5 Questions with David Sax, Author of The Revenge of Analog

revenge-of-analogOn Tuesday November 15, at 7pm, we’re thrilled to host journalist David Sax at City Lights! He will be discussing his new book, The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter from Public Affairs Books. David answered our five questions; more on him, and his answers, below.

The Event: Tuesday, November 15th, at 7:00pm. City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, 261 Columbus Ave, San Francisco CA, 94133.

About The Revenge of Analog: By now, we all know the mythology of the digital revolution: it improved efficiency, eliminated waste, and fostered a boom in innovation. But as business reporter David Sax shows in this clear-sighted, entertaining book, not all innovations are written in source code. In fact, businesses that once looked outdated are now springing with new life. Behold the Revenge of Analog.

Sax has found story after story of entrepreneurs, small business owners, and even big corporations who’ve found a market selling not apps but real, tangible things. As e-books are supposedly remaking reading, independent bookstores have sprouted up across the country. As music supposedly migrates to the cloud, vinyl record sales have grown more than ten times over the past decade, generating more than half a billion dollars in 2015 alone. Even the offices of Silicon Valley icons like Google and Facebook increasingly rely on analog technologies like pen and paper for their business.

Sax’s work reveals not just an under-reported trend in business, but a more fundamental truth about how humans shop, interact, and even think. Blending psychology and observant wit with old-fashioned reportage, Sax shows that humans need to work, sell, and live in the real world—not on a screen.

About David Sax: David Sax is a journalist specializing in business and culture. His writing appears regularly in Bloomberg Businessweek and The New Yorker’s Currency blog. He is the author of two books, including The Tastemakers: A Celebrity Rice Farmer, a Food Truck Lobbyist, and Other Innovators Putting Food Trends on Your Plate, and Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen, which won a James Beard Award for Writing and Literature. He lives in Toronto.

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City Lights: If you’ve been to City Lights before, what’s your memory of the visit? If you haven’t been here before, what are you expecting?

David Sax: The first time I ever visited San Francisco was back in 2001, during a road trip across Canada and the US with my girlfriend at the time. The city was more beautiful and iconic than we could have imagined, from the rain and the fog, to the food and the sweet hippie grunge. I don’t know how we ended up at City Lights, but I recall it was at night, in the rain, waiting for a table at an Italian restaurant nearby. And I remember as we browsed around for half an hour or so, telling her just how much I loved bookstores like this, and how they made life worth living. Maybe I bought a Steinbeck book. Or maybe I just wish I did. Either way, I can’t wait to return.

CL: What’s the first book you read & what are you reading right now?

DS: Well, since I was born in a pre-Sandra Boynton era, it was likely Goodnight Moon, or the Richard Scarry masterpiece Cars, Trucks and Things that Go. The first author I really recall digging into was Gordon Korman, a prolific Canadian author that has written nearly a hundred kids and YA books, starting with his epic series about a couple of misfits at a boarding school called Bruno and Boots. Those books were the first I recall reading with a flashlight under the covers, well past my bedtime.

Currently, I’m reading The Vegetarian by Han Kang, which is a frighteningly gripping tale laced with horror out of South Korea. My friend Rob Sternberg picked it for our book club.

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CL: Which 3 books would you never part with?

DS: Just three? Seriously? Oh crap.

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler, because it’s the closest thing my father has to an autobiography, and it’s the canon of the Canadian-Jewish identity.

The Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck. The greatest novel I have ever read. Consumed over two days as I was sick with strep throat in a dorm in an Australian ski resort where I was working. My last actual job!

The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert Caro. A beast of paper. A slog that took me six months to finish, but changed the way I see everything from politics to sidewalks, and a masterwork of journalism at its finest.

CL: If your book had a soundtrack, what would it be?

