Jeff Chang, whose Can’t Stop Wont Stop I just can’t recommend enough for anyone interested in the history of hip hop, has a great piece in the LARB on rap music and the 1992 LA Riots. The LA Times also ran a compelling essay on Toddy Tee, N.W.A. and other prescient west coast MCs, the forefathers of what became commercial gangsta rap.
True Detective ended weeks ago, but someone once told me, “Time is a flat circle,” and that everything we’ve ever done or will do, we’re gonna do over and over and over again. And this piece on the show’s finale by Lili Loofbourow is going to be the best one you’ll read on the internet again and again and again forever. (Bonus: Our own Ujala Sehgal crafted a reading list based on one of the show’s [missing] elements.)
Stephen Elliot explains why publishers are shooting themselves in the foot when they gouge authors trying to buy copies of their own books.
“People who shun new technologies will be viewed as passive-aggressive control freaks trying to rope people into their world, much like vegetarian teenage girls in the early 1980s.” Novelist Douglas Coupland (who popularized the term “Generation X”) previews his lecture “A radical pessimist’s guide to the next ten years” in the Globe and Mail.
It’s a big week for new books. Amitav Ghosh’s River of Smoke is now out, as is Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks, Chango’s Beads and Two-Tone Shoes by William Kennedy, Luminous Airplanes by Paul La Farge, and The Funny Man by John Warner, who recently appeared in these pages. Philip Roth’s American Trilogy is getting the Library of America treatment. (Capsule previews of all of the preceding titles are available here, incidentally). New in non-fiction is Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve: How the World Became Modern and Susan Orlean’s Rin Tin Tin. And out in paperback: none other than Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom.