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.
May 27, 2010 |
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.
May 6, 2013 |
Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" opens wide this Friday. Eighty-eight years before -- to the day -- the Los Angeles Times ran this review of the original "The Great Gatsby," the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Today, perception of the book's reception in 1925 varies -- some say it was successful , others that it was a dismal failure -- but our review, by Lillian C. Ford, is purely positive. And she captures something of what has made the book a classic. "The Seamy Side of Society," read the headline, with this below: "In 'The Great Gatsby,' F. Scott Fitzgerald Creates a New Kind of Underworld Character and Throws the Spotlight on the Jaded Lives of the Idle Rich.
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.
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.
May 30, 2010 |
The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham A Biography Selina Hastings Random House: 640 pp., $35 The story of William Somerset Maugham, the stammering young boy who became a doctor and then the world's most famous writer since Dickens, has often been told, but in this new biography, "The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham," Selina Hastings draws upon previously unavailable material to create the fullest, most sympathetic portrait thus...
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.
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.
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.
November 25, 2013 |
Michelle Knight will write a book on the 11 years she spent as a captive in the Cleveland home of Ariel Castro. Weinstein books will publish the as yet untitled memoir in spring 2014. Knight was one of three women who were freed in a dramatic escape earlier this year. The other two, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, are writing a book about their experiences together with two award-winning journalists; a publisher for their book has not yet been announced. Knight was the first of the three women Castro abducted; she was held prisoner by him for 11 years.