DS: This is so easy, because I basically picked up dozens of records over the course of my “research”, and played them all through the writing. I’ll list a handful of the albums here: +’Justments by Bill Withers, Promised Land Sound by Promised Land Sound, Lazaretto by Jack White, Lost Soul by Geater Davis, Sour Soul by BadBadNotGood and Ghostface Killah, Black Messiah by D’Angelo, and many many more.

CL: If you opened a bookstore tomorrow, where would it be located, what would it be called, and what would your bestseller be?

DS: If I had my way, maybe a ski town, or surf town. Ride in the morning, sell books in the afternoon/evening. Yeah, live the dream. Actually, that’s pretty much how it works in San Francisco, right?

Given that, Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan is a no brainer, and the best book I have read over the past two years. Got me back in the water, even if my waves are crappy wind-blown ones on Lake Ontario, caught on an inflatable paddleboard. But hey, no sharks!


Please join us on November 15th at 7pm to welcome David Sax at City Lights! Find The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter direct from Public Affairs Books , City Lights, or ask for it at your local independent bookstore.

For more information about authors visiting City Lights, go to our complete calendar.

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Tears . . . and a Smile

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By Mumia Abu-Jamal

[col. writ. 11/11/16] ©’16 Mumia Abu-Jamal

For many across America, the presidential election has left them distraught, awash with anxiety, fear and even dread.

It seems surreal. A candidate caught on tape, saying what he said, who launched a pernicious hate campaign directed at Mexicans and Muslims, a man who seemed to embody a sense of doom.

And yet; and yet . . .

Donald Trump has snatched the brass ring; the prize of prizes of politics; his first and only political race and political win. For good or ill, this election may transform American politics.

It would be accurate to say that economic discontent played a part, the result of the Clinton-era NAFTA pact (for the North American Free Trade Agreement).

But that’s not all. The Trump campaign represented not just fear, but profound paranoia–and also white revenge for the darkening of America.

If Trumpism represented vengeance, then Clintonism represented betrayal. For every constituency that voted for Bill Clinton, gays, Blacks, you name it, the Clintons supported bills against their interests, like DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), the AEDPA (an anti-habeas corpus bill), or NAFTA, despite massive labor support.

These are indeed dark days in Babylon.

Yet, believe it or not, this too shall pass.

—©’16maj

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Sam Champion Interviews Reverend Billy on the Weather Channel

In the midst of protesting consumerism and fighting for Earth-conscious justice, Reverend Billy stopped by the Weather Channel for an interview with Sam Champion last month.

The Reverend and the Church of Stop Shopping’s choir combat climate change and the “brain saturation of products” with music, dramatic action, and performances. Rather than holding gatherings in a church, the congregation performs in Wal-Marts, police stations, traffic jams, and anywhere else their activism takes them. Currently, the Church has been involved with protesting Monsanto and the spraying of the popular weed killer Roundup, which contains the chemical glyphosate, in public parks. Glyphosate, according to the World Health Organization, has been found to be carcinogenic. Under the Freedom of Information Act, Reverend Billy and his congregation have discovered the sites of thousands of public parks sprayed with this harmful chemical.

Watch below as Reverend Billy explains the Church of Stop Shopping, the protests against Monsanto, and how to “stop shopping and start living”.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on Reverend Billy, the Church of Stop Shopping, and their ongoing fight in the context of the $57 billion Monsanto/Bayer merger.

For a full list of parks and public sites sprayed by Monsanto’s Roundup (hint: it’s probably the park in your city), visit Reverend Billy’s website.

Reverend Billy is the author of The Earth Wants You, a motivational handbook for earth activists (published last spring through City Lights Publishers). Purchase it at citylights.com and wherever quality books are sold.

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5 Questions with Rabih Alameddine, Author of The Angel of History

angel-of-historyOn October 4th, we had the pleasure of hosting Rabih Alameddine at City Lights Bookstore. He discussed and celebrated the recent release of his new novel, The Angel of History from Atlantic Monthly Press. He also answered our five questions. More about him, and his answers, below.

