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  • Kevin Starr on history: 'You don't make up your world. You find it.'

    Kevin Starr on history: 'You don't make up your world. You find it.'

    The agricultural development of the Imperial Valley should be dry as dust, but in Kevin Starr’s hands, it was a riveting tale of politics and personalities, environment and ambition and commerce, echoing so many themes of California as a whole. I remember exactly where I was when I read it: in...

  • Dave Dutton, the landmark L.A. bookstore owner, dies at 79

    Dave Dutton, the landmark L.A. bookstore owner, dies at 79

    Dave Dutton was a young man wandering Europe on a $5-a-day budget when his parents sent him a wire. They’d found a location for the bookstore they’d always dreamed of opening. Would he run the place?, they wondered. Dutton agreed, but cautioned that he would do it for only a year. He was young,...

  • 'Exorcist' author William Peter Blatty dies at 89

    'Exorcist' author William Peter Blatty dies at 89

    Novelist and filmmaker William Peter Blatty, a former Jesuit school valedictorian who conjured a tale of demonic possession and gave millions the fright of their lives with the bestselling novel and Oscar-winning movie “The Exorcist,” has died. He was 89. Blatty died Thursday at a hospital in Bethesda,...

  • 'The Winds of Winter' is coming this year (probably), George R.R. Martin says

    'The Winds of Winter' is coming this year (probably), George R.R. Martin says

    Good news, "Game of Thrones" fans: George R.R. Martin said that his long-awaited novel “The Winds of Winter” might be coming out this year. The book is the next installment of his "A Song of Ice and Fire" series that is the basis of the hit HBO show. Martin made the tentative prediction in the...

  • Zadie Smith, in Los Angeles, says 'I am a voyeur'

    Zadie Smith, in Los Angeles, says 'I am a voyeur'

    “As a writer, I am stealing continually,”  Zadie Smith said. “I would use the word voyeurism. I am a voyeur. I want to know.” Smith was onstage at the sold-out Colburn School of performing arts in Los Angeles on Monday night, wearing a crimson red head wrap and matching lipstick. She possesses...

  • Book sales suspended for Trump aide accused of plagiarism

    Book sales suspended for Trump aide accused of plagiarism

    Trump aide describes inflated crowd count as 'alternative facts' Jan. 22, 2017, 12:07 p.m. This is our look at President Trump's administration and the rest of Washington: Senior Trump advisor defends false claims of inauguration crowd size Trump reacts to women's marches for the first time Secretary...

  • Look out, hobbits: Marlon James is working on an epic fantasy trilogy

    Look out, hobbits: Marlon James is working on an epic fantasy trilogy

    Marlon James, who won the Man Booker Prize for his novel “A Brief History of Seven Killings” and is one of The Times’ critics at large, is working on an epic fantasy trilogy in the mode of J.R.R. Tolkien.  James was inspired to write the trilogy years ago, after learning that the cast of the "Lord...

  • Poet stumped by standardized test questions about her own poem

    Poet stumped by standardized test questions about her own poem

    Poet Sara Holbrook, who often writes humorous verse for kids, had some harsh words for the Texas Education Agency after she discovered she couldn't answer questions about poems on the its standardized tests — poems she herself wrote. In an essay for the Huffington Post, Holbrook wrote that she...

  • Bad news for the Strand? Amazon is opening a brick-and-mortar bookstore in Manhattan

    Bad news for the Strand? Amazon is opening a brick-and-mortar bookstore in Manhattan

    Amazon, the online retail giant, is set to open a 4,000-square-foot brick-and-mortar bookstore smack in the middle of Manhattan this spring. Located in the Time Warner Center, Amazon joins brands like Swarovski, H&M and Whole Foods occupying storefronts in the Columbus Center shopping mall.  Although...

  • Faces to watch: Remember these authors and their books

    Faces to watch: Remember these authors and their books

    LILLIAM RIVERA Lilliam Rivera completed the Emerging Voices program of Los Angeles’ PEN Center USA in 2013. It’s designed to give aspiring writers who haven’t gone to graduate school that education and then some: Fellows are mentored by professional writers, take workshops in writing and the world...

  • Junot Diaz has postponed his L.A. reading for a very, very good reason

    Junot Diaz has postponed his L.A. reading for a very, very good reason

    If you were hoping to see Junot Díaz next week, sorry, he’s going to be busy with the Obamas. Díaz, currently the Katie Jocobson writer in residence at Cal Arts, had been scheduled to speak at REDCAT on Jan. 13. REDCAT announced Wednesday that the event will be postponed until Feb. 17 after “Mr....

