Eat, Pray, Know When to Hold ’Em: A Profile of Annie Duke
The Los Angeles Review of Books | Multimedia Literary and Cultural Arts Magazine
by AJ Urquidi
22h ago
This article is a preview of The LARB Quarterly, no. 36: “Are you content?” Coming soon to the LARB shop. ¤ IN 2004, Annie Duke won the first televised world championship in poker. She would later say that, even though she had been playing for a decade at that point, she felt like an imposter when she arrived as the only woman in the arena. Something like three percent of professional poker players were women when she started, and the numbers have never shifted all that much. The 2004 ESPN event was poker’s coming-out party to national audiences. The game looked like it might have a ..read more
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Compassion After Catastrophe: On Seishi Yokomizo’s “Death on Gokumon Island”
The Los Angeles Review of Books | Multimedia Literary and Cultural Arts Magazine
by AJ Urquidi
2d ago
THERE IS a distinct pleasure in getting to read the works of a seminal foreign writer having their books translated for the first time. It allows English-language readers a view into another country’s literary DNA, and inevitably illuminates other translated genre work from the same country. Such is the case with Seishi Yokomizo, a hugely influential Japanese mystery writer who had his first novel published in 1946. Over the last four years, Pushkin Press has translated four of his mysteries, most recently Death on Gokumon Island, the second book overall in Yokomizo’s Kosuke Kindaichi series ..read more
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Escape Therapy: On Douglas Rushkoff’s “Survival of the Richest”
The Los Angeles Review of Books | Multimedia Literary and Cultural Arts Magazine
by AJ Urquidi
2d ago
IN THE EARLY 2000s, North American entrepreneurs purchased 11,000 acres of land in Chile’s Casablanca Valley with the novel idea, as they saw it, of building a sustainable, self-supporting refuge from society. Invoking Ayn Rand’s famed Atlantis-in-the-Rockies from her 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged, the investors named the community Galt’s Gulch. Among them was Jeff Berwick, who would subsequently move on to Mexico, where he helped found and run the annual libertarian Anarchopulco conference. [1] In the 2010s, a new crop of investors proposed a similar project — this time named Fort Galt — further ..read more
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History of Smut: On Kelsy Burke’s “The Pornography Wars”
The Los Angeles Review of Books | Multimedia Literary and Cultural Arts Magazine
by AJ Urquidi
3d ago
THE UNITED STATES’ most important smut-buster, Anthony Comstock, he of the muttonchop sideburns and perpetual scowl, was never at a loss for florid words. Describing the impact of pornography in 1883, he likened it to a cancer, one tending toward “poisoning the nature, enervating the system, destroying self-respect, fettering the will-power, defiling the mind, corrupting the thoughts, leading to secret practices of most foul and revolting character, until the victim tires of life, and existence is scarcely endurable.” A century and a half later, Utah Republicans still agreed with him. They pas ..read more
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The Mirror World of Counterculture: On Lauren John Joseph’s “At Certain Points We Touch”
The Los Angeles Review of Books | Multimedia Literary and Cultural Arts Magazine
by AJ Urquidi
4d ago
LAUREN JOHN JOSEPH’S novel At Certain Points We Touch starts out at 4:30 a.m. in Mexico City. The first-person narrator — unnamed but addressed throughout the book alternately as JJ, Bibby, and Liza Minnelli — has just picked up a handsome American at a house party. On the way to breakfast at an all-night taqueria, the two get lost, stumbling out of the crumbling residential streets, onto a massive six-lane highway which told us we had gone too far. Gargantuan heavy goods vehicles, massive petroleum tankers and enormous Coca-Cola trucks thundered across the dying night, bellowing diesel throug ..read more
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Bludgeoning Process: On Serge Daney’s “The Cinema House and the World”
The Los Angeles Review of Books | Multimedia Literary and Cultural Arts Magazine
by LARB Intern
5d ago
FRENCH FILM CRITIC Serge Daney, on par with André Bazin and the leading critic-directors of the French New Wave, died in 1992 at the early age of 48. But he is back in the news, as Semiotext(e) has recently issued a new collection of his work, The Cinema House and the World: The Cahiers du Cinema Years, 1962–1981, translated by Christie Pichini, which is the first of four planned Daney-authored volumes. Daney viewed cinema as a great living-giving tree, branching off in many directions. By turns Marxist and Lacanian, he explicated the rapture of cinema, how it acted on him as a breathing prese ..read more
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Dancing on the World’s Thin Crust: On the MIT Press’s Radium Age Series
The Los Angeles Review of Books | Multimedia Literary and Cultural Arts Magazine
by LARB Intern
6d ago
WHEN THE MIT PRESS publishes science fiction, it does it to make a point. The Twelve Tomorrows series of anthologies, for example, show their origins as a spinoff of MIT Technology Review by aiming for day-after-tomorrow prescience. And the Radium Age series of books launched in 2022 challenges readers to reconsider the science fiction of the early 20th century through a novel periodization; the name is intended to bracket work published between the date Marie Curie discovered radium and the date she died of radiation-induced leukemia or, in deference to the convenience of round numbers, betwe ..read more
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The Function of the University at the Present Time: On Julia Schleck’s “Dirty Knowledge”
The Los Angeles Review of Books | Multimedia Literary and Cultural Arts Magazine
by AJ Urquidi
6d ago
PERHAPS THE ONLY uncontroversial statement one can make about the contemporary American university is that it is a deeply controversial institution. Indeed, universities appear besieged from multiple directions. Parents and students have become increasingly disenchanted as both prices and student debt have increased. Long-standing conservative criticisms of new forms of knowledge have morphed into claims of “ideological indoctrination”; right-wing governors and legislators have used these claims as justification to intrude into college teaching and research, banning certain subjects and demand ..read more
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Curtis White’s “Transcendent: Art and Dharma in a Time of Collapse.”
The Los Angeles Review of Books | Multimedia Literary and Cultural Arts Magazine
by chloeheather
1w ago
Subscribe on Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud Do you love listening to the LARB Radio Hour? Support the production of this weekly podcast on books, art, and culture. Donate today. Curtis White joins Kate Wolf and Eric Newman to speak about his latest essay collection, Transcendent: Art and Dharma in a Time of Collapse. The book offers an incisive critique of the Westernization of Buddhism, from its adoption by tech companies like Amazon and Google into a practice of corporate mindfulness that aids with productivity in the workplace; to its embrace by New Atheists, such as Stephen Batchelor ..read more
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The Photic and the Deep: On Sabrina Imbler’s “How Far the Light Reaches”
The Los Angeles Review of Books | Multimedia Literary and Cultural Arts Magazine
by AJ Urquidi
1w ago
“THIS BOOK takes its name from the vertical zones of the ocean,” writes Sabrina Imbler, “which are divided based on how far light reaches.” The photic, twilight, and aphotic zones are well-known divisions of the fishy deep, but what bears repeating is just how shallow the photic, or sunlit, portion is: most of the marine life we think about tends to live and hunt in the first 200 meters. The rest stretches down to an average of 3,700 meters (2.3 miles) and remains more obscure to scientists than the surface of Mars. We’ve learned only in the last few decades about the blind crabs and weird pal ..read more
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