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Los Angeles has always been a place of paradisal promise and apocalyptic undercurrents. Simone de Beauvoir saw a kaleidoscopic "hall of mirrors," Aldous Huxley a "city of dreadful joy." Jack Kerouac found a "huge desert encampment," David Thomson imagined "Marilyn Monroe, fifty miles long, lying on her side, half-buried on a ridge of crumbling rock." In Writing Los Angeles, Los Angeles has always been a place of paradisal promise and apocalyptic undercurrents. Simone de Beauvoir saw a kaleidoscopic "hall of mirrors," Aldous Huxley a "city of dreadful joy." Jack Kerouac found a "huge desert encampment," David Thomson imagined "Marilyn Monroe, fifty miles long, lying on her side, half-buried on a ridge of crumbling rock." In Writing Los Angeles, The Library of America presents a glittering panorama in fiction, poetry, essays, journalism, and diaries by more than seventy writers. Beginning with Helen Hunt Jackson's romantic portrayal of the city's early days, the anthology covers a century's worth of Los Angeles writing. It brings to life the entrancing surfaces and unsettling contradictions of The City of Angels, from Raymond Chandler's evocation of murderous moods fed by the Santa Ana winds to John Gregory Dunne's affectionate tribute to "the deceptive perspectives of the pale subtropical light." Here are fascinating strata of Los Angeles history, from the 1920s oil boom and the 1940s Zoot Suit Riots to 1950s beat culture and 1980s graffiti art, from flamboyant evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson to surf music genius Brian Wilson. The pleasures and discontents of the Hollywood movie colony are parsed by such observers as Nathanael West, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Christopher Isherwood. Fragile ecosystems, architectural splendors, and social chasms are examined by writers as various as M.F.K. Fisher, William Faulkner, Bertolt Brecht, Evelyn Waugh, Octavio Paz, Joan Didion, Ray Bradbury, Charles Bukowski, Walter Mosley, Mona Simpson, and Charles Mingus. Art Pepper discovers the Central Avenue jazz scene of the 1940s; Salka Viertel recalls her circle of German émigré intellectuals; Garrett Hongo navigates the complexities of the city's racial patchwork; Tom Wolfe celebrates the sub-culture of custom car aficionados; John McPhee investigates the devastation of Los Angeles mud slides; screenwriter Robert Towne reflects on Chinatown's origin; David Hockney teaches himself to drive; James Ellry delineates the world of hard-bitten homicide cops; Pico Iyer finds at LAX "as clear an image as exists today of the world we are about to enter." Writing Los Angeles is an incomparable literary tour guide to a city of shifting identities and endless surprises. Contents: from Echoes in the city of the angels by Helen Hunt Jackson The land by Mary Austin from The rules of the game by Stewart Edward White from Sixty years in Southern California, 1853-1913 by Harris Newmark California and America by Vachel Lindsay from Laughing in the jungle by Louis Adamic Los Angeles. A rhapsody by Aldous Huxley Sister Aimee by H.L. Mencken from Oil! by Upton Sinclair from Queer people by Carroll and Garrett Graham from God sends Sunday by Arna Bontemps The City of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels by Edmund Wilson Paradise by James M. Cain Golden land by William Faulkner Pacific village ; A thing shared by M.F.K. Fisher from Promised land by Cedric Belfrage Red wind by Raymond Chandlerfrom Ask the dust by John Fante from The day of the locust by Nathanael West from Diaries by Christopher Isherwood Last kiss by F. Scott Fitzgerald from Autobiography : Hollywood by Charles Reznikoff A table at Ciro's by Budd Schulberg Landscape of exile ; Hollywood elegies ; Californian autumn ; The democratic judge ; The fishing-tackle ; Garden in progress ; from Journals by Bertolt Brecht from If he hollers let him go by Chester Himesfrom America is in the heart by Carlos Bulosan from Southern California country : an island on the land ; from North from Mexico by Carey McWilliams from America day by day by Simone de Beauvoir Hollywood by Truman Capote Death in Hollywood by Evelyn Waugh from The labyrinth of solitude by Octavio Paz The pedestrian by Ray Bradbury The mattress by the tomato patch by Tennessee Williams from The barbarous coast by Ross Macdonald from On the road by Jack Kerouac from "Ocian in view" by Lawrence Clark Powell The slide area by Gavin Lambert from Slum by the sea by Lawrence Lipton from Superman comes to the supermarket by Norman Mailer The lost world by Randall Jarrell The kandy-kolored tangerine-flake streamline baby by Tom Wolfe Goodbye surfing, hello God! by Jules Siegel Los Angeles notebook ; The Getty ; Quiet days in Malibu ; Fire season by Joan Didion waiting ; betting on now ; The death of my father by Charles Bukowski from The kindness of strangers by Salka Viertel from Los Angeles : the architecture of four ecologies by Reyner Banham from Beneath the underdog by Charles Mingus from Bike riding in Los Angeles by Marc Norman Autopia by Cees Nooteboom The city of robots by Umberto Eco from David Hockney by David Hockney by David Hockney Los Angeles : the know-how city by Jan Morris from The sexual outlaw by John Rechy Eureka! by John Gregory Dunne from Straight life by Art Pepper from Seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees ; L.A. glows by Lawrence Weschler Preface and postscript to Chinatown by Robert Towne August, Los Angeles, lullaby by Carol Muske Angel baby blues by Wanda Coleman from Anywhere but here by Mona Simpson Night song of the Los Angeles basin by Gary Snyder from Golden days by Carolyn See from I was looking for a street by Charles Willeford Going up in L.A. by Ruben Martinez from The control of nature by John McPhee from City of quartz by Mike Davis City of specters by Lynell George from Devil in a blue dress by Walter Mosley Las vistas by Mary Helen Ponce Coming home to Van Nuys by Sandra Tsing Loh The tooth of crime by James Ellroy from Volcano by Garrett Hongo Where worlds collide by Pico Iyer Burl's by Bernard Cooper from The atlas by William T. Vollmann from Holy land by D.J. Waldie Beneath Mulholland by David Thomson


