Just Above Sunset
May 16, 2004 - The Book Wrangler
By Bob Patterson
Since the Just Above Sunset staff assumes that our audience is literary,
we will start a recurring attempt to mention some books that catch our attention. Sometimes
we may just plug a book done by a friend or relative. Sometime we may plug a
book in a pathetic attempt to get a review copy. Sometime we may bring up a topic
related to books, just because that’s the way our mind works.
Do you need an example
of what we think would be a good example of a topic for this feature? The mystery
novel Dead in 5 Heartbeats by Sonny
Barger, Kent and Keith Zimmerman will be published by Harper Torch on August 1, 2004.
Wouldn’t it be a hoot if we could get Hunter Thompson to review that book?
We’ll try to get
some inside scoop from the world of published authors to share with our readers. Such
as? Sonny Barger says there’s no denying that Hunter is one of America’s
top writers, but that doesn’t excuse him from still owing someone a few kegs of beer.
[At this point, we could find the pictures we took some time ago when Sonny appeared at the Waldenbooks on Santa Monica Boulevard (they closed that location in the meantime) in West LA as a means of proving that we spoke with Barger and didn’t make the last item up or we could just shrug and leave it all up to you to decide. He was there then to promote his autobiography just after it was published. We’ll get back to you about the pictures …. maybe. Finding them might be too much like work.]
We’ll do roundups
of the books we would like to promote but can’t review because there are only so many books you can read and that shouldn’t
mean we can’t mention the ones that we wished we had time to read and review.
We’ll even try to
do some work and get some news from the publishing world that you (if we’re doing the job correctly) haven’t read
anywhere else. Example? Jon Winokur’s
book The War Between the State: Northern California
vs. Southern California ($16.95 Sasquatch Books) will be published on July
10, 2004. Everybody outside the state loves to bash California. The residents square off in a more regional competition. (It’s
a natural tendency, for instance if you ask anyone who works at the large University in the Westwood area of LA, some will
tell you that “north campus” is the better of the two sections.) This
columnist has been a proud resident of LA for many years, but we also were very enthusiastic when we were citizens of San
Francisco and South Lake Tahoe. Consequently, this book may produce a very conflicted
response for this particular potential reviewer.
So how will our “roundups”
look? Here’s what the kind of items we propose to assemble and disseminate
from time to time:
Barbi Loves LA by Greg La Voi (Angel City Press
$30). Attention: New York media mavens who love to ridicule Los Angeles, this
book features photos of the famous doll at various LA attractions. The forward
was written by Bob Mackie. Here in Los Angeles, where some (many?) of the citizens
are ordained ministers in the Universal Life Church, all that we can do regarding those misguided souls in the Big Apple is
pray that they will find a source of healing for their torment. (Like maybe a
two-week rest in Palm Springs?)
The San Fernando Valley: America’s Suburb by
Kevin Roderick ($24.95 LA Times). The revised edition has just hit the shelves in the Westside. This is a strait forward journalistic approach to the subject. It’s
like a biography for a geographical area. It will be a matter of local pride
for those who live there, but it seems unlikely that a friend in Concordia Kansas will ask for a copy of this book as a Christmas
Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism by
Bob Edwards who is also the NPR reporter (Wiley $19.95). Murrow smoke and drank and got his facts right. These days,
it seems, the press critics would swoop down on him and obsess over his cigarettes and alcoholic consumption. For some it would be a handy way to disrupt his quest to find the truth, which some in power might find
is the real objectionable aspect of his (and other journalists) career.
Photo Nomad by David Douglas Duncan (Norton
$29.95). In the pantheon of photography superstars David Douglas Duncan deserves
to have his name in there along with Ansel Adams, Walker Evans, and the like. Duncan
is best known for his photos showing the Korean conflict. Among his previous
books the best known one might be the one chronicling Picasso at work.
Seven Ages of Paris by Alistair
Horne (Vintage paperback $16). This biography of this city in France (not the
one of the same name in Texas) should provide the perfect rainy night reading for folks in Los Angeles who want to get familiar
with the background of the city that offers them the hope that they could live out their fantasies to go there and live the
Hemingway American exile lifestyle.
Americans in Paris: A Liteary Anthology edited
by Adam Gopnik ($40 Library of America). This is a literary collection of work
produced by writers from the US who actually did do the foreign correspondent on the Left Bank routine. This book should be the perfect means to deliver self-torture for the people who haven’t lived out
their dream of going to Paris to write the Great American Novel and occasionally have a few drinks at cinq rue Daunou.
40 Watts From Nowhere: A Journey into Pirate Radio by
Sue Carpenter (Scribner $23) What music fan hasn’t fantasized about sharing
their preferences with a radio audience?
Peace Kills: America’s Fun New Imperialism by P. J. O’Rourke ($23 Atlantic Monthy Press). Since
it seems quite likely that Rush Limbaugh won’t promote this book, it will be up to us to help put it on the New York
Times Bestsellers list. One of O’Rourke’s previous books was titled
Give War a Chance.
The Flash of Lightening Behind the Mountain: New Poems by
Charles Bukowski. This is the newest book by this famous member of the dead poets
society. He joined their club in 1994 and the prolific author’s production
level has noticeably declined. He hasn’t had a new book since The Night Torn Mad with Footsteps: New Poems was published in September
of 2001. Fans will eagerly read this recent addition to his list of published
books, and then begin the wait to see if and when he produces yet another new book anytime in the future.
Dogs Don’t Bite When a Growl Will Do: What Your Dog Can Teach You About
a Happy Life by Matt Weinstein and Luke Barber (Perigee $19.95). Everyone knows that a good dog can teach you how to live a better life.
One of the best overlooked lines in Celine’s Journey to the End of the Night was “A dog only knows what
it can smell.” It’s just lately that writers are learning to transcribe
the wisdom of dogs and earn big bucks. The title of this book is a perfect example
of the World’s Laziest Journalist’s philosophy of life. Grrrr.
This issue updated and published on...
Paris readers add nine hours....