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April 10, 2014 | By Joy Press
The fantasy of being a writer appeals to so many of us: sitting in a book-lined study crafting perfectly wrought sentences, which an illustrious publisher swiftly transforms into a bestselling book and an indelible literary legacy. Missing from that idealized image is - well, the reality. Most writers struggle and stumble at every stage. It's hard to start a manuscript and harder to finish it. Rejection is rampant. And finding a way to earn a living that allows time to write - that can be the toughest trick of all. The Times sent out a survey to authors participating in the Festival of Books with questions about their experience as writers and got more than 200 responses.
April 6, 2014 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
Peter Matthiessen, who died Saturday at age 86, was the author of more than 30 books, beginning with his 1954 novel “Race Rock.” Here are five of his most resonant: “At Play in the Fields of the Lord” (1965). Matthiessen's fourth novel is about the clash between good and evil, played out in the Amazon rain forest and featuring two Americans who have come to the remote village of the Niaruna Indians - one to convert them and the other to kill them. That these two quests are related is part of the point of the book, which grew out of an earlier nonfiction work, “The Cloud Forest,” published in 1961.
April 4, 2014 | By Gwenda Bond
John Green's career as a book world phenom began auspiciously: His funny but tragic 2005 debut novel, "Looking for Alaska," became a cult young adult hit and landed the American Library Assn.'s Printz Award for YA novel of the year. This was followed by 2006's "An Abundance of Katherines," a heavily footnoted romantic comedy shortlisted for the Printz and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and 2008's "Paper Towns," which nabbed an Edgar Award. But it was 2012's "The Fault in Our Stars," featuring a heart-wrenching romance between intellectual teen cancer patients that cemented Green's status as a YA superstar.
April 3, 2014 | By Oliver Gettell
Quentin Tarantino is going unplugged. Having shelved plans to produce his script for the western "The Hateful Eight" after it was leaked online, the filmmaker will give fans a chance to experience it in the form of a live reading at LACMA on April 24. The "Pulp Fiction" and "Django Unchained" mastermind will cast and direct the reading of the script, which is set in a saloon in the middle of nowhere after a blizzard diverts a stagecoach from...
April 1, 2014 | By Scott Martelle
If the state of Mississippi had finished what it started, Michelle Byrom would be dead right now. Instead, based on revelations about confessions kept from a jury and an alleged case of perjury, the state's Supreme Court on Monday tossed out Byrom's murder conviction and ordered a new trial - but also ordered that a new judge conduct it. And this is after the case had already gone through the regular channels of appeal, as Oxford, Miss.,...
March 28, 2014 | By Jon Christensen
When people say that Los Angeles is hard to read, as they often do, they're usually not talking about books. They're talking about the city itself or rather the megalopolis, made up of dozens of cities. It is this sprawling, tangled, confusing, seemingly homogenous but in fact diverse, mixed-up urban and suburban landscape that people describe as illegible. Edward Soja, a geographer at UCLA, has spent much of his long career trying to read Los Angeles. Along the way, he developed innovative and sometimes controversial theories of urbanization and became a founder of a dynamic "L.A.
March 26, 2014 | By Melissa Healy, This post has been corrected. See note at bottom for details.
When one of us takes in another's face, it's like a party in the brain. Signals dart from region to region as we piece together the eyes, the mouth, the emotional expression, the degree of attraction or fear we may feel, the memory of a familiar feature or mannerism. New research has found that, by listening in long enough to an individual's brain as he or she gazes at many faces, one can sketch a pretty good facsimile of an unfamiliar new face that person is seeing. Using the same technique, one might one day be able to reconstruct a facial image called to someone's mind by memory, or even seen in a dream.
March 20, 2014 | Eric Sondheimer
When Montebello Cantwell-Sacred Heart holds its basketball awards banquet, Coach George Zedan should award a hard hat and lunch pail to senior guard Joey Covarrubias for his toughness in surviving a series of defensive assignments against players who one day we'll be watching on television in college or the NBA. "We ask him to do a lot," Zedan said. "We ask him to be our Swiss Army knife. " College recruiters might want to set up a one-on-one interview with Covarrubias to hear his personal scouting reports after guarding many of the top players in Southern California over the last four months.
March 17, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Many Angelenos were shaken awake at 6:25 a.m. Monday by a 4.4 magnitude earthquake centered north of Westwood. As earthquakes go, it wasn't really so bad: As of this writing, no major damage or injuries have been reported, water and power systems seem to be intact across the city, and, well, it was time to get up anyway. It was literally a wake-up call for earthquake preparedness. We're all supposed to have earthquake kits stocked with water and canned goods and first-aid supplies, just in case.
March 10, 2014 | By Hillel Italie
Joe McGinniss, the adventurous and news-making author and reporter who skewered the marketing of Richard Nixon in "The Selling of the President 1968" and tracked his personal journey from sympathizer to scourge of convicted killer Jeffrey MacDonald in the blockbuster "Fatal Vision," died Monday at a hospital in Worcester, Mass. He was 71. McGinniss died from complications of prostate cancer, according to his attorney and longtime friend Dennis Holahan. Few journalists of his time so intrepidly pursued a story, burned so many bridges or more memorably placed themselves in the narrative, whether insisting on the guilt of MacDonald after seemingly befriending him or moving next door to Sarah Palin's house for a most unauthorized biography of the former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate.
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