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.
In this #1 New York Times bestseller, Michael Pollan offers a mind-bending investigation into the medical and scientific revolution taking place around psychedelic drugs—and the spellbinding story of his own life-changing psychedelic experiences as he set out to research the active ingredients in magic mushrooms. Blending science, memoir, travel writing, history, and medicine, How to Change Your Mind is a triumph of participatory journalism through Pollan’s discovery of how these remarkable substances are improving the lives not only of the mentally ill, but also of healthy people coming to grips with the challenges of everyday life. Sharing his deep dive into altered states of consciousness, Pollan discusses this unexpected new frontier in our understanding of the mind, the self, and our place in the world.
In an impassioned call to action for elites and everyday citizens alike, former New York Times columnist Anand Giridharadas shines a light on the shady side of philanthropy. Winners Take All offers a scathing investigation of how the global elite’s efforts to “change the world” preserve the status quo and obscure their role in causing the problems they later seek to solve. This bestselling groundbreaking book poses many hard questions like: Why should our gravest problems be solved by the unelected upper crust instead of the public institutions it erodes by lobbying and dodging taxes? Giridharadas shares with us some of his bold answers, including how we must take on the grueling democratic work of building more robust, egalitarian institutions to truly change the world.
Rachel Cusk is an international literary superstar. Her most recent trilogy–Outline, Transit, and Kudos–draws its hero, Faye, through a collage of vignettes. Through tales told by the people Faye encounters–an airline companion, a disgruntled neighbor, and a fellow writer, among others–Faye’s own haunting past is stealthily revealed, making for an artful and hypnotic reading experience. “After her controversial memoirs of motherhood and marriage, the writer has a new design for fiction,” writes Judith Thurman in the New Yorker in a profile titled “Rachel Cusk Gut-Renovates the Novel.” Now, the UK-based writer brings the work that has captivated the writing (and reading) community to Los Angeles for a rare Stateside reading and conversation.
On the heels of one of last year’s boldest, most celebrated novels, My Year of Rest and Relaxation, join us to hear from Ottessa Moshfegh for a celebration of a new edition of her groundbreaking debut novella, McGlue. Set in Salem, Massachusetts, 1851—the same year as the publication of Moby Dick—McGlue follows the foggy recollections of a hard-drinking seafarer who may or may not have killed his best friend. Discussing her sharply observational body of work that illuminates the exhilaratingly dark psychologies of wayward characters, Moshfegh will share the stage with Amanda Stern, the author of Little Panic, a fiercely funny new memoir on anxiety.
We Want to Negotiate: The Secret World of Kidnapping, Hostages and Ransom
As the Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, Joel Simon spends his time taking action on behalf of journalists who are targeted, attacked, imprisoned, or killed. He is an expert on how countries around the world handle the kidnapping of their nationals, including how they analyze and respond to intelligence and provide support for the hostage families. At a time when journalists are in greater danger than ever before, Simon’s newest book draws on his extensive experience interviewing former hostages, their families, employers, and policy makers to lay out a new approach to hostage negotiation. He is joined onstage by Sewell Chan, deputy managing editor at the Los Angeles Times, as well as Federico Motka, an Italian aid worker who spent a year as a hostage of Isis in Syria.
Dear Los Angeles: The City in Diaries and Letters, 1542 to 2018
What might Marilyn Monroe, Cesar Chavez, Susan Sontag, Albert Einstein have to say about Los Angeles? Their diary entries, along with those of other actors, musicians, activists, cartographers, students, geologists, cooks, merchants, journalists, politicians, composers, and many more—provide a kaleidoscopic view of Los Angeles over the past four centuries, from the Spanish missionary expeditions of the 16th century to the present day. Book editor, critic and Los Angeles native David Kipen has scoured the archives of libraries, historical societies, and private estates to assemble a remarkably eclectic story of life in his beloved Los Angeles. Join us for a special staged reading of these first person accounts—representing a range of experiences and voices as diverse as Los Angeles itself.