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Los Angeles has always been a place of paradisal promise and apocalyptic undercurrents. Simone de Beauvoir saw a kaleidoscopic "hall of mirrors," Aldous Huxley a "city of dreadful joy." Jack Kerouac found a "huge desert encampment," David Thomson imagined "Marilyn Monroe, fifty miles long, lying on her side, half-buried on a ridge of crumbling rock." In Writing Los Angeles, Los Angeles has always been a place of paradisal promise and apocalyptic undercurrents. Simone de Beauvoir saw a kaleidoscopic "hall of mirrors," Aldous Huxley a "city of dreadful joy." Jack Kerouac found a "huge desert encampment," David Thomson imagined "Marilyn Monroe, fifty miles long, lying on her side, half-buried on a ridge of crumbling rock." In Writing Los Angeles, The Library of America presents a glittering panorama in fiction, poetry, essays, journalism, and diaries by more than seventy writers. Beginning with Helen Hunt Jackson's romantic portrayal of the city's early days, the anthology covers a century's worth of Los Angeles writing. It brings to life the entrancing surfaces and unsettling contradictions of The City of Angels, from Raymond Chandler's evocation of murderous moods fed by the Santa Ana winds to John Gregory Dunne's affectionate tribute to "the deceptive perspectives of the pale subtropical light." Here are fascinating strata of Los Angeles history, from the 1920s oil boom and the 1940s Zoot Suit Riots to 1950s beat culture and 1980s graffiti art, from flamboyant evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson to surf music genius Brian Wilson. The pleasures and discontents of the Hollywood movie colony are parsed by such observers as Nathanael West, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Christopher Isherwood. Fragile ecosystems, architectural splendors, and social chasms are examined by writers as various as M.F.K. Fisher, William Faulkner, Bertolt Brecht, Evelyn Waugh, Octavio Paz, Joan Didion, Ray Bradbury, Charles Bukowski, Walter Mosley, Mona Simpson, and Charles Mingus. Art Pepper discovers the Central Avenue jazz scene of the 1940s; Salka Viertel recalls her circle of German émigré intellectuals; Garrett Hongo navigates the complexities of the city's racial patchwork; Tom Wolfe celebrates the sub-culture of custom car aficionados; John McPhee investigates the devastation of Los Angeles mud slides; screenwriter Robert Towne reflects on Chinatown's origin; David Hockney teaches himself to drive; James Ellry delineates the world of hard-bitten homicide cops; Pico Iyer finds at LAX "as clear an image as exists today of the world we are about to enter." Writing Los Angeles is an incomparable literary tour guide to a city of shifting identities and endless surprises. Contents: from Echoes in the city of the angels by Helen Hunt Jackson The land by Mary Austin from The rules of the game by Stewart Edward White from Sixty years in Southern California, 1853-1913 by Harris Newmark California and America by Vachel Lindsay from Laughing in the jungle by Louis Adamic Los Angeles. A rhapsody by Aldous Huxley Sister Aimee by H.L. Mencken from Oil! by Upton Sinclair from Queer people by Carroll and Garrett Graham from God sends Sunday by Arna Bontemps The City of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels by Edmund Wilson Paradise by James M. Cain Golden land by William Faulkner Pacific village ; A thing shared by M.F.K. Fisher from Promised land by Cedric Belfrage Red wind by Raymond Chandlerfrom Ask the dust by John Fante from The day of the locust by Nathanael West from Diaries by Christopher Isherwood Last kiss by F. Scott Fitzgerald from Autobiography : Hollywood by Charles Reznikoff A table at Ciro's by Budd Schulberg Landscape of exile ; Hollywood elegies ; Californian autumn ; The democratic judge ; The fishing-tackle ; Garden in progress ; from Journals by Bertolt Brecht from If he hollers let him go by Chester Himesfrom America is in the heart by Carlos Bulosan from Southern California country : an island on the land ; from North from Mexico by Carey McWilliams from America day by day by Simone de Beauvoir Hollywood by Truman Capote Death in Hollywood by Evelyn Waugh from The labyrinth of solitude by Octavio Paz The pedestrian by Ray Bradbury The mattress by the tomato patch by Tennessee Williams from The barbarous coast by Ross Macdonald from On the road by Jack Kerouac from "Ocian in view" by Lawrence Clark Powell The slide area by Gavin Lambert from Slum by the sea by Lawrence Lipton from Superman comes to the supermarket by Norman Mailer The lost world by Randall Jarrell The kandy-kolored tangerine-flake streamline baby by Tom Wolfe Goodbye surfing, hello God! by Jules Siegel Los Angeles notebook ; The Getty ; Quiet days in Malibu ; Fire season by Joan Didion waiting ; betting on now ; The death of my father by Charles Bukowski from The kindness of strangers by Salka Viertel from Los Angeles : the architecture of four ecologies by Reyner Banham from Beneath the underdog by Charles Mingus from Bike riding in Los Angeles by Marc Norman Autopia by Cees Nooteboom The city of robots by Umberto Eco from David Hockney by David Hockney by David Hockney Los Angeles : the know-how city by Jan Morris from The sexual outlaw by John Rechy Eureka! by John Gregory Dunne from Straight life by Art Pepper from Seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees ; L.A. glows by Lawrence Weschler Preface and postscript to Chinatown by Robert Towne August, Los Angeles, lullaby by Carol Muske Angel baby blues by Wanda Coleman from Anywhere but here by Mona Simpson Night song of the Los Angeles basin by Gary Snyder from Golden days by Carolyn See from I was looking for a street by Charles Willeford Going up in L.A. by Ruben Martinez from The control of nature by John McPhee from City of quartz by Mike Davis City of specters by Lynell George from Devil in a blue dress by Walter Mosley Las vistas by Mary Helen Ponce Coming home to Van Nuys by Sandra Tsing Loh The tooth of crime by James Ellroy from Volcano by Garrett Hongo Where worlds collide by Pico Iyer Burl's by Bernard Cooper from The atlas by William T. Vollmann from Holy land by D.J. Waldie Beneath Mulholland by David Thomson

