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ALOUD @ Los Angeles Public Library

ALOUD is the Library Foundation of Los Angeles' award-winning literary series of live conversations, readings and performances at the historic Central Library and locations throughout Los Angeles.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates: Between the World and Me

In a revelatory testament of what it means to be black in America today, this timely new memoir solidifies Coates as one of today’s most important writers on the subject of race. Composed as letters to his teenage son, Coates bears witness to his own experiences as a young black man while moving between emotionally charged reportage of the recent shootings of unarmed black men by police. Coates—a national correspondent for The Atlantic, which published his landmark 2014 essay, “The Case for Reparations,” and author of the previous memoir, The Beautiful Struggle—arrives at a transcendent vision of the past and present to offer hope for his son’s future. Join us for a momentous conversation with Coates and historian Robin D.G. Kelley about America’s way forward.**Click here for photos of the event.

1hr 18mins

27 Oct 2015

Rank #1

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Mid-Century Modern: Architecture, Photography, and the Good Life in Cold War California

Join us for a conversation about the hugely influential photographer Maynard L. Parker, who aimed his lens at the mid-century masterworks of the L.A. architects and designers whose homes embodied the American dream during a time of demographic transitions, Cold War anxieties, and a suburban society driven to consume.

1hr 4mins

18 Jan 2013

Rank #2

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Hanya Yanagihara and Matthew Specktor: A Little Life: A Novel

One of the most talked-about books of last year (nominated for the Man Booker Prize and The National Book Award), A Little Life is a profoundly bold epic about love and friendship in the twenty-first century. Yanagihara follows the tragic and transcendent lives of four men—an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—who meet as college roommates and move to New York to spend the next three decades adrift, buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. Join Yanagihara for an intimate look at this masterful depiction of heartbreak and brotherly love.**Click here for photos from the program.

1hr 9mins

24 Feb 2016

Rank #3

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Denis Johnson and "The Starlight on Idaho"

For decades, celebrated fiction author Denis Johnson (Jesus’ Son and Tree of Smoke) has been writing some of the most adventurous plays in modern American theater, with a major trilogy focused on the Cassandra family, a clan so star-crossed that several members are incarcerated, institutionalized or in and out of rehab. The epistolary “The Starlight on Idaho” finds the youngest son, Cass, sobering up in a clinic housed in what was once a hot-sheet motel on Idaho Street, the Starlight. While he’s there he writes screeds, pleas and confessions to members of his family, his AA sponsor, his grade school love and Satan. In this unique adaptation, addressor and addressee voice the letters together. Literature as only Denis Johnson can create it, “The Starlight on Idaho” is not quite a story, not quite a play, it is pure WordTheatre. *Click here to see photos from the program!

1hr 28mins

24 Jun 2014

Rank #4

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An Evening with Anjelica Huston

Robert Capa photographed her as a toddler; she chatted with Brando and Steinbeck in her living room. Academy Award-winning actress/director Anjelica Huston shares from A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London, and New York with Colm Tóibín, one of Ireland’s greatest living writers. Huston’s memoir illuminates the unconventional life of the daughter of director John Huston and prima ballerina Enrica Soma. She recounts her childhood, early romances, and the successful modeling career that helped launch her acting career. A Story Lately Told follows Anjelica from the Irish estate where she spent her childhood to the dynamic cultural scenes of London in the ‘60s and New York in the ‘70s where she spent her teens and early adulthood. The evening also celebrates Huston’s Irish upbringing through readings, song, and rare footage of the Huston clan in County Galway. *Click here to see photos from the program!

1hr 1min

10 Dec 2013

Rank #5

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Magical Partnerships: Remembering Samuel Beckett

Imagine a rain-soaked Beckett knocks on your door with a new manuscript. What was it like to collaborate with, publish, and know the genius? Seaver (who with her husband discovered and published Beckett’s early work) and Mandell (an actor directed by the playwright himself) team up to read both Beckett’s work and the Seavers’ memoir about the golden age of publishing—and to discuss how the unconventional writer came to be revered by audiences everywhere. *Click here to see photos from the program!

1hr 24mins

12 Jun 2013

Rank #6

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The Feminine Mystique: Where Are We 50 Years Later?

Betty Friedan's groundbreaking book is now 50 years old, and the global struggle for gender equality is-according to many-the paramount moral struggle of this century. Different generations of feminists discuss their perspectives on the issues defining the struggle for women's rights today. Where are we now and where is this revolution headed? *Click here to see photos from the program!

