Archive: Books

Entries in this category going back awhile

LA Observed Notes: Gaza to El Segundo, Kilauea to Burbank

century-plaza-construc.jpg A shooting on camera. A local news paywall. Media notes, media people, selected tweets and more.

Backstage at the Huntington

tls-huntington.jpg A few quick photos from behind the scenes at the Huntington Library in San Marino.

Barnes & Noble closes in Santa Monica

bn-sm.jpg That leaves one chain bookstore west of the Grove, unless you count the new Amazon store in Century City.

LA Observed Notes: Bookstore stays open, NPR pact

Ford-Ampitheatre_TomBonner.jpg NPR staffers won't face a strike. Obits for Martin Landau, George Romero, Bill Smith and Tenny Tenusian. Selected tweets.

Al Franken in Los Angeles many times over

al-franken-cover-cropped.jpg Sen. Franken was on KPCC Friday and is talking about his new book in Beverly Hills (twice) and in Glendale.

Press freedom under Trump and the Festival of Books

writersbloc4panel.jpg I will be moderating a journalism panel on Monday night and then, on Saturday, signing and schmoozing at the Times book festival.

Amy Dawes, 56, journalist and author

amy-dawes-iw.jpg The Los Angeles entertainment journalist and author of "Sunset Boulevard: Cruising The Heart of Los Angeles” has died of cancer.

Richard Schickel, 84, film critic, director and author

richard-schickel-post-by-er.jpg "A giant of American film criticism," Kenneth Turan says of Schickel, the longtime Time critic, author and documentary maker.

Kevin Starr, 76, the historian of California

kevin-starr-sf-chronicle.jpg The top contender for the title of preeminent observer of our state "chronicled the history of California as no one else," Gov. Jerry Brown said.

The Rams were the original 'Hollywood's Team'

bob-waterfield-lapl.jpg The Rams' return to LA has been a disaster, but a new book by Jim Hock remembers when the NFL team's relationship with the city was something special.

LA Observed Notes: Early voting, media moves and more

voting-line-nohwd.jpg Queuing to vote across LA, Trump's last stand, and why the sports department hates election night.

Josh Kun, 4 other Angelenos win MacArthur grants

josh-kun-macarthur.jpg This year's local genius grant winners have ties to USC, Caltech and CalArts.

Carolyn See, 82, LA author and critic

carolyn-see.jpg See was "the defining voice for a certain kind of California experience in the mid-’70s and 1980s."

Media and book notes for a summer weekend

press-club-awards-banner-2016.jpg Coming, goings, awards and Donald Trump. Plus that LAT photographer pleads no contest and gets community service.
mystery-imagination-bookstore.jpg Big sale starts today then the Brand Boulevard shop will move online.

The making of 'All the President's Men'

redford-atpm.jpg Forty years before "Spotlight" reminded movie-goers what reporters actually do, ATPM was the film making college students want to study journalism.

Sam Quinones, 'Dreamland' win at National Book Critics Circle

sam-quinones-fb.jpg He wins in the nonfiction category for book about the heroin epidemic in middle-class America.

Hennessey + Ingalls now open in the Arts District

hennessy+ingalls-open.jpg Click on the photo to enlarge. LA Observed photo from Sunday. Hennessey + Ingalls, the arts and architecture bookstore that shocked its fans by announcing last fall it was moving...

Russ Parsons purges his cookbooks after 30 years

parsons-cookbook.jpg The former LA Times food editor donated upwards of 500 cookbooks to the Long Beach Public Library. But it wasn't easy.

Steve Wasserman to run publisher Heyday

stevewassermantruthdig.jpg The former LA Times book editor takes over for the retired Malcolm Margolin.

Bookstore down: Apostrophe Books in Long Beach

apostrophe-books-sign-fb.jpg The Belmont Shore booksellers have been in business together for 23 years in different locations.

Bookstore closing: Traveler's Bookcase on West 3rd

travelersbooks.jpg The proprietors of Traveler's Bookcase on West 3rd Street announced to customers via email that they are in the process of shutting down. The closing clearance sale begins today and...

Carolyn Kellogg named LA Times books editor

carolyn-kellogg-lat-320.jpg She has been the section's writer and, for now, is the only staffer remaining. "Her job will go beyond the printed word to explore ideas, film, art and society," the memo says.

Michael Hamilburg, literary agent, was 82

michael-hamilburg.jpg Michael Hamilburg was the book agent for Jim Morrison, Jackie Robinson, Vincent Bugliosi and many other writers — as well as a number of Los Angeles journalists through the years....

Serious kudos for the LA Review of Books

tom-lutz-book-club.jpg The Chronicle of Higher Education piles on the praise, saying there's now "an LARB style" of reviewing.

Register and author go inside OC's snitch tank

snitch-tank-ocregister.jpg Author Ed Humes returns to his Register roots to collaborate on a long tale of how Orange County authorities messed up the prosecution of the confessed Seal Beach salon murderer.

David Ulin adds name to LA Times buyout list

David-Ulin-web.jpg Book critic David Ulin announced on Facebook that he is taking the buyout offer from the Los Angeles Times. Effective Tuesday.

Amazon opening a real bookstore today in Seattle

amazon-books-store.jpg Twenty years later, Amazon has decided what it really needs is a physical, brick and mortar retail store to sell books.
Thumbnail image for Malcom-margolin.jpg "For the right candidate, this presents an amazing opportunity to lead a nonprofit book publishing company in a period of growth."

Hennessey + Ingalls to move to DTLA Arts District

hennessey+ingalls.jpg The 52-year-old bookstore is leaving Santa Monica for a new 5,000-foot bookstore space at One Santa Fe.

A Los Angeles poet's 'revolution of everyday life'

sesshu-foster-aljz.jpg Al Jazeera America goes for an Eastside tour with Sesshu Foster, "the poet laureate of a vanishing neighborhood."

The LA drug education of Oliver Sacks

milch-oliver-sacks-ltla.jpg In Topanga Canyon in 1963, even the doctors got stoned and took acid. Plus: Sacks in the most colorful green room in town.

Oliver Sacks, 82, neurologist and author dies of cancer

musicophilia.jpg Sacks announced in a February Op-ed piece that he had spreading cancer and was detaching from big world concerns like the Middle East and global warming. "My generation is on the way out…"

Ex-LAT writer won't do Huffington's research

lauren+lipton+portrait.jpg Lauren Lipton's reply to a request for free help was beyond frosty. The phrase "the rapacious Ms. Huffington" was written.

Duke Kahanamoku gets a happy birthday nod from Google

duke-k-goodle-doodle.jpg Google Doodle honors 125th birthday of the Olympic champion swimmer and father of surfing — the subject of an upcoming biography by David Davis.

Thursday news and notes

maria-sharapova-gjusta.jpg City Hall politics, media items, books news and place notes, including Maria Sharapova at Gjusta.

William Finnegan's San Fernando Valley days

barbarian-days-cover.jpg In his new memoir about surfing, the New Yorker staff writer remembers the hot and dry, white, inland place that spawned him. We help him a little with the origin story of Tarzana.

Alan Cheuse, novelist and NPR contributor, dies at 75

alan-cheuse.npr.jpg Cheuse was injured in a crash near Santa Cruz two weeks ago.

