"I cannot live without books." -- Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, July 29, 2010

"500 Essential Cult Books: The Ultimate Guide"

The Ultimate bathroom/bathtub/on your working desk type of book. There are many essential guides on literature, but this one is put together quite well. Also a lot of book cover graphics and most important it lists my edition of "Foam of the Daze" in their classic section of cult novels. Page 50 to remind you.

But also of course there are essential "cult" books left out as well. Dennis Copper comes to mind right away and that is an essential read in that field, and there are others. But again, that is part of the fun in these type of collections. What should be in and what shouldn't be in the collection. Nicely edited for those who need a quick reference, and also a great guide to bring with you when you come to Book Soup (my occupation).

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Georges Perec's "An Attempt At Exhausting A Place In Paris"

Georges Perec wrote this fascinating little (very little but beautifully designed) book regarding one location in Paris, and documenting what was happening around that section. And that is basically it! Buses come and go, taxi stand, children walk by as others. Totally uninteresting and that is what's interesting about it.

Perec only records what's not interesting and by doing that he is capturing a series of moments that one never pays attention to. And there is a beauty to that. Also Perec is hysterical. His little side-comments are priceless and very dry. It is almost like reading notes from a detective at a stake-out (is that the term), but there is nothing to report! I love that

Richard Henderson's book on Van Dyke Park's "Song Cycle"

For years i have purchased and sold back my various copies of Van Dyke Park's "Song Cycle." There are albums one gets right away, and then there are others that are a total head scratcher. And for me, "Song Cycles" is an album I to this day I don't have an understanding of it. Yet I keep downloading/buying this album. Mostly due to friends who swear to this album, but also there are sounds on this record that doesn't leave me. It is so eccentric, and believe me I own and love a lot of 'strange' recordings. But "Song Cycle" is like listening to someone's inner thoughts that are not connected to other thoughts.

Richard Henderson's short book (part of the great 33 1/3 series) on "Song Cycle" and its making is an essential text to this weirdo album. One of the great things about the book is that it doesn't expose the mystery - because this is a recording that you are going to get or not get. And with frustration I have been stuck on the crossing where I don't know which road to take.

So in a nutshell for reasons I don't fully understand this album is quite remarkable, and its nice to have text exploring "Song Cycle's" themes and early Americana, which to me, makes the U.S. a foreign world. Also it is nice that something that was recorded 40 years ago still is a puzzle to the ears.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Page-turner galore! There is nothing better then to sit down in the backyard and read about people who are worst off then the reader. Tony O'Neill has a great understanding of the narcotic world, and he uses that knowledge to write a thriller of sorts - or a plot driven by characters we care about. It's classic noir country and he uses Los Angeles as a character in the narrative.

As the novel goes on things get worse, strange connections between individuals are made and lost, and one gets a nice snapshot on the drug-induced citizens of Hollywood. A beautiful friendship/relationship from the main two characters starts up and gets better. It is a love story of sorts but without the erotic urges. Also throw in old Hollywood lore, and it is a great cocktail of a book.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Don Winslow Q&A

Have you ever read Finnegans Wake by James Joyce? Well, Don Winslow thinks you're lying.

Check out this great feature on one of our favorite authors, Don Winslow, courtesy of Shelf Awareness.

Book Soup still has a few signed copies left of Winslow's fantastic new title, Savages! Be sure to pick one up from the Book Soup website, here.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Come on down to the Sunset Strip for some killer readings and equally killer tunes.

Sunday, July 18th, 6pm:
Ex-GUIDED BY VOICES Bassist and Author of Artificial Light and Guided By Voices: A Brief History JAMES GREER presents & signs his latest novel, The Failure

Acclaimed Author of Eat Hell JOSEPH MATTSON presents & signs Empty the Sun: A Novel with Soundtrack by Drag City Recording Artist SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE


Book Soup 8818 Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood CA 90069 310-659-3110 www.booksoup.com

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

T. Cooper @ Book Soup tonight!

We couldn't be happier to welcome T. Cooper tonight at 7:00pm to Book Soup to read and sign from his new novel, The Beaufort Diaries! You can read all about Cooper's relationship with Homer's The Odyssey courtesy of this morning's LA Times feature on the author - And be sure to check out this awesome new trailer for The Beaufort Diaries starring David Duchovny!

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Take a trip back to the decadent Jazz Age!
Visit our new Flapper section, filled to the brim with tomes by Miss Dorothy Parker, Fitzgerald, and Edna St Vincent Millay, as well as fascinating studies of some of our favorite flappers: Joan Crawford, Zelda Fitzgerald, Clara Bow, and more lovelies with shorn locks and rolled stockings!
Ask for the Flapper corner, where a martini awaits you and a Charleston contest is constantly in the works!
It's the bee's knees!

