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Category Archives: Los Angeles Review of Books

Los Angeles Review of Books: David Sedaris and the American struggle with foreign languages

“THE INEVITABLE finally happened,” writes David Sedaris in his diary entry of April 6, 1999. “My French teacher faxed Andy at Esquire saying my articlehas had the effect of a bomb at the Alliance Française.” That piece, which became the title essay of Sedaris’s 2000 collection Me Talk Pretty One Day, tells of the French classes he took at […]

Los Angeles Review of Books: Down with the English Language

Linguistic Life in South Korea once moved me to write a short essay in Korean called “영어에 대한 네 가지 거짓말” or “Four Lies About English.” The first lie, to translate it back into that native language of mine, holds that English speakers can live comfortably in every country in the world; the second, that […]

Korea Blog: Korea’s Dilbert-Era Loanwords

Lulled into a false sense of security by the simplicity of its alphabet, those students of the Korean language who don’t give up in frustration will sooner or later find themselves facing a variety of unexpected challenges of communication and comprehension. Nearly a decade after learning that deceptively easy writing system, I still often get […]

Los Angeles Review of Books: Haruki Murakami, “Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa”

Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 opens in the middle of an unusually scored Tokyo traffic jam: “The taxi’s radio was tuned to a classical FM broadcast. Janáček’s Sinfonietta — probably not the ideal music to hear in a taxi caught in traffic. The middle-aged driver didn’t seem to be listening very closely, either.” His passenger, a young […]

Roland Barthes’ Tokyo: “Empire of Signs” Fifty Years Later

Roland Barthes first visited Japan in 1966, not long after the defeated and reconstructed country announced its return to the international community with the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Japan would have hosted its first Olympic Games there in 1940, had World War II not caused the duty to pass to Helsinki. Now, half a century […]

Los Angeles Review of Books Podcast: David L. Ulin

Colin Marshall talks with David L. Ulin, former book critic at the Los Angeles Times and author of such books as The Myth of Solid Ground: Earthquakes, Prediction, and the Fault Line Between Reason and Faith, The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time, and the novella Labyrinth. He is also the […]

The Los Angeles Review of Books Podcast: Brad Listi

Colin Marshall talks with Brad Listi, founder of literary and culture site The Nervous Breakdown and author of the novel Attention. Deficit. Disorder. He also hosts the podcast Otherppl, on which, right here in Los Angeles, he has conducted “in-depth, inappropriate interviews” with over 400 writers about their lives, their working methods, their social media habits, and […]

The Los Angeles Review of Books Podcast: J. Ryan Stradal

Colin Marshall talks with J. Ryan Stradal, fiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown, editor-at-large at Unnamed Press, and advisory board member at 826LA. He is also the author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest, which offers at once its own spin on the modern food novel and its own spin on the modern family novel, […]

The Los Angeles Review of Books Podcast: Farley Elliott

Colin Marshall talks with Farley Elliott, senior editor at Eater Los Angeles and author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History from Tamaleros to Taco Trucks, a hybrid history of and guide to everything one can buy and eat on a sidewalk in this city, from taquitos on Olvera Street to illegal backyard Burmese restaurants […]

The Los Angeles Review of Books Podcast: Amelia Gray

Colin Marshall talks with Amelia Gray, author of AM/PM, Museum of the Weird, Threats, and the new short story collection Gutshot, which showcases her writing at its most grotesque, its most hypernormal, its most speculative, and its most darkly funny. The book offers a portrait of her very own America, a country populated by Greyhound […]