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Itinerary: Book Bound

April 22, 1999|ROBIN RAUZI

It's amazing. Lines and dots and circles turn into letters, letters in certain order turn into words and words strung into sentences turn into stories that transport readers across time, around the globe or into other worlds.

Newspapers, magazines, Internet sites--all rely on this ancient system, but none embodies the full weight of such magic like books.

Today

If you haven't done it yet, get your tickets to the event of your choice at the Festival of Books. They're free at any Ticketmaster outlet--but you can't get into any limited-seating event without them. Tickets are available until 5 p.m. today; act now or face the standby line this weekend.

At 8 p.m. Robert Pinsky and Robert Hass, the current and former U.S. poets laureate, respectively, make their only West Coast appearance (at UCLA's Royce Hall, $12-$20.) Or, if poetry isn't your bag, go upstairs to the UCLA Friends of English event. At 8 p.m. Benita Eisler will discuss her new book, "Byron: Child of Passion, Fool of Fame" (Royce Hall, Room 306. Free. Reservations required. [310] 206-0961).

Friday

Pay homage to the great, great, great, great, great granddaddy of all books: the Gutenberg Bible. Johannes Gutenberg--inventor of the movable type printing press in Europe--printed 185 copies of the Old and New Testaments and Apocrypha in Latin in 1455.

One of 48 surviving copies was purchased by Henry Huntington in 1911 and is now in the permanent collection of the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens (1151 Oxford Road, San Marino. Open Tuesday-Friday, noon-4:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., [626] 405-2141). The Huntington's two-volume book is printed on vellum--of which only 12 survive; the rest are printed on paper.

Also on display is the Ellesmere manuscript of Geoffrey Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales," which Huntington bought as part of a complete library in 1917. A beautifully illustrated manuscript, it dates to 1410.

Saturday

Join 100,000 other book lovers at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at UCLA).

Lectures, seminars and interviews will run the gamut--from literary nonfiction (Saturday, 10 a.m.) to fantasy writing (Saturday, 1 p.m.); from globalization (Saturday, 10:30 a.m.) to L.A. neighborhoods (Saturday, 1:30 p.m.). Featured writers Saturday include Betty Friedan, Robin Cook, Alice Walker, Sidney Sheldon, Jamaica Kincaid and T.C. Boyle.

Even if you hate to read, some panels will be entertaining. For instance: "Writing Funny/Funny Writing" (Saturday, 10 a.m.) with Steve Allen, Sandra Tsing Loh and Arianna Huffington, or "Sex Today: Is Writing About It More Fun Than Doing It?" (Sunday, 2 p.m.) with Susie Bright, Constance Penley and Dan Savage.

Sunday

Tour the Los Angeles Central Library (650 W. 5th St., L.A. Today and Friday, 12:30 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m. [213] 228-7000). The 1926 building was damaged by two fires in 1986, and there was talk about demolishing it. Instead, from 1988 to '93, it underwent a massive renovation.

End your literary weekend with Spoken Interludes, a salon-style series of readings and dinner at Le Colonial (8783 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood; $20 includes buffet dinner. Reservations required. [323] 957-4688).

Organized by writer-performer DeLaune Michel, the evening includes Aimee Bender reading from "The Girl in the Flammable Skirt" and Brenden Schallert reading from his first novel.

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