Posts Tagged: Los Angeles Review of Books

Word of the Day: Eschaton

By

(n.); the last thing, as a theological reference to the climax of history at Judgment Day; the day at the end of time following Armageddon when God will decree the fates of all human beings; from the ancient Greek eskhatos (“end”)

“My mind moves toward apocalypse fictions the way we think about a forgotten friend, or a partner that’s left us—grief becomes its own comfort.”

–Adnan Khan, “Finding a Home in the Apocalypse”

The past decade has seen a fantastic resurgence of the apocalypse—thankfully, only of the fictional variety.

...more

Never Change

By

The LA Review of Books talks with Meghan Daum about her wildly successful new essay collection, The Unspeakable, catharsis, and redemption (or the lack thereof):

I think what tends to be truly unspeakable in our current culture is not when someone is honest about her mistakes or struggles, but rather when she fails to learn from them, fails to transform on some level.

...more

Always Read the Comments

By

Art isn’t just for fans, which means that it’s not just for the knowledgeable, but for passersby as well. Expertise, then, seems an excuse to make everyone talk about the same things in the same way.

For the LA Review of Books, Noah Berlatsky writes about ignorant commenters, outsider critics, and elitist experts and argues that, sometimes, the perspectives of the former two are more useful and illuminating than that of the latter.

...more

Ourselves and Our World

By

Sensational headlines declaiming the death of the humanities often misunderstand what the humanities actually are. Paul A. Kottman explains that the practice of analyzing texts doesn’t just teach us how to think; it creates new ways of thinking:

Whatever we learn by reflecting on literary texts in our teaching is the direct outcome of those very same activities.

...more

Native Transplant

By

Rumpus contributor J. Ryan Stradal edited the recently published California Prose Directory: New Writing from the Gold State, Number 2. The anthology’s goal? To find the best new practitioners of Californian prose. Down at LARB, Dinah Lenney quizzes Stradal on just how impossible that is:

Like a lot of people, when I think of California prose, I think of writers like Joan Didion, John Steinbeck, Raymond Chandler, Michelle Tea, Luis J.

...more

Figuring 101 Two-Letter Words

By

Stephin Merritt, besides being the lead singer/songwriter in beloved indie band Magnetic Fields, is a talented poet. His latest collection of short poems is a trip into the world of two-letter words allowed on Scrabble. Merritt shares the stories behind the new book with Sarah Mesle in an interview for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

...more

Fame and Literature, Irreconcilable Enemies

By

Reflecting on what might become of Roberto Bolaño, and his fame, John Yargo covers two biographies of the Chilean writer for the Los Angeles Review of Books, noting that these scholars had to “face a unique problem”:

The seductive popular image of [Bolaño]—something like a better-read Burroughs—is at odds with the voice of his fiction and his essays, which tends to be more generous, expansive, and penetrating than his image suggests.

...more

ows_14086601547905

This Week in Short Fiction

By

On Tuesday, Tony Earley released a new collection of stories, Mr. Tall. Two decades have passed since Earley’s debut collection, Here We Are in Paradise, and though he has released two novels and a memoir since that time, for short fiction addicts (and lovers of southern writing), the publication of a new book of stories is big news.

...more

Feminism Today

By

At the Los Angeles Review of Books, editor and founder of Bookslut.com Jessa Crispin writes on feminism in its contemporary incarnation by way of two recent critiques of 50 Shades of Grey. She draws a distinction between feminism (a discourse) and feminism (a table-turning form of social domination) wherein “The bullied become the bullies [and the] abused become the abusers.”

Any sort of societal critique is thrown at a patriarchal straw man, as if all we have to do is get 50 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs to be female and an equal number of female bylines at The New York Times to have a better world.

...more

I’m Emily Dickinson! Who Are You?

By

For her “The Poems (We Think) We Know” column at the Los Angeles Review of Books, Alexandra Socarides writes about Emily Dickinson’s celebrated “I’m Nobody! Who are you?,” debunking its commonly held interpretation:

There is a seemingly stark private/public dichotomy laid out by the poem’s two stanza structure.

...more

A Multimedia Dig

By

In their first joint project, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Los Angeles Magazine recently released what they call a “multimedia collaborative story,” Geoff Nicholas Maps a Territory. The piece supplements the release of Nicholson’s new novel, The City Under the Skin, and it documents—in print, video, and photographs—a walk taken by the author and his friend, critic Anthony Miller, “to explore a series of urban ruins” allegedly “hidden in plain sight,” all the way from the Hollywood Walk of Fame to Joan Didion’s old residence.

...more

“Black to the Future”

By

Black to the future was/is a radical, dangerous, and daring dream—an impossibility. Science fiction and fantasy (sf&f) is a rehearsal of the impossible, an ideal realm for redefinition and reinvention. For Africans and their descendants in the diaspora, decolonizing our mind/body/spirits was/is an on-going sf&f project.

...more

The Lowdown on Queer Feminist Comics

By

“Sexuality is more than gay and straight, and probably even more than LGBTQIA. Comics are here to help.” So read the delightful subhed for Greg Baldino’s LARB review of two anthologies of comics about gender and sexuality.

The books are The Big Feminist But and Anything That Loves, and though he’s frustrated by certain limitations, he also finds much to praise, including a comic by our very own MariNaomi.

...more