Colin Marshall sits down in Echo Park with Carolyn Kellogg, writer on books and publishing for the Los Angeles Times and their literary blogJacket Copy, board member at the National Book Critics Circle, and formerly the blogger and podcaster behind Pinky’s Paperhaus. They discuss what happens when the interviewer becomes an interviewee; her use of early internet radio as a social skill-free way to penetrate the Los Angeles literary scene; that scene’s coherence through the internet, and its tendency to be “nicer” than New York’s, where publishing has cultural primacy; her tendency to strike less of a local-global balance in Jacket Copy than to regard Los Angeles itself as stateless; the city’s unknowability, and the probable facetiousness of anyone who claims to know it; whether books, bookstores, reading, and criticism are or were ever in crisis; solid versus ephemeral media, and the importance of your inability to drop your library in the toilet; publishing’s former status as a “gentlemen’s business,” and how that allowed it the tolerance for failure that every creative industry needs; whether Twitter makes people too nice to produce serious criticism; what makes some social networks suitable for book talk, and others completely worthless; the Los Angeles Times‘ use of blogs, and Tony Pierce‘s influence on it; her days in the Los Angeles of the eighties, working at an all-night Russian cafe downtown; how writers don’t seem to hate it here as much nowadays, though some sort of heartbreak remains; how she filters not just the daily shipment of books to her house, but the onslaught of books that enter existence on a daily basis; and the possibility that someone’s finally getting the multimedia reading experience right.
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