New book on big science by the LAT's Mike Hiltzik

lawrence-cyclotron.jpg The business columnist provides a new biography of Ernest Lawrence, the Berkeley physicist who played a big role in the envelopment of atomic weapons.

Soboroff adds Shirley Temple's typewriter

shirley-temple-at-typewriter-ss.jpg An Underwood used by the late actress joins those of Ray Bradbury, Truman Capote and other famous typists in the Soboroff collection.

Josh Kun, Diana Wagman finalists for SoCal book awards

LDLA-cover1_9781626400283_grande.jpg "To Live and Dine in L.A.," "Life #6" and Brian Grazer's "A Curious Mind" are among the nominees.
queens-of-noise-cover.jpg Her book does not include Jackie Fuchs' details of being raped by Kim Fowley, the band's creepy creator. Here's why.

Scott Timberg on leaving Los Angeles*

casestudyhouse22a.jpg The journalist and author tried to make it work after being laid off by the LA Times. But it's more complicated than that.

Book notes: Deal for a book on Jerry Brown, more LA authors

jim-newton-lat.jpg Jim Newton will write the next book on Jerry Brown "and the creation of modern California." Plus Diana Wagman, Holly Madison, William Mulholland, Josh Kun and more.

Michael Connelly visits the LA crime lab

connellyheader-csula.jpg In a piece for the Cal State LA campus magazine, Connelly goes to the lab that provides many scenes for his books and Amazon original series, "Bosch."

Dodgers go meekly again, but the baby lives

dodgers-baby-jsh.jpg Wrigley Field has a new goat or hero, depending on your view. Plus two new books on the Dodgers.
frances-kroll-ring.jpg Ring was the assistant who hid F. Scott Fitzgerald's drinking by dumping his empty gin bottles in Sepulveda Canyon in the months before he died.

This book by ex-newspaper exec needed no ghost writer

handprint-heaphy.jpg Janis Heaphy Durham, a former VP of advertising at the LA Times, may have a bestseller with her book about paranormal events after the death of her husband.

LA Observed at the Festival of Books this weekend

bill+boyarsky+latfob.jpg I'll be around schmoozing and signing on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Hope to meet some more of you. Plus Bill Boyarsky, Jon Christensen, Cari Beauchamp and more.
beyond-cover.jpg The video is not only safe for work, it's safe for children. "Can I get a little censorship outrage here?" the publisher of Pasadena's Prospect Park Books asks.

The impossible quest of the fledgling novelist

martin-smith-group-medium.jpg Martin J. Smith writes about a book tour through the West in twin mini-vans. Plus David Ulin on The Offing, a new literary magazine in Los Angeles.

'The Swap' is a twisty, Hitchcockian tale of a vacation gone bad

TheSwapFrntCvr72dpi copy.jpg "The Swap: A Mystery," the first novel by our friend Nancy Boyarsky, has been voted as the top London mystery by the readers at Goodreads.

Visiting with Luis Rodriguez, poet laureate of Los Angeles

luis-rodriguez-kcet.jpg This week's "SoCal Connected" on KCET features the author and founder of Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural & Bookstore.

Village Books razed but not forgotten

Village-Books-Demolition-Jan-2015.jpg The block in Pacific Palisades is being torn down for Rick Caruso's newest shopping area. But Bob Vickrey remembers.

Big praise in NYT for Jill Leovy's 'Ghettoside'

ghettoside-cover-nyt.jpg The depth of reporting by LAT reporter makes 'Serial' resemble a book of poetry, says the reviewer.

Huntington curator on 'The Bard of LA'

AlMartinez-desk-2012.jpg A memorial for Al Martinez will be held Feb. 8 at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica.

Hector Tobar, Miriam Pawel on National Book Critics Circle list

untold-stories-tobar-cover.jpg Books by the two former LA Times journalists are finalists for the prestigious American literary awards for 2014.

Ray Bradbury's Westside home is now a teardown*

bradbury-demolish-jkt.jpg The house is mostly gone already. Architect Thom Mayne may be the owner.

Has postmodernism destroyed journalism and more?

culture-crash-cover.jpg Laid-off LA Times writer Scott Timberg's new book about the pressures on journalism and the creative class is out, reviewed by the Columbia Journalism Review.

Michele Serros, poet and writer about Chicana life, dies at 48

michele-serros.jpg Serros is the author of "Chicana Falsa," "How to be a Chicana Role Model" and "Honey Blonde Chica," among other works.

Bill Cosby and rape go together at Skylight Books

cosby-skylight.jpg Photo: The staffers at Skylight Books in Los Feliz leave no doubt how they feel about Bill Cosby and the allegations of sexual drugging and rape piling up against the performer.
watkinsplaza-getty.jpg Tyler Green, the arts critic and reporter who writes Modern Art Notes, has signed a deal to write a biography about Watkins for UC Press.

Sad but true: Sam Zell writing a book called 'Gravedancer'

sam-zell-labo.jpg The man who drove Tribune into bankruptcy plans a "personal and professional memoir [with] compelling stories about his biggest deals and share tips for entrepreneurs who want to follow in his footsteps.” Snicker.

Bestsellers in SoCal (and U.S.) for your book shopping pleasure

amy-poehler-yes-please.jpg If your Christmas shopping list includes books, here is some guidance on what others are reading. As always, the differences between SoCal and national bestseller lists are curious.

Management change at Skylight Books

skylight-books-inner.jpg Co-owner and general manager Kerry Slattery told the staff last night she is retiring and turning over management of the store to Mary Williams, the events manager at Skylight.

Amazon, Hachette put it all behind them

Gladwell poster copy.jpg Book selling giant Amazon and publisher Hachette announced this morning that they have signed a new multiyear contract, ending their bitter public dispute over book pricing.

When AM radio was the place to discover rock and roll

harvey-kubernik-kcrw.jpg Nice Lisa Napoli interview on KCRW with Harvey Kubernik, the author of "Turn Up the Radio: Rock, Pop, and Roll in Los Angeles 1956-1972."

Riordan's book lacks a little something, says review

riordan-book-grab.jpg I haven't yet read former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan's autobiography, but Jim Rainey of the LA Times has. Rainey covered City Hall when Riordan was mayor.

Robert Hilburn to write biography of Paul Simon

hilburn-richards.jpg Hilburn profiled Simon for the LA Times during a 1987 stop in Zimbabwe on Simon's tour for "Graceland." Simon & Schuster acquired the book at auction.

Soboroff acquires typewriter of Superman creator Jerry Siegel

jerry-siegel-art.jpg Siegel was the co-creator and writer of the original Superman comic books. He purchased his Royal portable in 1938.
michael-scott-moore-captive.jpg Moore, the author of two books set in surfing culture, was taken captive while working on a book about Somali pirates. He had moved to Berlin from the South Bay before going to Africa.

Hector Tobar leaving LA Times for Univ. of Oregon*

hector-tobar-fb.jpg Tobar, a former foreign correspondent, has most recently been a staff writer in books. His book on the buried Chilean miners comes out next month.

Heyday Books celebrates its own four decades in California

Malcom-margolin.jpg To celebrate its 40th anniversary, Heyday just published a collection of oral histories: "The Heyday of Malcolm Margolin: The Damn Good Times of a Fiercely Independent Publisher."

