August 5, 1990
Re book critics almost as reliable as the people who write the blurbs for film ads: Larry Ceplair's comments about Michael Herr's "Walter Winchell: A Novel" (May 27) are a model of the nit-picking critique which makes so many of us (unfairly, perhaps) classify critics as literary "hit men" who dote on cutesy negativism. They too often get caught up in the cleverness of their put-downs and lose any sense of objectivity. I was asked by a local bookseller to read a pre-publication copy of "Walter Winchell" and advise her as to its worth.
June 6, 2010 |
Baseball, as we've frequently been told, lends itself to literature. The absence of a clock, the elegant geometry of the playing field, even that the best hitters fail two-thirds of the time: all these have proved irresistible to writers ever since Casey struck out with two men on back in 1888. One of the nation's most prominent political columnists cultivates a secondary persona as a kind of intellectual of the diamond and our most prestigious literary magazine employs a more or less full-time baseball correspondent.
June 25, 1995
The Times generally is effective in reporting on the multiethnic community. Still, the writing and photography for "A Conversation With the Soul of Mexico" (by Anthony Day and Sergio Mun~oz, April 30) were outstanding. Cheers for assigning the art and writing to people of the ethnic group being reported on. Poet Octavio Paz, Mun~oz, Day and photographers Manuel Alvarez Bravo and Ricardo Salazar have indeed captured the essence of Mexico. Euvonne Chiuco Palmdale Mun~oz and Day talk about intellectuals being the great voices of social commentary in Latin societies, but where are these types of voices in America today?
May 5, 2008 |
Mark Sarvas, who was raised in a Hungarian Jewish family in Queens, N.Y., has become notorious as the acid-fingered blogger at the Elegant Variation, a literary site he launched in 2003. Right out of the gate, he's been a champion of authors he loves -- John Banville, J.M. Coetzee, Zadie Smith -- and a harsh critic of those he doesn't: the Los Angeles Times Book Review, British provocateur Christopher Hitchens, literary "it" boy Keith Gessen, and, going back to the site's first week, writer Steve Almond.
February 14, 2010 |
The Possessed Adventures With Russian Books and the People Who Read Them Elif Batuman Farrar, Straus & Giroux: 304 pp., $15 Elif Batuman teaches at Stanford University, and her first book of essays, "The Possessed," dances between autobiography, travel-writing and literary criticism with dazzling flair and originality. "While it's true that, as Tolstoy observed, every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, and everyone of planet Earth . . . is certainly entitled to the specificity of his or her suffering," she writes in "Babel in California," "one nonetheless likes to think that literature has the power to make comprehensible different kinds of unhappiness.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 29, 2010 |
Luis Leal, an internationally recognized scholar of Mexican, Chicano and Latin American literature who was one of the founders of the field of Chicano literary studies, has died. He was 102. Leal, a professor of Chicano studies at UC Santa Barbara, died Monday of natural causes at a convalescent hospital in Santa Barbara, said his son, Antonio. A professor at the school since 1976, Leal taught his last class in Chicano literature in late 2004 but remained active as a scholar.