Lit picks: This week’s L.A. book events call for community

This week’s literary events include a book swap to discover new titles and connect with fellow readers.
(Los Angeles Times)

It’s a common misconception that all readers are introverts when in fact many bibliophiles long for community and connection. (That’s why we read.) Luckily, Los Angeles is a city of writers and readers teeming with opportunities to meet beyond the page, and this week’s events lineup is a prime example.

Here are literary events to connect you to new books and fellow book lovers this week:

A tribute to Toni Morrison. In a moving appreciation of the late Pulitzer Prize winner and Nobel laureate, Lynell George wrote that Morrison’s stories “create spaces for the teller and the reader to share and be inspired.” Tonight at Skylight Books, a group of writers honors Morrison’s legacy by inviting the community to gather and celebrate her life. George will read, along with Michael Datcher, Natashia Deon, Dana Johnson, Lisa Teasley, Gary Phillips, Nina Revoyr, Jervey Tervalon and Terry Wolverton. For readers reeling from her loss, it’s an opportunity to pay homage to this literary giant.

7:30 p.m. today at Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave. Los Angeles. Free.


A good old-fashioned book swap. Bring a book and get a book at this literary gift exchange at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA). Co-hosted by Days L.A. and literary journal Girls at Library (GAL), the event is an opportunity for book lovers to “exchange books, connect with other bibliophiles, and build community and dialogue around literature” by sharing their reading recommendations with others. Participants can swap as many books as they contribute. Literary fan-girls Hayley Magnus, Eva Recinos, Miriam Chan and — full disclosure — yours truly will be on hand to help the swap run smoothly.

3 p.m. Saturday at the ICA LA, 1717 E. 7th St., Los Angeles. Free.

Writing on the L.A. River. Join novelist Carmiel Banasky and writer and translator Ellie Robbins for a morning of writing along the L.A. River. Both Banasky, who studied climate change in the Arctic, and Robbins, who addresses climate change in her work, will prompt participants to consider “the future of a place by learning about its past, reimagining the present, and inhabiting perspectives other than our own.” No writing experience is necessary; attendees will need a pen and paper, sunscreen or a hat, water and willingness to walk the riverbed. This event is supported by Friends of the L.A. River, a nonprofit that advocates for river stewardship.

9 a.m. Sunday at Lewis MacAdams Riverfront Park in Elysian Valley. Suggested $5 donation.

Little chicken explorers, a picture book workshop. Hosted by literary nonprofit 826LA and the Hammer Museum, this workshop provides kids with a toy baby chicken — and asks them to create an illustrated story about the chick’s grand adventure. The workshop is led by Kim Adelman, author of “The Ultimate Guide to Chick Flicks,” and recommended for children ages 7 to 14. Reservations are encouraged.

11 a.m. Sunday at the Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. Free.

Pen on fire. Lido Village Books’ Pen on Fire series features novelist Janet Fitch, whose latest book, “Chimes of a Lost Cathedral,” picks up where 2017’s “The Revolution of Marina M.” left off. In “Chimes,” Fitch follows Marina from the Russian countryside back to Petrograd, where she meets literary luminaries like Maxim Gorky. (Russian literature fans: This book’s for you.) Fitch and writer, critic, translator and professor of comparative literature Leland de la Durantaye will be joined in conversation by author Barbara DeMarco-Barrett.

7 p.m. Tuesday at Lido Village Books, 3424 Via Oporto #102, Newport Beach. $20.