Tracing the history of the beach read. A new California autograph law that may adversely affect bookstores. And considering the iPhone as it approaches its 10th anniversary. Here’s what’s up on the literary web, midweek.
Literary events worth leaving the house for
There are two events — one west side, one east side — competing for your attendance this Thursday, but spare yourself the FOMO and just pick one. You really can’t go wrong.
At the Ann and Jerry Moss Theatre in Santa Monica, Brian Merchant talks about his upcoming book “The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone” with science journalist, lead singer of Yacht and all-around renaissance woman Claire L. Evans. (As co-creator of the app 5 Every Day, she knows her way around an iPhone.)
While researching his book, “Merchant traveled to every inhabited continent, from the Bolivian highlands to the city of Shenzhen, using ‘the one device’ to document the effort.” He also interviewed Apple designers and employees about the iPhone’s creation. Presented by Live Talks LA; tickets start at $20.
Decided you’re going? Here’s your pre-party anthem for the night: Yacht’s “I Thought the Future Would be Cooler.” Didn’t we all, Yacht, didn’t we all. …
And at Skylight Books, Michelle Tea discusses her new book “Modern Tarot: Connecting With your Higher Self Through the Wisdom of the Cards.” It’s a fresh guide to interpreting the deck — plus spells. “I love doing spells,” she says in the introduction. “It’s like spiritual crafting.” Michelle Tea, tarot and Skylight? What could be more L.A.?
Bad news for book signings
This story from NPR is quick enough to listen to on a coffee break, and if you’re fond of books, chances are it applies to you. A new California law regarding autographs intended to protect sports memorablia and entertainment collectibles may change how book signings are run — potentially causing bookstores to increase staff to handle the oversight, hurting bookstore sales and invading customer privacy. Bill Petrocelli, co-owner of Book Passage in Sausalito, has sued to stop it. He explained: “You have to get the names and the details of everyone who buys the book. And we think that’s, you know, a major intrusion on our customers’ privacy and on their 1st Amendment rights.”
The history of the beach read
The weather is heating up fast in Los Angeles, and over at Broadly, writer Ilana Masad considers the beach read (Michelle Dean traced its history last summer in the Guardian) and how that term came to so often signify women’s fiction. “Books listed explicitly as ‘beach reads’ are often being marketed to women, with a feminine aesthetic,” writes Masad, who quotes Alexandra Franklin, assistant to literary agent Vicky Bijourn, as noting that “ ‘beach reads’ are generally considered fluff pieces for fluff readers, which is a coded way of saying ‘lady books for lady readers.’ ” It’s a little bit of critical thinking, just in time for summer. Click through to read on if you’re interested, but I say read what you want.