A.J. Langguth, author and USC journalism professor was 81

ajlangguth-usc.jpg The emeritus professor at Annenberg was a prolific author and had been a correspondent for the New York Times and Look, and a writer for the late Valley Times newspaper.

Biography of one 1957 Chevy

57chevybook.jpg There used to be a car club in Los Angeles -- maybe still is -- devoted to 1957 Chevys. The hold of that model and year is now the subject of a book on the backstory of a single car.

Jenny Burman talks about 'Veronica Street'

veronica.jpg Our weekly novelist was interviewed by Los Angeles magazine. Meanwhile, columnists Jon Christensen and Mark Gold were both on KPCC today talking about issues around the water main break that deluged part of UCLA.

Truman Capote's typewriter added to Soboroff collection

capote-smith-corona.jpg Capote purchased the Smith-Corona electric here in 1970 and kept it in his writing room at the Bel Air home of close friend Joanne Carson. It was used for Capote's last three books.

In praise of Glendale's closing Brand Bookshop

brand-bookshop-allen.jpg David Allen, the columnist for the Inland Valley Bulletin, is a fan of the Brand Bookshop in Glendale and isn't happy at all to hear that it's closing soon.

The philosopher king and the creation of NPR

npr-west-weekened-atc-room.jpg An excerpt from Steve Oney's upcoming book about the history and future of NPR.

Diesel Books to close in Malibu by fall

diesel-books-malibu-tmt.jpg Owner John Evans says the store will likely be gone by Sept. 21, months before the lease ends. Not enough business to justify the rent.

Louis Zamperini dies at age 97

louis-zamperini.jpg A noted local runner as a teenager, Zamperini competed in the Berlin Olympics in 1936 and during World War II survived 47 days adrift on a raft in the Pacific and years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. He was working on a new book with David Rensin when he died and a film of "Unbroken" is due out in December.
bradbury-home-front.jpg The Cheviot Drive home where Ray Bradbury lived and wrote for 50 years has been listed for sale at $1.495 million. It's open on Sunday.

Free tix: Francine Prose and Meghan Daum

francine-prose-ltla.jpg Francine Prose's new novel is "Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932." Tickets are from Live Talks LA for Thursday night in Santa Monica.

Red and yellow books (photo)

red-yellow-books-last-bkstore.jpg Red and yellow books arranged on shelves. The Last Bookstore, Downtown Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Review of Books marks three years

larb-blog-logo.jpg Editor Tom Lutz notes the milestones after three years since the first review was published on a temporary Tumblr site, and points out the review is now entirely on its...

Let's meet Saturday at the Festival of Books

april-bill-bookfair.jpg Come by and chat at the Angel City Press booth between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Plus: Tonight's winners of the LA Times Book Prizes.

Joel Grover story on NBC4, Scientology book win IRE awards*

grover-in-harms-way.jpg Channel 4's investigation of tour bus accidents and Lawrence Wright's "Going Clear" are cited by the judges, as well as an investigation into LA-area rehab scams. Details inside.

Zócalo Book Prize to Ethan Zuckerman

rewire-cover-zocalo.jpg "Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection" is in the view of the judges 2013’s most illuminating and compelling nonfiction book about community and human connectedness.

Book 'Em Mysteries in South Pasadena to close

book-em-mysteries.jpg The mystery bookstore at 1118 Mission Street will close at the end of April after 24 years. Owners Mary Riley and Barry Martin are retiring.

Bart's Books in Ojai as inviting as ever

barts-books-judy-graeme.jpg On a nice day, in a small town, the customers never stopped coming in. Bart's provides everything that the failed book chains never figured out. Including sunshine.

Free tix: Misty Copeland in Santa Monica

Misty-Copeland-ltla.jpg The American Ballet Theater soloist we wrote about here the other day will speak Thursday night at Bergamot Station.

Sam Quinones moves on from LA Times

Sam-quinones-240.jpg This farewell note went out to the Los Angeles Times newsroom today from former staff writer Sam Quinones. He's off to freelance and write books, most immediately about America's new upper middle class heroin epidemic.

Free tix: Anna Quindlen and Meghan Daum

anna-quindlen-150v.jpg The Live Talks LA event is Wednesday night in Santa Monica. Claim tickets at the link inside.

Luis J. Rodríguez samples the lowrider life of Tokyo

luis-j-rodriguez.jpg Luis J. Rodríguez, the author and recently announced candidate for governor of California, writes in a new collection about an exchange with lowrider aficionados in Japan.

Last-minute free tix: P.J. O'Rourke with Annabelle Gurwitch

orourke-gurwitch-ltla.jpg I should have posted this sooner, and now the event is tonight at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. But here you go. It's with Live Talks LA.

Huntington acquires photo collection of Ernest Marquez

sm-beach-visitors-marquez.jpg This is pretty awesome. Ernie Marquez, a member of the land-grant family that owned Santa Monica Canyon, grew up in the canyon himself and later in life became an LA historian and collector of historical photographs.

Eloise Klein Healy learning language again

eloise-healy.mug.jpg Encephalitis was the reason that Healy resigned last year after just nine months as LA's first official poet laureate. She is recovering.

Next bookstore down: Mrs. Nelson's in La Verne

mrs-nelsons-closing.jpg After 28 years in business, Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Book Shop will close in January, the store announced in a note that cites the inability to compete with online sales and big box stores.

Susan Peters (and more Hollywood stars) ride bikes *

susan-peters-acp.jpg Putting stars on bikes: good idea. I had never heard of Susan Peters and her story until the 2012 book, "Hollywood Rides a Bike: Cycling With the Stars," by Philadelphia film critic Steven Rea and my friends at Angel City Press.

Next bookstore to close: Barnes & Noble in Pasadena

barnes-noble-shopper.jpg B&N has developed this distasteful practice of shuttering bookstores at the close of business on New Year's Eve. That's when the Old Pasadena store turns out the lights for good.

Bookstores that have closed in the LA area

duttons-wake.jpg The shuttering of bookstores has been a perpetual story for the past decade in Los Angeles. These are the booksellers that have shuttered since LA Observed began posting.

Bookstore down: Russo's in Bakersfield

russos-californian.jpg Russo's is "the only independent general bookstore between Santa Clarita and Sacramento." The Bakersfield store expects to close January 31.

For holiday gifts and reading, your friendly librarians recommend...

roy-choi-book.jpg The staff of the Los Angeles Public Library has once again offered its recommendations for the best books of 2013. Here are the lists.

Diesel Books in Malibu is for sale

diesel-books-malibu-tmt.jpg Nine years after first opening in Malibu (at another location), the owners of Diesel, A Bookstore say they need to get out and focus on their other stores. “We’re just...

Wanda Coleman, poet was 67 *

wanda-coleman-2012.jpg The Los Angeles poet "was a key figure in the literary life of Los Angeles....[and] helped transform the city's literature." Update: An appreciation by David Ulin.

Writing what you know: crime reporter Michael Krikorian

southside-cover-krikorian.jpg When we last heard about journalist Michael Krikorian, he had written a colorful and revealing op-ed piece about the night he shot some guy in a brawl near Compton. His first crime novel features an LA Times crime reporter who is shot after leaving a bar two blocks from City Hall.

