Bloomsbury's Object Lessons is a series of concise, collectable, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things. Each book starts from a specific inspiration: an historical event, a literary passage, a personal narrative, a technological innovation-and from that starting point explores the object of the title, gleaning a singular lesson or multiple lessons along the way. Featuring contributions from writers, artists, scholars, journalists, and others, the emphasis throughout is lucid writing, imagination, and brevity. Object Lessons paints a picture of the world around us, and tells the story of how we got here, one object at a time.

Join us for an evening with three Object Lessons authors: Evan Kindley, Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow and Anna Leahy. 


A history of the questionnaire from its inception in the late 19th century to its current online renaissance, surveying a wide range of fields and forms in order to ask questions about the questions we ask ourselves.

Praise for Questionnaire

“A marvelous book that gathers an unexpected array of materials … Playful, smart and rich with dizzying connections, Evan Kindley's Questionnaire is no less than a secret history of how we became a nation of oversharers.”–Hua Hsu

“Evan Kindley's crisp and fleet Questionnaire travels with extraordinary speed from the quaint and idle to the flat-out alarming, with huge implications for our digital culture now and in the future.”–Luc Sante

"Kindley's book provides a lucid, distressing look at the backbone of demography.” –The Paris Review

Evan Kindley is Senior Humanities Editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books. He is the author of two books, Questionnaire and Poet-Critics and the Administration of Culture.

Personal Stereo

When the Sony Walkman debuted in 1979, people were enthralled by the novel experience it offered: immersion in the music of their choice, anytime, anywhere. But the Walkman was also denounced as self-indulgent and antisocial-the quintessential accessory for the "me" generation.

In Personal Stereo, Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow takes us back to the birth of the device, exploring legal battles over credit for its invention, its ambivalent reception in 1980s America, and its lasting effects on social norms and public space. Ranging from postwar Japan to the present, Tuhus-Dubrow tells an illuminating story about our emotional responses to technological change.

Praise for Personal Stereo

"In 2017, having music pumped into your ears through headphones while existing in public is a thoroughly normal thing to do. But as Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow outlines in the delightful Personal Stereo, being able to do so is a relatively recent development ... Her thoughtfulness imbues this chronicle of a once-modern, now-obsolete device with a mindfulness that isn't often seen in writing about technology.” –  Pitchfork (named one of Pitchfork's favorite books of 2017)

Personal Stereo is loving, wise, and exuberant, a moving meditation on nostalgia and obsolescence. Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow writes as beautifully about Georg Simmel and Allan Bloom as she does about Jane Fonda and Metallica. Now I understand why I still own the taxicab-yellow Walkman my grandmother gave me in 1988.” Nathaniel Rich, author of Odds Against Tomorrow

“Tuhus-Dubrow's valuable historical and pop cultural analysis provides a genuine yet evenhanded portrait of all that has been loved and lost in the way the personal stereo has impacted public spaces and social communication. Personal Stereo is a clear-eyed study on the way this technology continues to disrupt, for better and for worse.” –  PopMatters

“A fascinating and informative, yet also nostalgic, look at the rise and fall of the personal stereo ... The author has worked hard to make this book readable, accessible and thorough in its enquiry ... Tuhus-Dubrow manages to keep the feel of the book light and engaging. It has enough information in to feel academically researched, yet is written in an easily accessible fashion ... Although I enjoyed the final "Nostalgia" section, I think anybody with an interest in design, business, technology, or social and cultural history, will find the first section, "Novelty", an interesting delve into the development of Sony as a company, its founders, and its famous Walkman. Five stars.”–The Bookbag

“Tuhus-Dubrow is a master researcher and synthesizer ... an elegant, engaging storyteller who unpacks complex social and political concepts with clarity and panache...Personal Stereo is a joy to read.”–Los Angeles Review of Books

Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow is a writer-in- residence at the University of California, Irvine and a contributing editor at Dissent


One in two men and one in three women will develop invasive cancer. Tumors have the power to redefine identities and change how people live with one another.

Tumor takes readers on an intellectual adventure around the attitudes that shape how humans do scientific research, treat cancer, and talk about disease, treatment, and death. With poetic verve and acuity, Anna Leahy explores why and how tumors happen, how we think and talk about them, and how we try to rid ourselves of them.

Praise for Tumor

“Anna Leahy looks a tough subject right in the eyes, and tells its story with grace, insight, alacrity, and wit.” – David Eagleman, author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain

“Anna Leahy writes with insight and empathy about cancer and the social and cultural dimensions of one of our greatest fears. A blend of science, journalism, and deeply personal storytelling, this book takes a lyrical approach to a complex subject we all face in some way.” – Kristen Iversen, author of Full Body Burden

Anna Leahy is the author of the poetry collection Aperture and the nonfiction book Tumor. She directs the MFA program in Creative Writing at Chapman University. 

Event date: 
Saturday, January 27, 2018 - 5:00pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Tumor (Object Lessons) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501323300
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Academic - September 7th, 2017

Personal Stereo (Object Lessons) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501322815
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Bloomsbury Academic - September 7th, 2017

Questionnaire (Object Lessons) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501314773
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Bloomsbury Academic - July 28th, 2016