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.
February 9, 2012 |
By the time Charles Dickens' career hit its stride, his serialized stories drove readers to distraction in their eagerness for the next monthly installment. In 1841, Americans crowded the docks in New York waiting for ships arriving from England to find out the fate of Little Nell in "The Old Curiosity Shop. " (It was, sadly, not good news.) Dickens 200 t h birthday was celebrated around the world on Tuesday; it included a breathtaking reading by Ralph Fiennes, who stars in an upcoming film version of "Great Expectations," and a wreath-laying on his grave in Westminster Abbey in London by Prince Charles.
April 10, 2014 |
Krista Bremer's cross-cultural journey began on a North Carolina jogging path, where the one-time California surfer girl met a scientist from Libya who romanced her and swept her away. Bremer, one of the authors at this weekend's Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC, chronicled that experience in a memoir titled "My Accidental Jihad. " The "accident" refers to an unexpected pregnancy; "jihad" (Arabic for "effort" or "struggle") is her way of describing the "effort" of her marriage and of all marriages in general.
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.
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.
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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 1, 2011 |
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books kicked off Saturday with enough books to stock a library (of course), hundreds of authors signing their works and engaging in panel discussions (naturally) and a rousing performance by the University of Southern California marching band. Say what? "People think we just play at football games. But we're doing events all the time," said USC student Anthony Ghavami, who plays the snare drum. "Weddings, bar mitzvahs, corporate events…" "Funerals for alumni," added tuba player Justin Wilburn.
February 16, 1993 |
Nancy Taylor Rosenberg led a visitor through her opulent home, apologizing for a nonexistent mess. Over there, she explained as she pointed to a long countertop in her House Beautiful kitchen, was where she'd placed her Smith-Corona each morning and pounded out "Mitigating Circumstances," a Ventura County-set police thriller that recently hit bookstores amid a flurry of publicity. Since writing the book, well, housework hasn't been foremost on her mind.
April 10, 2014 |
The fantasy of being a writer appeals to so many of us: sitting in a book-lined study crafting perfectly wrought sentences, which an illustrious publisher swiftly transforms into a bestselling book and an indelible literary legacy. Missing from that idealized image is - well, the reality. Most writers struggle and stumble at every stage. It's hard to start a manuscript and harder to finish it. Rejection is rampant. And finding a way to earn a living that allows time to write - that can be the toughest trick of all. The Times sent out a survey to authors participating in the Festival of Books with questions about their experience as writers and got more than 200 responses.