Education, Santa Barbara »

The role of a library in the digital age

Posted January 13, 2016 by | 0 Comments | ]

The newly renovated UCSB Library, which had not undergone any changes in more than 35 years, opened its doors last week. Within the 60,000 square feet of new space lies diverse work spaces, more electrical outlets, group study rooms, a cafe and specialized areas for data-intensive projects and special-collection storage.
“The design of the building is intended to affirm the library’s position as the legitimate crossroads of the campus,” said University Librarian …

Arts & Culture, News »

New to Southern California? Three books to get you situated

Posted December 8, 2015 by | 0 Comments | ]
Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 3.29.04 PM

When I moved to Santa Barbara five months ago from Louisville, KY, I was understandably disoriented: the oppressively perfect weather, the highways, the glut of postwar housing developments, the drought.
How — and why — did Southern California come to exist? What are the important markers in its history? In search of answers, I did what I always do when I move to a new place: I …

Arts & Culture »

The perfect last-minute gift: A good read

Posted December 17, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Funk, and a spaceship

Carolyn Kellogg, who covers publishing for the Los Angeles Times, sits on the board of the National Book Critics Circle and is one of the most influential journalists in the industry. In other words, she reads more than most mere mortals and really knows her stuff. Over a cup of coffee, we talked about books as dandy last-minute gift ideas.
First, she recommends using the services of your …

Arts & Culture »

Bookworm: Favorite fiction of 2014

Posted December 12, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]

Last year was a good one for book lovers. KCRW’s Bookworm, Michael Silverblatt joined Madeleine Brand on Press Play to talk through some of his favorites from 2014. “I don’t consider them the best,” said Silverblatt, “I consider them my favorites. I would have to read everything to know what’s the best.”
These five books include moving tales of death, revelation, growing up, terror and what it feels like to be …

Arts & Culture »

Coming of age: Lena Dunham interviews Judy Blume

Posted October 1, 2014 by | 8 Comments | ]
Lena Dunham and Judy Blume in New York.

Lena Dunham, best-known as the creator and star of HBO’s “Girls” has a new book out. It’s called “Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” and tells the story of a young women’s self-empowering journey of self-discovery.
Dunham was inspired by Judy Blume, the well-known author whose books like “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” and “Forever” have been must-reads for girls …

Arts & Culture, Interviews, News »

The enduring popularity of Charles Bukowski

Posted August 14, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Charles Bukowski, 1981. Photo by Mark Hanauer.

This Saturday, August 16 marks the birthday of one of Los Angeles’ most beloved and notorious writers, Charles Bukowski. Were he still with us, he’d be 94.
Bukowski has been called the Poet Laureate of Skid Row. His books, from Ham on Rye to Post Office to Hot Water Music, celebrate the drunks and the down and outs who populated the bars, cheap hotel rooms …

Arts & Culture, News »

So little time, so many good books to look for this fall

Posted August 6, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]

Fall is when the publishing industry typically rolls out its blockbusters.  This coming season is no exception.

To help, we asked writer and critic Carolyn Kellogg of the LA Times to wade through the stacks of upcoming titles.

Trouble is, there’s so much good stuff that her list is anything but short.

And it begins August 12th, with the release of Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His …

Arts & Culture, Interviews »

How – and why – to turn your kid into a bookworm

Posted August 1, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
Jason Boog reads with his daughter, Olive.

How do you teach your kids to love books when you haven’t picked one up in years?
Why shouldn’t you give your child an iPhone or iPad until he or she’s at least two?
A new book explains the nuts and bolts of turning your kid into a reader in an age when focusing seems impossible.
Author Jason Boog says the bad news, for anyone who wants …

Arts & Culture »

A confused identity, a mother’s quest: writer Brando Skyhorse delves into his difficult childhood in a new memoir

Posted June 25, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
The writer Brando Skyhorse with one of his fathers, Frank

If you’re looking for a page-turning summer read, and if you love personal stories that make your own crazy family seem like “Leave it to Beaver,” consider Brando Skyhorse’s new memoir, “Take This Man.”
Much of the action is set on Portia Street in Echo Park, where Skyhorse grew up with his mother, his grandmother, and a rotating cast of potential fathers.  (His biological dad left …

Arts & Culture, Interviews »

An astronaut’s biography, and a musician’s novel

Posted May 16, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
Landing June 3rd in bookstores

The Echo may not seem a place for a book party, much less a pajama party, but last night it served as both those things.  Writer Willy Vlautin came to town from Portland to launch his fourth novel, The Free, and attendees were encouraged to wear their PJ’s and bring their pillows.  The event was hosted by Chuck Palahniuk of Fight Club fame, and …

Arts & Culture, News, Sports »

In the era before the NBA, the NFL, and TV, this sport captivated America

Posted May 1, 2014 by | 14 Comments | ]

NBA, NFL, MLB, ESPN: Back before an alphabet soup of acronyms captivated the hearts and minds of the American public, entertainment-starved citizens were transfixed by a spectator sport that no longer exists: Pedestrianism.
As odd as it may sound today, in the mid-19th-century, watching people walk, competitively, provided hours of fun for throngs of people. Plus, it made some of those who competed in the sport …

Arts & Culture »

Forget Oscar: We want books!

