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It's not your grandma's Book of the Month Club

Before Oprah Winfrey anointed bestsellers with her book club picks, there was the Book of the Month Club. And now it’s coming back for another round.   The Book of the Month Club, a pioneer of book distribution and marketing, relaunched late last year with a new approach and new attitude. The reboot...

CRITICS-AT-LARGE

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BOOK REVIEWS: WHAT TO READ

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  • Caitlyn Jenner's memoir 'The Secrets of My Life' will be published in April

    Caitlyn Jenner's memoir 'The Secrets of My Life' will be published in April

    Caitlyn Jenner, the Olympic legend turned reality television star who came out as transgender last year, has revealed the title of her upcoming memoir: “The Secrets of My Life.” In a Twitter post Monday, Jenner shared an image showing the title of the book and its publication date of April 25,...

  • A coffee-free Lauren Graham on the 'Gilmore Girls' revival and becoming a writer

    A coffee-free Lauren Graham on the 'Gilmore Girls' revival and becoming a writer

    Lauren Graham pulls a laptop from her purse.  It’s an overcast day in West Hollywood and the actress— just back from a jaunt to Berlin to promote the global launch of Netflix’s revival of “Gilmore Girls”— is sitting in a conference room at her publicist’s office when she abruptly reaches into her...

  • 'Xenophobia' is the word of the year for 2016, says Dictionary.com

    'Xenophobia' is the word of the year for 2016, says Dictionary.com

    Dictionary.com has selected "xenophobia" as the 2016 word of the year, citing the anti-immigrant rhetoric of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and the United Kingdom's Brexit vote to leave the European Union as reasons for its choice. In a news release, the online dictionary said that searches...

  • Books: Talking to Michael Chabon about fatherhood, plus a deep dive into the Krampus

    Books: Talking to Michael Chabon about fatherhood, plus a deep dive into the Krampus

    Winter is arriving in Southern California — it’s time to break out the long-sleeved shirts (sorry, snowy lands, you can keep your parkas) and settle in with a good book. THE BIG STORY Michael Chabon’s new novel “Moonglow” was inspired by a story his grandfather told on his deathbed. The novel is...

  • Phil Collins, pop star and self-deprecating dad, on his new memoir

    Phil Collins, pop star and self-deprecating dad, on his new memoir

    Phil Collins is arching an eyebrow on the cover of his new memoir, as if to let you know he’s in on the joke. The book is called “Not Dead Yet” (Crown Archetype, $28), a rather wry declaration from one of pop music’s most buoyant hitmakers, who’s not exactly wizened at 65.  “Well, my health seems...

  • William Trevor explored the fictional possibilities of every type of person but himself

    William Trevor explored the fictional possibilities of every type of person but himself

    If you have been devotedly reading William Trevor over the past several decades, there’s a good chance you never learned much about William Trevor.  This is because Trevor, like many great writers, explored the fictional possibilities of almost every type of person but himself.  In 11 short-story...

  • 31 authors urge Obama to pardon Edward Snowden

    31 authors urge Obama to pardon Edward Snowden

    Thirty-one authors have signed an open letter to President Obama, urging him to pardon Edward Snowden, the former U.S. government contractor charged with violating the Espionage Act for leaking National Security Agency documents to journalists. Writers who signed the letter include Michael Chabon,...

  • Germany buys Thomas Mann's former Pacific Palisades home, averting demolition

    Germany buys Thomas Mann's former Pacific Palisades home, averting demolition

    Germany has purchased the Pacific Palisades residence once owned by Thomas Mann, averting demolition of the home where the Nobel Prize-winning novelist lived for a decade after fleeing Adolf Hitler. The home, built in 1941 and designed by modernist architect J.R. Davidson, had been listed this...

  • William Trevor, one of Ireland's great novelists, dies at 88

    William Trevor, one of Ireland's great novelists, dies at 88

    Irish novelist and playwright William Trevor, a master of short stories that often explored life's disappointments, has died at the age of 88 in his adopted English home, his publisher announced Monday. Trevor set his tales mainly in his native Ireland or in England, where he had lived since graduating...

  • Long-lost audiobook - one of the earliest ever published - discovered in Canada

    Long-lost audiobook - one of the earliest ever published - discovered in Canada

    A copy of the world's first full-length audiobook, a 1935 recording of Joseph Conrad's novella "Typhoon," has been discovered in Canada by a London-based professor, the Guardian reports.  Matthew Rubery, who teaches modern literature at London's Queen Mary University, said a record collector in...

  • Books: For Jon Klassen, kids' books aren't old hat

    Books: For Jon Klassen, kids' books aren't old hat

    This week in books, literary reaction to the election continues; I’ve got a report from the National Book Awards; and most important, we find out why kids are obsessed with books about hats.  THE BIG STORY Children’s book author and illustrator Jon Klassen started out working on animated films,...

  • More fine fall fiction

    More fine fall fiction

    “The Spy” by Paulo Coehlo (Knopf: 208 pp., $22) Coelho, author of “The Alchemist,” whose books have sold more than 200 million copies worldwide, has taken the Mata Hari story and fashioned it into a short dynamo of a novel.  He starts with the outlines of Mata Hari's life — Dutch exotic dancer,...