Five years later, owner drops plan to raze Dutton's

duttons-wake.jpg Early in the morning of February 25, 2008, I posted an item that I hoped not to ever post. "It is with profound regret and sorrow that Dutton's Brentwood Books must announce that it will be closing...."

Have a question about Rupert Murdoch for David Folkenflik?

folkenflik-grab.jpg I will be leading the conversation with NPR's media reporter for Zócalo Public Square on Monday night in Culver City. Come to the event or shoot me an email.

Book excerpt: The Valley rises as Mulholland falls

water-comission-lapl.jpg Part 2 of an excerpt adapted from "San Fernando Valley: America's Suburb" for the 100th anniversary of the Los Angeles Aqueduct.

Free Tix: Scott Turow and Brian Dennehy on Tuesday night

IDENTICAL-Cover.jpg If you were a fan of Scott Turow's early blockerbuster legal thrillers, you will possibly remember that in the film version of "Presumed Innocent," Brian Dennehy played prosecuting attorney Raymond Horgan.

Part one: LA and its Owens Valley water

cascades-crowd-watches.jpg A couple of the chapters in my book on the San Fernando Valley deal with the Los Angeles Aqueduct and how abundant water changed the city and the valley. It holds up, I'm pleased to say. For this week's anniversary, here's an adapted version.

Free tix: Erica Jong and Susan Orlean

Erica-Jong-ltla.jpg Erica Jong is out marking the 40th anniversary of "Fear of Flying." The tickets are for Wednesday evening.

14 California bookstores in nine days

copperfields-hburg-lao.jpg David Allen, the columnist for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, recently went on vacation in Northern California. For him, nine days on the road means stops at record stores and bookstores.

Author Gina Nahai sues USC alleging job discrimination

gina-nahai-jj.jpg Nahai alleges that USC and the head of the Master of Professional Writing program have “derailed [her] career, livelihood, and spirit” and that she has been “systematically discriminated against because she is an Iranian Jew.” USC says the case is "wholly without merit."

Linda Ronstadt talks music, Mexico and Parkinson's*

ronstadt-writersbloc-twitter.jpg I haven't been to enough Writers Bloc events to know if a standing ovation is usual when the author simply comes on stage, but that's what happened tonight in Santa Monica.

Cliff's Books situation looks serious

cliffs-books-sign.jpg It feels like the Pasadena bookseller Cliff's Books has been in liquidation mode all year. But Steve Barkan noticed a new level of signage today.

Les Plesko, Venice novelist was 59

plesko-twitter.jpg Plesko, the Budapest-born author "known for Beat Generation-inspired novels," died on Monday morning after jumping from the roof of the building where he lived in Venice, the authorities said.

Author buys a billboard in the desert

billboard-in-the-desert.jpg Marty McMorrow is an independent author who took a different tack to market his memoir of life in the 1960s and beyond. He bought space on a billboard along Interstate 10 outside Blythe.

Seamus Heaney, Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet was 74

seamus-heaney-guardian.jpg In "Remembering Malibu," Heaney wrote lovingly of the Pacific shore after lunch with novelist Brian Moore on the bluffs. Heaney died in Dublin after a short illness.

I send along this note from contributor Adrienne Crew

We have unpublished a post about the late author Amy Wallace that was misconstrued as an obituary and offended some of her friends with its tone. "I share my condolences with Amy Wallace's family and friends," the post's author, Adrienne Crew, writes.

In (further) praise of DTLA's The Last Bookstore

lastbookstore-counter-jg.jpg The latest fan of books to write glowingly about the 5th Street store is from The Paris Review.

Documentary to say five new J.D. Salinger books are coming

jdsalinger-screen-grab.jpg The New York Times says new books could start to appear in 2015. Watch the trailer inside for the upcoming film, to screen in limited release starting Sept. 6.

PEN winners include Joan Didion, Chris Hedges, Kickstarter trio

pen-website-grab.jpg PEN Center USA will have old friend Harrison Ford present its lifetime achievement award to Joan Didion at the group's October dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Ed Leibowitz of Los Angeles Magazine wins the journalism award.

Elmore Leonard, crime novelist was 87

elmoreatdesk.jpg The master of the crime novel and the writer of many screenplays and books that were turned into movies died at home in Michigan after suffering a stroke. "A modern master of American genre writing," says the New York Times.

Fact checking the Orson Welles-writes-obit tale

Thumbnail image for Orson-Welles-larb.jpg The LA Times did run an obituary right away on the passing of Jean Renoir in 1979. Then a couple of appreciations. Then Welles weighed in, says a copy editor who checked.

When Orson Welles wrote an obituary for the LA Times

Orson-Welles-larb.jpg Steve Wasserman, the former Los Angeles Times books editor, has some fun remembering his friend Orson Welles in a piece for the LA Review of Books. He tells how the Times in 1979 was about to drop the ball on the death in Beverly Hills of director Jean Renoir when Wasserman, then a deputy editor of the LAT's Sunday Opinion section, decided to somehow get in touch with Welles.
From Marc Ambinder, the Los Angeles-based contributing editor at GQ and The Atlantic.

Literary LA documentary falls short of Kickstarter goal

larb-logo-red.jpg The campaign expired yesterday with just $1,268 pledged, far short of the $23,000 sought.

Gomez book on immigration called 'an intellectual train wreck'

AB-jose-Gomez.jpeg Archbishop Jose Gomez steps into the national debate on immigration reform in his new book. He reminds people that this land was Catholic and Spanish-speaking before it was American, but Daily News columnist Tim Rutten calls the work strange and confounding.

Oldest bookstore in LA getting ready to close

williams-books-plaque-breeze.jpg Williams Book Store in San Pedro opened in 1909 but in recent years has been operating on fumes. The store was all set to close, the Daily Breeze reports, when a flurry of sales last week and a meeting with the landlord bought the store another month or so, until at least San Pedro's 125th birthday celebration on Aug. 6.
richard-matheson.jpg Richard Matheson wrote "I Am Legend," which was turned into films three times, and also wrote 16 episodes of the original "Twilight Zone" television series for Rod Serling. He was the screenwriter as well for "Duel," Steven Spielberg's 1971 TV movie debut.

'Literary LA' film project takes to Kickstarter (video)

david-ulin-screengrab.jpg Tom Lutz, the founding editor and publisher of the LA Review of Books, and Kurt Olerud of KO Pictures are co-producers on a feature documentary about the literary culture and history of Los Angeles. Or they hope to be anyway. They are looking to raise $23,000 in a month. Video inside.

Ray Harryhausen, special effects pioneer was 92 *

Ray-Harryhausen-cyclops.jpg In an era before CGI, Harryhausen used clay monsters and mythical creatures to bring life to live-action adventure films like 'Clash of the Titans,' 'Valley of the Gwangi' and 'Jason and the Argonauts. He was one of the sci-fi club members who patronized Clifton's with Ray Bradbury in the 1930s.

Revenge editing is a big blemish on Wikipedia

amanda-filipacchi-fb.jpg If you have been following the ruckus over Wikipedia editors deleting women from the list of American novelists, and moving them to a separate list of female novelists, it keeps getting worse. Note also just how retrograde the trolls are who seek revenge via "edits" on Wikipedia.

