Christine Granados Brings Together Mexican-American Writers for a Literary Pachanga at the Historic Tia Chucha’s

By Pamela Avila

On the 4th of July, Christine Granados landed in the San Fernando Valley with her latest collection, Fight Like A Man and Other Stories We Tell Our Children. The Southern California leg of her book tour included a reading at Skylight Books on July 5 and another at Tía Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore in Sylmar on July 8. At Tía Chucha’s, she was joined by Jesus Treviño, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Andrea Gutierrez, and Alyssa Granados.   Continue reading

The Explorer’s History of Korean Fiction in Translation: Postmodern Freedom, Postmodern Peril

By Charles Montgomery

 The LARB Korea Blog is currently featuring selections from The Explorer’s History of Korean Fiction in Translation, Charles Montgomery’s book-in-progress that attempts to provide a concise history, and understanding, of Korean literature as represented in translation. You can find links to previous selections at the end of the post. Continue reading

Orphan Black Season Five, “One Fettered Slave”: Sexuality, Parenthood, Euthanasia

By Everett Hamner

This is the ninth in a series of episode-by-episode reflections on Orphan Black season 5 (preview; episode 1 ; episode 2; episode 3; episode 4; episode 5; episode 6; episode 7; episode 8). These pieces do not provide thorough plot summaries but do include spoilers; they assume readers have already been viewers. Responses via Twitter continue to be very welcome! Continue reading

The Everydayness With Jonny Fritz

By Jesse Montgomery

Country is probably the most self-obsessed form of popular American music. It turns its own history over and over in its head, venerating its heroes and commenting on its progressions and digressions, its failure to live up to the myths the tradition has created. As a genre, it’s rivaled only by rap in its tendency to sing about itself and its evolution, to take itself as its own subject and find the emotional resonance of something like a style or a tradition. Waylon Jennings classic song “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way,” was a lament that country music had given itself over to glitzy self-delusion: “Lord it’s the same old tune, fiddle and guitar. Where do we take it from here? Rhinestone suits and new shiny cars. It’s been the same way for years.” But it’s also a song filled with guilt as the singer knows he too is leading the genre into new terrain, further and further from Hank Williams and country’s roots: “Lord, I’ve seen the world, with a five-piece band. Looking at the back side of me. Singing my songs, and one of his now and then. But I don’t think Hank done ’em this way, no. I don’t think Hank done ’em this way.”“Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way” is a song about change, new sounds and new attitudes, but the progress that Waylon is singing about is only visible if it’s framed by a tradition which makes that change legible. Continue reading

Rebuilding the Ark: Alex Epstein and The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels

By Eric Gade

In the 17th century, new facts about the world presented a problem for natural philosophers. They had learned of droves of new animals from the New World, previously unknown in Europe, that must have survived the Great Flood. This begged the question: how did Noah’s Ark fit all of them? Several thinkers made honest attempts to resolve the issue, including sketching increasingly preposterous schematics of the ship itself, in addition to devising clever, logic-twisting tricks of taxonomy — based on no evidence whatsoever — that “explained” the ability of the Ark to do as was written. Even in their own time, it was easy to see the cracks forming in the story. But it should not be at all surprising that learned men clung so desperately to their frame of knowledge and history, wanting everything they knew as true to remain so. Continue reading

Asking for a Friend: Where to Draw the Line at Lies

Dear Olive,

My best friend lies about everything. It was easy to ignore when she was just bragging about rich boyfriends and wild parties. But now she’s ramping it up, telling people she had a miscarriage, and most recently that she’s “battling cancer” after she had a tiny, non-malignant mole removed. She’s a devoted and supportive friend. Do I need to dump her over this?

-Fed Up with Best Friend’s Falsehoods Continue reading

New and Old Histories of the Qing Dynasty: An Interview with Richard J. Smith

By Jeffrey Wasserstrom

I’ve been reading and learning from Rich Smith’s work for decades now, and most recently I have been enjoying his latest book, The Qing Dynasty and Traditional Chinese Culture. Smith, whose earlier “biography” of the Yi Jing was reviewed for LARB by James Carter back in 2012, was recently good enough to make time to respond to some questions I put to him via email, both about The Qing Dynasty and Traditional Chinese Culture, which Rowman and Littlefield published in 2015, and other topics, from the politicization of historical work in the PRC to what he is working on now. I begin, though, as I plan to make it routine to start future Q&As for the China Blog and in due time LARB’s new China Channel, with the trio of questions I put to Paul French last week about readings he wishes got more or less attention than they have and things he hasn’t read, seen, or listened to — that he knows some people think he really should have.  Continue reading

Best of July

Dearest supporters, readers, and friends:

Summer is in full swing, August is upon us, and it’s time to revisit the most riveting, thought-provoking, inflammatory, and amusing writing of the month we just sweat through together.  We present to you the Best of July; at least, according to us, your friends at the Los Angeles Review of Books. Continue reading

August Horoscopes

By The Voluptuous Witch

We have arrived at one of the most exciting times of the year: eclipse season! Every six months, a pair of eclipses (lunar and solar) will coincide with the New and Full Moon, respectively, enhancing the power of these lunations.

 August’s lunar and solar eclipses have the potential to be life-changing, as they often usher in rapid change. As always, a willingness to shift and grow will ease our experience, while strong attachment to particular outcomes may make us suffer more in the end. Be open to possibility and enjoy the ride. Continue reading