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September 25, 2011 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
Train Dreams A Novella Denis Johnson Farrar, Straus & Giroux: 116 pp., $18 It's a curious thing about Denis Johnson: For a writer I admire as much as (if not more than) any of his contemporaries, his books rarely come without faults. This may be most true of his Vietnam epic "Tree of Smoke," which never quite coalesces into something more than a pastiche, despite having won a 2007 National Book Award. Yet it also marks earlier novels, including the often brilliant "Resuscitation of a Hanged Man," an investigation of God as "the chief conspirator" that ultimately loses track of its internal logic, and "The Stars at Noon," which, taking place in 1980s Nicaragua, veers in and out of a beautiful derangement.
March 11, 2014 | By Randy Lewis
"Keith Richards" and "children's book" may sound like the starting point for a “Saturday Night Live” sketch, but in fact the Rolling Stones songwriter and lead guitarist, who delivered a bestselling memoir in 2011 with “Life,” is now set to write a children's book slated to publish in September. “Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar” will be a collaboration between Richards and his daughter, Theodora Richards, who is supplying the illustrations for the picture book that relates the story of Keith's introduction to music by his grandfather, Theodore Augusts Dupree, who had played in a jazz big band.
September 29, 2010 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
The more you know about Emma Donoghue's ninth novel, "Room," the harder it is to assess. That's a tricky issue, since "Room" is one of the hot books of the moment: shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, with coverage everywhere. If you've heard about it, you know the setup: The novel is narrated by a 5-year-old boy named Jack, who was born and has spent his entire life in a room (a fortified garden shed, really) with his mother, imprisoned by the man who kidnapped her seven years before.
August 23, 2013 | By Jonathan Moules
This is a good time to be an entrepreneur. As the global economy has teetered on the edge of collapse, and former pillars of society from bankers to politicians have become mired in scandal, business founders have been lionized across the world as the saviors of capitalism and a source of hope for the future. The general interest in the subject means that it is also a good time to be writing a book about entrepreneurship. Daniel Isenberg is the latest to do this with what he regards as an alternative look at the subject.
July 27, 2011
The Daily Telegraph's parent company was ordered Tuesday to pay more than $100,000 in damages over a book review. The British newspaper lost a lawsuit for libel and malicious falsehood that had been filed by Sarah Thornton, author of "Seven Days in the Art World. " The Telegraph's reviewer, Lynn Barber, was listed as one of the 250 people Thornton had interviewed for the book, but she wrote in her review that no such interview had taken place. Thornton was able to prove that she had conducted a 30-minute phone interview with Barber two years before, and in Tuesday's judgment, the judge wrote that Barber knew her claim of not being interviewed was false.
January 8, 2012 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
Smut Stories Alan Bennett Picador: 152 pp., $14 paper Alan Bennett may be best known - both in this country and in his native England - as a playwright ("The History Boys," "The Madness of George III") and a television writer, but for me, his signature work remains the 2007 short novel "The Uncommon Reader. " In that book, Queen Elizabeth II discovers the discomforting pleasures of literature, with results that are disruptive to say the least. Before long, she is missing appointments and neglecting her appearance in the interest of getting a few more minutes to read.
June 4, 2011 | By Jeffrey Head, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Ross Chapin's 'Pocket Neighborhoods: Creating Small-Scale Community in a Large-Scale World' advocates clusters of 12 to 16 households. Pocket Neighborhoods: Creating Small-Scale Community in a Large-Scale World Ross Chapin Taunton: 224 pp., $30 The phrase "think globally, act locally" takes on new meaning in this book, which shows what is possible when residents in close proximity share a commitment to community. Chapin, an architect, refers to these groupings, typically 12 to 16 households, as pocket neighborhoods.
January 23, 2011 | By Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times
The Illumination A Novel Kevin Brockmeier Pantheon: 264 pp., $24.95 The everyday world is interrupted in Kevin Brockmeier's "The Illumination" by light: Suddenly, pain ? human pain ? begins to glow. Aches of arthritis, glares of sickness shine through bodies; cuts flare brilliant white. It begins while Carol Ann Page is partially anesthetized after she's cut her thumb so badly that she goes to the hospital. "[W]hen she saw the light shining out of her incision, she thought she was hallucinating?
July 22, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
Lonely book lovers in London -- pardon the alliteration -- need be lonely no longer. The British book review website the Omnivore , best known to American readers for its Hatchet Job of the Year prize awarded annually to be most deliciously vicious book review, has launched a dating site for book lovers . “Dreamy 23-year-old writer and journalist Henry has a particular penchant for American women writers,” begins the entry to...
March 3, 2013
"The Magic Half" Annie Barrows Miri travels back in time by looking into glasses that she finds taped to the wall in her bedroom.  When she travels back in time, she becomes friends with Molly, who lives in 1935.  Miri tells Molly all about World War II.   I recommend this book because I think it is interesting that a girl travels back in time.  I learned about World War II. Germany and Japan fought.  My best friend recommended this book to me, and I recommend it to you. Reviewed by Sophia, 7 Overland Elementary Los Angeles "Old Yeller" Fred Gipson With Papa gone and no one to take care of Mama and Arlis, Travis takes Papa's place.
February 22, 2013 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Britain has more than its fair share of off-the-wall literary prizes. There's the much-feared Bad Sex in Fiction Award for the "most embarrassing passages of sexual description in a literary novel. " This year marked the second annual Hatchet Job of the Year Award for the most cutting book review -- the winner got a year's supply of potted shrimp. And then there's the Diagram Prize for the oddest book title of the year. The Diagram Prize announced its six-book shortlist on Friday.
February 4, 2013 | By Christie D'Zurilla
Bobbi Kristina Brown has slammed her grandmother's new book, "Remembering Whitney," about the late Whitney Houston, Krissy's mom.  "ANYTHING concerning my grandmothers Book I & @nickdgordon OF COURSE personally have NOTHING 2 do with I ask you pls RESPECT tht Haven't read & won't," she said on Twitter last week, several days after Cissy Houston's interview with Oprah Winfrey had aired. "I find it 2B Disrespect 2 MY MOTHER & me being HER DAUGHTER won't tolerate it. I LOVE YOU ALL for your support though & I thank you immensely••xO!"
January 8, 2013 | By Carolyn Kellogg
British publisher Transworld has canceled its plans to publish "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief" by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lawrence Wright. The book will be published in the U.S. by Knopf on Jan. 17. The reason Transworld dropped the book has attracted attention, according to the Telegraph. "The decision not to publish in this country has prompted questions, particularly as Transworld had previously agreed to it," the paper says. "It seems likely that the threat of libel action in the UK may have contributed to the decision.
January 8, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
There's a certain joy that comes with reading a great literary takedown, the kind of mean but intelligent and precise review that eviscerates the pretensions and the sloppiness of a truly awful book. Over in Britain, they think of a good pan as a kind of public service, and they award a prize for the best pan of the year. “The Hatchet Job of the Year,” it's called, and it's handed out by “The Omnivore,” a review-aggregating website. Now in its second year, the prize is awarded to “the writer of the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review of the past twelve months.” Last year's winner was Adam Mars-Jones for his review of Michael Cunningham's novel “By Nightfall.” Eight talented and fearless critics are nominated for this year's Golden Hatchet.
December 26, 2012 | By Lisa Dillman, Los Angeles Times
There were trainer Richard Mandella, veteran owner and mogul B. Wayne Hughes … and KISS frontman Gene Simmons in the winner's circle after the $300,000 Malibu Stakes on Wednesday at Santa Anita Park. Posing, pictures and polite chatter. What did Mandella and Simmons have to talk about after Hughes' stubborn chestnut colt named Jimmy Creed won the Grade I race for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs? "I wanted to sing a little bit and see if he might pick me up for the band," joked Mandella, Jimmy Creed's trainer.
December 10, 2012 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Today is the 182nd anniversary of Emily Dickinson's birth. Happy birthday, Emily Dickinson! Dickinson may now be one of the most recognized names in poetry, but in her day, she kept much to herself. Her work was not widely known until after her death -- her first collection of poetry was published in 1890, four years after her death. Dickinson was born in 1830 in Amherst, Mass., which was under the influence of America's new intellectual movement, the Transcendentalists, including Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.
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