April 26, 2013 |
"The amazing thing about James Brown, for me," says R.J. Smith, "is you can't figure him out. " That's not uncommon for a music journalist, but it reveals just how complex Brown was -- Smith was his biographer. Smith, the author of 2012's "The One: The Life and Music of James Brown," dropped by our video booth at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books to talk about his book and about James Brown, the godfather of soul. "He was a civil rights arbiter, and he was a Republican," Smith tells L.A. Times features editor Alice Short.
July 21, 2013
The 'Fantasy' that is Portugal This is just a quick thank you for the deliciously written tale "Fantasy Fix" by Alice Short [July 14], about the short trip to two of my favorite places close to my heart and hometown (Óbidos). I just shared it on Facebook, trying to raise my U.K. mates' awareness of my country's potential to please them, although they crave only the Algarve sunny beaches. Paulo Belo Submitted by email "Fantasy Fix" had little to do with travel in Portugal, as it focused primarily on breakfast, lunch and dinner.
October 30, 1994 |
Long after her books end, Alice Munro's characters live on in the mind like cranky, cheek-pinching relatives from childhood. Once you've read her, you can't forget Flo from the 1977 story collection, "The Beggar Maid"--stubborn, fiercely proud, with her work-scuffed knees, flowered aprons and penchant for warning people to "get out of my road"? Then there's Addie Jordan, a.k.a.
January 29, 2014 |
Sue Monk Kidd writes that her first encounter with Sarah and Angelina Grimké came during an exhibition of Judy Chicago's artwork "The Dinner Party" in 2007. The sisters are included in a list of 999 important women in history and mythology, their names inscribed on the "Heritage Floor" of the installation. Kidd, author of "The Secret Life of Bees" and "The Mermaid Chair," writes that she was startled to discover the sisters were from Charleston, S.C., her home at the time. The Grimkés, she learned, were abolitionists and "among the earliest major American feminist thinkers.
November 27, 2013 |
There's no doubt that public education has neglected World War I, with history teachers squeezing in a few lectures before launching into succeeding conflicts. Literature has been kinder to the Great War, offering many opportunities to remedy that oversight. Shell shock alone has been the subject of scores of novels (most notably Pat Barker's "Regeneration" trilogy) that remind us how WWI inextricably altered the trajectory - and the mythology - of the heroic soldier. Now Anita Shreve, the bestselling author of "The Pilot's Wife" and "The Weight of Water," has joined the ranks of writers who want to plumb the depths of shell shock's despair and disruptions.
March 15, 2013 |
Jodi Picoult is a familiar name to those of us who race through the Hudson News stores at LAX just before we board a plane. We are smug in our certainty - we know what we're getting when we pluck one of her novels from the pile. Her prose goes down easy, and she fills her stories with characters confronted by moral quandaries and life-changing decisions. That's certainly the case in "The Storyteller," which opens with the narration of Sage Singer, a lonely young baker who befriends a 95-year-old man in her grief support group.