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April 26, 1987 | Richard O'Reilly
THE INCURSION by Dirk Hanson (Little, Brown: $16.95; 288 pp.). Peter Cassidy is just a regular guy in today's world, a 29-year-old solid-state physicist working for a major corporation who got tired of it all and decided he'd rather go fly fishing. So he chucked his job and did just that. But he gets called back.
April 24, 2014 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Before he loved anything else, Jean-Luc Godard loved genre: He famously dedicated his first feature film, "Breathless," to Monogram Pictures, one of the monarchs of Poverty Row B-picture production. But as "Breathless" demonstrated, Godard never did anything straight up. He did genre his own playful way, and never more so than in 1965's "Alphaville," a film that was part science fiction, part hard-boiled adventure, and all Godard. Playing for a week at the Nuart in West Los Angeles in a sharp new digital restoration, "Alphaville" is more than quintessential Godard.
April 24, 2014 | By John Horn
NEW YORK - As parents of young girls and as two of Hollywood's most prolific producers, Kathy Kennedy and Frank Marshall believed that "Columbine," journalist Dave Cullen's exhaustive investigation of the 1999 school massacre, contained compelling and often untold stories that needed to be shared with a larger audience. So when the book was published five years ago, the producers of "Lincoln" and "The Bourne Identity" purchased its rights, hoping to turn "Columbine" into a feature directed by "The Social Network's" David Fincher.
April 13, 2014 | By Soumya Karlamangla
Fiction writers discussed what it means to write novels about characters and cultures with specific ethnic identities, while also debating who is able to tell those stories, in a panel called "Fiction: Writing Culture and Character" at the Festival of Books on Sunday.  Rebecca Walker has written several memoirs, including "Black, White and Jewish," but wrote her first novel last year, about an American who goes to to Africa. Walker said she paid attention to, and made sure not to fall into, the tropes of the noble savage and the privileged American in telling a story that was both "true and subversive.
April 11, 2014 | Doyle McManus
Reading is such an improbable idea -- a miracle, really. Yet simple squiggles on a page, arranged just so, can convey ideas that change the way we think or introduce to us characters we love for a lifetime. In celebration of reading -- and of this weekend's Los Angeles Times Festival of Books -- we asked four readers (who also happen to be writers) to celebrate books that mattered in their lives. If you want a friend in Washington, the saying goes, get a dog. But if you're looking to understand Washington, I'd recommend fiction.
April 9, 2014 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
If, like me, you discovered David Goodis through the 1980s Black Lizard reprints of his novels, Philippe Garnier's “Goodis: A Life in Black and White” (Black Pool Productions: 216 pp., $25 paper) has long been something of a mythic touchstone. Published in France in 1984, it remained unavailable in English for decades - until now, when Garnier's own translation has been released. Goodis is, I think, the greatest of the pulp writers who churned out paperback originals in the 1950s: dime store crime fiction that often rose to the level of art. Jim Thompson, Charles Willeford, Harry Whittington - these were his contemporaries, his peer group, although the truth is Goodis had no peers.
April 7, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
The six-book shortlist for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction was announced Monday. The U.K.-based prize, which comes with an award of about $50,000, is the most significant dedicated solely to fiction written by women. The Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction , formerly the Orange Prize, was founded in 1991 after organizers noticed a distinct lack of appreciation for novels written by women. That year, while 60% of the novels published in the U.K. were by women, none made the shortlist for the Booker Prize.
April 7, 2014 | By Charis E. Kubrin and Erik Nielson
For 16 months, Bay Area rapper Deandre Mitchell - better known as Laz Tha Boy - has been sitting in a jail cell faced with a decision no artist should have to make: whether to defend his innocence at trial, knowing his music likely will be used as evidence against him, or take a plea bargain and admit to crimes he maintains he did not commit. Mitchell's case dates to October 2012, when he was indicted for his alleged role in two gang-related shootings that occurred that year. Prosecutors didn't present a single arrest or conviction to establish Mitchell's association with a criminal gang, and with conflicting eyewitness testimony - and no physical evidence connecting him to the shootings, according to defense attorney John Hamasaki - prosecutors elected to introduce something else: Mitchell's violent gangsta rap videos and lyrics, which were presented to the grand jury as evidence of his criminal behavior.
April 2, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Karen Joy Fowler is the winner of the 2014 PEN/Faulkner award for fiction with her novel "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves," it was announced Wednesday. Fowler's acclaimed novel tells the story of sharp-voiced woman raised by scientist parents who adopted a chimpanzee as a sibling-slash-experiment. Manuel Muñoz, head of the three-judge panel, said in a statement, “This superb novel is not only comic and smart, it packs a surprising emotional punch. Fowler captures an altogether new dimension of the meaning - and heartbreak - of family dynamics.” The questions Fowler's novel raises about what it means to be human have been echoed in recent legislative efforts, the Washington Post reports . The federal government has made moves to declare chimps an endangered species, which would prohibit using them in medical testing.
March 27, 2014 | By Hector Tobar
Every year, publishers, editors, agents and authors gather in Italy for the Bologna Children's Book Fair . This week, the buzz in Bologna is about the growing market for middle-grade fiction.  If you have a child in the 9-to-12-year-old range -- as I do -- you're grateful for the authors who write the first, prose-driven (as opposed to picture driven) books your child will read. My daughter's own reading list over the past year has included several middle-grade books, such as R.J. Palacio's 2010 “Wonder,” about a 10-year-old boy with a severe facial deformity who just wants to fit in at a mainstream school.
March 11, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
The finalists for the Best Translated Book Awards were announced Tuesday, featuring 25 works originally published in 16 languages -- none of them English. American publishing traditionally publishes a smaller percentage of works in translation than other nations -- meaning we have a trade imbalance of culture. The blog Three Percent, which started the Best Translated Book Awards (BTBAs) in 2007, seeks to ameliorate that by highlighting excellent literature in translation. BTBAs are awarded for both fiction and poetry (this year's longlist has not been announced)
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