About The Angel of History: Following the critical and commercial success of An Unnecessary Woman, Alameddine delivers a spectacular portrait of a man and an era of profound political and social upheaval.

Set over the course of one night in the waiting room of a psych clinic, The Angel of History follows Yemeni-born poet Jacob as he revisits the events of his life, from his maternal upbringing in an Egyptian whorehouse to his adolescence under the aegis of his wealthy father and his life as a gay Arab man in San Francisco at the height of AIDS. Hovered over by the presence of alluring, sassy Satan who taunts Jacob to remember his painful past and dour, frigid Death who urges him to forget and give up on life, Jacob is also attended to by 14 saints. Set in Cairo and Beirut; Sana’a, Stockholm, and San Francisco; Alameddine gives us a charged philosophical portrait of a brilliant mind in crisis. This is a profound, philosophical and hilariously winning story of the war between memory and oblivion we wrestle with every day of our lives.

“Rabih Alameddine is one our most daring writers—daring not in the cheap sense of lurid or racy, but as a surgeon, a philosopher, an explorer, or a dancer.”—Michael Chabon

“There are many ways to break someone’s heart, but Rabih Alameddine is one rare writer who not only breaks our hearts but gives every broken piece a new life.”—Yiyun Li

About Rabih Alameddine: Rabih Alameddine is the author of the novels Koolaids, and I, the DivineThe Hakawati, An Unnecessary Woman, the story collection, The Pervand most recently, The Angel of History. He divides his time between San Francisco and Beirut.

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City Lights: If you’ve been to City Lights before, what’s your memory of the visit? If you haven’t been here before, what are you expecting?

Rabih Alameddine: I’m a local and an avid buyer of books, so of course, I have been many times. City Lights is one of my favorite bookstores. I tend to like idiosyncratic ones and CL is most certainly one.

Best memory: I’ve been lucky enough to hang out with some great writers there, but my favorite memory is being chided in no uncertain terms by Tân Khanh Cao. She insisted that I should have had the book launch of An Unnecessary Woman at her store because “your novel is a City Lights novel.” She was right, of course. I’m still trying to apologize, though I’m terribly flattered.

CL: What’s the first book you read & what are you reading right now?

RA: The first books I read were Enyd Blyton novels, began with Noddy picture books, and graduated to Famous Five and Secret Seven books. I’m reading the magnificent Götz and Meyer by David Albahari. I’ve had this one for a while. While in Sarajevo this summer someone mentioned his work, so I started it. It’s quite dazzling.

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CL: Which 3 books would you never part with?

RA: You can’t ask a reader that. How can I come up with only three books? If you ask me to choose every five minutes I’d come up with a different three. So for the next five minutes, these are the books I’d never part with: Sepharad by Antonio Muñoz Molina, The Emigrants by W. G. Sebald, and Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar. No, wait. Let me put Lolita instead of Sebald. No, Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, or Aleksandar Hemon’s The Lazarus Project. Is my five minutes up? No, wait . . . oh, never mind.

CL: If your book had a soundtrack, what would it be?

RA: Carmina Burana and “The Goldberg Variations.” Maybe the Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” as well.

CL: If you opened a bookstore tomorrow, where would it be located, what would it be called, and what would your bestseller be?

RA: Funny, but my dream of opening a bookstore in Beirut was taken away from me. A few people whom I don’t know just opened one and called it Aaliya’s Books after the narrator of Unnecessary Woman. For someone like me, that’s like winning the greatest prize.


For more about Rabih, check out his website and follow him on twitter. For more events this fall please be sure to visit our complete calendar.

Get The Angel of History direct from Grove Atlantic, from City Lights, or at your local independent bookseller. Go to our 5 Questions page to see how all the authors visiting City Lights answered.