  • The importance of black voices is clear at National Book Awards where Colson Whitehead wins fiction prize

    The importance of black voices is clear at National Book Awards where Colson Whitehead wins fiction prize

    In a year plagued by racial tensions, the National Book Awards ceremony on Wednesday night proved that literature is a vital part of our national conversation, not merely an artistic diversion. And the message was clear: In 2016, black voices are to be rewarded and celebrated. Three of the four...

  • Publishers are reeling from Trump's win, but the news is not all bad

    Publishers are reeling from Trump's win, but the news is not all bad

    The morning after Donald Trump won the presidential election, Paul Bogaards awoke with “a feeling of despair and dread or worse.” The director of public relations at Knopf Doubleday emailed that to his staff; he also told them that if they needed to they could take the day off, but that he was...

  • 'Love Warrior' author Glennon Doyle Melton loves soccer star Abby Wambach

    'Love Warrior' author Glennon Doyle Melton loves soccer star Abby Wambach

    Glennon Doyle Melton, the popular Christian blogger and author of the Oprah Winfrey-approved memoir "Love Warrior," about the difficulties with her marriage to husband Craig, is now in a relationship with soccer star Abby Wambach. Melton revealed the news on Sunday in a Facebook post, accompanied...

  • National Book Award finalist Viet Thanh Nguyen speaks out on war, capitalism and Donald Trump

    National Book Award finalist Viet Thanh Nguyen speaks out on war, capitalism and Donald Trump

    A sense of the other seeps through Viet Thanh Nguyen’s work, a place where war and memory play like discordant whispers, and defining one’s identity, especially for an immigrant or a refugee, can be as disquieting and elusive as chasing light through a prism. A child of the Vietnam War who arrived...

  • Post-election online word searches: 'Bigot,' 'fascism' and 'xenophobe'

    Post-election online word searches: 'Bigot,' 'fascism' and 'xenophobe'

    The words "fascism," "bigot" and "xenophobe" were the most searched-for words in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary on Sunday, the publisher revealed on Twitter. Those words were followed by "racism," "socialism," "resurgence," "xenophobia" and "misogyny." The searches, possibly related to Tuesday's...

  • Books: Loving libraries, now more than ever

    Books: Loving libraries, now more than ever

    All eyes turned to Washington this week as America elected Donald Trump to be our next president. THE BIG STORY Critic at Large David Kipen is a former Beltway denizen — he was the director of literature at the NEA — and he shares his thoughts about the president-elect and an American institution:...

  • On Friday, the founders of Reductress bring their wit — and new book — to L.A.

    On Friday, the founders of Reductress bring their wit — and new book — to L.A.

    The first book by the satirical website Reductress, “How to Win at Feminism: The Definitive Guide to Having It All — And Then Some!”(HarperOne, $22.99 paper) pulls no punches. With chestnuts including “How to Love Your Body Even Though Hers is Better” and “Empowerment Exercise: Embody a Man,” “How...

  • Zadie Smith's 'Swing Time' is a tour-de-force

    Zadie Smith's 'Swing Time' is a tour-de-force

    If ever a novel conjured a sound and dance track, it is “Swing Time,” a multilayered tour-de-force from Zadie Smith. She begins with an epigram from northern Nigeria: “When the music changes, so does the dance.” At its cerebral core burns a lifelong rivalry between two girls growing up in shabby...

  • Javier Marías' elegant novel 'Thus Bad Begins' is filled with secrets

    Javier Marías' elegant novel 'Thus Bad Begins' is filled with secrets

    Novels are about secrets, inherently so, as the author knows just how a story ends, what happens, who did what and where the bodies are buried. A reader, on the other hand, knows nothing really at all, save what happens in the current sentence and preceding paragraphs. Secrets remain closed until...

  • The conservative rich kid who found his place on television and in politics

    The conservative rich kid who found his place on television and in politics

    How’s this for a story line? Rich kid grows up on the East Coast, not far from Manhattan. He’s utterly convinced of the rightness of his ideas and not at all shy about telling people who disagree with him that they’re wrong and making it abundantly clear that he thinks he’s smarter than they are....

  • Emma Watson left Maya Angelou books in the London subway with secret notes

    Emma Watson left Maya Angelou books in the London subway with secret notes

    Books helped make "Harry Potter" actress Emma Watson a star. Now she's paying literature back by leaving free books with personal notes in London subway stations. Watson planted copies of Maya Angelou's memoir "Mom & Me & Mom" around the London Underground on Tuesday, she revealed on her Facebook...

  • Ava DuVernay's 'A Wrinkle in Time' begins production

    Ava DuVernay's 'A Wrinkle in Time' begins production

    Ava DuVernay’s history-making adaptation of “A Wrinkle in Time” has officially kicked off production in Los Angeles.  Based on the Newbery Medal-winning novel by Madeleine L'Engle, “A Wrinkle in Time” follows young Meg Murray and her younger brother Charles Wallace as they travel through space...

  • Welcome to NaNoWriMo 2016

    Welcome to NaNoWriMo 2016

    November is NaNoWriMo; as aspiring authors know, that’s short for National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo challenges would-be novelists to write a 50,000-word book during the month of November. It bills itself as "one part writing boot camp, one part rollicking party." Last year, more than 430,000...

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