about finding inner beauty when you are no longer sixteen. Ringwald truly wants women to feel admired and confident at any age, and her passion comes across as clearly and quirkily as it did in her teen movie years. And I'm glad I get to get my copy signed!" said Timothy Binder, a huge "Breakfast Club" fan.

Overall, the award-winning West Hollywood Book Fair clearly shone with merit this year. The event was bigger, better, and with more attendees than previous years. With its free admission and free parking, the West Hollywood Book Fair demonstrated a community's effort to broaden every mind with the vast intellect and importance a book can have.