Loving Richard Feynman by Penny Tangey

I just love it when quirky little books find their way to me.

Loving Richard Feynman first popped up on my radar after Mandi (@thebookishmanicurist) spotlighted it on one of her amazing Insta posts. Being married to an engineer who is an avid devotee of Richard Feynman (they even share a birthday!), I was immediately intrigued about the concept of a teenage girl writing letters to dead Nobel-winning physicist. I'm not exactly one who reads science-y books, but I've actually read the book Catherine rations out reading, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman, which serves as a perfect device to help explore her ever-changing feelings for the physicist and life in general. It was actually a treat to see many of my same observations of that book echoed by Catherine in such an intelligent and pragmatic manner. I too think Catherine is a 'box of nerdish delight."

I thoroughly enjoyed Catherine's odd-duck observations on the mysteries of teen-dom. When done well, epistolary novels are often my favorite type to read and Catherine's struggles to deal with ridicule and overtures of friendship from her classmates are presented with careful honesty in this format. I found myself utterly swept up in her clear prose. I couldn't recommend this book enough and I'm so glad I took the trouble to track a copy down.

One new moment of Feynman's life I discovered thanks to this fabulous little story was a love letter Feynman wrote to his deceased wife two years after she passed. Read it without tears, I dare you.


April was like a month-long feast for book festivals! The weekend after the LA Times Festival of Books, I went down to Santa Monica for Y'ALLWEST. It's an all-things YA festival and tons of fun. 

Joined by some fellow book nerds, we headed down to the Friday night preview -- which was basically just an extended book signing. If I had known that, we might not have gone, but it was still fun. My daughter is a huge fan of Shannon & Dean Hale's Princess in Black series and so I was excited to get signed copies for her. When I told the Hales they were signing for my daughter Nora, Shannon told me that she named Princess Magnolia after her own daughter, Magnolia...who originally was to be named Nora! 

No lie, there were so many panels/signings/giveaways that I wanted to attend Saturday that I wound up creating an hour by hour spreadsheet so I wouldn't miss anything. My husband totally made fun of my OCD but I'm well aware of my nerd status. But! It was immensely satisfying to see other proud booknerds carrying around their own (color-coded!) spreadsheets the day of.

I was able to snag a ticket to go to a special Leigh Bardugo signing of Wonder Woman: Warbringer! I was so excited to meet the creator of Kaz and Inej and Nina and Matthais... Leigh was so nice and I can't wait to read her latest.

At LATFoB I spent most of my time attending panels, but at Y'ALLWEST it was all about the signings and giveaways. I did go to a few panels, including this one with Ally Condie, Lilliam Rivera, Jennifer Niven, Benjamin Alire Saenz, and Angie Thomas. While they were all interesting and well-spoken, we all know I was only there to see the fabulous Angie Thomas and I was happy to have her sign copies of The Hate You Give afterwards.
Highlights of the panel include Benjamin Alire Saenz serenading the crowd with "Summertime" when asked what song they would pick for karaoke and it came as no surprise that Angie Thomas picked a combo of Beyoncé and Tupac for her favorite famous persons ("Can't you see me at a signing with a wind machine?").

And then there was the BIG reason I went down to Y'ALLWEST: Megan Whalen Turner!! Well since it's been SEVEN years since we last had a new MWT, you know I was not going to miss out on that opportunity! 

I met up with my friend, the fabulous Maggie of @treatyoshelf and we enjoyed her panel with Alex London, Cassandra Clare, Danielle Paige, Daniel José Older, and Zoraida Cordova
During the panel, we both agreed that Daniel José Older needs to start doing audio book narrations or something, because hot dog! I could listen to him allll day! 

 I came home with sooo many books and swag! Most of these I'm super excited to start reading (Hello, Words in Deep Blue and Jane, Unlimited! Although boo for waiting in line for the newest Stephanie Perkins only to find out it was only a teaser!). It turned out to be an exceptional day, full of good books and meeting lots of super nice book enthusiasts. I'm so glad I went and can't wait to attend next year too.

LA Times Festival of Books

I've never had the chance to go to the LA Times Festival of Books and this year, I finally made it! My hubby was a little concerned that I was going by myself, but I just told him, these are my people :)

After wandering the booths for a bit, I decided to escape the heat and enjoy the fantastic panels. I went to The Science of Humans, mainly so I could listen to Mary Roach, who was hilarious as expected and all the authors were extremely fascinating.

Next up was the amazing Science Fiction and Fantasy from All Angles panel with Sarah Kuhn, Becky Chambers, Ellen Klages, and Seanan McGuire. That's right. An all female panel of speculative fiction!! I mainly came for Seanan McGuire and she was as weirdly endearing as I hoped she'd be but I came out of there with a huge list of books to read from the other authors.

One conversation I was seriously excited for was Roxane Gay. Who was absolutely unapologetically brilliant. That woman is amazing and to make it even better, I ran into Maggie from @treatyoshelf!

I also got to meet Liza Palmer after her Exceptions and Expectations panel. She is basically the nicest person ever -- signing all 6 books I had with me, including her latest The F Word (which I've already devoured and loved. Of course.).

Hurrying across the gorgeous USC campus, I managed to catch the tail end of the Pieces of Me panel with Angie Thomas, Nicola Yoon, Nina LaCour, and Jennifer Niven. They were all incredibly articulate and engaging and I especially enjoyed all the Harry Potter fangirling.

So. Much. Fun.
I met so many interesting people while waiting in signing lines and scored some fantastic bookish swag. I can't wait to return next year.