July 4, 2010 |
The Most Powerful Idea in the World A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention William Rosen Random House: 372 pp., $28 A young Steampunk's dream, William Rosen's "The Most Powerful Idea in the World" manages to make sense of the many threads that together tell the story of the origins and applications of steam power. The book has a crackling energy to it, often as riveting as it is educational. Rosen, in pursuit of evidence, makes interesting, even exciting, such subjects as patent law from the Roman Tiberius on, technological innovation in ancient China and the role of practice in separating out accomplished performers from the "merely good."
November 1, 2011 |
A Michigan woman recently placed a $15 "parlay" bet at the Las Vegas Hilton's sports book on a bunch of college football games for the upcoming Saturday and, in each game, she picked the favorite to win. If any of her picks failed to cover the point spread or lost their games outright, she would have lost her bet. Thus, her odds of winning the entire parlay were a whopping 600 to 1. She won anyway. The payoff? A cool $9,000. "This sums up our season as bookmakers" in college football, sighed Jay Kornegay, the Hilton's sports book director, after relaying the woman's story.
July 29, 2012 |
Shadow of Night A Novel Deborah Harkness Viking: 584 pp., $28.95 Writing second installments of planned trilogies is harder than you think. There has to be enough background from the first novel - but not too much - to give newcomers a grasp of the story while advancing the plot for readers eagerly anticipating the challenges of the new book. Deborah Harkness laid the foundation of her "All Souls Trilogy" with "A Discovery of Witches," which introduces historian Diana Bishop, a witch not fully aware of her powers.
May 19, 2012 |
John Grisham is to literature what Cheerios are to a rushed breakfast, something you buy in bulk and consume without too much thought. Honestly, I'm relieved when a new Grisham book doesn't weigh more than I do. Yet his newest work, "Calico Joe," is as slender as a Dodgers shortstop. Coming in at under 200 pages, it is a breezy little baseball novel that will probably appeal to many men the way Nicholas Sparks' stories appeal to that other sex. Strangely, considering the subject matter, it is amazingly unevocative of the game itself.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 11, 2010 |
When the landmark Long Beach bookstore Acres of Books closed its doors in 2008 to make way for a city redevelopment project, a big question remained: what to do with its acres of bookshelves? The decision was made to let them live on in a way, even after the bookstore was long gone. This summer, workers are using hammers to knock down and harvest an estimated 6-1/2 miles of wooden shelving. Most of the 1930s-era building will be demolished this fall to make way for an art center.
February 14, 2012 |
The street date of Scotty Bowers' "Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars," written with Lionel Friedberg, is Valentine's Day, but the eagerly anticipated memoir has been generating buzz for several weeks, and will most likely encounter a firestorm of criticism from some segments of the Hollywood set. It offers the former Marine paratrooper, pump jockey and bartender's accounts of three decades of having...
April 16, 2013 |
Just in time for the upcoming Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, The Times' books staff has created an interactive map of Literary Los Angeles , a work in progress. We've gathered passages from more than two dozen books set in and around L.A., as well as literary landmarks and local bookstores. This first draft of our map gives a sense of the wide scope, in time and space, of the Los Angeles literary scene. Wander over the map and you'll find scenes from books by assorted writers offering a glimpse of L.A. places and characters.
June 29, 2001 |
It's been 73 years since Glen and Bessie Hyde vanished on a honeymoon voyage through the Grand Canyon, but what exactly happened to them is still a mystery. On the Colorado River on summer nights, passengers on commercial rafting trips stand around campfires while boatmen speculate about the young Idaho bean farmer and his bride. They say Bessie wanted to be the first woman to boat through the Grand Canyon. She almost made it.
January 2, 2011 |
A Is for Armageddon A Catalogue of Disasters That May Culminate in the End of the World as We Know It Richard Horne Harper: 272 pp., $19.99 paper After reading Richard Horne's "A Is for Armageddon," there's an obvious question to ask this New Year's weekend (besides how to get rid of a doozy of a hangover): Why bother making any resolutions this year? Life on Earth could end tomorrow ? or today, for that matter ? thanks to any of a gallery of horrors served up by the universe or produced by ourselves.
August 28, 2000 |
Imagine you're Don Tooker in the cockpit of a supersonic F-8 Crusader jet fighter en route from El Toro Marine Corps Air Station to Hawaii, the first leg of a transpacific flight to Japan. In a disastrous refueling attempt, the main fuel cell is overfilled and bursts at 20,000 feet, causing a flameout. When you try to restart the engine, the fuel pouring out of the tailpipe ignites. Now your plane is on fire and spinning violently, leaving a trail of burning jet fuel a mile long.