30 review for Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology (Library of America)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Despite the 880-page heft of this, I could have gone another 800 pages. How I wish now I’d kept notes to facilitate my better explaining why I liked this so much, but I was too busy devouring it. This collection of writings about or set in Los Angeles --essays, short stories and novel excerpts-- from 78 different authors spanned a timeframe from Helen Hunt Jackson’s “Echoes in the City of the Angels” written in 1883, to a 1997 selection from film writer David Thomson called “Beneath Mulholland.” Despite the 880-page heft of this, I could have gone another 800 pages. How I wish now I’d kept notes to facilitate my better explaining why I liked this so much, but I was too busy devouring it. This collection of writings about or set in Los Angeles --essays, short stories and novel excerpts-- from 78 different authors spanned a timeframe from Helen Hunt Jackson’s “Echoes in the City of the Angels” written in 1883, to a 1997 selection from film writer David Thomson called “Beneath Mulholland.” There were very few pieces I didn’t enjoy. I even read the Bukowski story and Norman Mailer essays (I am not a fan of either) and half of the James Ellroy (the only one I bailed on). The wide variety of formats, styles, subject matter, and attitudes toward this crazy place I call home, taken together, painted a much broader and more nuanced, realistic picture of the region than any one book or stories could possibly do, allowing for the truths behind the prevalent popular myths but also digging beyond the stereotypes. The century-long timeframe also illuminated the area temporally, showing how certain aspects of local culture evolved over time, but also how underlying perceptions and their hold on people’s imaginations has often remained the same. Many of the book excerpts were from full-length works that I had already read: novels such as Nathaniel West’s Day of the Locust, essays from Joan Didion’s Slouching Toward Bethlehem; nonfiction Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies, Mike Davis’ City of Quartz, and Harris Newmark’s diary 60 Years in Southern California, 1853-1913. I haven’t read Carey McWilliams, chronicler of L.A.'s social and political landscape in the 1940s and ‘50s, for many, many years. One somewhat predictable outcome of this book was to make me add an alarming number of books to my TBR, or move some onto my shortlist. (I’m going to be so busy!) And quite a few of the writers were new to me (at least their work, if not their names). Of course, with any collection like this, there will be quibbles about omissions. The most glaring single absence among male writers was Steve Erickson, brilliant contemporary film critic and author of several novels, two of which I have read and loved passionately. But more troubling is a wide gap in gender parity. Of the 78 authors represented, only 13 here are women. Come on, David Ulin, really? While most of the best-known female writers associated with Southern California are here – MFK Fisher, Joan Didion, Carol See, poets Carol Muske and Wanda Coleman --, it would have been nice to see some Susan Straight, Kate Braverman, certainly some Janet Fitch. But most shocking is the omission of Eve Babitz, whom I think of as the ultimate “L.A. Woman” of the 1970s, a woman who “gets” Los Angeles as well as anyone ever has. Babitz is somewhat obscure, sadly, a well-kept secret, but her vignette style pieces would have been perfect for this collection. If her material seems superficial, fluffy, narcissistic on the surface, scratching that surface a little reveals the spirit of the place in a deceptively casual but beautifully rhythmic prose that also celebrates her love for that place and spirit. [A few of her long-out-of-print books have recently been re-issued, so I'll definitely be re-reading those soon.] But that said, the quality of what was here was largely top-shelf: stories by William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, F. Scott Fitzgerald, a sketch by Truman Capote about