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5 Questions for Keramet Reiter, Author of 23/7

Reiter jacket 211467.inddPlease join us on October 25th, at 7pm as we welcome Keramet Reiter to City Lights Bookstore. Keramet, an assistant professor at the University of California, Irvine, will be in conversation with Keith Wattley about her brand new book, 23/7: Pelican Bay Prison and the Rise of Long-Term Solitary Confinement (Published by Yale University Press). The Event is Co-sponsored by UnCommon Law. Keramet answered our 5 questions! More about her, and her answers, below.

The Event: Tuesday, October 25th, at 7pm. City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, 261 Columbus Ave, San Francisco CA, 94133.

About 23/7: Pelican Bay Prison and the Rise of Long-Term Solitary Confinement: Originally meant to be brief and exceptional, solitary confinement in U.S. prisons has become long-term and common. Prisoners spend twenty-three hours a day in featureless cells, with no visitors or human contact for years on end, and they are held entirely at administrators’ discretion. Keramet Reiter tells the history of one “supermax,” California’s Pelican Bay State Prison, whose extreme conditions recently sparked a statewide hunger strike by 30,000 prisoners. This book describes how Pelican Bay was created without legislative oversight, in fearful response to 1970s radicals; how easily prisoners slip into solitary; and the mental havoc and social costs of years and decades in isolation. The product of fifteen years of research in and about prisons, this book provides essential background to a subject now drawing national attention.

About Keramet Reiter: Keramet Reiter, an assistant professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society and at the School of Law at the University of California, Irvine, has been an advocate at Human Rights Watch and testified about the impacts of solitary confinement before state and federal legislators. She lives in Los Angeles, CA.

keramet-reiter

About Keith Wattley: Keith Wattley is the founder and executive director of UnCommon Law. He has been advocating for the rights of prisoners and parolees for nearly twenty years. Prior to launching UnCommon Law in 2006, Keith was a staff attorney at the Prison Law Office, a nonprofit law firm in Berkeley. He has represented thousands of prisoners in impact litigation and individual matters involving mental health care, gang validation, religious freedom, prison infirmaries, medical care, excessive force, visitation, parole consideration and parole revocation.

About Uncommon Law: UnCommon Law is a California non-profit law office whose mission is to help long-term prisoners understand and resolve the factors that contributed to their crimes so that they can safely be released. We work with prisoners for months or years in advance of their parole board hearings, and we represent them in those hearings and in court petitions challenging the parole board and the Governor.


City Lights: If you’ve been to City Lights before, what’s your memory of the visit? If you haven’t been here before, what are you expecting?

Keramet Reiter: I first went to City Lights when I moved to Berkeley in the early 2000s after finishing college on the East Coast. I was impressed by all the poetry, but A Coney Island of the Mind seemed the most appropriate collection to buy.

CL: What’s the first book you read & what are you reading right now?

KR: The first chapter-book I remember reading was Helen Keller’s autobiography, The Story of My Life. I live in L.A., so much of my “reading” now happens via audiobook while I’m stuck in traffic; I’m currently listening to Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem.

CL: Which 3 books would you never part with?

KR: Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, Ted Conover’s Newjack, and Jonathan Franzen’s The Discomfort Zone.

CL: If your book had a soundtrack, what would it be?

KR: John Cage meets pirate metal.

CL: If you opened a bookstore tomorrow, where would it be located, what would it be called, and what would your bestseller be?

KR: I’d open a mobile prison library, and aspire to have a poetry section as good as the one at City Lights.


Join us on October 25th at 7pm to welcome Keramet Reiter! Be sure to check out her website as well as UnCommon Law’s. For more information about our upcoming fall events, be sure to visit our complete events calendar.

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5 Questions with Alexander Maksik, Author of Shelter in Place

shelter-in-placeOn Wednesday October 5th, 2016 at City Lights, we were thrilled to welcome Alexander Maksik and join him in celebrating his new book, Shelter in Place from Europa Editions.

Alexander answered our five questions. More about him, and his answers, below.

