Lyn Jensen's Blog: Manga, Music, and Politics

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Location: Anaheim, California, United States

Regular contributor ("Carson City Limits" and other content) for Random Lengths (circulation 56,000) in San Pedro, CA, 2001-present. Manga reviewer: LA Alternative (circulation 150,000), 2005-2006. Some manga reviews also ran in NY Press around this time. Entertainment reporting: Music Connection (circulation 75,000), 1983-1906. Travel writing: Oakland Tribune (1998) and Life After 50 (2006). Other bylines: Goldmine, Star Hits, Los Angeles Reader, Los Angeles Times, Long Beach Press Telegram, Blade, BAM, Daily Breeze, LA Weekly. Specializations include community news reporting, writing reviews (book, theater, concert, film, music), copywriting, resumes, editing, travel writing, publicity, screenwriting, lecturing, and content development. Education: B. A. Theater Arts, UCLA. Post-grad work, Education, Chapman University.

Friday, July 27, 2018

What the Great American Read on PBS Will Not be

Roughly one-third of the 100 great American reads being featured on PBS' The Great American Read are not American. Obviously "the great American read" isn't the same as "the great American book" and Americans do read writing from all over the world--but if you're celebrating the great American read, it's probably best that it represent American culture as portrayed by American writers.
The new PBS series to encourage reading premiered May 22 and returns Sept. 11, with five remaining episodes examining the books from the list. PBS and the producers worked with a polling firm to identify "America's most-loved novel." 7200 people responded. Series were counted as a single book, and an author could only be represented once. That's why the list includes Tom Sawyer but not Huckleberry Finn, The Sun Also Rises but not For Whom the Bell Tolls.

People are being invited to vote for their favorite from the 100 books (including series) that made the final field. By my count, these are the foreign works on PBS' list:
1. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (Great Britain)
2. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (Great Britain)
3. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas (France)
4. Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky (Russia)
5. Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes (Spain)
6. Dona Barbara by Romulo Gallegos (Venezuela)
7. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (Great Britain)
8. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (Great Britain)
9. The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (Great Britain)
10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (Great Britain)
11. The Little Prince by Antoine Saint-Exupery (France)
12. 1984 by George Orwell (Great Britain)
13. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (Great Britain, Ireland)
14. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin (Great Britain)
15. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (Great Britain)
16. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse (Germany)
17. The Shack by William P. Young (Canada)
18. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (Nigeria)
19. War and Peace by Tolstoy (Russia)
20. White Teeth by Sadie Smith (Great Britain)
21. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (Great Britain)
22. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (Brazil)
23. Americanah by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichi (Nigeria)
24. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Germany)
25. The Chronicles of Narnia (series) by C. S. Lewis (Great Britain)
26.  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon (Great Britain)
27. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift (Great Britain, Ireland)
28. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (Great Britain)
29. The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. Tolkien (Great Britain)
30. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Columbia)
31. Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan (Great Britain)
32. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (Great Britain)

In contrast here are 33 great American reads that PBS overlooked:
1.  The Last of the Mohicans by James Feinmore Cooper
2.  The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
3.  The Bridge at San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
4.  The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone by Tennessee Williams
5.  My Antonia by Willa Cather
6.  One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
7.  The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
8.  The Ugly American by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer
9.  MASH by Richard Hooker
10.  Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice
11.  The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
12.  The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
13.  The City and the Pillar by Gore Vidal
14.  Ben Hur by Lew Wallace
15.  Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
16.  Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
17.  The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
18.  Mr Roberts by Thomas Heggen
19.  The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
20.  From Here to Eternity by James Jones
21.  The Black Stallion (series) by Walter Farley
22.  Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
23.  Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriett Beecher Stowe
24.  Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
25.  Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
26.  It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
27.  All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
28.  The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
29.  The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon
30.  The Natural by Bernard Malamud
31.  No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
32.  True Grit by Charles Portis
33.  The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain

What do you think is the greatest "great American read" that PBS overlooked?

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Link to Random Lengths News Story, 6/28-7/11/18: Trash Hauler Hauls Carson into Court

Link to my latest story for Random Lengths (street dates:  6/28-7/11/18 issue) about Carson's trashiest scandal since 2003. A trash hauler dumped for another trash hauler is hauling Carson into court, alleging the city violated its own ordinance:

http://www.randomlengthsnews.com/2018/06/28/trash-collector-hauls-carson-into-court/?ct=t%28This+Issue+06-28-18%3A+Children+Borderline%29

Here's the lead:

Carson’s long-time trash hauler Waste Management is hauling Carson into Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging the hauler was dumped for a rival in what court documents call a “pay-to-play” scheme in violation of Carson’s own municipal code.
USA Waste, which also does business as Waste Management, filed a trio of related lawsuits in May, collectively making a number of explosive allegations, including that the process was tainted by “pay-to-play” donations to “a charity run by Mayor Al Robles” and there was improper consideration of numerous criteria outside the scope of the original request for proposals. Another allegation is that Carson responded insufficiently to a Public Records Act request.
Waste Management sought an injunction against the rival’s contract on June 5, but Judge James C. Chalfant — the same judge who recently ordered Robles removed from the Water Replenishment District — refused. The next court date is scheduled for March 26, 2019.
“Right now we’re in discovery,” said Philip Allan Trajan Perez, representing the dumped trash hauler.
Perez noted another bizarre feature in this sequence of events, “Waste Resources Inc. was the bid put in, and all references are to Waste Resources Inc. but the contract they [the city] eventually did was with Waste Resources Technology.” He said the same entity should be named in both the original bid and in whatever contract is eventually rewarded.