I'll be at the Festival of Books on Sunday

latfob-usc-2012.jpg I will be signing "Wilshire Boulevard: Grand Concourse of Los Angeles" and "The San Fernando Valley: America's Suburb" at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC on Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. Look for me at the Angel City Press booth and around the grounds.

Caro, Boo, Kevin Starr among LA Times Book Prize winners

2013-kevin-starr.jpg The Los Angeles Times announced this year's book prize winners last night at USC's Bovard Auditorium, on the eve of the Festival of Books held this weekend on campus at USC. Kevin Starr, the California historian and former state librarian, received the Robert Kirsch Award. He had won the LAT prize in history in 2009. List of winners inside.

Goodreads acquired by Amazon, perhaps for close to $1 billion

goodreads-couple.png Barely a year after founder Otis Y. Chandler hailed Goodreads' "independence" from Amazon's technology by saying "we will celebrate January 30th for years to come!," Chandler has announced that his startup is "joining the Amazon family." Goodreads will continue but there will be more integration with the Kindle. Reaction around the book blogosphere is initially skeptical.

And the Zocalo Book Prize goes to...

Haidt-book-zocalo.jpg This year's winner of the third annual book prize (and $5,000) from the folks at Zócalo Public Square is social psychologist Jonathan Haidt for "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion."

Harold Robbins' typewriter added to Soboroff collection

jann-robbins-typewriter.jpg The LA civic leader who really likes old typewriters has picked up the 21st machine for his collection.

Idea: Designate Tower Records a cultural landmark

tower-records-small.jpg Domenic Priore, the author of "Riot on Sunset Strip: Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Last Stand in Hollywood,” wants the city of West Hollywood to designate the former Tower Records store on Sunset Boulevard (across from Book Soup) as a Strip-themed cultural resource center.

'Gone Girl,' 'I Could Pee on This' are SoCal's bestsellers

gone-girl-cover.jpg Been a while since I posted an early look at the bestselling books in Southern California's independent bookstores. Here are the top books through sales of Sunday.

Jacob Bernstein on mother Nora Ephron's final weeks

Nora-Ephron-New-Book.jpg When the writer Nora Ephron died last June of acute myeloid leukemia, a disease she had been fighting for years, many in the media and literary worlds were surprised. She had not made her illness a big part of her public life.

Susan Orlean writing a book about Central Library

central-library-up.jpg Author and New Yorker writer Susan Orlean has a deal with Simon & Schuster to write a nonfiction book about urban libraries, based around the Los Angeles Public Library downtown. Apparently her starting point is the 1986 fire.

KCRW kicks off event series with Scientology book

wright-masters-kcrw.jpg KCRW joined with Writers Bloc tonight to pack a couple of hundred people in the new Moss Theater on the Westside. The draw was New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright talking with Kim Masters, host of "The Business" on KCRW, about "Going Clear," his new book that authoritatively gives further exposure to the unusualness of the Church of Scientology.

This should be required reading for Lakers

eleven_rings_g_mp_400.jpg Grantland runs an exclusive first look at the cover of Phil Jackson's new book, coming in May.

Five questions for Dave Barry

barry-groening-ltla.jpg Barry will discuss his new book, "Insane City," with Matt Groening at Live Talks LA on Thursday. For us he talks about Neil Diamond, Justin Bieber and the difference between Miami and LA, and he has some advice for the Lakers. Check it out inside.

Barry Lopez on being molested as a boy in the Valley *

barry-lopez-mug.jpg Acclaimed author Barry Lopez lives now in Oregon, but he grew up in the San Fernando Valley in the 1940s and 50s. He writes in this month's Harper's about being sexually abused for four years by a North Hollywood sanitarium doctor who pretended to court his divorced mother.

A poem for Cliff's Books: young woman, older man

cliffs-books.jpg Tony Peyser saw our item this week on the potential closing of Cliff's Books in Pasadena and remembered a poem he wrote after visiting the store a few years ago.

Documenting where in LA the Three Stooges filmed

la-brea-stooges.jpg What is it about non-Angelenos becoming so obsessed with old filming locations that they spend years tracking down obscure shots and facts — then write books about their discoveries that become chronicles of LA history? When you grow up in Los Angeles, you get used to seeing familiar sights in the background of movies and TV shows. You just stop thinking about it.

Bookstore on the edge: Cliff's in Pasadena *

cliffs-books.jpg For 25 years, Cliff's Books has survived just a half-block from Vroman's on Colorado Boulevard. Now everything in Cliff's large inventory is on sale for 50% off and they are hoping for a buyer to show up — and soon.

Barnes & Noble in Woodland Hills closed doors tonight

bn-wh.jpg The shutdown of the Barnes & Noble store in the Westfield Promenade shopping center leaves just two of the book chain outlets in the Valley, none of them within the city of Los Angeles portion (population about 1.5 million people.) The company had no comment.

Eloise Klein Healy to be LA's first poet laureate

eloise-healy.mug.jpg Healy is the author of seven books and emeritus professor of creative writing at LA's Antioch University.

LA librarians choose best books of 2012

prague-winter-cover.jpg The staff of the Los Angeles Public Library has some thoughts on which books of 2012 are most worth reading: fiction, nonfiction, teen and children's.

On David Foster Wallace and 'The Bad Thing'

larb-page-grab.jpg In a piece at the Los Angeles Review of Books getting some nice social media buzz, Laurie Winer considers Wallace and the reality, and literature, of depression and suicide. Plus: a pitch to donate.

When the mob learned to love rock and roll

peppermint-twist-cover.jpg Los Angeles journalist John Johnson and his co-author, Joel Selvin, have finished "Peppermint Tiwst," their book on the nightclubs where the mob discovered through "The Twist" that there was money in rock and roll music. "The Sopranos meets American Bandstand," Ronnie Spector blurbs. With some fun video.

USC library repurposes card catalog drawers

doheny-card-catalog-drawers.jpg The unused drawers in Doheny Library now have locks on them and can be used by university donors to leave gifts for their families — just the right shape for wine bottles, apparently.

William Reagh's long walk downtown and beyond

william-reagh-color.jpg Reagh took 40,000 photographs of Los Angeles and Southern California from the 1930s until 1991, chronicling a time of huge change in the cityscape and the people of LA. A major new book that showcases a selection of Reagh's work promises to be a must-have for the Angeleno buff you know — even at $225 per copy. Here is a gallery of Reagh's photos through the decades.

Tunnel of books

tunnel-of-books-more.jpg Photos from upstairs at The Last Bookstore, on 5th Street in Downtown.

Bring me the head of Paul McCartney

pauls-head-quinn.jpg For his new book documenting the rock and roll billboards of the Sunset Strip, Robert Landau wondered what happened to Paul's head from Abbey Road. Now we know, 43 years later. Pics and video inside.
Catherine Davis, the Los Feliz woman bludgeoned to death last week by an emotionally disturbed actor, was the mother of the Los Angeles author-journalist Margaret Leslie Davis, and had a large family of friends in Hollywood who had stayed at her "writers villa" through the years.

Hometown-Pasadena sold by Prospect Park Books

Prospect Park publisher Colleen Dunn Bates created the site in 2006 as a companion to the book "Hometown Pasadena."

