When outsiders think of Los Angeles' art scene, the silver screen comes straight to mind — plus fake breasts and red-carpet events. But Los Angeles is also an amazing literary city, which lacks the same pomp and silicon as cinema. Think about it. We have amazing bookstores like Book Soup, the Last Bookstore and Vroman's. We have amazing literary magazines like The Rattling Wall and Slake: Los Angeles. And we've had some of the best writers in the world — Raymond Chandler, Joan Didion, Charles Bukowski — turn these battered streets into a hardboiled dream world. So where are the literary paparazzi? Continuing our literary tradition, Tosh Berman, the book buyer at Book Soup, will host a conversation with Ry Cooder on his new collection, Los Angeles Stories. Like James Ellroy and Raymond Chandler, Cooder's stories take place during post-World War II L.A. and are set in neighborhoods like Bunker Hill and Chavez Ravine. In the same vein as the Beats and Noir, Cooder's stories are about musicians, streetwalkers and other hard-nosed denizens cruising through the madness of our city. While Cooder is renowned for his slide guitar work, he'll be sure to gain some attention with this literary debut published by City Lights. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Wed, Oct. 12, 7 p.m.; free. (310) 659-3110, booksoup.com.

Wed., Oct. 12, 7 p.m., 2011

LA Weekly