  • Art's red pill: An appreciation of critic John Berger

    Art's red pill: An appreciation of critic John Berger

    In high school, I had a social studies teacher who would occasionally scrap California’s curriculum mandates to do things like screen films about Latin American coups and African parasites. It was in this context that I first came across the work of English art critic John Berger, who in 1972 produced...

  • A nationwide effort launches to turn 'book deserts' into literary oases

    A nationwide effort launches to turn 'book deserts' into literary oases

    The National Book Foundation is teaming up with publishers and the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Education to make "book deserts" a thing of the past. The literary organization, best known for presenting the annual National Book Awards, joined its partners Thursday announcing...

  • Huston Smith, pioneering teacher of world religions, dies at 97

    Huston Smith, pioneering teacher of world religions, dies at 97

    Huston Smith, a pioneering teacher of world religions whose knowledge and respect for the traditions of the major faiths attracted millions of readers, has died. He was 97. Smith died at his home in Berkeley on Dec. 30 after a long illness, according to his official website. From the time he was...

  • The famous Manson true crime book, 'Helter Skelter,' reviewed in 1974

    The famous Manson true crime book, 'Helter Skelter,' reviewed in 1974

    Charles Manson, 82, was rushed from a Central Valley prison to a hospital this week for an undisclosed medical issue. In 1974, Robert Kirsch, former book editor and critic at The Times, reviewed “Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders,” which has since sold over 7 million copies. ...

  • Milo Yiannopoulos' book deal is publishing business as usual

    Milo Yiannopoulos' book deal is publishing business as usual

    Less than 24 hours after Milo Yiannopoulos’ upcoming book was announced, pre-orders for the controversial young conservative’s “Dangerous” propelled it to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list, knocking the recently deceased Carrie Fisher’s “Princess Diarist” down to No. 2. “I think he has a much...

  • John Hodgman will tell the truth in a new book, 'Vacationland'

    John Hodgman will tell the truth in a new book, 'Vacationland'

    John Hodgman, the actor and humorist known for his three almanacs of made-up facts, will be telling the truth in his next book. Viking will publish "Vacationland," the writer's first book of nonfiction, this fall. The essay collection will be an "expansion" of Hodgman's comedy tour of the same...

  • In 2017, publishing really needs a blockbuster

    In 2017, publishing really needs a blockbuster

    This year, publishing needs a hit. Not that 2016 was bad; it was fine. Books sales basically held steady — down a little here, up some there — for the most recent period for which we have numbers, from January to July. Although the Assn. of American Publishers wants to crow about the fact that...

  • Carrie Fisher the writer: Witty and vulnerable, she took us to the edge of our comfort zone

    Carrie Fisher the writer: Witty and vulnerable, she took us to the edge of our comfort zone

    Out on the Internet, along with the many heart-touching tributes to Carrie Fisher, photographs of her as Leia Organa, either as princess (the original trilogy) or general (from “The Force Awakens”) and with her beloved French bulldog Gary, there’s another picture, originally placed there by cinema...

  • 'Watership Down' author Richard Adams dies at 96

    'Watership Down' author Richard Adams dies at 96

    British author Richard Adams, whose 1972 book “Watership Down” became a classic of children's literature, has died at age 96, according to his daughter.  Juliet Johnson told the Associated Press on Tuesday that Adams died in Oxfordshire, England on Christmas Eve after getting progressively weaker...

  • President Obama plans to write a book once he leaves the Oval Office

    President Obama plans to write a book once he leaves the Oval Office

    President Obama confirmed what many political and literary observers have long assumed: After he leaves office, he'll be writing a book. In a CNN interview with David Axelrod, his former campaign strategist and senior advisor, Obama revealed he plans to restart his literary career after President-elect...

  • This one-time romance novelist could be the next U.S. secretary of Agriculture

    This one-time romance novelist could be the next U.S. secretary of Agriculture

    The next U.S. secretary of Agriculture could be Susan Combs, a Texas politician who published a steamy erotic novel in 1990, Politico reports. Combs, former state agriculture commissioner and comptroller of Texas, met with Vice President-elect Mike Pence on Tuesday, leading some political observers...

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