Christmas in Hollywood, and a dairy entry from Christopher Isherwood about hanging out and picnicking in Topanga Canyon in 1939 with Aldous and Maria Huxley, Greta Garbo, Bertrand Russell and Berthold Brecht (whose poetry and journals are featured in another chapter). I thought I didn’t like John Fantes, but the excerpt from Ask the Dust changed my mind. There was the requisite noir of Raymond Chandler, Ross McDonald and James Cain. The over-the-top boosterism and rampant real estate speculation in Los Angeles in the late 19th century and early 20th are described to comic effect in Steward Edwards White’s novel The Rules of the Game, where, Ulin says in an introductory blurb, “everything is bigger, stranger and endlessly promoted . . . ‘ a great circus without a tent’” and in a section from Newmark’s book. In the 1920s Louis Adamic exposes the other side of this in his book in seeing a “ruthless Los Angeles where unscrupulous self-promoters got rich off the unfulfilled hopes of deluded dreamers.” He recommends arming oneself with knowledge and a sense of humor, still good advice for navigating the city today. On a more positive, optimistic and appreciative note, Vechal Lindsay’s chapter “California and America,” from The Art of the Moving Picture describes the new medium of the movies as a “new language” and, from the vantage point of 1915, speculates that “it is possible for Los Angeles to lay hold of the motion picture as our national text-book in Art.” There are the usual send-ups of Hollywood, the movie industry, and stereotypical types populating that world, but not as many as you’d think in a book this size. The European expat artistic community that arrived in the early 20th century is well-represented. In addition to Brecht, Isherwood and Huxley, David Hockney wrote about his arrival in Los Angeles (with an amusing anecdote about how he learned to drive). One of the biggest surprises was a selection from Tom Wolfe, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine – Flake Streamlined Baby: custom hot-rods as art and the culture that grew up around this enterprise, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Usually car talk is a giant snooze for me, but this was fascinating. MFK Fisher’s “A Thing Shared” is a three-page story about a sweet moment in her childhood when she and her sister take a road trip with their father between Palmdale and L.A. This may be one of my favorite MFK Fisher stories ever, and that’s saying something. The black, Latino and Filipino experiences are all represented in various pieces, with stories about the damaging racism that’s always been prevalent here and its reverberating effects, including Carey McWilliam’s account of the Zoot Suit riots and Sleepy Lagoon murder trials of the early 1940s that victimized Latin youth. There’s a heart-rending memoir of forbidden love between a Japanese boy and a Caucasian girl in Gardena as recently as the late 1960s (Garrett Hongo’s Volcano). There are fiction and essay pieces on historical events such as an excerpt from a 1938 novel The Promised Land by Cedri Belfrage recounting the disastrous collapse of the San Francisquito dam that ruined former hero William Mulholland. A couple of pieces deal with two famous early 20th century evangelists : the controversial Aimee Semple McPherson, whose theatrical sermons my mother experienced as a child, and Bob Shuler who was a power-mongering Methodist preacher with a large radio audience, a bigot who was much-feared, and a thoroughly nasty piece of work, from all I’ve read. Both of them had enormous influence in their day. I could go on, but I probably lost you several paragraphs ago. Anyone with a serious interest in Southern California history and culture would enjoy this, at least to dip in and out of once in a while. Or to immerse oneself, as I did, is fun too. Oh, and people have been complaining about trying to get from place to place for at least 70 years, as Simone de Beauvoir did in America Day by Day in 1947,when she declared “The traffic is terrifying.” Some things never change.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Carisa

