LA Review of Books
About This Show
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.
Most Recent Episode
Queer Memoir Part Two: Feeling Mean with Myriam Gurba
3 days ago
Author and artist Myriam Gurba joins co-hosts Eric Newman and Kate Wolf for a conversation about her new book Mean, which is receiving effusive praise across the literary, art, and mainstream presses - including a glowing review from last week's guest, Jonathan Alexander, in the LA Review of Books. Billed as part True Crime Tale, part Ghost Story, part Queer coming-of-age Memoir; with all parts deformed by an epidemic of sexual assault and violence in Myriam's hometown - it sounds a perfect fit for the Zeitgeist. Only it's the opposite; as Myriam explains, her love of language is disruptive, and empowering, a lifeline that even allows her to recognize, and commune with, the ghosts haunting our souls. Indeed, as Myriam, Kate, and Eric's conversation turns to our on-going #MeToo moment, Myriam insists we cannot continue to reduce people to good or bad caricatures, our team vs the enemy; rather, we need to talk to each other, have compassion for the traumatized, and, if you're really serious about trying to do some some good, deploy the type of deep psychological insight familiar to readers and writers of literature. Also, Jonathan Alexander drops by to recommend Jay McInerney's latest novel Bright, Precious Days, the third installment of the Calloway Saga; set in NYC in-and-around the (declining) publishing industry during last decade's financial collapse through the early Obama years. Jonathan says it's top notch Mcinerney: delicious junk food for the literati, plus a front row seat for the Decline of the American Empire!