Favorite Books issue: books coverage for Dec. 7, 2008

Special Issue: Favorite Books 2008: Fiction and Poetry

December 7, 2008

Special Issue: Favorite Books 2008

Special Issue: Favorite Books 2008: Fiction and Poetry

All of It Singing

The Siren's Call: New narratives, old myths

December 7, 2008

FAVORITE BOOKS/MYTH AND LORE

The Siren's Call: New narratives, old myths

Myth is an extremely rich vein that writers have always mined. This year was no exception, as demonstrated by Kate Summerscale's splendid nonfiction study of a 19th century murder, "The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher" (Walker: 380 pp., $24.95).

'Correspondences' by Ben Greenman

December 7, 2008

BOOK REVIEW

'Correspondences' by Ben Greenman

"Correspondences" by Ben Greenman (Hotel St. George Press: $50, 250-copy limited edition) is a beautiful, letterpressed, book-like object containing seven short stories that literally unfold before you. The case is earth-colored cardboard with a wine-red sleeve, almost like a box of stationery. The first story, "What He Was Poised to Do," is revealed as you open the case; the text includes numbers corresponding to postcards the characters write to one another. You might expect to find those postcards inside; instead there is a blank one there, inviting you to fill in one of those from the story. This is a challenge, because Greenman's writing is wonderfully intimidating, bountiful yet compressed; one willing lover is "like a penny rolling across the floor." Maybe you ought to read the other stories first? Each story involves letters -- to lovers, friends, a daughter -- but few correspondents hope to receive anything in return. Yet one story is set on the impossible border of India and Australia and focuses on a karmic boomerang business (talk about karmic return). The enclosed stories are printed on opposite sides of accordion-style inserts -- "Hope," for example, is a story that is paired with another that has little, a reminder that correspondence is a kind of relationship, connection. "Correspondences" is a gorgeous collection of short stories, integrated in its content and construction, yet unfinished; it waits for your postcard to arrive.

Behind the laughter

December 7, 2008

BOOK REVIEW

Behind the laughter

They say that timing is everything in comedy. What "Make 'Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America" (Twelve: 384 pp., $45) makes clear is what a time and place 20th century America was for the art. In this chock-full-of-photos volume, authors Laurence Maslon and Michael Kantor don't peddle nostalgia as much as aim to enlighten.

Los Angeles bestsellers for Dec. 7, 2008

December 7, 2008

PAPERBACKS

Los Angeles bestsellers for Dec. 7, 2008

Fiction

Book calendar

December 7, 2008

WORDS & IDEAS

Book calendar

Words & Ideas

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