    After many years I finally finished reading this anthology. Although it shouldn't have taken this long, to my credit, it is nearly 900 pages long. I bought this book to serve as a source of inspiration for my writing since the project I've been working on for the last 9 years takes place in Los Angeles. For the most part, the book served its purpose and I look forward to incorporating some of the notes I took into my work ahead. As you can imagine from its length, the anthology is very comprehen After many years I finally finished reading this anthology. Although it shouldn't have taken this long, to my credit, it is nearly 900 pages long. I bought this book to serve as a source of inspiration for my writing since the project I've been working on for the last 9 years takes place in Los Angeles. For the most part, the book served its purpose and I look forward to incorporating some of the notes I took into my work ahead. As you can imagine from its length, the anthology is very comprehensive which at times I found to be a flaw. It seemed like many of the excerpts were included simply because they took place in LA and offered little reflection about the city. Some themes, although relevant, seemed too repetitive (Hollywood, movies, driving in LA, the dependence on the car)while others (the hidden corners LA and its citizens working in the service industry)were only briefly touched upon through more modern day excerpts. I enjoyed reading the introductory paragraphs to each cited writer and there were some wonderful gems in every genre (fiction, poetry, essay, novel, memoir).

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    (Almost) everything I know about Los Angeles, I learned from David Ulin's anthology, Another City: Writing from Los Angeles. Highly recommend this collection of essays, short stories and poems by familiar and not-so-familar writers. David Ulin, book critic, and former book editor of the Los Angeles Times, and a New York transplant like myself, must have come to understand as well as come to terms with this side of the country by putting this extraordinary compilation of works together. The piec (Almost) everything I know about Los Angeles, I learned from David Ulin's anthology, Another City: Writing from Los Angeles. Highly recommend this collection of essays, short stories and poems by familiar and not-so-familar writers. David Ulin, book critic, and former book editor of the Los Angeles Times, and a New York transplant like myself, must have come to understand as well as come to terms with this side of the country by putting this extraordinary compilation of works together. The pieces cover every aspect of Los Angeles life from the 1800s to the present from ocean to desert, show-biz, race riots, souped-up cars, The Beach Boys, earthquakes, and everyplace in between. Highly recommend!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    So much to like here! History, personal experiences, fiction and essays - fun, varied and interesting to read. I'm ordering on Kindle so it becomes part of my travel read collection - the paper version is way too much to lug around, and I know I'll want to be dipping into this one regularly. So much to like here! History, personal experiences, fiction and essays - fun, varied and interesting to read. I'm ordering on Kindle so it becomes part of my travel read collection - the paper version is way too much to lug around, and I know I'll want to be dipping into this one regularly.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Glen Creason

