During its short print life, from 1957-1973, The Evergreen Review published a striking lineup of literary luminaries: Jean-Paul Sartre, Vladimir Nabokov, William Burroughs, Marguerite Duras, John Rechy, Jean Genet, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Jorge Luis Borges, Norman Mailer, Amiri Baraka, Henry Miller, Pablo Neruda, Malcolm X, Frank O’Hara, Kenzaburo Oe, Octavio Paz, Terry Southern, Harold Pinter, Susan Sontag, Richard Brautigan, Tom Stoppard, Charles Bukowski, Gunter Grass and Samuel Beckett among them.
Now the magazine created by Barney Rossett is getting a reboot from progressive publisher O/R Books.
In an email to the L.A. Times, O/R books co-founder John Oakes writes, "We plan to make it an online juggernaut (he said modestly) -- just as it was a pathbreaker forty years ago, in print."
At one time, the literary quarterly reached a circulation of nearly 200,000. With a mix of high and low culture and an openness about sex, it pushed the leading edge of the counterculture. The...Read more
James Hannaham has made a career out of being unpredictable. The Bronx-born writer has worked as a journalist, critic, actor, comedian and teacher. His first novel, "God Says No," about a young African American Christian man coming to terms with his attraction to men, garnered critical praise for his original mix of biting humor and emotional realism.
His second novel, "Delicious Foods" (Little, Brown: 384 pp., $26), is even more darkly funny and surprising. The book follows Darlene, a woman struggling with drug addiction, who is lured into working on a Louisiana farm. She and her fellow workers are plied with drugs and alcohol, paid next to nothing, and kept in debt by the farm's unethical and cruel owners. She wants nothing more than to reunite with her 11-year-old son, Eddie, whom she left behind in Houston.
But of course it's not that easy. Not only is she essentially imprisoned by the company that runs the farm, she's in the thrall of Scotty, who narrates much of the novel. Scotty...Read more
Every week there seems to be a news story circulating featuring people who have brought humiliation on themselves. While the disgraced individuals are occasionally hapless and sympathetic, quite often — like the Oklahoma frat boys and their elderly "frat mom" who recently exposed themselves as bigots when cellphone videos and Vine clips of them gleefully spouting racist bile went viral — they are deserving victims, and a unique kind of gratification attends witnessing their ignominy set in from a safe distance.
Two new books analyze this trend from very different angles: Jon Ronson's "So You've Been Publicly Shamed" is a breezy and entertaining inquiry into the human costs of social media mortification, while Jennifer Jacquet's "Is Shame Necessary?" is an earnest call to employ chastisement for the greater good. That both titles have an element of uncertainty to them — Ronson's "So," Jacquet's question mark — seems indicative of the trepidation the specter of Internet opprobrium evokes...Read more
In news that sure to bring joy to elementary- and middle-school students across the land, the 10th book in the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series is to be published Nov. 3. Those who don't get the book right away will have plenty of time to ask for it for Christmas.
They'll have to stay tuned to ask for it by name, however. The title of the new book has not yet been announced.
The book will follow wimpy kid Greg as he goes on a weeklong field trip to a farm. The books, which chronicle the travails of Greg in cartoon form have been huge sellers: By the release of No. 8 ("Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck"), more than 115 million copies of the books had been sold. There have also been movies and a TV series.
"The tenth Wimpy Kid book gives me a chance to reset the series," author Jeff Kinney said in a statement. "I've thought a lot about what's made these books work and how it all got started. So for me, personally, it's back to basics. I'm carrying that theme through the book."
Book news and...Read more
How many times since T.C. Boyle began publishing in 1979 has traditional fiction been declared dead, moribund, irrelevant?
And yet here he comes again, riding up on "The Harder They Come," a full-throated Harley Davidson of a novel, his 15th (in addition to 10 stellar books of stories). Here he's using some of fiction's least fashionable attributes, social realism, pointed action and thematic ambition, to brilliantly dissect America's love affair with violence.
Fiction's most recent deathwatch began with David Shields' provocative 2010 book "Reality Hunger," in which he diagnosed the traditional novel as "predictable, tired, contrived and essentially purposeless." Other autopsies followed.
Like characters from "The Walking Dead," surviving novelists are left to huddle in ever-shrinking refuges of scope and genre. The most recent is Knausgaard Island, where novelists live quietly, ignoring the bedlam outside as they mine their own interiors for selfie masterpieces. (How ironic that we...Read more
What do you do when you're grammar-shamed by the Princeton Review in an SAT prep book? If you're Taylor Swift, you shake it off. Kind of.
The singer-songwriter struck back at the publisher after one of their test prep guides used lyrics from her hit song "Fifteen" as an example of bad grammar by pop singers. Unfortunately, the book got the lyrics wrong, quoting a line from the song as "Somebody tells you they love you, you got to believe 'em." The actual line is "Somebody tells you they love you, you’re gonna believe them."
A Tumblr user photographed the page, and Swift swiftly responded. "Not the right lyrics at all," she wrote. "You had one job, test people. One job." Her post was accompanied with the tag "#ACCUSE ME OF ANYTHING BUT DO NOT ATTACK MY GRAMMAR."
The publisher's objection likely has to do with Swift's use of "them" as the object of the second clause. Grammar traditionalists would argue that the plural "them" doesn't agree with "somebody," which is singular. But not so...Read more