As a self-proclaimed literary nerd, I must admit that one of my favorite events of the year is the LA Times Festival of Books. It's held every April at the USC campus and offers a wide range of activities from trolling the bargain book tents, to watching cooking demonstrations, listening to live jazz, and attending author Q&A sessions.

This year, my experience at the festival was less casual and more studious as I took full advantage of all the breakout sessions they offered. I attended a panel discussion on the future of the publishing industry and another on creative storytelling. Although I have never read any of her books, I went to a Q&A session with author, Anna Quindlen, because she was a former columnist for the New York Times, has written 18 books, and won a Pulitzer Prize. All of which made me fairly certain she could teach me a thing or two about writing. And I was right.

But my favorite talk of the whole day was one called "Struggle and Strength in Memoir." It featured a panel of four authors who had written books about surviving cancer and overcoming grief. They gave me a richer understanding of what it's like to experience trauma and share it in a way that is honest, vivid, and bold. Exactly what I am hoping to do with Pete and Dara's story :).

I left the festival feeling inspired and more excited than ever to finish my first draft of Shot: A Journey Into Risk, Tragedy, and Faith.  We're getting a little closer every day. Slowly but surely.

Until next time,
~ Christy ~

P.S. For all you bookworms out there looking for something new to read, I heard about several yesterday that I'm looking forward to picking up:

1. The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante (a 4 book series)
2. Away by Amy Bloom
3. The Rules of Inheritance by Claire Bidwell Smith
4. ______________?????? What would you add to this list? Read any good books lately?

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