Free tix: T. C. Boyle

TC-Boyle-small.jpg Live Talks Los Angeles is back for a new season of what sound like they will be provocative, entertaining or enlightening discussions mavened by Ted Habte-Gabr. Up this Thursday is author T.C. Boyle, talking about his new novel, "San Miguel."

LA Times looking for deputy books editor *

lat-is-creativity-better-in-the-nude-20120917-001.jpg The job opening was posted without explanation of what the vacancy may say about the incumbent deputy. The Times book department is down to three full-timers who all contribute reviews, features and blog posts, including this week's "Is creativity better in the nude?"

San Jose literary agent possibly attacked by rejected author

Pam van Hylckama reported Thursday on Twitter (she blogs as Bookalicious) that a man tried to carjack her, but he was bitten by her dog and fled the scene. She reported it to police, who checked her email for any particularly virulent sounding threats. Apparently they saw one from a rejected author that seemed suspicious, went to the man's home and found bite marks on his arm.

Cool Facebook page for book (and bookshelf) lovers

books-labyrinth-london.jpg This labyrinth of 250,000 remaindered, new and used books is installed at The Clore Ballroom in the Royal Festival Hall in London. Check out the Bookshelf Porn page.

Timberg to do book on 'creative destruction'

scott-timberg-mug.jpg Scott Timberg's recent series of pieces for Salon on the struggles of architects, journalists, video store clerks and others in the "creative class" has got him a book deal with Yale University Press. The book, tentatively titled "Creative Destruction," is supposed to "detail the evisceration of an entire class of cultural workers under the onslaught of warp-speed technological change, economic slump, and both longstanding and shifting attitudes regarding the values of art and the creative life."

Lily's Library is Valley's answer to Libros Schmibros

gary-platt-books-dn.JPG Gary Platt, 86 years old and retired, has put up a community book exchange and lending library on the curb in front of his house in Woodland Hills. Lily's Library is named for his granddaughter.

Reagan tapped FBI to spy on his family

cover-rosenfeld-subversives.jpg Seth Rosenfeld's book "Subversives: The F.B.I.’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power” looks at how Ronald Reagan, both as a liberal turned anti-Communist crusader in Hollywood then as candidate and governor, helped the FBI and made use of his relationship with FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to get information not available to others. Some of that assistance involved his children, daughter Maureen and son Michael.

Revealing the noir side of Tampa

connelly-olney-kcrw.jpg Author Michael Connelly is known for his LA mystery novels, but he lives in Florida these days and sat down in Tampa with Warren Olney on KCRW to talk about the sides of town the Republicans may not be seeing.

Origin of those garage door bookshelves

garage-door-books-crais-fb.jpg The trompe l'oeil bookshelves were commissioned by Lee Dembart, a former Los Angeles Times editor and writer, and painted in 2005 by artist Don Gray. Author Robert Crais posted about the garage door recently on Facebook.

City Hall announces new post of LA poet laureate

Thumbnail image for vin-scully2010-dn.jpg Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has announced creation of an official city of Los Angeles’ poet laureate program, to "serve as the official ambassador of Los Angeles’ vibrant poetry and literary culture." It will pay $10,000 a year. Let the machinations, hushed lunches and jealousies begin.

On Catalina buffalo, Ernest Borgnine and her dad the actor

larb-western-wedding.jpg Julie Cline, the Senior Nonfiction Editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books, writes at the review today about her father's LA life and travels on the edges of the Hollywood movie machine. Her father lives on a boat in San Pedro, "a retired builder, general contractor, and salesman of everything from used cars to room additions." He's not really an actor, but he showed up in a film shot last year.

LA garage door painted to look like bookshelves

garage-door-books-crais-fb.jpg Author Robert Crais posts on Facebook: "Another reason I love LA is because people like this live here. They painted their garage door to look like book shelves."

Molly Ringwald on writing fiction as an actor

molly-ringwald-thumb-nyt.jpg The appeal of diving into a character has always been the back story: everything that my character has been through up to the point when the audience first encounters her, says the actress-novelist.

Tarzan Inc.

burroughs-yard-gate.jpg Edgar Rice Burroughs' home in Tarzana is gone, but the offices where his family business — and everything Tarzan — is administered remains behind a low wall on Ventura...

Gore Vidal, Christopher Isherwood and LA

gore-vidal-82-upi.jpg They designated pet names for each other derived from "The Wind in the Willows:" Isherwood was Mole, slowly working underground; Vidal was Rat, working productively above ground, engaged with the world.

Kate Gale on the cultural geography of LA

kate-gale-lamag.jpg Says the editor at Red Hen Press: "Before we moved to Pasadena from the Valley in 2009, there was a lot of discussion about where we should go. We really wanted to move to a place that celebrates arts and culture."

William Reagh's long walk downtown

reagh-window-shopping-on-broadway.jpg Michael Dawson, the collector and proprietor of the late Dawson's Books on Larchmont, announces the first book of photographs by William Reagh. "William Reagh: A Long Walk Downtown. Photographs of Los Angeles & Southern California, 1936-1991," shows his perspective on urban renewal and change in Los Angeles, with images of Angels Flight, Bunker Hill, Pershing Square, Broadway, Grand Avenue, Hill Street, Wrigley Field and Chavez Ravine.

Karl Fleming, journalist was 84

KarlFleming.jpg Karl Fleming covered the civil rights movement in the South and Los Angeles for Newsweek, started a local magazine and was the editor of Chanel 2 news. His memoir was "Son of the Rough South: An Uncivil Memoir."

Rubén Martínez explores desert life in America

ruben-martinez-lmu.jpg Martínez, the writing professor at Loyola Marymount University, lived for a time beside the Rio Grande in northern New Mexico, searching for truth and meaning and the guidance to break his drug habit. A review of his new book, plus an excerpt of a new mystery by Miles Corwin.

LA Times names new books editor: Joy Press

joy-press-twitter.jpg The pop culture and deputy television editor of the LA Times' calendar section gets the newly created job of Books and Culture Editor. Press was a book critic for VLS as well as culture editor at the both the Village Voice and Salon.

Remembering Gore Vidal at The Nation

"Gore was glorious before live audiences...I concluded by noting that he had pretty much done it all—novels, essays, plays—and won every award; I asked, 'What keeps you going? What gets you up in the morning?' He had a one word answer: 'rage.'"

Gore Vidal, writer was 86

gore-vidal-82-upi.jpg Vidal died this evening at his home in the Hollywood Hills. Complications of pneumonia, his nephew Burr Steers has been telling the media.

New biography praises the late, great Jim Murray

jim-murray-cosell.jpg Jim Murray, writes reviewer John Schulian, "made the sports page seem as if it should have a $10 cover and a two-drink minimum...Even when he railed against the carnage at the Indianapolis 500, there was a laugh, however dark, in his outrage: 'Gentlemen, start your coffins.'...By the time he died, in 1998, he was one of those rare ink-stained wretches who fly with the eagles."

From the files of (Beverly Hills) police squad

bev-hills-confidential-cove.jpg The Beverly Hills Police Department has opened its photo and case files to the authors of the newest book from Angel City Press — "Beverly Hills Confidential: A Century of Stars, Scandals and Murders." It's what it sounds like, only authorized.