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Are you fond of Dago Red?
Do you lust after freight trains?
Do you have an itch to take to the road?

Then have we got a real Lu Lu for you!
We have a new Hobo section, and the best selection of Hobo literature in all of Shaky Town (Los Angeles)!
Included are Eddy Joe Cotton's book of hobo lingo....'The Hobo Lexicon' for only $1.49!
Learn all about Sea Stiffs, Hooch, and White Line Fever.
Woody Guthrie will also take you on a tour of the rails as he traveled them in the 20s and 30s in his memoir 'Bound for Glory.' He was no stranger to a bottle of hooch and a night under the stars.
Once you have devoured Woody Guthrie's book, you may take a shine to Jack Black's masterpiece 'You Can't Win,' about his time as a highwayman, "freight hopping around the still wide open West at the turn of the 20th century.." Among others, Jack Black's book had a supreme influence on William Burroughs and other Beat writers who stumbled upon this gem.
Mark Wyman has a new cultural study entitled 'Hoboes: Bindlestiffs, Fruit Tramps, and the Harvesting of the West,' which focuses on the migrant workers in the west from 1870-1920, and how they shaped the economy of the area and struggled to make decent existence for themselves.

So...set down your Pink Lady, pick up your Jack Roll, and mosey on over to the Main Drag, Sunset Blvd, for your Drifter tomes...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Josh Alan Friedman, Chris D. (The Flesh Eaters), & Wyatt Doyle @ Book Soup tonight

... Gearing up for tonight's reading from punk rock icon Chris D. with a little Flesh Eaters in the office... Such a brilliant front man, and equally as brilliant on page. His new book, A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die compiles a career-spanning collection of poetry, lyrics, short stories & novel excerpts... "Think 19th Century romanticism roughed up by James M. Cain, 'cut-up' by William S. Burroughs and screened on the wall of a bordertown drive-in." (New Texture). A must-have for fans of late 70's/early 80's LA punk rock.

We are extremely pleased to be kicking off New Texture Nights at Book Soup tonight at 7:00pm! New Texture is a new publishing venture in Los Angeles with a string of enticing events set-up all throughout LA in celebration of their three newest titles from seasoned author Josh Alan Friedman, punk rock icon Chris D. (The Flesh Eaters, Divine Horsemen), and author Wyatt Doyle. See each of these fantastic authors read - live, in the flesh - tonight at Book Soup!

For more info on New Texture, visit http://www.newtexturenights.com

Saturday, July 3, 2010

William S. Burroughs (Reaktion Books-Critical Lives)

Well, first of all, you can't go wrong with the Reaktion Books' "Critical Lives" series. They are biographies on 'difficult 19th and 20th century thinkers/artists/writers, but told lightly in the manner of not going over someone's head with too much critical theory speak. And they don't preach, and for sure doesn't talk down the subject matter. In other words they're great. I actually like these small biographies then the big one's that are out there on the same subject.

So what we have here that is new is the William S. Burroughs biography. One who follows the old titan of paranoia won't get anything new, but what Phil Baker does is put the whole picture in a frame that is pretty much essential to anyone who wants to dip his or her toes into the world of Burroughs.

In my youth Burroughs was a favorite of mine. I liked the pictures of him (always cool lookin'), and the deadpan delivery of his words and voice. Also the fact that he took the high in art/history with the lowest of the low (heroin culture, his love of trash Sci-fi novels, scandal sheets, and the stuff that American culture threw away in the trash).

But also a lot of the stuff that he threw out there had some great truth as well as pure crap. I also love the fact that he was pretty much of a failure till his late 40's. I admire that in a man! What troubles me about him is the shooting of his wife, the way he treated his son, and his love of guns. However you look at it, its pretty idiotic to play William Tell with a living person. An ugly incident, which through his guilt made him the writer that he became - or is that true?

In the end he became an icon for an era that no longer existed, which is understandable - but sad as well. So like everything else in the 20th Century you have to take the sugar as well as the bitters, and Burroughs was a major player as a writer. Good bio!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Operation Mincemeat: Perhaps the Most Absurd Intel Op of WWII

Ben Macintyre (author of the amazing Agent Zigzag) returns with a book about one of the most absurd, Pythonesque intelligence operations of World War II...

This book is about two intelligence officers: Charles Cholmondeley of M15 and Ewen Montagu of British Naval Intelligence. These two disparate individuals concocted one of the most daring plans of WWII, and it involved a dead man, false secrets, a canister of dried ice (designed by Charles Foster-Smith, the basis for Q in the Bond movies), the HMS Seraph, the Spanish city of Huelva, a life jacket, a reading of the 39th Psalm and a local fisherman, amongst other various players and details.

Give this book a read. Then do yourself a favor and read Macintyre's Agent Zigzag.