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By Richard Lederer

Editor’s note: Richard Lederer will be our special at East County Fest, East County Magazine’s 10-year anniversary celebration the evening of August 25th at Mission Trails. For tickets and details, click here.

August 22, 2018 (San Diego) -- A week from today, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., the Union-Tribune and KPBS, both of whom I've worked with, will launch our city's second annual Festival of Books. The setting will be the McMillin Event Center at Liberty Station in Point Loma. Along with a galaxy of local authors, I'll be signing my books in Authors' Alley. I'd love to meet you there.

Last year's inaugural Festival was a prodigious success. Almost 10,000 bibliophiles (book lovers) made a joyful noise unto the printed page at the most jubilant event in praise of books ever held here. And no wonder. San Diego is a terrific book town, recently ranked tenth in Amazon's Top 20 Most Well-Read Cities list.

For details about the cornucopia of authors, exhibitors, book stores, panels, children's activities, music and food on August 25, please take a tour of the special Festival section in tomorrow's paper.

You know you're a dyed-in-the-wool book lover if you were that kid who got excited when your teacher asked the class to read silently for a half hour. At home, if you got sent to your room as punishment, you snickered to yourself because that meant an opportunity to be alone, in peace, with a book in your hands and a smile on your face.

When you were little, books were your best friends in the world — and they still are. You know the characters in novels better than you know real people. You choose to live in the books you read and you wish you could go on adventures with the people in them. You dream about attending Hogwarts, and you wish you could leap inside your wardrobe and travel to Narnia. When you grow up, you name your children and pets after fictional characters.

You adore the feel of books and the smell of old books. You love the sound of pages turning. When you're between books, you feel lost — until you open the next one. You experience distress when you are somewhere without a book, a magazine, a newspaper or at least a scrap of paper to read. The book is always, always, always better than the movie.

The stack of books on your night table resembles the beginning of a Jenga game.

When you are reading a good book, you sometimes forget to eat or sleep. On a "must-finish" night, you fall asleep with a book still in your hands. The bags under your eyes are not from a kinetic social life but from staying up reading into the wee hours.

When you work out, you choose only the machines that let you read while you're sweating. Most of your vacation packing anxiety comes from deciding which books to bring. You can't figure out what people who go to the beach without a book do there. You spend the majority of your vacation time reading and that includes your honeymoon.

Your bookcase shelves are starting to creak and you still want to add more books. After reading, your second favorite activity is rearranging your library, which you do at least once a month.

The plastic window in your wallet displays your bookstore credit card and library card rather than your driver's license. You’ve read so many books that people don’t dare buy them for you anymore. Instead, they give you book-related gift cards. And one of your rapturous joys is when a friend actually reads a book you have recommended — and loves it!

Bookstores are your favorite places. No matter where you are or what you're there for, if you come upon a bookstore, you have to go in and buy at least one book. You can't buy happiness, but you can buy books, and that's pretty much the same thing. You know that reading a new book is like life renewing itself.

In addition to frequenting bookstores, you attend book festivals. (Hint, hint.)

Please write me at richardhlederer@gmail.com about your own love of books. I may publish your responses in a future column.

On Saturday. August 25, 6-10 p.m., I'll be appearing at the inaugural East County Fest in Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center. For information, check out www.eastcountymagazine.org or call 619 212 3651.

Please send your questions and comments about language                                                       to richardhlederer@gmail.com website: verbivore.com.                                                                                                              

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