- Skylight Books: Sun 2/13 5pm, an all-star line-up for Black Clock 13, including Aimee Bender, Janet Fitch and Jonathan Lethem; Thurs 2/24 7:30pm, Jonathan Evison and his new novel West of Here; Sat 2/26 5pm, readings from LA’s newest litmag Slake, including Ben Ehrenreich and Yxta Maya Murray
- New Short Fiction Series: Sun 2/13 7pm, the fiction of O. Henry Award-Nominee Townshend Walker
- Vroman’s Bookstore: Sun 2/13 6:30pm, readings from Slake; Sat 2/19 5pm, peerless songwriters Lieber & Stoller with Hound Dog
- ALOUD at the Central Library: Wed 2/16 7pm, “The Short Story and the Art of Not Knowing,” with Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum and Yiyun Li
- Word Theatre presents a special Valentine’s Day reading, Mon 2/14, “Hearts Aflame,” an evening of love and break-up letters from the 11th to the 21st century
- At Skylight Books in Los Feliz: Thurs 9/2 7:30, Mona Simpson and My Hollywood; Sun 9/12 5pm, readings from Strange Cargo, an anthology of work by writers in the PEN Emerging Voices Program–hosted by Janet Fitch; Sun 9/19 5pm, readings from Black Clock 12, featuring Tod Goldberg and others; Fri 9/24 7:30, James Ellroy with his latest, The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women; Thurs 9/30 7:30, Tao Lin and Richard Yates
- Sun 9/12 7pm, the New Short Fiction Series presents ‘The Devil’s Moor and other stories’ by Stefan Kiesbye
- At West Hollywood’s Book Soup: Tues 9/8 7pm, readings from LA’s newest litmag, Slake; Fri 9/10 7pm, Please Take Me Off the Guest List, photos and more from Yeah Yeah Yeah’s guitarist Nick Zinner; Sun 9/12 7pm, the latest from William Gibson, Zero History
- Thurs 9/16 8pm, the Central Library’s ALOUD Series presents Jonathan Franzen (recently featured on the cover of Time for his highly-touted new novel Freedom) in conversation with Meghan Daum (event at the Aratini/Japan America Theatre, 244 South San Pedro Street)
A day late with this listing. And a bad month for posts. We’ll try harder this month. Here are some literary highlights for April:
- At Skylight Books: Tues 4/6 7:30, a Lit Thing Book Bash, in which local writers like Antoine Wilson and Carolyn Kellogg rave (or rant) about books they love (or hate)–sounds fun; Sat 4/10 5pm, Jerry Stahl with his new book, Pain Killers; and Wed 4/14 7:30, Marisa Silver and a new story collection, Alone With You.
- At Book Soup: Wed 4/14 7pm, the scarily prolific William Vollmann with his examination of Japanese Noh Theater, Kissing the Mask; then on Fri 4/23 8pm, in an event at UCLA’s Royce Hall and co-sponsored by Book Soup, Harvey Pekar (American Splendor) and Alison Bechdel (Fun Home) explore the graphic novel as confessional medium–discounted tickets available for a limited time through the Book Soup website (go to the Events page), or through UCLA Live.
- LA author Janet Fitch (White Oleander, Paint It Black) is doing some local readings this month: Thurs 4/8 noon, she’ll be part of an LA Noir reading at Glendale College; then two readings Sat 4/10–at 2pm at the new Silverlake Library (2411 Glendale Blvd), and that evening, 5pm-10pm, as one of many talents featured at a spoken word & music line-up at The Echo (1822 W. Sunset).
- At their new home in Barnsdall Park, on Sun 4/11 7:30pm the New Short Fiction Series presents Cabaret Nation & Other Stories by Robert Morgan Fisher.
- That same night, at Hollywood’s M Bar, Word Theatre presents some very short stories by John Edgar Wideman (doors at 6, show at 7).
- Mon 4/12 8pm, the Central Library’s ALOUD Series features Ian McEwan.
- Also that night, at 7:30pm, at Temple Emanuel (300 North Clark Drive in Beverly Hills), Writers Bloc offers a terrific pairing: the great cartoonist & playwright Jules Feiffer in conversation with comic/writer/director Carl Reiner.
- And, of course, Sat/Sun the 24th/255th, the mammoth LA Times Festival of Books (tickets available Sunday the 18th).
Last night I went to a wonderful reading at Diesel Bookstore in Brentwood: Dylan Landis, reading from her new novel-in-stories, Normal People Don’t Live Like This. As a writer working on a novel-in-stories myself, one also centered on a difficult and complicated female character, and who’s been exposed to some of Dylan’s work, I have been keenly awaiting the arrival of this book.
Dylan read from the story “Underwater,” which revolves around, among other things, a charged friendship between the main character, teen-aged Leah, and her bad-girl friend Angeline. When Angeline brags to other girls how smart Leah is, “Leah glows as if Angeline has put a match to her.” They have one kind of dynamic in a group: “but when they are alone together Angeline is a knife under folds of silk and Leah can’t look away.”
More on Normal People Don’t Live Like This after I’ve had a chance to read the book cover to cover. Some of the stories have been previously published in journals like Tin House, Bomb, Night Train, Santa Monica Review, and St. Petersburg Review. The book has been praised by writers like Janet Fitch (White Oleander) and Elizabeth Strout (the Pulitzer-winning Olive Kitteridge).