Free tix: Kurt Andersen and Lawrence O'Donnell

Kurt-Andersen.jpg The last event of the season for LA Talks Live is a conversation between Kurt Andersen, the host of "Studio 360" and former editor of Spy whose new novel is "True Believers," and writer and TV host Lawrence O'Donnell.

Desert reckoning in the Mojave

bookcover_desertreckoning.jpg LA Observed contributor Deanne Stillman's latest book is a page turner. Desert Reckoning: A Town Sheriff, a Mojave Hermit, and the Biggest Manhunt in Modern California History takes off from the 2003 killing of Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy Stephen Sorensen, by a hermit named Donald Kueck, to peel back some of the mystery and secrets about life in the Mojave Desert north of us. She reads this afternoon at Skylight Books.

Part 2 of letter from the Pulitzer fiction jury

On a blog at The New Yorker, novelist and Pulitzer judge Michael Cunningham further explains what he's learned about why the Pulitzer board declined to give a prize to any of the three books that the jury recommended.

Philip Fradkin, author and journalist was 77

phil-fradkin.jpg Philip L. Fradkin, a native New Yorker who I believe became the first environment reporter at the Los Angeles Times, died Saturday of cancer at his home in Point Reyes Station. After the Times he went on to write numerous books about California and the West, focusing on earthquakes, water, history and the natural environment.

Free tix: Chef Marcus Samuelsson

Marcus-Samuelson.jpg Short notice on this one. You can receive two tickets to see Marcus Samuelsson, the much-honored New York chef whose new book is "Yes, Chef," Tuesday night at Begamot Station in Santa Monica. He will be interviewed by David Burtka, the actor who joined E! News as a correspondent in January.
Michael Cunningham, the novelist who was one of three jurors for this year's Pulitzer Prize in fiction, posts at The New Yorker that he and his fellow jurors were completely taken aback by the Pulitzer board's refusal back in April to award a best book this year. The jurors read more than 300 novels and short stories and submitted three finalists that they really liked, then waited expectantly to find out which would win.

Bookstore closing: Mysteries to Die For

mysteries-to-die-for.jpg Eric Estrin, the emeritus contributor at LA Observed who is editor of Movie Smackdown, sends word from Ventura County that Mysteries to Die For in Thousand Oaks will be closing later this month.

LA photographer's book on women with freckles

freckles-book-emily.jpg Reto Caduff is a Swiss-born photographer who lives part-time in Los Angeles and who, apparently, really likes beautiful women with facial freckles. His new book of images, called just Freckles, is a limited edition of 500 numbered copies which features "portraits of young women with various amounts of freckles – from a slight cluster on the cheek to faces covered with the beauty marks." His book is out Monday.

Tobar signs off A2 with nice ode to LA summer

malibu-sky-vdt.jpg Hector Tobar loves this LA summer so far, and I agree. The news is that this is Tobar's last A2 column in the Times. He's going to the books desk to write about literary LA.

Pomona library gets a reprieve from closure

pomona-city-seal.jpg Last night's meeting dragged on into this morning, but the Pomona City Council found a way to keep the city's lone public library open for another year.

Eli Broad on being rich, impatient and unreasonable

eli-broad-on-mic.jpg Eli Broad talked at length about his new book, The Art of Being Unreasonable, with Warren Olney on tonight's "Which Way, LA?" on KCRW. Broad said he's not unreasonable so much as impatient with too much discussion or pondering on major decisions. At some point, he says, you have to just do it. Listen to the interview.

Pomona delays vote on closing its only library

alexandria-library-flavorwire.jpg The City Council of Pomona tabled for a week its consideration of a budget plan that would close the city's only public library. The delay gave David Allen, the columnist for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, the opening he needed to apply for a library card.

Free tix: John Irving and Scott Turow (but not together)

amy-tan-rbr.jpg Irving will talk about "In One Person" and Turow will discuss the book publishing industry. He's also here for Friday night's final public performance of the Rock Bottom Remainders, the band that features authors such as Stephen King, Dave Barry, Amy Tan and Turow. Read about all three events.

Free tix: Frank Deford in conversation with John Salley

Frank-DeFord-book-jacket.jpg Frank Deford, the senior contributing writer at Sports Illustrated and weekly commentator for NPR’s “Morning Edition” — he recently read commentary number 1500 — will be in town this week to talk about his new memoir, "Over Time: My Life as a Sportswriter."

Rolling Stones book from Life

stones-altamont-life.jpg Life Books has released a new book with photographs from the magazine's archives and other sources: "The Rolling Stones: 50 Years of Rock ’n’ Roll." Were you at Anaheim Stadium in '78? Altamont Speedway?

First woman to run a U.S. marathon: Culver City, '63

joan-benoit-lapl.jpg History has tried to forget that Merry Lepper was the first woman to run a marathon in the United States, 21 years before Joan Benoit won Olympic gold. Women could legally vote for president long before they could officially enter a marathon. David Davis met up with her in Tucson and sets the record straight.

Readings and reactions to the passing of Ray Bradbury

ray-bradbury-1966.jpg The announcement on Wednesday morning of Ray Bradbury's death has been a big story in Los Angeles and beyond. (My updated original post, and Denise Hamilton's personal piece for Native Intelligence from 2006.) Here's a smattering of some of the reflections and tributes since, with more certainly to come.

Ray Bradbury, writer and Angeleno was 91 *

bradbury-library-gary.jpg Ray Bradbury died last night, his daughter has confirmed. For his 90th birthday, Bradbury talked about remembering his birth and the womb. "I have total recall of all of my life." Updated stories, links and video

Up close with the collector behind Valley Relics

tommy-gelinas-dn.jpg Burbank native Tommy Gelinas reckons he's spent $300,000 acquiring his personal collection of San Fernando Valley memorabilia and ephemera. He's got a website, blog and busy Facebook page devoted to Valley stuff. Plus: TV writer and ex-Dodgers broadcaster Ken Levine has a Kindle book on growing up in the '60s Valley.

What Tom Lutz of LA Review of Books reads every day

tom-lutz-che.jpg The Chronicle of Higher Education's Pageview blog asked Tom Lutz how his daily reading has changed since he began editing and publishing the Los Angeles Review of Books. There are some things he no longer has time for, his morning ritual now includes Google Analytics, and he includes LA Observed prominently in his blog reading. More

Taco books are suddenly a growth industry

taco-irene-montano-laweekly.jpg Last month the editor of OC Weekly, Gustavo Arellano, began readings around the country and got an interview in the New York Times for his new book, "Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America." Now comes Jeffrey M. Pilcher, a professor of history at the University of Minnesota who for 20 years "has investigated the history, politics and evolution of Mexican food, including how Mexican silver miners likely invented the taco, how Mexican Americans in the Southwest reinvented it, and how businessman Glen Bell mass-marketed it to Anglo palates via the crunchy Taco Bell shell." Read up

Author Chip Jacobs and 'The Ascension of Jerry' on KCAL

Journalist Chip Jacobs' newest book, "The Ascension Of Jerry: Murder, Hitmen and the Making of L.A. Muckraker Jerry Schneiderman," spins out the tale of a truly interesting Los Angeles figure and a bunch of intriguing episodes. It's a murder mystery and more, but nonfiction (despite the interviewer calling it a novel.)