About Shelter in Place: Set in the Pacific Northwest in the jittery, jacked-up early 1990s, Shelter in Place, by one of America’s most thrillingly defiant contemporary authors, is a stylish literary novel about the hereditary nature of mental illness, the fleeting intensity of youth, the obligations of family, and the dramatic consequences of love.

Joseph March, a twenty-one year-old working class kid from Seattle, is on top of the world. He has just graduated college and his future beckons, unencumbered, limitless, magnificent. Joe’s life implodes when he starts to suffer the symptoms of bipolar disorder, and, not long after, his mother kills a man she’s never met with a hammer.

Joe moves to White Pine, Washington, where his mother is serving time and his father has set up house. He is followed by Tess Wolff, a fiercely independent woman with whom he has fallen in love. The lives of Joe, Tess, and Joe’s father fall into the slow rhythm of daily prison visits followed by beer and pizza at a local bar. Meanwhile, Anne-Marie March, Joe’s mother, is gradually becoming a local heroine—many see her crime as a furious, exasperated act of righteous rebellion. Tess, too, has fallen under her spell. Spurred on by Anne-Marie’s example, Tess enlists Joe in a secret, violent plan that will forever change their lives.

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About Alexander Maksik: Alexander Maksik is the author of the novels You Deserve Nothing (Europa, 2011) and A Marker to Measure Drift (Knopf, 2013), which was a New York Times Book Review Notable Book, as well as a finalist for both the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing and Le Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger.


City Lights: If you’ve been to City Lights before, what’s your memory of the visit? If you haven’t been here before, what are you expecting?

Alexander Maksik: My parents brought me to the shop long before I could read, and I remember the smell, the quiet, the creaking floors. Whenever we visited, they made it clear that City Lights was a sacred place and we always entered with the kind of reverence reserved for places of worship. But it was for them a place of worship and, really, it’s become the same for me. I come and spend an hour or so every time I’m in San Francisco, and I’m always relieved that it’s there and that it has mostly stayed the same.

CL: What’s the first book you read & what are you reading right now?

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5 Questions with Okey Ndibe, Author of Never Look an American in the Eye

never-look-an-americanOn Thursday, October 18th at 7pm, we are thrilled to welcome back the acclaimed Okey Ndibe to City Lights Bookstore. Okey will be discussing and celebrating the release of his new book, Never Look an American in the Eye: A Memoir of Flying Turtles, Colonial Ghosts, and the Making of a Nigerian American from Soho Press. Okey answered our 5 Questions. More information on him, and his answers, below.

Event: Thursday, October 18th at 7pm. 261 Columbus Ave., San Francisco, CA 94133.

About Never Look an American in the Eye: A Memoir of Flying Turtles, Colonial Ghosts, and the Making of a Nigerian American: Okey Ndibe’s funny, charming, and penetrating memoir tells of his move from Nigeria to America, where he came to edit the influential—but forever teetering on the verge of insolvency—African Commentary magazine. It recounts stories of Ndibe’s relationships with Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, and other literary figures; examines the differences between Nigerian and American etiquette and politics; recalls an incident of racial profiling just 13 days after he arrived in the US, in which he was mistaken for a bank robber; considers American stereotypes about Africa (and vice-versa); and juxtaposes African folk tales with Wall Street trickery. All these stories and more come together in a generous, encompassing book about the making of a writer and a new American.

About Okey Ndibe: Okey Ndibe first arrived in the US to take up appointment as the founding editor of African Commentary, a magazine published by the Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe. He has been a visiting professor at Brown University, Connecticut College, Simon’s Rock College, Trinity College, and the University of Lagos (as a Fulbright scholar). The author of Foreign Gods, Inc., Ndibe served on the editorial board of Hartford Courant where his essays won national and state awards. He earned MFA and PhD degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He lives in West Hartford, CT, with his wife, Sheri, and their three children.

