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 20, 2014 |
Feedback is everywhere. Not just in the form of professional performance reviews and unwanted comments from your parents, children and partners. Social media and review sites have unleashed the critic in us all. Eating a meal out? Post what you think of the food and waiters on a review site while still at the table. If you are reading this review online, you can leave a comment below saying just how wrong I am. We may not be able to exert complete control over what someone else thinks of us, but we can certainly do something about what we choose to do with the feedback.
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.
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.
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.
March 20, 2014 |
Why do our eyes open wide when we feel fear or narrow to slits when we express disgust? According to new research, it has to do with survival. In a paper published Thursday in the journal Psychological Science, researchers concluded that expressions of fear and disgust altered the way human eyes gather and focus light. They argued that these changes were the result of evolutionary development and were intended to help humans survive, or at least detect, very different threats.
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.