Posted February 28, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]

Everyone knows that when you win an Academy Award, you get a shiny gold statue plus instant (if fleeting) additional fame and fawning attention. So what happens if you win a big prize in the literary world? If, say, on March 13th, you get the nod from the prestigious National Book Critics Circle, you get to… go to a party!
For authors, making the short …

Arts & Culture »

Fame, celebrity, reality TV, bestsellers, Twitter-obsessed book bloggers, and really fantastic abs

Posted January 8, 2014 by | 15 Comments | ]
The author in our studios

Los Angeles writer Mark Haskell Smith’s new book, “Raw: A Love Story,” is laugh-out-loud funny–because it’s so right-on about our celebrity-obsessed culture, it hurts.
If it irks you that when the Duck Dynasty guys, say, or actor James Franco attach their names to books they zoom to the top of bestseller lists while “real” writers struggle to get published, this novel is for you.
Smith deftly lampoons …

Arts & Culture, Interviews, News »

Literary tattoos and diving beyond the bestsellers: What’s in Carolyn Kellogg’s book bag?

Posted September 17, 2013 by | 4 Comments | ]
Carolyn, and her literary tattoo

For her job at the LA Times, Carolyn Kellogg writes about all things having to do with books and publishing. (Full disclosure: We were long-ago cubemates at Marketplace, before we each reincarnated ourselves various times.)
We asked her to wade through all the inevitable hype and such about the fall blockbuster books…to find some gems we’d likely never hear about it.  So she showed up …

Arts & Culture, Interviews, News »

At 100, Teddy Getty Gaston relives life with fabled billionaire

Posted September 11, 2013 by | 0 Comments | ]
Teddy Getty Gaston at KCRW.

Teddy Getty Gaston is 100.  She started shopping a book at age 98 because she figured her story might “help other women,”  and her opus, “Alone Together: My Life with J. Paul Getty” was just released last week.
Gaston was the fifth wife of J. Paul Getty, who struck oil deals,  laid the infrastructure for gas stations and was one of the first people ever …

Arts & Culture, Interviews »

What keeps a bookstore alive for 60 years?

Posted June 12, 2013 by | 1 Comment | ]

There is nothing cookie-cutter or corporate about Caravan Book Store on Grand Avenue downtown. “Avant Garde, First Edition, Poetry,” the window declares in big gold letters.
As a kid, bookseller Leonard Bernstein swept the floors of his parents’ shop when it was located a block away on what was then called “bookseller’s row”. He’s been continuing the tradition ever since. Caravan is marking the start of …

Arts & Culture, Interviews, News, Sonic Trace »

A big weekend for Spanish literature in Los Angeles

Posted May 16, 2013 by | 3 Comments | ]
Lea LA is this weekend.

L.A. is a profoundly Latin American city, with countless historical and cultural ties to the Spanish-speaking world. Those ties include a common language. Spanish is spoken by over 40 percent of L.A. residents, making it the second-most spoken language in L.A. after English.
Remember, even saying the words “Los Angeles” (or if you want to get fancy and historical about it, El Pueblo de Nuestra …

Arts & Culture, Education, Issues, Politics, Race for Mayor, Today's News »

Today’s News: Bell jury called back to court; Riordan backs Greuel; ‘Tonight Show’ moves

Posted March 21, 2013 by | 1 Comment | ]

Jury duty. The jury in the Bell corruption trial isn’t done yet. Judge Kathleen Kennedy has instructed the panel to return to court this morning and jurors could be forced to continue deliberating on dozens of charges that remain unresolved. Five of six former city council members were found guilty yesterday of stealing from the working class city. But the jury also acquitted them …

Arts & Culture, Interviews, News »

On Scientology and Hollywood…

Posted January 25, 2013 by and | 56 Comments | ]

KCRW’s Kim Masters recently sat down with author Lawrence Wright to talk about his new book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief.  He described the leader of the church, L. Ron Hubbard, this way:
“He was a spellbinding character, he had a special talent for bringing young people in particular under his spell. And you know, they had a narrative of his own life, …

Arts & Culture, News »

One Thing: Books

Posted December 19, 2012 by , and | 0 Comments | ]

 We asked eleven of our sharpest local observers what they thought were the most important stories and trends of the year. From politics and music to faith, literature and film, they weigh in on the one thing that shaped 2012
Author Hector Tobar reflects on the books that made an impact on him in 2012. One is a story of war, and the other is …

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