LA Review of Books

About This Show

Show Info: The LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKS, as its name suggests, looks out at the world of books from its perch on the Pacific Rim. Since the 19th century writers have bridled at New York’s seeming monopoly over publication. Bret Harte in The Overland Monthly, John Crowe Ransom and Robert Penn Warren in I’ll Take My Stand, and the other regionalists, along with other outsiders, people who felt excluded from the literary conversation, and writers and readers in a thousand places — including even New York — have called for a more representative literary world. The internet has started to bring this to fruition, and Los Angeles, the famously centerless city and the largest book market in the country, is what Hamlin Garland, if he were still alive, might assume was the new center. In Crumbling Idols (1893), Garland argued that the center had left Boston for New York in the 1870s or 1880s, and was cruising quickly past Buffalo on its way to Chicago and pointed West. Perhaps there is no center anymore, but Los Angeles, a global city with a global reach, speaking over 100 languages and sending its music, literature and film to every corner of the globe, isn’t a bad candidate for it, and those of us who live here and love books — whether we’re from Iowa City, Tehran, Brooklyn, Singapore, Guatemala, Addis Ababa, or even Los Angeles — are happy to think that after some time in San Francisco, Garland’s center might be passing through Los Angeles around now, perhaps on its way to Mexico City.

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