    one of the most important books on LA history you will find

  6. 5 out of 5

    Owen

    Not always a fan of anthologies, but this one is excellent. Fantastic selections from Faulkner, Mingus, Isherwood and others. It's big! A great book to flip through and nibble at. Not always a fan of anthologies, but this one is excellent. Fantastic selections from Faulkner, Mingus, Isherwood and others. It's big! A great book to flip through and nibble at.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Hal Bodner

    In our house, we generally read fiction. In fact, I don't think I'd ever have come across David Ulin's WRITING LOS ANGELES if it hadn't been required reading for one of my husband's English classes when he was getting his advanced degree. At the end of the term, just before he "sold back" his textbooks, this anthology caught my eye and I pulled it off the pile to place in the TBR (To Be Read) pile in my home office. Initially, my interest was piqued by the Table of Contents which listed such old In our house, we generally read fiction. In fact, I don't think I'd ever have come across David Ulin's WRITING LOS ANGELES if it hadn't been required reading for one of my husband's English classes when he was getting his advanced degree. At the end of the term, just before he "sold back" his textbooks, this anthology caught my eye and I pulled it off the pile to place in the TBR (To Be Read) pile in my home office. Initially, my interest was piqued by the Table of Contents which listed such old literary "friends" as Truman Capote, Christopher Isherwood, Raymond Chandler, Evelyn Waugh and John Rechy. And while, in honesty, I found myself a trifle bored with some of the more historic, early-days-in-Hispanic-California essays, it was well worth slogging through them in order to get to the later gems. Of particular interest were those essays which purported to explain the unique kind of kookiness that we Los Angelenos take for granted, and which baffle outsiders who witness out lifestyles for the first time. James Cain's "On Paradise" was a particular favorite. Never in my half century of living within two miles of Hollywood and Vine, have I been able to verbalize that elusive, quirky quality of Southern California that seems so alien upon arrival, and so nature by the second year of residency. Cain not only zeros in on this phenomenon, but manages to describe it, vividly and accurately, and offers some suggestions as to its origins. Some of the fictional offerings, while a welcome change from the essays and non-fiction excerpts, do not seem LA-specific per se, but they universally manage to present some aspect of the "essence" that is uniquely Angeleno. Perhaps the most interesting to this reader were the memoirs from the "Zoot Suit" era, the several historical essays which dealt with Amiee Semple McPherson and her contemporaries, and the anecdotal accounts of mid-century "hot rod" culture. One tends to forget, when one lives here, how truly socially innovate Southern California culture has been over the years. And for those who doubt that Los Angeles even HAS a "culture", this book will quickly disabuse you of that notion! Here, you will find musings from insiders who were working during the pinnacle of classic Hollywood, reflections from law enforcement personnel and excerpts from local noir crime fiction, historical suppositions and personal remembrances, all of it related to Los Angeles in some manner. Moreover, though the book itself is exceedingly long (at almost 900 pages), most of the selections are short and several can be read in a single sitting. If you live in Los Angeles, or if you live elsewhere but are curious about what's behind the biarre insanity that makes us Angelenos "tick", you can find no better resource than Ulin's anthology. Highly, highly recommended.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tuck

