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Short Stories

February 2, 2012 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank Stories Nathan Englander Alfred A. Knopf: 210 pp., $24.95 Give Nathan Englander credit for chutzpah. The title of his new book of short fiction, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank," draws on two iconic antecedents: the young diarist killed at Bergen-Belsen and the Raymond Carver story "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. " Each, in its way, informs the collection; each, in its way, helps to set the terms.
January 15, 2012 | By Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times
The Odditorium Stories Melissa Pritchard Bellevue Literary Press: 256 pp., $14.95 paper The literary landscape is jammed with short stories. MFA programs teach them, and authors hone their skills writing them, while publishers generally steer clear of them because, they say, nobody buys them. It's a glut: There are so many of them, stories that are not-so-bad or pretty-good. Few authors rise above to be seen as truly excellent; at her best, Melissa Pritchard belongs in that number.
January 1, 2012 | By Diane K. Fisher
Sun and Earth have a chat. "Well, Happy New Year, Little blue Earth! You've made one more lap 'Round my blazing hot girth. "Through my merciless winds, For yet one more year You've kept a firm hold On your atmosphere. " "Dear Sun, you're most generous With all of your praise. You know it's a feat To defend from your blaze. "For you hurl out harsh rays And electrical dust That could fry life on Earth.
November 27, 2011
SUNDAY Now departing on Track 1, the "2011 Soul Train Awards. " Cedric the Entertainer is your host; performers include Natalie Cole, Common and Cee Lo Green, and Gladys Knight and Earth, Wind & Fire receive career honors. (9 p.m. BET) So he got the boot on "DWTS"; that's just part of "Being Chaz. " The transgender son of Sonny Bono and Cher is profiled in this new follow-up documentary, followed by the similarly themed special "I Am Jazz: A Family in Transition. " (OWN, 8 and 9 p.m.)
October 14, 2011 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Movie Critic
"Went the Day Well?" is the innocent-sounding title of one of the most subversive films to come out of World War II, a British drama that was unsettling in its day and is even more so now. Playing for a week at the New Beverly Cinema in a 35mm restoration, this 1942 drama, originally released in the heart of the conflict, takes an unnerving look at a head-spinning possibility: German soldiers masquerading as Britons taking over the bucolic English...
September 25, 2011 | By Irene Lacher, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Oscar-winning documentary maker Michael Moore, 57, explores his early years as a provocateur-in-training in his new autobiography, "Here Comes Trouble: Stories From My Life. " The book is mostly about your early life and it ends at the beginning of your filmmaking career, which is how most people know you. Why is that? That will come in a future volume, the things I've experienced in Hollywood, the films and all of that. But I wanted to write a book of short stories that were just good reading, and I thought I've never seen a book of nonfiction short stories.
August 22, 2011 | By Alice Hoffman
When my father took his leave of the family, he left behind a box of his books, and in doing so he gave me the gift of Ray Bradbury. The summer that I began reading Bradbury, even the ordinary world became magical. I inhaled the books: "Something Wicked this Way Comes," "Dandelion Wine," "The Illustrated Man," "The Martian Chronicles" and, of course, his master work, "Fahrenheit 451. " His stories embraced a different reality, and they insulated me from the despair of a family that was breaking apart.
July 20, 2011 | By Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times
In Chika Unigwe's novel "On Black Sisters Street," the snow-covered streets of Antwerp, Belgium, are a beacon of freedom to the four disadvantaged African women who serve as the book's protagonists. Recruited in Lagos, Nigeria, by a fat slug of a sex trafficker named Dele, the women work as prostitutes in glass stalls along the byways of Antwerp's seedy red light district. They dream big, though, and they never make excuses about why they are there. In fact, big dreams are why the women decide to work in the sex trade in exchange for passage to Europe, which they view as a paradise of opportunity and riches, far removed from the crushing squalor and bleak opportunities in Africa.
June 12, 2011 | By Richard Schickel, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Pulse Stories Julian Barnes Alfred A. Knopf: 227 pp., $25 Of our leading novelists, Julian Barnes has one of the richest historical imaginations. "Flaubert's Parrot" (the title is more or less self-explanatory) and "Arthur & George" (based on a true incident in which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle came to the rescue of an Anglo-Indian lawyer falsely accused of a heinous crime) are smoothly seductive masterpieces, which conclusively demonstrate the writer's ability to reconstruct the past in an utterly unselfconscious, entirely persuasive manner.
March 24, 2011
Short stories are often described in foodie terms, so what better way to cement the comparison than to pair the two at the Getty's "Delicious Shorts" series? Tim Curry, Christina Pickles and Denis O'Hare will read pieces by John Cheever, Tobias Wolff and T.C. Boyle, among others, with an array of gourmet goodies served alongside. Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, L.A. 3 and 7 p.m. Sat., 7 p.m. Sun. $30.
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