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City Lights:  If you’ve been to City Lights before, what’s your memory of the visit? If you haven’t been here before, what are you expecting?

Okey Ndibe: My memory was the harmony among the books (they seemed to sing exultantly) and the amazing warmth of the setting of the reading: a sense of intimate closeness between the readers, books, and I.

CL: What’s the first book you read & what are you reading right now?

ON: It was in pre-school, a primer, sometime in the 20th century. It began, “Obi is a boy. Ada is a girl.” I was absolutely charmed by those lines. But what 21st-century being still remembers the title of a book they read in the dim 20th Century, eh? Right now, I’m reading Teju Cole’s exquisite essays, Known and Strange Things.

CL: Which three books would you never part with?

ON: The Bible, Collected Shakespeare, Things Fall Apart.

CL: If your book had a soundtrack, what would it be?

ON: Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds”.

CL: If you opened a bookstore tomorrow, where would it be located, what would it be called, and what would your bestseller be?

ON: In my hometown of Amawbia in southeastern Nigeria. I’d call it, Kaodiechi Books, invoking the praise name of my grandfather, a man I never met, but whose legend was that he was the first person from his town to speak the English language. It’s a funny, complicated story, and I tell it in Never Look an American in the Eye.


Please join us in welcoming Okey on Thursday, October 20th. Be sure to check out his website, and get Never Look an American in the Eye direct from Soho Press, from City Lights, or at your local independent bookseller. To keep up to date on our fall events, visit our complete event calendar.

 

 

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5 Questions with Carey Perloff, Author of Beautiful Chaos

beautiful-chaos-one-cityCarey Perloff‘s book Beautiful Chaos: A Life in the Theater (Published by City Lights Publishers) is San Francisco’s One City One Book in 2016! Carey is the Artistic Director of San Francisco’s acclaimed American Conservatory Theater, as well as an award-winning playwright and theater director. She answered our five questions! More about her, and her answers, below.

About Beautiful Chaos: A Life in the Theater: A lively and revealing memoir of  twenty-plus years at the helm of the the American Conservatory Theater, Carey Perloff delivers a provocative and impassioned manifesto for the role of live theater in today’s technology-infused world.

Perloff’s personal and professional journey—her life as a woman in a male-dominated profession, as a wife and mother, a playwright, director, producer, arts advocate, and citizen in a city erupting with enormous change—is a compelling, entertaining story for anyone interested in how theater gets made. She offers a behind-the-scenes perspective, including her intimate working experiences with well-known actors, directors, and writers including Tom Stoppard, Harold Pinter, Robert Wilson, David Strathairn, and Olympia Dukakis.

Whether reminiscing about her turbulent first years as a young woman taking over an insolvent theater in crisis and transforming it into a thriving, world-class performance space, or ruminating on the potential for its future, Perloff takes on critical questions about arts education, cultural literacy, gender disparity, leadership and power.

Beautiful Chaos is an extraordinary journey of Carey Perloff and her theatre, ACT. Their continued evolution and ability to define and re-define themselves with courage, tenacity, and bravery allow them to confront what seem like insurmountable odds. This continues to shape and inspire Carey and those who work with her.”—Olympia Dukakis, Academy Award-winning actress

“Carey Perloff’s lively, outspoken memoir of adventures in running and directing theatre will be a key document in the story of playmaking in America.”—Tom Stoppard, Playwright

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About Carey Perloff: Carey Perloff was born in Washington, D.C.  At age twenty-seven, she was hired to run Classic Stage Company. Perloff was the youngest person ever to be hired to run a major LORT theater when A.C.T. chose her in 1992 to become its third artistic director. She took over a ruined building and a demoralized and broke institution and set about bringing it back to life. In addition, Perloff has written a number of award-winning plays, including Luminescence Dating, Higher, and Kinship; has taught for many years in A.C.T.’s acclaimed MFA Program and at universities around the country; and has directed dozens of major reinterpretations of classical plays, from Hecuba to ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore, as well as world premieres of new work. She helped rebuild A.C.T.’s Geary Theater after it suffered massive damage in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and was involved in opening The Strand, a new performing venue and a long-dreamed-of second stage for A.C.T. Perloff writes and lectures regularly about the American theater and about issues in culture and contemporary life that are close to her heart.


