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ALOUD Announces Fall Lineup, Kicks off With Breyer and Franzen

By blogdowntown Staff
Published: Monday, August 23, 2010, at 09:00AM
ALOUD: Breyer and Franzen Courtesy Library Foundation of Los Angeles

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and literary heavyweight Jonathan Franzen are the first two guests for the 2010 ALOUD series.

The city’s massive budget troubles may be hammering Los Angeles library services, but one of our cultural treasures continues to shine from its home at the Central Library.

The Library Foundation’s 17-year-old ALOUD program of high-powered conversations kicks off a new season September 15 at 7pm with a conversation between Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and veteran Los Angeles Times legal reporter Henry Weinstein, now a professor the UC Irvine Law School.

Breyer was appointed to the court in 1994 by former President Clinton and has recently assumed a more prominent role in leading dissent from the court’s more conservative majority.

Breyer’s appearance is one of 23 free programs offered as part of the ALOUD lineup. Reservations are highly recommended and can be obtained at the ALOUD web site ( or by phone at 213-228-7025.

ALOUD will also cosponsor, with the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, two events with paid admissions featuring literary heavyweights Jonathan Franzen and Salman Rushdie. The $25 paid admission will benefit the Los Angeles Public Library. Both events will be held both at the Aratani/Japan America Theater in Little Tokyo.

On September 16, the night after Breyer’s visit, National Book Award-winning novelist Franzen will appear. He’s the author of the acclaimed Corrections and the soon to be published Freedom, which won high praise from the New York Times’ top critic in spite of -- or because of -- the fact that he once called her “the stupidest person in New York City.”

In the Times, Michiko Kakutani effused that Freedom is a deeply felt novel that displays “every essential storytelling skill, plus plenty of bells and whistles” in order to create “an unforgettable family.” Freedom, she goes on, marks Franzen’s “transformation from a sharp-elbowed, apocalyptic satirist focused on sending up the socio-economic- political plight of this country into a kind of 19th-century realist concerned with the public and private lives of his characters.” Apparently her review marks her transformation from “stupidest person” to incredibly perceptive reader.

Franzen will be sharing a conversation with Los Angeles writer Meaghan Daum, author of “Life Would be Perfect if I Lived in That House.” As with all ALOUD events, a question and answer session with the audience usually follows the conversation.

On November 30, Rushdie will appear in conversation with writer Reza Aslan. Rushdie’s 10 novels include The Satanic Verses and Midnight’s Children, and his latest, Luka and the Fire of Life.

Other upcoming highlights of the free Central Library events in the new season include:

September 30 – Reporter-poet Eliza Griswold explores the complex relationship of oil, religion, politics, land, local conflicts and global ideology in the Middle East.

October 19 – New Yorker’s Pulitzer Prize winning writer Alex Ross leads an audio tour of several centuries of music history from lute music to Led Zeppelin.

October 20 – Native American writer Leslie Marmon Silko (The Turquoise Ledger) in conversation with novelist Judith Freeman

October 21 – Writing in Latino – a conversation with Rubén Martínez, Susana Chávez-Silverman, and others, moderated by Ilán Stavans

November 18 – Soldier-poet Brian Turner’s work reflects his experience in the military, including a year as infantry team leader in Iraq.


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