February 18, 2011

Hooray, L.A.


The Shakespeare Bridge in Silverlake

After taking a swipe at “pretentious” New York, the LAist gives a shout-out to the under-heralded Los Angeles literary scene with a list of the city’s best literary journals. “From the darkly nuanced Black Clock to the quick-witted Swink and ‘slow-lit’ bent of Slake, LA holds its own in the literary journal realm.” The forthcoming Los Angeles Review of Books piped up in the comments to remind readers about its imminent arrival. Looking at a list of the LARB’s pending reviews and articles whet our appetite. For example: “Ben Ehrenreich googles ‘the death of the book’: 11.6 million matches on Tuesday, 11.8 million on Wednesday; turns to Bruno Schulz for further instructions.”

Meanwhile in the L.A. Times, Jonathan Lethem, freshly displaced to Pomona College, disparages the literary overload of Brooklyn:

“I do love New York, but it’s also unbearable to me in some ways, and I compulsively leave it behind,” Lethem says. “It’s not the best place to write. The mental traffic level is very high there. Here you have traffic problems; there, you have mental traffic problems….Brooklyn is repulsive with novelists, it’s cancerous with novelists.

I’m all for celebrating Los Angeles letters, but let’s get one thing straight: Pomona is not a place to inspire culture, art, or literature, and it never will be. Lethem will be homesick in no time.