Friday, August 13, 2010

Check It. LA noir books.

These are two of my favorite LA noir reads. Both published in the year 1939, they show a snapshot of Los Angeles when it was first getting popular.

"The Day of the Locust" is excellent, about a painter who comes to Los Angeles and gets his first glimpse of Hollywood, falling for a small-time starlet. This is also the origins of the name Homer Simpson, who is one of the bumbling oafish characters in the book.

A very good and quick read, this story almost always comes with another very good short story, "Miss Lonelyhearts" about a man who writes a women's advice column. Or you can just read it here.
I've heard that Raymond Chandler books are kind of hit and miss. Sometimes they're great .. and sometimes they're terrible. "The Big Sleep" is one of his great books.

About a gumshoe named Philip Marlowe (of course, what else would a 1939 book be about?) investigating a blackmailing case of a rich old man with two very beautiful daughters, Marlowe discovers this case isn't as clearcut as it would initially seem.

There are about 20 important characters in this book, with people dying and falling in love nearly every page.

What's great about this is you can imagine all the places that are named in the book, Marlowe driving down some Hollywood street. Everything about this novel describes vintage Los Angeles and Hollywood glitz.

This was also converted into a very good 1946 movie staring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

-- Lauren Williams

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