At the Los Angeles Review of Books, screenwriter Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn makes a strong and timely case for Hollywood to quit casting big-name white actors no matter the role. Particularly egregious, and absurd, is the idea of Leonardo DiCaprio as the 13th century Persian poet Rumi....more
Posts Tagged: Los Angeles Review of Books
For the Los Angeles Review of Books, essayist Patrick Madden discusses why he was drawn to the medium and how he finds his wide-ranging subjects:
In terms of art — whether sounded or painted or written — a big part of making it is getting beyond the seeming clarity, or admitting that clarity isn’t possible, seeing things in new ways that give hearers, viewers, readers access to a beauty they’ve not experienced before.
The goal is to deliver something from another language into your own language so people will read it and like it. I think sometimes it’s forgotten that you have to be a good writer in your own language.
As part of its “Multilingual Wordsmiths” series, the Los Angeles Review of Books features an interview with Ann Goldstein, translator of Elena Ferrante’s novels....more
I love the English language. I know some people go into translating because they love foreign languages, but I love English above all, and I enjoy translating these foreign texts into my beloved English.
In the first of six-part interview series with literary translators, the Los Angeles Review of Books features a conversation with Lydia Davis....more
Hungry intellectuals are flocking to the Los Angeles Review of Books. Here is the humble story of how LARB came into being in April of 2011. Reader Matthew Weiner (of Mad Men fame) says:
It speaks to Los Angeles in that it’s a little bit renegade… It’s got a little bit of ‘f— you.’ It has the highest chance of any place that I read for me to discover something new.
It’s hard to imagine a book written entirely in emoji that isn’t just about the conceit of writing an entire book in emoji, perhaps marketed as an Urban Outfitters coffee table book for guests to alternately smirk and groan at. And yet, as many digital natives know, emojis can be used in complicated and highly affective ways....more
Over at Los Angeles Review of Books, Leah Mirakhor engages poet Robin Coste Lewis, 2015 National Book Award winner of Voyage of the Sable Venus, in deep and generous conversation about writing and life. Coste Lewis remembers Audre Lorde as a poet who “refused to condescend to her readers,” and who was a great inspiration to Coste Lewis’s seventeen-year-old self....more
Ena Brdjanovic describes the commanding, performative, discomfiting, and off-kilter folk tale qualities of Diane Williams’s recent story collection:
In sum, the 40 short stories of Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine amount to a collage of beautifully trimmed and perplexing details, of moments that make us feel alien in a world we so readily recognize.
Her poems’ shifts from the tactile and concrete to the amorphous and the abstract is simultaneously thrilling and bewildering…
In the Los Angeles Review of Books, Noemi Press poetry editor Diana Arterian takes a close look at Sarah Vap’s Viability, a new collection of poems that consider economic and social questions....more
Ten years after his death in 2005, Arthur Miller’s centenary proved a bumper year for productions of his work, and not all of it the old familiars.
The Los Angeles Review of Books shares an adapted essay of a lecture Professor Murray Biggs gave last December to the Baltimore Arts Seminar on Arthur Miller’s centenary....more
Race is an important and central issue in the United States, but what about abroad?
It appears that both the United States and the United Kingdom are witnessing one of those moments when we confront what Toni Morrison said in an early interview about Beloved (1987), ‘something that the characters don’t want to remember, I don’t want to remember, black people don’t want to remember, white people don’t want to remember.
Mary Jo Tewes Cramb discusses the perpetuation of the “manic pixie dream girl” stereotype in John Green’s novels:
In Green’s novels, there is considerable tension between the potent appeal of his manic pixie characters, the excitement and fun they bring into the narrators’ lives, and the messages these characters impart about their own lives and identities.
Anne Boyd Rioux reviews a new biography on the wife of Lord Byron, Anne Isabella Milbanke. In her review, Rioux evaluates the still-too-high standard set for women’s biographies, particularly when those women lived in the shadow of famous men:
Insisting that the female relatives of famous men be accomplished players on the world stage in their own right in order to warrant biographical treatment is perhaps asking too much.
Increasingly, a writer needs an access point, a micro-focus, a close-up lens—even a gimmick: one small story through which larger historical truths can be elucidated anew.
For the Los Angeles Review of Books, N.S. Morris writes about how journalism inform stories being written about the Middle East, exploring the various shapes nonfiction takes in the process of trying to understand something so expansive....more
For the Los Angeles Review of Books, Stephen Rohde gives a thorough and chilling analyzation of our current socio-political climate which highlights just how closely our world parallels the one that George Orwell predicted in his novel 1984:
No one aware of post-9/11 society in the United States, England, Europe, and elsewhere can fail to see how chillingly Orwell (and Madison) imagined the consequences of permanent war in instilling fear, inflaming patriotism, creating an obedient citizenry, and establishing a pervasive surveillance state.
I subsisted on Cliff bars, Cuban coffee, and Trader Joe’s wine. The only real habit of my old life that made it over to my new life was reading. In fact I became even more alive with reading than I had before.
While reviewing Valeria Luiselli’s The Story of My Teeth over at the Los Angeles Review of Books, Aaron Bady considers the rise of Mexican literature post-Roberto Bolaño:
Roberto Bolaño’s popularity in English over the last decade or so has had a profound effect on publishers.
For the Los Angeles Review of Books, Larry S. McGrath writes about the growing role of neuroscience in writing new historical narratives. McGrath frames this discussion in a review of historian Lynn Hunt’s Writing History in the Global Era, looking particularly at her claim of a “biochemical revolution” in shaping the modern consciousness....more
I took the part of me that was the most sensitive, and I asked what it would be like to be the most raw version of myself, in a world that is actually pushing in on me.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Review of Books, debut novelist Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine, talks about the writer’s life, defining moments, and the intersection of beauty and technology....more
Radio is undergoing the sort of DIY revolution that journalism faced with the advent of blogs. If ‘Out on the Wire’ helps convince the legions of amateur podcasters that good radio is far more than recording hour upon hour of unedited gabbing, it will be not only useful and fun but that much rarer thing: a public service.
In a hauntingly poignant review of Helen Macdonald’s lovely H Is for Hawk, the Los Angeles Review of Books’s Dinah Lenney writes about her own experience of loss and the turning toward the natural world:
In grief, what I found: birds reassure.
Wallace coined the helpful term “blurbspeak,” which he defined as “a very special subdialect of English that’s partly hyperbole, but it’s also phrases that sound really good and are very compelling in an advertorial sense, but if you think about them, they’re literally meaningless.”
Though David Foster Wallace was somewhat skeptical about book blurbs, he wasn’t unlikely to recommend books himself from time to time....more
He is one of the only artists … who actually seemed to enjoy his journey, both spiritual and musical. Plus, he seemed to learn something profound with each step of his way, until completely formed as an artist.
In a critique of composer Philip Glass’s memoir Words Without Music, the Los Angeles Review of Books explores Glass’s rise as a composer and musician, his discovery of his musical style, and the great loves of his life....more