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What happened on December 03, 2006

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  • Meanings of life Susan Salter Reynolds, susan.reynolds@latimes.com Susan Salter Reynolds is a Times staff writer.

  • Discoveries Susan Salter Reynolds, susan.reynolds@latimes.com

  • Bestsellers

  • Pagan truths Jonathan Kirsch, Jonathan Kirsch is the author of, most recently, "A History of the End of the World: How the Most Controversial Book in the Bible Changed the Course of Western Civilization."

  • Boys' club Veronique de Turenne, Veronique de Turenne is the book critic for National Public Radio's "Day to Day."

  • Masters and commanders Nicholas A. Basbanes, Nicholas A. Basbanes, the author of five works of nonfiction, served as a naval officer aboard the aircraft carrier Oriskany during the Vietnam War.

  • Warts, wormholes and all Nicholas Delbanco, Nicholas Delbanco is the Robert Frost Distinguished University Professor at the University of Michigan and the author of, most recently, "Spring and Fall: A Novel."

  • The empathy crisis Steve Almond, Steve Almond is the author of the short story collections "My Life in Heavy Metal" and "The Evil B.B. Chow."

  • When it was good ... Gideon Lewis-Kraus, Gideon Lewis-Kraus is a San Francisco-based writer and critic.

  • The passion of Uncle Tom Erin Aubry Kaplan, Erin Aubry Kaplan is a weekly Op-Ed columnist for The Times and a former staff writer for LA Weekly. She writes chiefly about race, politics and culture.

  • Smoke screen Gavin Grant, Gavin Grant is a co-editor, with Kelly Link and Ellen Datlow, of the annual anthology "The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror."

  • Hollywood's iron man Richard Schickel, Richard Schickel is the author of many books, including most recently "Elia Kazan: A Biography," now available in paperback, and "The Essential Chaplin."

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