YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsLiterary


January 16, 2001
However creepy Hollywood Boulevard became over the past so many tawdry years, it offered one sure cultural oasis in Book City ("Closing the Book on a Landmark," Dec. 10). How sad to learn that this wonderful literary depot is being forced out of the neighborhood by the very redevelopers whose motive, I thought, is to return a semblance of legitimacy to the street and replace all the last vestiges of riffraff with a higher quality of civic life. I fear another mindless CityWalk. Give me culture with sleaze over no culture at all. DAVID LEWIS Piedmont
March 6, 2014 | By Paula L. Woods
No advice is more confusing to writers than "write what you know. " Taken to its solipsistic extremes, it would mean novelists could not write characters outside of their own gender, race, geography or professional background. While the works of Susan Straight, Khaled Hosseini, Elizabeth George and others make clear the fallacy of that thinking, a writer's experiences and observations do play a significant role, along with research, in creating a believable universe for their characters and stories.
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.
February 23, 2014 | By Elaine Woo
William F. Thomas, an editor who led The Times during an extraordinary period of expansion in the 1970s and 1980s, when the paper widened its reach nationally and abroad and became a showcase for literary journalism, has died. He was 89. Thomas, who helped the paper reap 11 Pulitzer Prizes during his three-decade career at The Times, died Sunday of natural causes at his home in Sherman Oaks, said his son, Pete. "He was perhaps the least well-known of any editor of any major newspaper," said former Times Publisher and CNN President Tom Johnson . "He never sought the spotlight for himself.
September 2, 2009 | Susan Carpenter
Stephen King "couldn't stop reading" it. Stephenie Meyer was so "obsessed . . . I had to take it with me out to dinner and hide it under the edge of the table." Publisher's Weekly called it "the best book of 2008." What's the source of all the buzz? Suzanne Collins' novel "The Hunger Games" -- an action-packed, post-apocalyptic, young adult fantasy in which 24 children are selected to compete to the death before a television audience. The hang-on-the-edge-of-your-seat dystopian fiction is now in its ninth printing, with foreign publishing rights sold for 35 territories and a movie in the works.
June 6, 2010 | By Zachary Roth, Special to the Los Angeles Times
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 | Scott Timberg, Times Staff Writer
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 | By Richard Rayner
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.
January 29, 2010 | By Dennis McLellan
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.
January 17, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
"Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?" Shakespeare asked in Twelfth Night. There were cakes and ale aplenty at the Sugar Games, a literary dessert competition presented by PEN Center USA at Angel City Brewery in L.A. Thursday night. KCRW's Evan Kleiman judged culinary merit, and I was the literary judge. Eleven entrants executed literary desserts for us to try, and there were three winners: Lady of the Rings was first, The Things They Curried came in second, and a book riffing on "A Tale of Two Cities" took third.
December 29, 2013 | By Mark Magnier
KOLKATA, India - Rumors swept Kolkata this year that a runaway boy spent the night beside a 4,000-year-old Egyptian mummy in the Indian Museum, a building with a reputation for being haunted. The local media wrote it up, and a crowd, including some worried that the youngster had been besieged by ghosts, mobbed India's oldest museum demanding better security. With passions running high, authorities here in West Bengal state launched an investigation. "We checked all the closed-circuit TV cameras, gave them to the police," said Tanuja Ghosh, a museum geologist.
December 24, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
To get in the Christmas spirit, you might want to read a good piece of literature,  something beyond “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”  In the spirit of giving, we've found three stories from three great writers of the 20th century that will put the holidays in a new light. The first is John Cheever's wonderfully funny 1949 story, “Christmas is a Sad Season for the Poor,” originally published in the New Yorker . Cheever's protagonist, Charlie, is an elevator operator for a Park Avenue apartment building.
November 11, 2013 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Sometimes a week goes by and the Los Angeles literary landscape is as barren and desolate as the Salton Sea. This is not one of those weeks. Tonight: Vermin on the Mount returns. The punk rock reading series takes its name from its original location, the Mountain Bar, where it began 10 years ago. Host and organizer Jim Ruland has found a new home for the semi-regular series, at NOMAD Studio near the L.A. River. Readers on the bill are Scott O'Connor, Louis Armand, Melissa Broder, Juliet Escoria, Ariana Kelly and Damien Ober.
October 17, 2013 | By Emily Keeler
Running on a mere 2½ hours of sleep and exactly 12 hours after winning the Man Booker Prize for her novel “The Luminaries,” Eleanor Catton sat down for an interview with the Guardian's Charlotte Higgins and brought her A game. The 28-year-old novelist from New Zealand, the youngest ever to win the prize, addressed the critics who have approached her complex novel with trite assumptions about gender. Catton said the "people whose negative reaction [to 'The Luminaries']
October 2, 2013 | By Emily Keeler
Literary lucha libre: It's a battle of words between writers wearing luchador wrestling masks. Husband and wife tag team Christopher Vazquez and Angie Silva founded an event for Peru's up and coming writers to compete in the ring, based on the Mexican wrestling tradition of agile men in colorful masks and iridescent, tight-fitting outfits who try to pin each other to the ground. Lucha Libro writers wear the masks but are allowed to wear street clothes. They get on a stage in a bar in Lima and grapple with each other - using just their words.
November 12, 1995 | Lisa Broadwater, Lisa Broadwater is a writer living in Dallas. Her last piece for the magazine was on children's book author William Joyce. and
Don't bother asking author Dagoberto Gilb to talk about himself, because he will--and he will regret it. He will regret it because he will tell you much more than he means to tell you, much more than he probably should tell you, much more than, in the end, you should know. This is a man who has packed a lifetime of hard living into 45 years. A man who has roamed from East Los Angeles to the western tip of Texas, yet who can truly call no single place home. A man who has known desperately hard times and broken more than a few laws.
September 17, 2013 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Oh, Canada. This week, we have four days of National Book Award longlists, and there's a big, possibly leaked announcement from the Man Booker Prize coming Wednesday. But as if that weren't enough in the literary longlist department, Canada is getting in on the action too. Specifically, the Scotiabank Giller Prize , Canada's preeminent literary award for fiction. Its 13-title longlist was announced Monday. The winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize gets $50,000 Canadian (about $48,000 American)
September 11, 2013 | By Carolyn Kellogg
When America was attacked on 9/11, it seemed as if words might fail. But in trying to understand that tragedy and what it meant, words have served us well. Here are some literary links for the 12th anniversary of those attacks in 2001. "Every year I reread  @colsonwhitehead 's remarkable piece abt New York & New Yorkers, past, present & future," Chelsea Clinton tweeted Tuesday morning. The piece is " The Way We Live Now 11-11-01; Lost and Found ," which ran in the New York Times Magazine.
Los Angeles Times Articles