The Poetry of Handball
“In poetry and handball both, it’s all about the change of pace. Settle your reader into a rhythm then shift the tempo. Slow down the game then break away. Disruption makes visible the presence of fluent continuity — it’s an end in itself, punctuation; about-face, the line-break by which the game changes from pumped blood to calm conscience. On the sidelines, the Icelandic...
Jonah Lehrer and the Lifespan of a Quote
Jonah Lehrer admitted to fabricating Bob Dylan quotes for his book Imagine, and then lying to a reporter about it. Today Lehrer resigned from his position as a staff writer at The New Yorker and the publisher has halted all sales of his book. The situation once again brings up the question of truth in nonfiction: how much should readers trust authors? Are we always owed the absolute truth, even...
Happy Summer Sheila Heti’s 2005 essay “Stealing Glances”: ”Our culture is such that a greater value even than freedom is productivity, utility. I was having a conversation with a friend about leisure, and she was saying how much she enjoys doing nothing, just wandering aimlessly around her house,...
William Gibson: meet Tong Lam
by Jeff Wasserstrom Once upon time (well, say a century ago), when people thought about the excitement and terrors of the urban future, the cities they would focus on were likely to be European or North American ones – places such as Paris, London, New York, and Berlin. During the decades following World War II, new cities, mostly ones perched on the Pacific came into the mix, including Hong...
The age of the food blogger is upon us
It is now commonplace to see people taking pictures of their meals at restaurants. From recipes, restaurant reviews, life style guides, and views into foreign cultures, the food blog world is as diverse as the culinary possibilities themselves. Below are a few of our favorites: 10. Not Without Salt 9. Judging Your Breakfast 8. Palate/Palette/Plate 7. The Year in Food 6. Pratos e Travessas 5....
by Sonia Johnson “What is it they want from a man that they didn’t get from his work?” asks Wyatt Gwyon in William Gaddis’s The Recognitions. The question could just as easily have been asked by Gaddis himself, who disdained celebrity and shunned public appearances (as I discussed in my first post). He could not, however, stop people from sending him fan mail. What did...
In June we kicked off the summer reading season by inviting everyone to submit a short book review. After poring over the submissions, we’ve chosen our two favorites to publish here. We hope they provide a little inspiration, whether you’re looking for something to take to the beach or to cool off on a hot summer night. Congratulations to Amy and Logan, and thanks to everyone who...
Bryan Waterman reviews Will Hermes’s history of the New York punk and cult music scenes, Love Goes to Buildings on Fire, for the LA Review of Books. Read the review, and then check out the Spotify playlist one reader made of songs mentioned in the book. And that’s your Friday afternoon taken care of.
LARB Editor Clarissa Romano and Little Bee author Chris Cleave have a good old fashioned sit-down chat tomorrow at the Santa Monica Public Library. Cleave’s new book, Gold, is the story of two elite female athletes training for the 2012 London Olympics. More info here.
The Playful Destruction of J R
A month into #OccupyGaddis, not quite halfway through the book, we’re finally beginning to see the shape of J R. We’ve been introduced to the entropic 96th Street Apartment – and are confronted with Schramm’s suicide. We learn of Gibbs’s unfinished second book, a history of player piano called Agapē Agape, which also happens to be the name of Gaddis’s last novel. We have an emerging sense...
The week in reading…
We live in an age of failed institutions and political upheaval, our society is left with nothing to worship – except perhaps the anti-hero. The individual that will make a difference, no matter what. Recently, the storytellers of television have created lead characters that are complicated and dubious, flawed and deluded, radical and enigmatic. TV is flooded with these types, as the simplicity of...
“My Courage is Roaring Like The Sound Of The Sun”:...
Lauren Eggert-Crowe’s review of Wild appears in the Los Angeles Review of Books today. Here she shares her mix tape inspired by the book. You’ll feel like you’ve bid farewell to a friend when you finish reading Cheryl Strayed’s Wild: From Lost To Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. You’ll catch yourself wondering where she’ll be on the trail when you pick up...
My English Teacher
In Memoriam, Lorraine Schulmeister (1918-2012) by Louise Steinman This piece is part of our ongoing series of writers’ profiles of influential teachers. An autumn afternoon on the sunny Great Lawn at Westlake School for Girls. Lorraine Schulmeister, my English teacher, and I read aloud from Emily Dickinson: “I dared not meet the Daffodils, / For fear their Yellow Gown / Would...
Still More #OccupyGaddis
As the fourth week of #OccupyGaddis begins, the conversation about J R continues around the Web. Most of the action is happening on Twitter, under the hashtag #OccupyGaddis, and on blogs. Infinite Zombies remains the indispensable resource apart from Twitter. Our Goodreads group and Facebook group are relatively quiet – pay us a visit! One of the themes of our conversation so far has been the...
Jonathan Wolstenholme F. Scott Fitzgerald and his editor Max Perkins discuss revisions to an early version of The Great Gatsby: “One is that among a set of characters marvelously palpable and vital—I would know Tom Buchanan if I met him on the street and would avoid him—Gatsby is somewhat vague. The reader’s eyes can never quite focus upon him, his outlines are dim. Now everything...
On the LARBlog now
LARB YA Section Editor Cecil Castellucci resumes her blog “Class Notes” today. Her latest, The Year of the Beasts, appeared in May from Roaring Brook Press.
A well-documented fact: the story-making,...
Cecil Castellucci resumes her LARBlog series “Class Notes” with a harrowing recollection of just such an encounter—read it here now.
By Sonia Johnson As Lee Konstantinou mentioned when he introduced me, I spent a week this May with the William Gaddis papers at Washington University’s special collection. While there I found a list of “style notes” sent to Robert Gottlieb, Gaddis’s editor at Knopf some time in 1974 (the original document is cut off as you see here.) It wasn’t clear from surrounding documents when exactly it was...
Out of the Gutter
This week the Los Angeles Review of Books featured a review of John Goodis’s collected novels, recently republished by the Library of America. Goodis wrote several popular noir novels in 40s and 50s, but his work was largely forgotten after his death in 1967. To mark the review here, we are rerunning Cullen Gallagher’s report from the 2012 Edgar Awards. Edgar Week with the...
Lawrence Schiller, Palm Springs Fashion, no. 8 Scheherazadenfreude (noun): perverse joy in the suffering of one of your own characters in the story you are writing/telling. (The Oxford English Fictionary) (h/t @bintbatutta) Julian Barnes speaks to his bibliophilia: “I am more optimistic, both about reading and about books. There will always be non-readers, bad readers, lazy readers –...