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May 19, 2010 | By Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times
Instant histories of presidential administrations based on privileged access to White House insiders have become so de rigueur that vetting the appropriate journalist/historian really ought to be part of every new chief executive's transition process. The author needs to be discreet enough to abide by the rules of high-level access and sympathetic enough to be open to the administration's explanation of things, but sufficiently independent to produce a credible book. Barack Obama's decision to open the White House to Jonathan Alter meets all three criteria, and in "The Promise: President Obama, Year One," the longtime Newsweek columnist has produced a deeply reported, soberly appraised account of the president's tumultuous first months in office through passage of healthcare reform.
November 22, 2013 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Cary Elwes is writing a book about the making of the film "The Princess Bride. " Elwes, who played the dashing hero Westley, will publish the book in the fall of 2014 with Touchstone. Its title is bound to charm the film's fans: "As You Wish: Tales from the Princess Bride. " “It was a joy to work on such a magical film with an amazing cast of talented actors and friends,” Elwes said in a release about the book. “It will be great fun to revisit 'The Princess Bride' and to share my fond memories of the unforgettable experience we all had.” Elwes was inspired to write the book after joining the cast for a 25th anniversary screening last year in New York.
May 23, 2010 | Craig Fehrman
In the spring of 1949, Eleanor Roosevelt turned in the manuscript for her second memoir — this one on the White House years — to her editors at Ladies' Home Journal. "You have written this too hastily," came the reply, "as though you were composing it on a bicycle while pedaling your way to a fire." Roosevelt's editors asked her to revise the manuscript with the help of a ghostwriter, but she refused. "I would have felt the book wasn't mine," she said. She ended up selling her book's serial rights to the Journal's biggest rival, McCall's, for $150,000.
December 1, 2013 | By Booth Moore, Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic
Several new style books focus on great American jewelry design. Here we zero in on two of the stand-out volumes of the season. David Webb: The Quintessential American Jeweler Ruth Peltason Assouline, $85 American jewelry designer David Webb was a fixture on New York's social scene during the 1960s and '70s, beloved by Diana Vreeland, Nan Kempner, Doris Duke, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbra Streisand and many other style-setters. Webb is perhaps best known for his animal bracelets, more fierce than cute, featuring lions, tigers and dragons, which were part of the ladies-who-lunch uniform of the day. But his legacy encompasses so much more, writes Ruth Peltason in "David Webb: The Quintessential American Jeweler.
September 7, 2009 | Carolyn Kellogg
This fall, there will be nothing bigger in bookstores than Hurricane Dan. On Sept. 15, Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol," the follow-up to "The Da Vinci Code" -- which sold 80 million copies worldwide and is said to be the biggest-selling novel ever -- arrives with high expectations; fans have spent six years waiting for Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon's next adventure. As a consequence, perhaps, some publishers have gotten quieter literary fiction on the shelves in advance. Los Angeles novelist Michelle Huneven's "Blame" is about the lifetime of consequences that result from an alcoholic's mistake.
March 4, 2010
Palin plans next book Sarah Palin is ready for the next chapter of her publishing career. Publisher HarperCollins announced Wednesday that the former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate is working on a "celebration of American virtues and strengths." The book is currently untitled, and no release date has been set. Palin's memoir, "Going Rogue," released last fall by HarperCollins, has sold more than 2 million copies. -- associated press Bon Jovi to echo Obama's call The audience at Bon Jovi's L.A. tour stop Thursday night at Staples Center will get the first look at a new video in which the New Jersey rock band's frontman, Jon Bon Jovi, goes to bat for President Obama's call for increased community volunteerism.
July 30, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
Having spoken earlier to author Reza Aslan about his viral video with a certain Fox News reporter, The Times took a few moments Tuesday to talk to the UC Riverside professor about his book and what's in it. "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth " (Random House, $27) is a lucid, intelligent page turner about "the historical Jesus. " It's a portrait of the violent and changing times he lived in and the decades that preceeded the ill-fated rebellion of the Jews against the Roman Empire and the destruction of Jerusalem.  You say early in your book that your study of Jesus' life has made you “a more genuinely committed disciple of Jesus of Nazareth than I ever was of Jesus Christ.” What exactly do you mean by that?
July 17, 2013 | By Carolyn Kellogg
The film version of Cheryl Strayed's memoir "Wild" is picking up steam: Reese Witherspoon has signed on to portray the author. In the book, Strayed writes of hiking the 1,000-mile Pacific Crest trail alone, compelled by grief over her mother's death, a failed relationship and a need to seek out answers. Oprah Winfrey found it so compelling that she revived her shuttered book club for it. "Wild" was a 2012 bestseller. The film has a strong literary pedigree -- in addition to the original book, the screenplay was written by Nick Hornby, author of "High Fidelity" and "About a Boy. " As a novelist, Hornby has had a number of bestsellers, and he received an Oscar nomination for his screenplay of "An Education.
September 2, 2012 | By Catharine Hamm, Los Angeles Times Travel editor
Question: On Aug. 1, I tried to book a round-trip flight on American Airlines between San Diego and Philadelphia for Oct. 1 using my frequent-flier miles. I thought a two-month lead would facilitate the reservation. There were no seats available for 25,000 miles for October. I paid $25 to speak to a human. She tried her best but with the same result. If I were willing to expend 50,000 miles, there were plenty of seats. How far ahead does AA release its frequent-flier seats? Is this bait and switch?
May 27, 2010 | By Jonathan Shapiro, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Chuck Palahniuk is as subtle as a straight right to the jaw, and just as bracing. His 1996 novel "Fight Club" was a terrific meditation on the decrepit state of modern manhood. It had a relentless pace, brutal honesty and pitch-black humor. Made into a terrifically disturbing film starring Edward Norton and Brad Pitt, the book showed Palahniuk's gift for speaking uncomfortable truths about taboo subjects, such as how the American male tends to treat his existential ennui with meaningless consumerism, tawdry sex and wanton violence.
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