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November 12, 2012 | By Carolyn Kellogg
At 4:30 p.m. on Friday, " All In " by Paula Broadwell was nowhere near the upper reaches of Amazon's bestseller charts: It was ranked No. 126,995. That quickly changed as news spread that David Petraeus had resigned from his position as CIA director because of an extramarital affair with Broadwell, his biographer in the book. "All In" was published in January. It has risen to No. 111 overall on Amazon, and is currently No. 3 in the categories history/Middle East/Iraq and history/military/Iraq war. It's No. 6 in biographies & memoirs/leaders & notable people/military.
October 27, 2012 | By Jim Newton, Los Angeles Times
The Partisan The Life of William Rehnquist John A. Jenkins Public Affairs: 368 pp., $28.99 Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist was a curious man. He could be courtly and gracious, elegant in argument and a brilliant advocate. He also was a ferocious adversary, a relentless conservative and, as John A. Jenkins makes clear in his new biography, a determined partisan. One sample of his paradox: Rehnquist was a respected leader of the court, appreciated even by those whose politics he abhorred, and yet he secured his position in part by perjuring himself at his confirmation hearing.
October 25, 2012 | By Robert Abele
The documentary "Lunch" is just what it describes, a seat at the kibitz table with a gathering of acclaimed showbiz writers, performers and directors whose Golden Age of You-Name-It comedy pedigrees are remarkable: Sid Caesar, Hal Kanter, Carl Reiner, Arthur Marx, Matty Simmons and Rocky Kalish, to name a handful. For more than 40 years, this gang of funnymen has met on alternating Wednesdays - currently at Factor's Famous Deli on Pico, where Donna Kanter (Hal's daughter) captured them for her film - to eat, joke, tell stories and chart each other's aging, referred to as "the organ recital.
September 23, 2012 | By Carmela Ciuraru
The Brontës Wild Genius on the Moors - The Story of a Literary Family Juliet Barker Pegasus: 1,200 pp., $39.95 Just about everything you thought you knew about the Brontës is wrong. That's the essential message of "The Brontës" by Juliet Barker. Eighteen years after her landmark biography was published, the author - a former curator of the Brontë Parsonage Museum at Haworth - has produced a revised edition with new material, including letters and juvenilia that were unavailable when the author wrote the book.
September 13, 2012 | Meghan Daum
It's a strange time to be a woman. I say this not because state legislatures enacted no less than 95 restrictions on reproductive rights this year. I say it not because at the same time, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker repealed his state's equal pay law and Wisconsin state Sen. Glenn Grothman conjectured that "money is more important for men. " Or because, just last month, an alarming number of male legislators demonstrated serious confusion about the birds and the bees. I'm saying it because Naomi Wolf has written a book about her vagina.
September 9, 2012 | By Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times
"Vagina: A New Biography" by Naomi Wolf (Ecco / 400 pages / $27.99 ) "The End of Men - and the Rise of Women" by Hanna Rosin (Riverhead / 320 pages / $27.95) In June, Republican state representatives in Michigan silenced Democratic colleague Lisa Brown for using the V-word during discussion of an abortion bill. Afterward, Rep. Mike Callton refused to utter the word. "What she said was offensive," he said. "It was so offensive, I don't even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.
September 9, 2012 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
D.T. Max knew what he was getting into when he decided to write a biography of David Foster Wallace. In March 2009, he published a long piece in the New Yorker about Wallace's suicide and the author's inability to finish "The Pale King," the novel left incomplete at the time of his death. "It was 10,000 words, an immensity," Max says of his New Yorker article by phone from Long Island, where he is spending the last dwindling days of summer with his family. But even then, he knew there was more to say. Max wanted to get to know the intricacies of Wallace's life more fully.
August 15, 2012 | By Chuck Schilken
Joe Paterno cried the day after a late-night phone call by the Penn State board of trustees ended his 46-year career as the Nittany Lions' head coach. "My name," Paterno told his son Jay. "I have spent my whole life trying to make that name mean something. And now it's gone. " Paterno cried continually that day. Sometimes the late coach "sobbed uncontrollably," according to the upcoming biography, "Paterno," by Joe Posnanski. GQ magazine features excerpts in its September issue.
July 18, 2012 | By Andrea Chang, Los Angeles Times
Marissa Mayer Age: 37 Education: Bachelor's degree in symbolic systems and master's degree in computer science, both from Stanford University, each time specializing in artificial intelligence Hometown: Wausau, Wis. Personal: Married venture capitalist Zachary Bogue in 2009. The couple are expecting their first child, a boy, in October. Residences: Owns a penthouse in the Four Seasons in San Francisco and a home in Palo Alto, where she's known to throw lavish parties and fundraising dinners.
July 15, 2012
So you're an admirer of James Joyce's "Ulysses"? Well, thank Trieste for that book. Why? Gordon Bowker's "James Joyce: A New Biography" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux: 608 pp., $35) shows readers how living in that seaport city in northeastern Italy helped rekindle Joyce's enthusiasm after the lackluster reception of "Dubliners" and his uncertainty over what readers would think of "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. " The city not only gave him and wife Nora an income, it gave Joyce, as a teacher, an exceptional pupil: the writer Ettore Schmitz, known by the pen name Italo Svevo.
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