    got this out to loan to a friend, who wnet on vacay, so i've been re-reading. just an incredible book with huge spectrum of writing: chandler next to fante next to eco next to hockney next to jan morris next to mfk fisher next ...................................... a true desert island book. for ex. this is in it Ask the Dust followed immediately by this The Day of the Locust got this out to loan to a friend, who wnet on vacay, so i've been re-reading. just an incredible book with huge spectrum of writing: chandler next to fante next to eco next to hockney next to jan morris next to mfk fisher next ...................................... a true desert island book. for ex. this is in it Ask the Dust followed immediately by this The Day of the Locust

  9. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Cool to read about LA area through time and the words of writers. What stayed with me was the diversity of voices and the feeling of movement. I loved reading Joan Didion and Raymond Chandler on the Santa Ana winds and the effect they have on people, because experiencing those winds a few years ago was electrifying. Not tornadoes, but forceful winds that raise the risk of fire. The winds howl like La Llorona's twin and they make even strong trees kneel and keel over. The next day the aftermath m Cool to read about LA area through time and the words of writers. What stayed with me was the diversity of voices and the feeling of movement. I loved reading Joan Didion and Raymond Chandler on the Santa Ana winds and the effect they have on people, because experiencing those winds a few years ago was electrifying. Not tornadoes, but forceful winds that raise the risk of fire. The winds howl like La Llorona's twin and they make even strong trees kneel and keel over. The next day the aftermath made the world feel like a wound, but my friend's son said "God make more work for people." Which was true because everyone was out changing roof tiles and clearing debris for months.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Everyone living in LA should take a look at this book. No matter where in the mini-country we call Los Angeles you've been living, you'll learn something you didn't know before. It was fun to show my parents the photos from the architectural article and see them recognize landmarks from the 60s that don't exist anymore. The short stories from Raymond Chandler and others are fantastic. This is a perfect book to while away a month with, reading on the balcony as the California sun bakes the soil a Everyone living in LA should take a look at this book. No matter where in the mini-country we call Los Angeles you've been living, you'll learn something you didn't know before. It was fun to show my parents the photos from the architectural article and see them recognize landmarks from the 60s that don't exist anymore. The short stories from Raymond Chandler and others are fantastic. This is a perfect book to while away a month with, reading on the balcony as the California sun bakes the soil around your patio chair.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    I've only read about 30% of this book, but it being an anthology, I feel qualified to say -- this has fast become one of my favorite books in my library. All the big "California" writers are here, from Capote to Didion. I love Los Angeles. I moved here 17 years ago planning to stay for 5 at the most. The Eagles were right -- you can't really ever leave. This book is meant to be consumed in small bits. It's perfect for picking up when you want to read something for just a few minutes. And it will I've only read about 30% of this book, but it being an anthology, I feel qualified to say -- this has fast become one of my favorite books in my library. All the big "California" writers are here, from Capote to Didion. I love Los Angeles. I moved here 17 years ago planning to stay for 5 at the most. The Eagles were right -- you can't really ever leave. This book is meant to be consumed in small bits. It's perfect for picking up when you want to read something for just a few minutes. And it will make you fall in love with L.A., even if you are convinced that is not possible.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    Having grown up in Los Angeles I developed a thorough distaste for it over the years, but in the year since I've moved out of California I've delved into writers writing about the LA area and it has ignited a strange inner love and interest in LA. This collection is absolutely fantastic. I didn't read it all (it's massive), but I dipped in and around it loving everything I found. I will definitely keep my eye out for a copy to add to my personal library. Having grown up in Los Angeles I developed a thorough distaste for it over the years, but in the year since I've moved out of California I've delved into writers writing about the LA area and it has ignited a strange inner love and interest in LA. This collection is absolutely fantastic. I didn't read it all (it's massive), but I dipped in and around it loving everything I found. I will definitely keep my eye out for a copy to add to my personal library.

