America's most literate cities and more book news
Central Connecticut State University released its annual list of most literate cities Wednesday; Washington D.C. took the top spot. As in years past, Los Angeles didn't fare well. Why should we? We've only got the largest book festival in the country, vibrant independent booksellers, major univeristies, a fantastic public library system, highly literate public radio shows.... Sigh. We ranked No. 59. Oh well -- New York, the center of publishing, was only No. 22.
The Books are no more! The band, that is.
I had no tickets and I must scream. Author Harlan Ellison appeared at the Los Angeles revival house Cinefamily last week to talk about his career writing for television -- "Star Trek," "The Man From U.N.C.L.E," "The Outer Limits," etc. That would have been special enough, but midway through the onstage interview, the comedian Patton Oswalt interceded and took over. Oswalt added hilarity and upped the literary ante too (not that I'm sore about No. 59 or anything) -- he's the author of "Zombie Spaceship Wasteland," an L.A. Times bestseller, and recently wrote an appreciation of Ellison's story "A Boy and His Dog" for GQ. At least there's video.
Are you reading a book on your iPhone? Let the world know with a $35 literary iPhone case. The only catch: for passers-by to be able to judge your book by your iPhone cover, you have to be reading "The Great Gatsby," "A Clockwork Orange," "Moby-Dick" or "To Kill A Mockingbird."
What did Abraham Lincoln telegraph to his military leaders during the Civil War? People who visit the Huntington Library -- in San Marino, part of the literary metropolis that clocks in at No. 59 -- will discover firsthand this fall when part of a new acquisition, the Thomas T. Eckert archive, go on exhibit. Eckert was head of the military telegraph office of Lincoln's War Department; until recently, his archive had been thought to have been destroyed.
If C is for Cookie, E is for Elmo and e-books. Random House and Sesame Street have extended their licensing deal to include e-books and apps. The e-books "Elmo Says Achoo!" and "Elmo’s Breakfast Bingo" are available now; 17 more are on the way.
-- Carolyn Kellogg
Photo: Kerry Slattery of Los Angeles' Skylight Books in the store's front window in 2008. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times