Reading Your Way To Adventure

I recently ended a long-term relationship because it was just not working out. I left downtown Los Angeles one Sunday and found my way right into a completely unfamiliar neighborhood and realized I’d had enough. I gathered my nerve and calmly said, “We’re finished Mapquest, I am committing to Siri”. Mapquest’s silence was proof I’d made the right decision. I realize comparison is unfair but Siri is so expressive and really knows her mind. I called my guy and he – already engaged to Siri – did the electric slide in celebration, ok he thought about doing the electric slide… he does not possess a dancing gene like “Shawty Got Low” here. Another time and adventure.

 So after the breakup, I quickly left a few cryptic – obvious – status updates on my Facebook about a certain online direction service, initials Map.Quest. that gets possessive when I innocently flirt. Next, Siri and I posted a joint profile selfie and headed off on our freebie adventure. Where, you ask, can you get an adventure – from beginning to end – for free? That’s right, not a single dime spent. Now don’t groan when I say, the library. I’m guessing if you are reading this blog then you are a “reader” and that perhaps, the library is your launch pad for soaring into all sorts of new terrain.

Books offer travel without packing luggage, however, the library is closed on Sunday and I wanted to take my new girl somewhere special which meant the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. And people, I have to admit I derived some mischievous pleasure at Siri’s confusion over where to get a taco on a college campus filled with hundreds of eclectic food trucks. We skipped eating.

Gelato truck

Book-wise, I’ve traveled a long and winding road with a colorful bunch, from Larry McMurtry’s LONESOME DOVE gang, to Jurgis as he encountered multiple abuses in THE JUNGLE by Upton Sinclair. I’ve fallen in love with Calmer Ottosson in Pete Dexter’s SPOONER and laughed myself sick in my three week blitz of every David Sedaris book published. Books have taken me all over the world and, in the case of the HARRY POTTER series, beyond. They’ve shifted my way of thinking as in Shane Claiborne’s THE IRRESISTIBLE REVOLUTION; LIVING LIFE AS AN ORDINARY RADICAL and they’ve carried me through many of life’s storms, sometimes with answers but more often with distraction. Books offer the ultimate in adventure and allow you to experience these adventures at your own pace and on your own terms.

The Festival of Books celebrates the written word and also ponies up Kettle Corn and lobster in the process. Everywhere you turn, there are booths with kiddie yoga, author signings, mystery, humor, cooking, opera performances, speakers, gardening, culture… this truly is the melting pot of literature with stunning art, music, and poetry also thrown into the mix.

Yoga kids

Now friends, the On A Dime aspect of this event is both the free admission and the amount of freebie giveaways. We happened upon pumpkin seed power bars by KIND and insanely amazing Takeya iced tea. The tea sample rocked our palate so enormously that we’ll be ordering some bags online and looking for their recipe book coming out this summer.  And at this point we wish to state if it is profiled here, it’s because we loved it. Not getting any kickbacks. 🙂

Healthy snacks

Takeya Tea

The festival happens once a year and all events are no charge, however, some speakers require advance no-fee tickets. I lucked into inspirational new author Katherine Schwarzenegger being interview by her little-known mom, Maria Shriver, about her new book, I JUST GRADUATED… NOW WHAT?

Shriver interview

Also was grateful to see chef Scott Conant – every bit as yummy as his food – right before he tackled signing THE SCARPETTA COOKBOOK. His line of foodie groupies, books clutched in their arms as they waited anxiously, rivaled anything Mick Jagger ever inspired.


Fellow adventurers, the only money spent on my visit was $10 for parking but here at On A Dime we like to emphasize choice and there were some truly amazing cuisine masterpieces available as well as great deals on books for all ages. If you have not completely fallen under the sway of Kindle (my guy is two-timing Siri with Kindle), you can grab some great, discounted literature. And if you like gee-gaws (great word), there is everything from jewelry, made from books, to toys and stuffed animals.

As the weather grows warmer, the days longer, and cabin fever propels you out the door, throw a great book in your backpack and find a grassy knoll to pass the day away.


And finally we want to wrap this up with a new trend that seems to be taking hold, the little free library. In many communities, regular folks are setting up small displays of their used books at their curb, on the honor/exchange system. It’s quite simple, you see a book that interests you? You take it and leave one in exchange.

The main point of this post is to celebrate bookish adventures but also to encourage local community involvement so please share in the comments section any events and/or favorite books that rock your soul.

*We’re including a few adventure books that we’ve enjoyed immensely!


INTO THE WILD as well as INTO THIN AIR both by Jon Krakauer

The entire HARRY POTTER series by J.K. Rowling


LONESOME DOVE by Larry McMurtry

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