Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Literacy and Longing in LA

Speaking of the past coming right back at you suddenly, while I was in LA Dutton's bookstore in Brentwood closed down. It was a very good bookstore, (more here from the Huffington Post's Tom Teicholz [is this the same Teicholz I went to school with in the Riverdale section of the Bronx?]) and ended up playing a big role in my life and that of someone I know, who used to go there when we lived in Santa Monica, and every time we visited my parents.

From the press, I learned that the bookstore also features prominently in Karen Mack's novel (written with Jennifer Kaufman) Literacy and Longing in L.A. In another curious coincidence (call it fate?), Karen Mack was my first college instructor. She taught a course in dramatic literature at Santa Monica College that I attended in a special program while going to Santa Monica High School. She was a great teacher, and conveyed such enthusiasm for theatre that I ended up following that calling to the bloody end--MFA and PhD from UCLA's School of Theatre, Film and TV.

I read the book, and while it's not Shakespeare, it's a nice way to revisit locations from my youth in Brentwood, Santa Monica and West Los Angeles--sort of down memory lane. Yes, there's a Hollywood angle. And even a sort of happy ending. Good for reading on an airplane, which is where I finished it. Warning: there are a couple of explicit sex scenes that are hard to take for a former student of the author...