1hr 20mins

22 Feb 2013

Rank #7

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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

At age twenty-six, in the wake of a divorce and her mother’s death, Cheryl Strayed made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert to Washington State—and to do it alone. Wild, Strayed’s best-selling memoir, is the utterly compelling story of a young woman finding her way—and herself—one brave step at a time.*Click HERE to see photos from the program!

1hr 4mins

11 Apr 2013

Rank #8

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The Making of the Great Bolaño: The Man and the Myth

Co-presented with LéaLA, Feria del Libro en Español de Los ÁngelesThe Making of the Great Bolaño: The Man and the MythPanel discussion with author Ben Ehrenreich; Barbara Epler, president, New Directions; author Mónica Maristain; and poet-translator David ShookModerated by Héctor Tobar, staff writer, Los Angeles Times"Books are the only homeland of the true writer, books that may sit on shelves or in the memory," wrote Roberto Bolaño. Ten years after his death, the legacy of Chilean author Roberto Bolaño lives not just in his poetry and prose, but also in the myth that surrounds a man who has come to define 21st century Latin American literature. This panel delves into the Bolaño mystique, convening the voices that have engaged both with his words and his ghosts. *Click here to see photos from the program!

1hr 21mins

17 May 2013

Rank #9

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Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America

Ghettoside tells the kaleidoscopic story of one American murder—one young black man slaying another—and a driven crew of detectives whose creed is to pursue justice for forgotten victims at all costs.  This fast-paced narrative of a devastating crime in South Los Angeles provides a new lens into the great subject of why murder happens in America—and how the plague of killings might yet be stopped. KCRW’s Warren Olney sits down with award-winning reporter Leovy to discuss this master work of literary journalism that is equal parts gripping detective story and provocative social critique.Click here to see photos from the program!

1hr 11mins

6 Feb 2015

Rank #10

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Where the Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River

The Colorado River is a crucial resource for a large part of the United States, and every gallon that flows down it is owned or claimed by someone. New Yorker staff writer David Owen, and author of more than a dozen books, delivers his latest work, Where the Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River, and takes readers on an eye-opening adventure downriver, along a labyrinth of waterways, power plants, farms, fracking sites, ghost towns, and RV parks, to the spot near the U.S.–Mexico border where the river runs dry. Exploring the complexities of this vast man-made ecosystem with environmental reporter Judith Lewis Mernit, Owen illuminates the high-stakes of the water wars of the West.For photos from the program, click here.

1hr 11mins

19 Apr 2017

Rank #11

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Exit West

New York Times bestselling author Mohsin Hamid returns to ALOUD to discuss his latest novel Exit West, a visionary love story that imagines the forces that drive ordinary people from their homes into the uncertain embrace of new lands. Infusing the stark reality of a refugee narrative with the hopeful fantasy of a fairy tale, Exit West follows the journey of two young lovers who flee an unnamed country on the brink of civil war through a magical door that transports them to other places. A profound exploration of immigration and the universal human need to search for a better world, Pakistan-based author Hamid discusses this timely story with Viet Thanh Nguyen, a MacArthur Award-winning novelist who has also written eloquently about the refugee experience.

1hr 16mins

3 Apr 2018

Rank #12

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Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh

In his thrilling new biography, Lahr—longtime New Yorker theater critic--gives intimate access to the life and mind of Williams- shedding new light on his warring family, his lobotomized sister, his sexuality, and his misreported death. In the sensational saga of Williams’ rise and fall, Lahr captures his tempestuous public persona and backstage life where Marlon Brando, Elia Kazan and others had scintillating walk-on parts. Maupin joins Lahr for a fascinating conversation about one of the most brilliant playwrights of his century, whose plays reshaped the American theater and the nation’s sense of itself.

1hr 7mins

8 Oct 2014

Rank #13

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How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

Imagine a world where kids got gold stars for grit and curiosity. Paul Tough introduces us to a new generation of scientists and educators who are radically rethinking our understanding of how children develop character, how they learn to think, and how they overcome adversity.

1hr 18mins

19 Sep 2012

Rank #14

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Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst

Why do we do the things we do? Author and MacArthur recipient Robert Sapolsky’s game-changing new book Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst attempts to answer this very question, one of the deepest questions of the human species. Moving between neurobiological factors, to the sensory world of our environment and endocrinology, to tracing individual’s childhoods and their genetic makeup, to encompassing larger categories of culture, ecology, and evolution, Sapolsky considers millions of years of science to wrestle with why we ultimately do the things we do…for good and for ill. Discussing his staggering work with evolutionary biologist Amy Parish, Sapolsky takes us on an engrossing tour of the science of human behavior.For photos from the program, click here.

