Saturday, September 22, 2018
Books

What's Barney Hoskyns reading?

Nightstand

Barney Hoskyns

Hoskyns is the editorial director for Rock's Back Pages, an online archive for music journalism. He's also the author of Led Zeppelin: The Oral History of the World's Greatest Rock Band, Hotel California and Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits. His new book, Small Town Talk, is Woodstock's musical history, beginning with its earliest days as a bohemian arts colony. We caught up with Hoskyns, 56, by phone from London.

What's on your nightstand?

I'm reading Karl Ove Knausgaard's Some Rain Must Fall. It's Book Five in the (My Struggle) series. I love the fact that you get into this guy's life. I thought Boyhood Island (Book Three) was the greatest writing on childhood. I really never read anything like it. He is extraordinary. ... It's an audacious literary enterprise.

My second book that I'm reading is West of Eden: An American Place by Jean Stein. I love oral histories. My oral history on Led Zeppelin was slightly inspired by her Edie, and in reading this, I kind of have gone back to the memories of the impact Edie had for me, and I also really like West of Eden. I've always been fascinated with the L.A. music scene. I could sort of read anything about the early days of Hollywood and the kind of occurrences she's writing about — the Doheny family, Jack Warner and Jennifer Jones are a few. It's an extraordinary story.

When you read a book on a place that you've written about, what do you hope to find?

I'm actually very interested in what Hollywood did to people. I don't know what it is, but there's just always something. I love looking at the kind of conjunction of glamor, money, darkness, mental illness and sunshine, and I also love people just talking. So, to be honest, I just like reading these people talking. You suddenly have Jane Fonda talking and then Dennis Hopper. It's just interesting people at an interesting time in Los Angeles.

And I have a third book that I will be reading — Jumpin' Jack Flash: David Litvinoff and the Rock'n'Roll Underworld by Keiron Pim. It's an interesting book about the London underbelly. I've always been interested in performers and the subculture found in England in the 1960s and 1970s. Litvinoff is an interesting and slightly tragic figure. He just connected with an interesting mixture of people. He was a center of a strange web.

Can you talk about then versus now? Could there ever be another Woodstock?

When it comes to the town of Woodstock, I think there are a lot of little towns like Woodstock where you can be in the country, but you can have a fairly bohemian community. In terms of Woodstock the festival, I don't think there can be anything like that again. That was the blueprint for the folk festival. It was so much more chaotic and authentic, really, than festivals are today, which are very well organized and very corporate with sponsors. The debauchery is quite contained, and obviously the counterculture of rock music can't really be replicated. It was a radical revolution for its time and happening for the first time. It would never have quite the same impact.

Contact Piper Castillo at [email protected] Follow @Florida_PBJC.

Comments
Review: Robert Olen Butler’s Paris in the Dark packed with action

Review: Robert Olen Butler’s Paris in the Dark packed with action

On a fall night in 1915, an American reporter sips Chartreuse at a sidewalk table as German Zeppelins patrol the perimeter of Paris. As he plans how to finagle his way to the front lines of World War I, a bomb explodes at another cafe nearby, and he ...
Published: 09/21/18
Novelist, USF professor Karen Brown drawn by the voices of stories of loss

Novelist, USF professor Karen Brown drawn by the voices of stories of loss

Karen BrownBrown teaches creative writing at the University of South Florida and is the author of several books, including The Longing of Wayward Girls and the short story collection Pins and Needles. On Nov. 17, Brown will be a featured author at th...
Published: 09/21/18
Joyce Maynard looks back at life with Salinger at the #MeToo moment

Joyce Maynard looks back at life with Salinger at the #MeToo moment

In 1972, Joyce Maynard wrote an essay for the New York Times Magazine called "An 18-Year-Old Looks Back at Life." It won her instant fame — and a letter from J.D. Salinger, renowned author of Catcher in the Rye and other fiction, who was then 53 year...
Published: 09/14/18
Review: Ben Montgomery’s ‘Man Who Walked Backward’ lets readers step into history

Review: Ben Montgomery’s ‘Man Who Walked Backward’ lets readers step into history

Did Plennie Wingo make any progress going backward?That’s the question at the heart of The Man Who Walked Backward: An American Dreamer’s Search for Meaning in the Great Depression, an engaging new book by former Tampa Bay Times staff writer Ben Mont...
Published: 09/13/18
Updated: 09/14/18
It’s no mystery why fans, authors gathered for Bouchercon in St. Petersburg

It’s no mystery why fans, authors gathered for Bouchercon in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURGLast Wednesday through Sunday, the Vinoy Renaissance Hotel teemed with people who write and read about bloody murder. It was a remarkably friendly and cheerful crowd. Detroit novelist Stephen Mack Jones had an explanation: "Writing abou...
Published: 09/11/18
Times Festival of Reading 2018: Get the full lineup of authors here

Times Festival of Reading 2018: Get the full lineup of authors here

A novelist whose book won raves from Oprah and Obama, the scholar who brought Zora Neale Hurston’s long-lost interview with a former slave to print, two Pulitzer Prize-winning nonfiction writers, a bestselling satirical novelist, a beloved memoirist ...
Updated one month ago
Welcome to Florida, a land of mysteries – including why mullet jump

Welcome to Florida, a land of mysteries – including why mullet jump

Florida is a land full of mysteries. Why do we call it "the Sunshine State" when every major city gets more rain than Seattle? Why, after a hurricane destroys our homes with flooding and storm surge, do we rebuild in exactly the same spot? Perhaps th...
Updated one month ago
Review: Gary Shteyngart’s ‘Lake Success’ a comic tale of a 1-percenter

Review: Gary Shteyngart’s ‘Lake Success’ a comic tale of a 1-percenter

One night young lawyer Seema Cohen went to a Vogue party hosted by billionaire Michael Bloomberg and there met the man who would become her husband. At first, she wasn’t sure she liked the glad-handing middle-aged hedge fund guy who was clearly...
Updated one month ago
Retired journalist David Lawrence Jr.’s reading still centers on news

Retired journalist David Lawrence Jr.’s reading still centers on news

David Lawrence Jr.In 1999, at the age of 56, Lawrence decided to retire from his post as publisher of the Miami Herald after decades in journalism. Since then, he has focused on a life’s passion, advocating for children by leading the Children’s Move...
Updated one month ago
‘Masterpiece’ author Fiona Davis revels in historical fiction by women

‘Masterpiece’ author Fiona Davis revels in historical fiction by women

Fiona DavisThe impetus for The Masterpiece, Davis’ new book, evolved from a behind-the-scenes tour she took through Grand Central Terminal in New York and information she garnered on John Singer Sargent, who helped create an art school on the top flo...
Updated one month ago