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Cesar Millan Signs, We Whine

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Every week we round up all the bookish events happening in LA and we present them in the Get Your Lit On series Monday mornings. This Monday, an astute LAist reader asked us a very good question: What does it mean when a writer "presents" their book?

We answered as fairly as we could, pointing out that most authors briefly introduce their book, read from it, answer questions about it and then sign it. There are abberations of course. There are the writers who refuse to sign, or won't read the work they've written, or will read and sign but can't be bothered with discussion. And who are we to judge, as they are all artists and we're lucky to have their books to read at all, right? If they want to get up there and only sign or only read or only answer questions, fine. Right? Right. Until we went to Cesar Millan's signing last night and lost our cool.

We've never quite understood why someone would get their book signed in the first place. What does it really matter if the book is signed or not? Aren't the contents of the books more important? Whenever we attend author book "presentations", we rarely stand in line at the end to get our book signed. We listen with rapt attention as the writer talks, reads, and answers questions. Then we skip out.

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We expected Cesar Millan's "presentation" of his new book Be the Pack Leader to be no different. We arrived at the Borders in Pasadena early last night, ready to hear Cesar talk about dogs and training and how to be pack leader. Instead, we were steered over to a table that was handing out wristbands. Wristbands! If you bought the book, you got a wristband. Our book was at home. We didn't want it signed. We told the Borders wristband girl: "Oh, we don't care if he signs our book, we just want to hear him talk and answer questions." The Borders girl laughed. Rolled her eyes. "Well, um, he doesn't talk. He just signs. If you want to see him, you need a book to get signed."

What? Who would wait in line just to have it signed? Um, apparently everyone but us.