Colin Marshall sits down above Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles with Tyson Cornell, proprietor of Rare Bird Books and Rare Bird Lit, former longtime Director of Marketing & Publicity at Book Soup on the Sunset Strip, punk rocker, and co-editor of the forthcoming essay collection Yes Is the Answer: And Other Prog Rock Tales. They discuss the seeming contradiction between Los Angeles’ image as an “unreaderly” place and its rank as the largest book market in America; this city’s tendency not, unlike other cities, to tell you straight-up what it is; how his study of the American newsstand brought him to Los Angeles, and then to Book Soup; the perspective he gained on Los Angeles through both working newsstands and having as a neighbor the manager of the Laugh Factory; how the reading came first in his life, and then the punk rock; Yes Is the Answer and the supposed antagonism between punk and prog; his time rocking in the both-advanced-and-retrograde Japan alongside former hair metalists; Sparkstastic, the upcoming book on Los Angeles (but England-beloved) band Sparks by Tosh Berman, also formerly of Book Soup; the nature of working at a bookstore, or of trying and failing to work at a bookstore, among the industry’s classically high-functioning freaks; how much crazier crazy writers can get than crazy rockers, and the ultimately tiresome nature of the non-Thompson, non-Bukowski literary wild man persona; the way that books and bookstores seem both unimprovable, in away, and yet somehow headed straight for disappearance; why books cost so much, and the advantage of slapping dogs on their covers; and the implications (and potential conspiracy theories surrounding) girls who make millions on their self-published vampire e-books.
- Los Angeles Review of Books: Haruki Murakami, “Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa”
- From my interview archive: comic artist Peter Bagge, creator of Hate
- Korea Blog: The March of Fools, a College Comedy Darkened by Dictatorship
- From my interview archive: disgraced science writer Jonah Lehrer (2008 and 2009)
- From my interview archive: economist and Marginal Revolutionary Tyler Cowen (2008 and 2009)