January 30, 2014 |
Frankfurt is a thriving financial center on the Main River that some Germans have taken to calling “Bankfurt,” but the locals take greater pride in their literary culture. Among other things, the father of German letters, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, was born there. It is also home to the world's largest book fair. So I shouldn't have been surprised to find a “ Literaturhaus ” smack in the middle of the city. The neoclassical 19th century building, once home to the city library, was the site of a literary festival to which I was invited to last week.
October 1, 2013 |
Nick Offerman, the man behind the best mustache on "Parks and Recreation," knows how to satirize machismo, but his home woodworking shop is no joke. Offerman's turn as Ron Swanson has introduced him to TV audiences, but his very funny new memoir, "Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living" (Dutton, $26.95), will allow readers to get to know the comedian behind the 'stache. In the book, Offerman reveals he is a former student of kabuki fight theater, a guitarist, a woodworker, former set designer and that, as a break dancer (!
May 23, 2010 |
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.
September 25, 2010 |
A good book will leave you laughing or crying. I just read one that left me wanting to take a shower. It is titled "Play Their Hearts Out. " It is about youth basketball and the general slime that surrounds it. If you think Johnny and Joey get those college scholarships by shooting hoops over the garage door and being molded to greatness by venerable Coach Tom at Neighborhood High, think again. First, some disclaimers. The book is written by George Dohrmann, who worked for me on the sports staff of The Times from 1995 to 1997.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 3, 2010 |
At Mount Pleasant High School on Thursday morning, students practiced guitar in a courtyard and boned up on math before class. Parents met with the principal, and teens filtered in the doors. Faculty played an April Fool's joke, announcing that the school year had been extended. But amid the routine, tension rippled across the campus, set near the edge of a quiet San Jose neighborhood, over a book by Steve Poizner, a candidate in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Poizner, who spent a year teaching at the school, donated thousands of dollars to help its students and recorded his experiences in the book, has been told he is no longer welcome there.
September 17, 2013 |
Among the many observations both endearing and illuminating in Linda Ronstadt's new memoir, “Simple Dreams” (Simon & Schuster, $25), which arrives Tuesday, Sept. 17, is the moment she recalls discovering her calling in life. “I can remember sitting at the piano,” she writes in the first chapter of the 242-page book. “My sister was playing and my brother was singing something, and I said, 'I want to try that.' My sister turned to my brother and said, 'Think we got a soprano here.' … I remember thinking, 'I'm a singer, that's what I do.' It was like I had become validated somehow, my existence affirmed.” She was 4. That moment of clarity didn't have anything to do with the worldwide fame Ronstadt would achieve as one of the most powerfully emotive singers of her generation, or the 10 Grammy Awards she eventually would win for a remarkably varied career spanning country and rock, classic pop and traditional Mexican folk music, opera and Broadway.
May 19, 2010 |
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 |
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.
December 1, 2013 |
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 |
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.