The Best Quotes from The L.A. Times Festival of Books

“It’s easier to write about orgasms than about Obama”

Around 150,000 people attended The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on USC’s campus earlier this month. Between the readings, panels, discount book tents and food trucks, it was easy to get over-stimulated. With so many incredible authors flocking to one place, deciding which events to attend was, to say the least, a struggle. We present you with some pearls from our favorite panels:

(On why she chose to write Citizen: An American Lyric in the second person)
“When you’re talking about minorities, you’re talking about ‘the second person’.”
Claudia Rankine, author of Citizen: An American Lyric

(On the public response to “personal” writing)
“It’s easier to write about orgasms than about Obama.”
Rebecca Solnit, author of Men Explain Things to Me

(Paraphrasing Sigmund Freud)
“Humor is the most accepted form of aggression.”
Aimee Bender, author of The Color Master

“Nobody will love you until someone hates you.”
Meghan Daum, novelist and editor of Selfish, Shallow & Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids

(On how she knows she chose the right ending for her short story, “A Contest”)
“I’m always going to either laugh weirdly or cry, so that feels like a good way to end it.”
Amelia Gray, author of Gutshot

(On constructing three-dimensional characters)
“Ask yourself: What is their sense of humor?”
Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble

(Quoting Herve Guibert)
“In writing I am always both the scientist and the rat he slits open to do his research.”
Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts