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October 8, 2012 | By Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles Times
We Sinners A Novel Hanna Pylväinen Henry Holt, 189 pp., $23.00 Hanna Pylväinen's debut novel, "We Sinners," is remarkably funny for a book about a deeply religious family grappling with loss of faith. Pylväinen tells the story - in alternating chapters from the point of view of the parents and several of the nine children - of the Midwestern Rovaniemi family, members of a Finnish sect of Lutheranism called Laestadianism. They live in a house too small to fit them all and get around in a vehicle so "mortifying to drive" that it is known as the "character-building van. " They are supposed to renounce television, popular music and, of course, dating outside the church.
October 1, 2012 | By Liesl Bradner
With millions of books sold worldwide, historian, Pulitzer Prize-winner and bestselling author Robert K. Massie has devoted the majority of his career to studying the House of Romanov, Russia's royal family from 1613 to 1917. He will be lecturing on the craft of writing history Monday night at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont. Massie, author of  “Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman,” now available in paperback, became an expert on the imperial family beginning with "Nicholas and Alexandra.
September 25, 2012 | By Liesl Bradner
Carmegeddon II isn't the only big event causing commotion this weekend in L.A.  The appearance of “Fifty Shades of Grey” author E.L. James at Barnes and Noble on Friday night is sure to have traffic backed up around the Grove at the Farmers Market. The "Fifty Shades" trilogy is now available in a convenient box set for those few women who have yet to read the sexy series that is putting smiles on happy husbands around the world. The British author and former television executive began writing her erotic novels as "Twilight" fan fiction, but a bit more risqué than the virginal, teen vampire tales.
September 13, 2012 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Jordan Okun's new novel, "L.A. Fadeaway," follows an unnamed narrator through his wildly ambitious exploits at a high-powered Los Angeles talent agency. He's the son of a Hollywood power broker, so he can afford to start as a mailroom guy in an expensive suit and penthouse apartment; he can also screw up pretty badly and count on getting away with it. There are drugs, sex, brand names -- think Sammy Glick combined with a less homicidal Patrick Bateman. The book was published by Touchstone on Tuesday; Okun reads at Book Soup on Friday at 7 p.m. We asked him about writing about Hollywood.
September 3, 2012 | By Liesl Bradner
Come on feel the noise at Book Soup this week as Grover Jackson, president of GJ2 Guitars, gives away the first guitar in his new line during a book-signing event for “Randy Rhoads” by Andrew Klein and Steven Rosen. The event coincides with the 30th anniversary of Rhoads' tragic death at age 25 in a plane crash in Florida in 1982. The rock guitarist, best known for his neo-classical stylings, played with metal band Quiet Riot and Ozzy Osbourne recording such hits “Crazy Train” and “Flying High Again.” The 400-page biography is filled with hundreds of rare photographs and memorabilia.
August 26, 2012 | By Liesl Bradner
Perhaps hoping to follow in the footsteps of Charles Fleming's bestseller, “Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles,” Jon Riddle and Sarah Amelar are peddling their own recent guidebook, "Where to Bike Los Angeles," with a bike ride and book signing at Pages Bookstore in Manhattan Beach on Thursday.  The couple, who met in 2005 on a bicycling adventure in Southeast Asia, have been exploring the diverse...
August 20, 2012 | By Liesl Bradner
Activist, poet and painter Lawrence Ferlinghetti, co-founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers in San Francisco, has written a new book of poems, his first since 2007's “Poetry as Insurgent Art.” Titled “Time of Useful Consciousness,” an aeronautical term for the period between the moment you run out of oxygen and the time you cease to be able to function, the new book has been described by the author  as "a fragmented recording of...
August 14, 2012 | By Liesl Bradner
"Boardwalk Empire," HBO's Emmy award-winning series, isn't the only story to depict a heated battle of corruption and greed over Atlantic City, N.J.  In the 1990s, decades after mobsters and politicians fought over the Jersey Shore resort town during the Prohibition era, business tycoons and casino moguls Donald Trump and Steve Wynn slugged it out for the future of the Las Vegas East streets. Author and real estate developer Richard “Skip” Bronson, who worked closely with Wynn during those tumultuous times, writes of the drama behind the scenes as Wynn tried to move in on The Donald's turf while developing what would eventually become The Borgata Hotel & Spa, in his book “The War at the Shore: Steve Wynn, Donald Trump and the Epic War to Save Atlantic City" (Overlook: $26)
August 6, 2012 | By Liesl Bradner
With several authors in town this week promoting their newly released fantasy titles, it almost seems fitting to declare it Fantasy Week in L.A. Bookland. It may not have the bite of Shark Week, but Angelenos will have their pick of sword battles, assassins and apparitions from R.A. Salvatore, (“Charon's Claw”), Sarah Maas (“Throne of Glass”) and Sandi Tan, who will be signing copies of her supernatural ghost story, “The Black Isle,” at 4 p.m. Saturday at Vroman's in Pasadena.
July 27, 2012 | By Liesl Bradner
As fans around the world pay tribute to Marilyn Monroe this week on the 50th anniversary of her death, the fascination with the tragic star is never-ending. Countless books continue to be published about her life, including several coffee-table books of photographs this past year by Bert Stern, Lawrence Schiller and Andre de Dienes, who took some of the earliest photos of the aspiring model in 1945. But it was George Barris who earned the distinction of being the last photographer to have an official photo shoot with Monroe before her death in 1962.
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