Remembering Tom Hayden

By Mike Davis

Fifty-two years ago this December, an obscure group of young activists, Students for a Democratic Society, held a national council meeting in New York to discuss the next year’s work.  As I recall there were about forty people present, some of them recent veterans of Freedom Summer, others peace and civil rights activists at campuses such as Swarthmore, Michigan, Chicago, Harvard and Tufts.     Continue reading


Heroes, Fantasies, and Families: What Went Into the First Korean Novels?

By Charles Montgomery

The LARB Korea Blog is currently featuring selections from The Explorer’s History of Korean Fiction in Translation, Charles Montgomery’s book-in-progress that attempts to provide a concise history, and understanding, of Korean literature as represented in translation. You can find links to previous selections at the end of the post. Continue reading


Meet the Characters Inhabiting Francis Ford Coppola, Errol Flynn, and Cecil B. DeMille’s Old Haunt

By Alina Cohen

“Los Angeles, in my humble opinion, is moving more towards community,” said writer and filmmaker Cameron Crowe, who wrote the introduction to photographer Pamela Littky’s new book, The Villa Bonita, out from Kehrer Verlag this past September. Littky, who is known best for her celebrity portraits, is “capturing a new spirit of togetherness,” Crowe expounded. “People do, you know, need the smell of another person’s skin and a feeling that there is somebody on the other side of the wall.” Continue reading


Text is Text: An Interview with Mauro Javier Cardenas

By Sam Jaffe Goldstein

Mauro Javier Cardenas’ formally experimental debut novel Revolutionaries Try Again, out September 6th from Coffee House House Press, probes the question of whether or not a novel should even be concerned with narrative. It suggests that, instead, it is the depiction of our internal minds that matters. An Ecuadorian expat who lives in San Francisco returns to Ecuador to attempt a run at the presidency with his friends from high school. But what follows is not a tale of political hijinx, it is an exploration into the interiors of the characters as they navigate their dark, cold worlds. Continue reading


Rock and Literature: On Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize

By Kevin Dettmar

I’ve just returned from a wonderful small conference at the National Humanities Center called “Novel Sounds.” At its most specific, conversation focused on the role played by rock ‘n’ roll in contemporary American fiction; more broadly, presentations engaged with the fruitful — if sometimes stealthy, but in any event mutual — give-and-take between writing and contemporary popular music. Continue reading


Pivoting with Kurt Campbell—U.S. Policy Toward Asia in the Era of China’s Rise

By Graham Webster

Beginning with its title, The Pivot: The Future of American Statecraft in Asia, Kurt Campbell’s latest book faces the challenge of signaling both continuity and change. In rightfully claiming partial credit for developing the Obama administration’s Asia policy and making the case for continuing on a similar path, he nonetheless subtly breaks from the White House, which calls the policy the “rebalance to the Asia-Pacific,” to advance the “Pivot to Asia” brand more closely associated with the State Department when he served in it under Secretary Hillary Clinton. Continue reading

Photo courtesy of Hernán Piñera

Lost Literature: An Excerpt from The Missing Books

By Scott Esposito

On October 10th, Scott Esposito released The Missing Books, a curated list of nearly 100 books that don’t exist. Esposito writes, for each entry, a short description of the book’s history — was it lost, abandoned, buried within another text? The list is divided into four categories: books that do not yet exist, books that come from other books, books that have been lost, and books that have been rediscovered. It is a living document which will be updated as needed. The following are excerpts from The Missing Books, the entirety of which is only available on Esposito’s website. Continue reading


Construction Sites of Los Angeles: 435 West Los Feliz Road

By Ellie Robins

MILL CREEK, say the site’s barriers. PEOPLE · PLACES · RELATIONSHIPS. Words like this repel thought, which seems not-accidental. Has anyone ever stood here, beside five lanes of traffic, and plugged the URL into a phone? They have now: 20,000 apartment homes built since 2001, apparently. Twenty thousand lives being lived right now in six-, 12-, 18-month installments all around America, laid out in space and time by Mill Creek. And soon another 220, here. Continue reading

Photo courtesy of Benjamin Disinger

More Daring than Didion: An Interview with Emily Witt

By Stef Hayes

What would Didion do? Emily Witt wonders in her 2015 essay “Are You ‘Internet Sexual?’” while deciding whether or not to broadcast herself to a sea of strangers on the sex cam site Chaturbate. Witt wants to understand what it is to be a woman online, but she’s hesitant, afraid her mostly middle-aged male editors might not take her seriously when they find out — and anyway, she’s dating someone. “Joan Didion would never have sex cammed,” Witt concludes, “she went to San Francisco in 1968 and didn’t even do acid.”

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