November 15, 2013 |
You may have missed it, but Tina Brown recently went to India and proclaimed the death of magazines, journalism and of reading itself, more or less in that order. Brown, the former editor of Newsweek and the New Yorker, must not do much reading herself anymore. Why else would such an intelligent woman say reading must be dead because “I think you can have more satisfaction from live conversation”? Civilization, Brown added, is “going back to oral culture where the written word will be less relevant.” Brown's words, spoken at a conference in Goa, India, were jotted down by a writer for the Hindustan Times who then reported them in that venerable storytelling form called journalism.
November 8, 2013 |
History, as we all know, is framed by events. But it also grows from relationships, both personal and political, and is framed by how the actions of particular players in specific circumstances set the course for the future. In her sweeping new history, "The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism," Doris Kearns Goodwin focuses on the relationships among Roosevelt, Taft and those pesky muckraking journalists and how their individual behaviors influenced not only one another but also the nation.
November 6, 2013 |
The two biggest elections Tuesday provided an imperfect template for predicting the future. In New Jersey, Republican Gov. Chris Christie so thoroughly blew away his Democratic opponent that conclusions are skewed. It would be a miracle, for instance, if Christie duplicated his showing and won close to a quarter of black voters in a 2016 run for president. In Virginia, the main candidates were so flawed you could almost hear voters begging for a “none of the above” option before they grudgingly gave the governor's office to Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
November 5, 2013 |
LONDON - Unknown masterpieces by artists such as Marc Chagall and Henri Matisse, works thought lost to the ravages of war and others deemed "degenerate" or looted by the Nazis form part of the spectacular trove of art discovered by German authorities in the apartment of an elderly recluse in Munich. Two days after news of the find broke, officials in southern Germany revealed Tuesday that the hoard contains 1,406 pieces by masters whose names read like a who's who of Western art of the last 150 years: Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Gustave Courbet, Oskar Kokoschka, Emil Nolde.
October 28, 2013 |
An NBA season isn't just a story that writes itself. It's also kind enough to touch on every genre. There's the fantasy of LeBron James and what he might do with the ball, the romance of Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets. There's the mystery of what goes on in the head of JaVale McGee. There's the Western (Conference), the league's better half. There's the horror of the Philadelphia 76ers, who might not be able to beat La Salle. The thriller of a draft lottery that will decide who gets Andrew Wiggins and the history of the Lakers and Boston Celtics, who don't have much of a present.
October 25, 2013 |
What with taking off our shoes and belts at airports, discovering the feds are hoovering up all our phone records, and watching drone strikes and SEAL raids around the globe, it's sometimes easy to forget that America has escaped the horror of another mass casualty terrorist attack in the dozen years since Sept. 11, 2001. Other than blind luck, it's an open question whether that success is because of aggressive law enforcement at home, muscular intelligence ops overseas, or the inescapable fact that most terrorists, like most criminals, are fairly dimwitted and thus get caught.
October 22, 2013 |
On his book tour, the tables have been turning on John Freeman: A parade of luminous authors are interviewing him. He's already sat down for public conversations with Teju Cole, Geoff Dyer, Aleksandar Hemon, and Marilynne Robinson, and on Tuesday night, it'll be Mark Z. Danielewski. That's at Skylight Books in Los Feliz at 7:30 p.m. Freeman's new book, "How to Read a Novelist," compiles his interviews with and profiles of 55 authors. It includes seven Nobel Laureates -- Toni Morrison, Gunter Grass, Nadine Gordimer, Doris Lessing, Imre Kertesz, Mo Yan, and Orhan Pamuk.
October 22, 2013 |
Some of the country's best known authors and illustrators of children's books have signed a letter addressed to President Obama with a simple message: Too much standardized testing is causing children to lose their love of books. More than 100 authors and illustrators have signed the letter , including Judy Blume and Jules Feiffer. The campaign was organized by the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest), an advocacy group. “We are alarmed at the negative impact of excessive school testing mandates, including your Administration's own initiatives, on children's love of reading and literature,” reads the letter.
October 18, 2013
I wanted to compliment The Times on its great coverage of the baseball playoffs and especially the NLCS preview. Other than the part where you picked the Dodgers to have an edge in every category (starting pitching, relief pitching, hitting, defense, bench) and the prediction of the Dodgers winning in six games, you really nailed it. Scott Lorenz La Cañada :: It's sad when Dodgers fans turn off Game 6 of the NL Championship Series and switch to the Louisville- Central Florida football game.
October 17, 2013 |
Boston was a rough-and-tumble city when I knew it in my teens and early 20s. It was, as Seth Mnookin suggests in “Our Boston: Writers Celebrate the City They Love” (Mariner: 354 pp., $16 paper), defined by “the Combat Zone and Filene's Basement and the old un-air-conditioned Garden.” Such landmarks appear throughout “Our Boston,” although the book is inspired by a more tragic, and more recent, bit of history: the bombings that shook the Boston Marathon earlier this year.