Books of The (L.A.) Nation

Southern California writers dominate the books section in the current issue of The Nation. In fact, they write the whole thing. David L. Ulin, recently named Book Editor of the L.A. Times, reviews The Golden West: Hollywood Stories by Daniel Fuchs. "Among the common tropes about Hollywood is that screenwriting is a Faustian bargain, in which authors compromise their talents for the consolations of a steady wage. Certainly, there's some truth to this; from the early days of the industry, writers have spun scripts for money while lamenting the demeaning nature of the work," he begins. The meat of the review, however, is behind a subscriber wall.

Cristina Nehring, who is working on a book on women and love for HarperCollins, reviews O: The Intimate History of the Orgasm and writes: "Once it was a secret; then it was a 'right'; now it is a duty. So daunting a duty is orgasm that men, as Jonathan Margolis admits in his 400-page paean to sexual climax, go wild with glee when offered an electronic implant that can relieve them of the onerous duty of bringing their girlfriends to ecstasy all by themselves. Women, for their part, fake it rather than risk the traumatization of their mate. Sex in the twenty-first century is a performance sport." And historian Mike Davis, who now lives in San Diego, reviews three books on the essential California author and journalist Carey McWilliams. Also, contributing editor Jon Wiener, author most recently of Historians in Trouble, devoted Wednesday's show on KPFK to missing New Orleans and turns to Harry Shearer for comment.

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