  13. 4 out of 5

    ds white

    If you grew up in Los Angeles, like I did, than it will be a while before an anthology so sweepingly pulls this great city into a collection of sentences. It's all here, well, not all of it, but damn near and as I'm reading through this hefty anthology I never find myself wanting for something that isn't already included. For every Angelino who understands the impact of our landscape and is looking for ways to compell, argue or defend the city of angels, this is the bible. If you grew up in Los Angeles, like I did, than it will be a while before an anthology so sweepingly pulls this great city into a collection of sentences. It's all here, well, not all of it, but damn near and as I'm reading through this hefty anthology I never find myself wanting for something that isn't already included. For every Angelino who understands the impact of our landscape and is looking for ways to compell, argue or defend the city of angels, this is the bible.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Readgina

    I picked up this gem at a book sale for €1 and couldn't believe my luck. Stories, articles, poems, excerpts by Angelenos, temporary residents and passers through. A must read for Angelenos and all those who love the city of angels. I picked up this gem at a book sale for €1 and couldn't believe my luck. Stories, articles, poems, excerpts by Angelenos, temporary residents and passers through. A must read for Angelenos and all those who love the city of angels.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Changed my perception of Los Angeles. A good read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    An incredible selection of essays that really bring the history of LA alive.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    In truth I never finished the entire book; I read about half of it, from the end to somewhere towards the middle (yes, I went backward). What I did read I very much enjoyed!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Roboclerk

    A nice and broadly selected anthology.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Indispensable for those new to LA.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle Lawrence

    Really wonderful anthology, excellent writers.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    For someone like me who is just dipping their toe in the literary waters, this is a nice cross-section of writings covering various aspects of Los Angeles, my much-maligned hometown.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tyler

    Great (as anthologies go) for understanding how LA became LA.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hank Stuever

    It's a particular conceit of writers from back east (or overseas) to land in Los Angeles and start immediately explaining it, interpreting it, riffing on it -- this has always been the case. I've had this book for 10 years and I still find myself going back to it to see what others (native and visitor) had to say about the endlessly puzzling and always fantastic contradictions that form LA. If you're a writer and you find yourself in LA (or having to describe LA), keep in mind that your insights It's a particular conceit of writers from back east (or overseas) to land in Los Angeles and start immediately explaining it, interpreting it, riffing on it -- this has always been the case. I've had this book for 10 years and I still find myself going back to it to see what others (native and visitor) had to say about the endlessly puzzling and always fantastic contradictions that form LA. If you're a writer and you find yourself in LA (or having to describe LA), keep in mind that your insights have probably already been landed on. This book is a fantastic resource for people who wish to read or write about LA on a much deeper level than the usual cliches.

  24. 5 out of 5

    John Fuller

    An amazing collection of works born out of the deserts of California. In additional to being amazing stories, the books discusses the rise of L.A. from the dust of the desert, and how its unending thirst affected those who lived in the city (and those who ran it).

  25. 4 out of 5

    Creolecat

  26. 5 out of 5

    Karla

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chloé Laure

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michele

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tom Rastrelli

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bruna Mori

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