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Category Archives: books

Korea Blog: How Airbnb’s Travel Book Ingeniously Markets to Korea

Stuff Koreans Like, a short-lived imitator of the mid-2000s satirical blog Stuff White People Like, only took ten posts to get to travel essay books. “Usually set in foreign cities (mostly New York or Paris),” writes its author, “they feature soft-focus photographs of café facades and interiors, coupled with inane text with no depth or […]

Korea Blog: Kevin M. Maher’s English-Teaching Expat Novel “No Couches in Korea”

Korea has inspired several volumes of English-language travel writing, even narratives of extended sojourn in or repeat visits to the country over long periods of time, but a full-fledged, high-profile memoir or novel of the expatriate-in-Korea experience has yet to materialize. Kevin M. Maher’s No Couches in Korea, which recounts the experiences of a young […]

콜린의 한국 이야기: 피터캣

나는 거의 매일 글을 쓰러 커피숍에 간다. 일주일마다 두 번 정도 가는 커피숍은 없지만 일주일마다 한 번씩 꼭 가는 커피숍은 몇 군대가 있다. 그 곳들 중에서 일본인 소설가 무라카미 하루키 씨를 테마로 한 피터캣이라는 북카페가 있다. 왜 카페가 그렇게 흔히지 않은 이름을 가지냐면 무라카미 씨 작가가 되시기 전 70년대에 도쿄에 있는 피터캣이라는 재즈바를 운영하셨기 때문이다. […]

Los Angeles Review of Books: W. David Marx’s “Ametora: How Japan Saved American Style”

Forty years ago, four Japanese writers and photographers came to town and invented Los Angeles. Or rather, they invented an image of Los Angeles they could distill, package, and sell — first to Japan, then to the rest of the world — with the debut issue of Popeye, published July 1976. Described in its own […]

Guardian Cities: 45 Years of Reyner Banham’s “Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies”

“Now I know subjective opinions can vary,” the journalist Adam Raphael wrote in the Guardian in 1968, “but personally I reckon LA as the noisiest, the smelliest, the most uncomfortable and most uncivilised major city in the United States. In short, a stinking sewer…” Three years later, Raphael’s words appeared in print again as an […]

Los Angeles Review of Books: Donald Richie’s “The Inland Sea”

“IT IS PERHAPS TRUE that the best way to get to know a people is to sleep with them,” writes Donald Richie about halfway into The Inland Sea, “but this is complicated in Japan.” That hardly stops him from trying, however. In this account of a journey through the towns and villages of the titular […]

I talk Philip K. Dick on USC’s Bedrosian Book Club Podcast

USC’s Bedrosian Center on Governance and the Public Enterprise (a part of their Sol Price School of Public Policy) does a monthly podcast called the Bedrosian Book Club, which has so far discussed books like Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century, Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, and Joan Didion’s The White Album. This month — thanks, I believe, to my City […]

My Favorite City Book of 2014 in the Guardian

The Guardian rounds up its city writers’ favorite city books of 2014, including my selection: The Interior Circuit Francisco Goldman It takes bravery, or at least fatalism, to drive in Mexico City. Having developed a bit of both in the years after his young wife’s sudden death, Guatemalan-American writer Francisco Goldman took on the challenge of […]

Men’s style books: Adolf Loos, Why a Man Should Be Well-Dressed

Here we have a book that, to Put This On readers, may at first seem both perfectly relevant and perfectly irrelevant. Much of the relevance comes expressed, of course, in the title itself: notions of Why a Man Should Be Well-Dressed would make for a fine companion to instructions about how a man can dress well, or, […]

The Consummate Writer of Place: Christopher Rand in Los Angeles, China, and Beyond, 1943-1968

“LOS ANGELES may be the ultimate city of our age.” So begins the 20th century’s most unjustly forgotten book on Los Angeles, written by one of its most unjustly forgotten writers of place. Christopher Rand’s Los Angeles: The Ultimate City appeared in 1967, published by Oxford University Press and built upon a trilogy of articles TheNew Yorker ran in […]