December 6, 2009 |
Note: This is the first of a two-part column on the current state of contemporary detective fiction. This month: series characters as viewed by their creators. In an essay for the Wall Street Journal last spring, Alexander McCall Smith explains the curious relationship readers have with characters created by other people and the expectations that build up for authors as a result. He describes one encounter with a reader highly critical of a plot turn in one of his Isabel Dalhousie novels, to the point where McCall Smith muses, after the fact, "that was me put in my place.
March 26, 1992 |
The Bush Administration on Wednesday rejected suggestions that it should meet with author Salman Rushdie and portrayed his visit to Washington this week as an effort at book promotion rather than as a campaign for freedom of expression. "There's no reason for any special relationship with Rushdie," White House Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater told reporters. "I mean, he's an author. He's here. He's doing interviews and book tours and things authors do.
November 16, 1990 |
Bret Easton Ellis said the first "rumblings" he heard that Simon & Schuster might not release his new novel began last Friday. By Wednesday, Simon & Schuster Chairman Richard E. Snyder had released a statement saying that "American Psycho" was "not a book that Simon & Schuster was going to publish." The book had been under fire in the media because of its lurid depiction of violence against women. Ellis, 26, said he was flabbergasted. "I literally couldn't believe it," he said.
July 13, 2013 |
Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Anne Tyler has never liked "The Taming of the Shrew. " "I have no favorite moments in this play," Tyler said. "I first read it in college and disliked it intensely, and I can't say my attitude toward it softened any when I read it again just recently. " Very soon, Tyler is going to get a chance to reimagine and make sense of "The Taming of the Shrew. " She's writing a novel based on the play as part of a project by the publishing house Hogarth to commission novels based on all 37 of Shakespeare's plays.
December 10, 1990 |
The room is No. 206, Hemingway's room. The wallpaper has been changed. So have the furniture, the plumbing, the lights, the lock--everything changed and modernized many times. Everything but the mystique. About twice a month on the average, year in and year out, devotees of the enduring writer and epic character are drawn to Sun Valley Lodge to book his old room and undertake a subtle, personal and sometimes moving journey of rediscovery of a man whose memory lives on here and in nearby Ketchum.
October 27, 2009 |
It's not easy being an economist. Dinner parties are a microcosm of the challenges we face. There's always someone who hears what you are, rolls his eyes and takes whatever steps are necessary to sit far from you at dinner. Or else someone will approach and unburden his soul about a terrible economics professor he had in college -- who used too much math, was too little of a humanist and gave him a poor grade which, in turn, kept him out of some top law school. You also usually encounter a junior-captain-of-industry-Alex-Keaton type who tells you about how much he loved that same economics professor pilloried in the previous sentence, and that he would not mind teaching economics when he retires.
December 30, 2012 |
What is it about pirates that fascinates us so much? It is not just the swords and swashbuckling (although I have three young sons who would disagree with that statement), since pirates have reappeared in so many guises over the years. In the decades after World War II, the label was attached to rebellious disc jockeys broadcasting rock 'n' roll off the U.S. coast. At the dawn of the present century, it has been attributed to teenage nerds creating websites in their bedrooms to make free music downloads and software available to the masses.
April 1, 2012 |
My assignment: Read almost 300 literary biographies in more than 800 pages, all of English-language authors, beginning in the 17th century and ending in the present day. "That's like reading a reference book!" said a shocked friend. Yes, but no: Every entry in "Lives of the Novelists" is written by just one person, British critic John Sutherland, so the book has an internal continuity that makes it read like history, not an encyclopedia. And Sutherland's writing is just plain delightful.
April 19, 2012 |
What do Sugar Ray Leonard, Judy Blume, Betty White, T.C. Boyle, Rodney King, Joseph Wambaugh and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have in common? They're just a few of the high-profile personalities appearing this weekend at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Now in its second year at USC, the 17th annual festival offers another robust two-day program of writers and celebrity authors unmatched by any other literary event across the country. More than 400 authors are scheduled to appear in panel sessions and on eight stages set up across USC's University Park Campus.
July 18, 1999 |
Stephen King had written about 700 pages of the novel "It" when he got stuck. He went to bed frustrated, thinking about what should happen next. The answer emerged in a nightmare as scary as the horror story he was writing. King dreamed he was the little girl in the book, trapped in a creepy dump with discarded refrigerators that had leeches hanging inside. One flew out and sucked the blood from the girl's hand. The dream found its way into the novel.