A People's Guide to Los Angeles
In Pershing Square, the public space was effectively erased — turned into a parking lot and inhospitable no-man’s land. But there are other methods of exclusion too, especially when it comes to parkland and natural spaces.
In many ways, the decision to remove a sport from the Games tells us as much about the state of our worlds and cultures as any medal round we watch on tv. First up, Peter Campion and Nick Ripatrazone talk baseball…
The Poetry of Tennis (and Swimming)
Why do the commentators and the players turn to similes and metaphors so often? Why do poets? Again, David Foster Wallace: “You more have to come at the aesthetic stuff obliquely, to talk around it, or — as Aquinas did with his own ineffable subject — to try to define it in terms of what it is not.” Having Serena Williams say, “I played amazing,” is true, but not memorable, whereas Maria...
"Nobody Grew But the Business"
by Joseph Tabbi In life, William Gaddis was essentially a private man. In the spirit of New Criticism that he absorbed at Harvard in the 1940s, Gaddis simply felt that the work ought to be self-contained, semi-autonomous. The author shouldn’t have to “follow it around” telling people what he really meant, as Gaddis told more or less every interviewer who got him to talk, and...
Gore Vidal remembers Norman Mailer
Photo: Norman Mailer in 1948 by Carl Van Vechten (Library of Congress) “But I am fairly certain that Mailer will survive everything. Despite a nice but small gift for self-destruction, he is uncommonly adroit, with an eye to the main chance (the writer who has not this instinct is done for in America; excellence is not enough). I noted with some amusement that, despite the air of candor,...
We Can Be Heroes
All week we’ve been watching exceptional athletes push, contort and will their bodies to do remarkable things. But with the pageantry and psychological drama of the Olympics, it can be easy to overlook the grace and poetry of the sports themselves. Not at the Los Angeles Review of Books. Over the course of the London Games, poets are taking to our pages to meditate on the lyricism and...
Eugene Luther Gore Vidal: 1925 - 2012
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.