City Lights: If you’ve been to City Lights before, what’s your memory of the visit? If you haven’t been here before, what are you expecting?

Carey Perloff: I spend a great deal of time at City Lights . . . but my first visit was in 1977 when I was a freshman at Stanford and I made my way there, full of wonder, walking up the stairs to the poet’s corner and peering in at Ferlinghetti’s desk. I remember buying a lot of novels in translation, because the Stanford bookstore had nothing of the kind. I was in HEAVEN.

City Lights: What’s the first book you read & what are you reading right now?

CP: I think the first book I remember reading was D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths (great pictures too). Right now I am reading Dave Eggers’ The Circle and an amazing book on Angel Island given to me by Sean San José.

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Maps to the Imaginary: Susan Daitch’s The Lost Civilization of Suolucidir

lostcivilizationAdding a fourth novel to her highly-acclaimed bibliography, Susan Daitch takes us on an adventure story like no other in The Lost Civilization of Suolucidir. Named one of Book Riot’s “100 Must-Read Works of Jewish Fiction,” the novel offers a post-colonial perspective on an obsessive archaeological dig for the lost city of “Suolucidir”—located in a region thought to have existed near present-day Iran. As a series of characters hunt after this hidden terrain, a seemingly simple adventure novel quickly gives way to complex, folding temporal narratives and flux identities.

Publishers Weekly chose the novel as one of the “Best Summer Books of 2016”:

“Daitch’s fantastically fun novel has shades of Umberto Eco and Paul Auster and is brainy, escapist fiction at its best . . . an intricate, absorbing narrative. . . . What exactly is Suolucidir? Lost city of the Hebrew tribes? A stand-in for colonialism’s heart of darkness? As one character says, ‘Invisible cities sometimes leave no trace of themselves. Who knows what cities lay under our feet?'”

Motivated by self-interest, the hidden city pulls treasure-hunters into its siren-like grasp. As the hunt to uncover Suolucidir haunts the characters, so, too, is the reader pulled towards the mythological city-state and the need to establish its physicality. As Daitch explains in a recent essay on Lit Hub, “An Incomplete Atlas of Fantastic Maps: Literature’s Attempt to Map the Countries Yet to Come”:

“It’s impossible to actually step onto the Phantom Islands or DMZ’s New York, but there is something tantalizing and uncanny about these maps to the imaginary. They offer a way of reading, providing some kind of working gravitational pull to the magical film that runs in your head as you read.”

At its heart, Daitch’s novel encapsulates a world ravaged by imperialism, marrying Indiana Jones and Italo Calvino in a swirling narrative about discovery, fantasies, and the boundaries between the past and future. And, as author Mark Doten writes, “The Lost Civilization of Suolucidir is a beguiling and virtuoso companion to our inevitable end.”

newssusandaitchAlso check out this interview Susan did with Evan Lavender-Smith for BOMB. The Lost Civilization of Suolucidir is available now at citylights.com at a 30% discount and wherever quality books are sold.

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Ralph Nader Talks Breaking Through Power and more on Democracy Now!

Ralph Nader appeared on Demorcacy Now! on Monday, September 19th with Amy Goodman. In the interview, Nader talks about the exclusion of third-party candidates from the upcoming first presidential debate, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, and his new book, Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think, which was just published by City Lights in our Open Media Series.

We have the full episode which includes the interview as well as exclusive photos by City Lights Open Media Series editor, Greg Ruggiero, who accompanied Nader for the interview.

Find Breaking Through Power at City Lights or ask for it at your local independent bookstore.

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