1hr 19mins

26 May 2017

Rank #15

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An Evening with Arundhati Roy

Twenty years after her Booker Prize-winning novel The God of Small Things, internationally celebrated author Arundhati Roy returns to fiction with a dazzling new novel. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness journeys across the Indian subcontinent—from the cramped neighborhoods of Old Delhi and the roads of the new city to the mountains and valleys of Kashmir and beyond, where war is peace and peace is war. Braiding together a cast of characters who have been broken by the world they live in and then rescued, and patched together by acts of love and hope, Roy reinvents what a novel can be and reminds readers of her remarkable storytelling talents. Reading from this new novel and discussing her impressive body of work that includes recent nonfiction books such as Field Notes on Democracy and most recently Things That Can and Cannot Be Said, Roy joins prize-winning novelist and former L.A. Times columnist, Héctor Tobar for a very special evening of storytelling.Co-presented with JACCC and Scripps Presents

1hr 35mins

30 Jun 2017

Rank #16

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No Further West: The Story of Los Angeles Union Station

In 1939, Union Station opened on the former site of Los Angeles’s original Chinatown—displacing thousands of Chinese and Chinese Americans. The new station fulfilled the vision of civic leaders who believed that an impressive gateway was critical to the growth of Los Angeles. In place of Chinatown, a distinctive Mission Revival station proudly stands as the centerpiece of our regional transportation system. Yet balances of power and political economies were disrupted; financial and legal battles raged on for years. This panel—including members of the Union Station Master Plan team, an architectural historian (and exhibition curator), and the vice-president of the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California—will discuss the history of this architectural icon and share visions for its future.Presented in conjunction with the Getty Research Institute's exhibition of the same name in Central Library's Getty Gallery.*Click here to see photos from the program!

1hr 10mins

30 May 2014

Rank #17

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The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks

This first sweeping history of Parks’ life challenges perceptions of her as an accidental actor in the civil rights movement. Theoharis offers a compelling portrait of the working class activist who stared poverty and discrimination squarely in the face and never stopped rebelling against them in both the segregated South and North. Ericka Huggins—former political prisoner, human rights activist, poet and teacher-- who met Parks during her days of Black Panther activism-- joins the discussion. *Click HERE to see photos from the program!

1hr 12mins

22 Jan 2014

Rank #18

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An Evening with Judy Blume

In conversation with Alex Cohen, co-host of KPCC's "Take Two"Co-presented with the Japanese American Cultural and Community CenterOn this special evening, one of America’s most beloved storytellers, Judy Blume, will discuss her work—from young adult classics like Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret to her new novel for adults, In the Unlikely Event. The story, inspired by a series of real-life plane crashes that occurred in the 1950s in Blume’s home town of Elizabeth, New Jersey, weaves together three generations of families, friends and strangers, whose lives are profoundly changed by a succession of disasters. This iconic author who has won the hearts and minds of readers of all ages, is also known for her passionate advocacy to protect the freedom to read. She will be joined in conversation with KPCC host and super Blume fan, Alex Cohen. Join us for a night to remember! *Click here to see photos from the event!

1hr 13mins

10 Jun 2015

Rank #19

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Should We Praise the Mutilated World? Poetry from California to Krakow

Two of the world’s greatest living poets come together for a rare Los Angeles reading and conversation. The work of Robert Hass, former U.S. Poet Laureate and long-time translator of Nobel Laureate Czesław Miłosz, speaks to us of love and loss, of the hopefulness and the limitations of intimacy, of our humanness laid bare in the midst of art, the natural world, and each other. His most recent essay collection, A Little Book on Form, illuminates the impulses that underlie great poetry. Adam Zagajewski, whose outlook was formed in the aftermath of the Second World War and the occupation of Poland, negotiates the earthbound and the ethereal in poems that can be as arresting as they are luminous, as witty as they are serious. His recent memoir, Slight Exaggeration, is a wry and philosophical defense of mystery. During a time when our world feels deeply damaged and charged with uncivil discourse, these two masters of language will explore poetry’s enduring inclination to marvel, with novelist Andrew Winer serving as interlocutor.

1hr 25mins

25 Apr 2018

Rank #20