Kevin Starr mastered the stage whisper. At a stiff faculty or committee meeting, and with twinkle in his eye, he’d bring a hand or a book to his mouth, and, thus poorly disguised, offer a thought, a bon mot, an impertinent question, or even a joke. It was his version of sotto voce, but it came out basso profundo, since he raised, instead of lowered, his voice when he spoke in this way. He sometimesRead more
The National Book Critics Circle selected award finalists in six categories and announced three other prize winners Tuesday, but managed to miss one of the biggest books of 2016.Read more
Rep. John Lewis was inspired by and worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. When Lewis, head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, helped lead a group of civil rights marchers across the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Ala., on March 7, 1965 — the day that became known as Bloody Sunday — Lewis was beaten so badly that his skull was fractured.Read more
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 my yard in Echo Park, sitting on the damp green grass.Read more
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, and the world beckoned.Read more
One is a tightrope walker in a French circus who tries to lasso the moon. Another is a child who’s been kidnapped from a Pathmark in New Jersey by people kinder than her own mother.Read more