Carlos Fuentes dies in Mexico City at age 83

carlos-fuentes.jpg The novelist, called in the New York Times obituary "Mexico’s elegant public intellectual and grand man of letters," died today in Mexico City. Fuentes was "one of the most admired writers in the Spanish-speaking world, a catalyst, along with Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa and Julio Cortazar, of the explosion of Latin American literature in the 1960s and ’70s known as 'El Boom.'"

I'll be hanging at Pasadena's LitFest this afternoon

kr-mug-color-100.jpg Pasadena is throwing its first community-wide book festival all day today at Central Park, just down the street (south) from Old Town Pasadena. I'll be meeting readers and signing some books at the Angel City Press booth from noon to 2 p.m. Stop by and have a chat. LitFest Pasadena, which is free, goes from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Steve Wasserman moves to Yale Press, signs Greil Marcus book

stevewassermantruthdig.jpg Steve Wasserman, the former longtime books editor at the Los Angeles Times (back in the years when the paper had a Sunday book review section), is giving up the agenting game to become a full-time editor at large for Yale University Press. His first acquisition for Yale is "an intimate history of rock ‘n’ roll" by Greil Marcus.

SoCal bestsellers: Fifty Shades of LBJ?

50ShadesofGreyCoverArt.jpg Robert Caro's latest biographical installment on the late president Lyndon Baines Johnson shot to the top of this week's hardcover nonfiction list of the best sellers in Southern California independent bookstores. "Deadlocked" by Charlaine Harris tops the hardcover fiction list, while "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James continues to hold the top of the trade paperback list. (And others in the series the next two spots.) Books and authors page

LA Times posts books editor opening with a new twist

latentrance.jpg The Los Angeles Times is taking its newly vacant position of books editor in a somewhat new direction — emphasizing knowledge of pop culture and adding a focus on "California and the West" to the editor's job. The title is even being redefined to as "Books and Culture Editor."

Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator was 83

where-the-wild-thigs-are.jpg The creator of "Where the Wild Things Are" and other dark children's fantasy books died Tuesday at a hospital in Danbury, Conn. "Where the Wild Things Are," published in 1963, became one of the bestselling children's books of all time. Here he is with Stephen Colbert.
Jon Thurber, the Los Angeles Times book editor since 2010, is leaving the paper at the end of the summer. He's one of the few remaining 40-year employees. The note from editor Davan Maharaj is silent on what Thurber may be going off to do, or on the future of the books staff. Read the memo inside.
eli-broad-book-cover.jpg Eli Broad speculates in ""The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking" — with a foreword by Michael Bloomberg — that the LA Times will be for sale once the Tribune's bankruptcy closes and says he's interested again. Broad is also now on Twitter and Facebook and has started to blog.

NYT eats tacos with OC's Gustavo Arellano

gustavo-arellano-nyt-mitla-ak.jpg The dateline is San Bernardino, where followers of Arellano's taco chronicles know is the home of Mitla Cafe, the Route 66 roadhouse where Taco Bell reportedly got its original taco recipe.

Bestselling books of the week in SoCal stores

50ShadesofGreyCoverArt.jpg "The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection," "Wild," "Fifty Shades of Grey" and a certain bossypants comedian lead the lists. Turns out SoCal women like their spanking stories too.

The other horrible April 29 date in Los Angeles history

lapl-on-fire.jpg April 29, 1986 — the day the Central Library was torched by an arsonist. The building didn't reopen for good until 1993. Some 200,000 books were destroyed, plus irreplaceable periodicals, drawings from patents, historic maps, fine art prints, photography negatives and newspaper archives.

Expo Line misses book festival by that much

usc-event-staff.jpg During both days of the book festival at USC this weekend, trains were running on the Expo Line just south of the campus. No riders, though. These were test runs. Would it have killed Metro to accelerate the opening one week with thousands of potential Expo Line users already going to USC?

Portrait of a Bookstore to close on Tujunga Avenue

aroma-cafe-bookstore.jpg The store inside Aroma Cafe in Studio City closes May 17. "In the words of Orson Welles, 'If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.' This is our happy ending," a note says.

Fiction does have a winner at LA Times Book Prizes

Unlike the Pulitzer Prizes, the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes had no reluctance about giving awards to fiction books on Friday night.

LA Observed at this year's Festival of Books

bill+boyarsky+latfob.jpg As usual, writers from LA Observed will be all over the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books this weekend at USC. I'll be there both days signing books and schmoozing with anyone who drops by.

Website relaunched for Los Angeles Review of Books *

larb-website-grab.jpg Nicely done. They wanted to be able to show off the mass of great content already on the site, plus new features, and that they have. The relaunch comes with a call for voluntary memberships to help pay for the online review.

Central Library makes a 'most beautiful' list

library-mexico-city.jpg Flavorwire has posted another of its 25 most beautiful lists — and they do aggregate some gorgeous photos and noteworthy locations. This time it's the 25 most beautiful public libraries in the world.

Ed Humes on living with LA's mountain of garbage

mountaingate-aerial.jpg I love stories about infrastructure: sewers, pipelines, trash and the like. The subject of SoCal investigative author Edward Humes' new book warms my wonkish heart — "Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair With Trash" — and has some good LA angles.

No Pulitzer awarded in fiction

pulitzers-books-salon.jpg The Pulitzer Prizes board could not agree on a single "distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life." "Wow, Pulitzer committee. That's cold," writes Stephen Lee at Entertainment Weekly. Laura Miller at Salon argues that it was "an exceptional year for fiction, American and otherwise."

Video: Checking in on Libros Schmibros

libros-schmibros-mariachi-grab.jpg Journalist Steve Saldivar has posted a nice video story on David Kipen and his Boyle Heights lending library and pay-what-you-can used bookshop, newly relocated in a storefront at Mariachi Plaza on 1st Street.

Southern California's romance with the taco is now a book

taco+usa+cover.jpg Its earliest-known mention in American letters came in an 1899 Los Angeles Times story about life in Mexico City, says Gustavo Arellano. His new book is "Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America."

Google cuts off independent bookstores

bookstore+clearance.jpg Google has decided to stop letting bookstores profit by selling the search company's e-books through store websites.

Happy opening day

Fernando_cover.jpg To welcome the new Dodgers season, here's a gem of an audio clip of Vin Scully from early in the 1981 season — the year of Fernandomania.

Celebrating the journal Wet

wet-cover-julaug78.jpg Wet: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing was published in Venice between 1976 and 1981. Now there's a book.

Five reasons to respect Taco Bell

taco_bell_boy.jpg Taco Bell gets 50th anniversary love from an unlikely source: OC Weekly editor and Mexican food expert Gustavo Arellano.

Bestsellers of the week in SoCal bookstores

Last week's number one fiction work in the Pacific Northwest is our top book this week.

LA Times lacks 'sense of community,' ex-editor O'Shea writes

James O'Shea, whose short span as editor of the Los Angeles Times bridged the eras of Dean Baquet and Russ Stanton, writes in a piece for Nieman Reports that if he had it to do over, he would totally reorganize the paper's news-gathering.

LA Review of Books debuts on KCRW

tom+lutz+larb.jpg Tom Lutz, the founder and editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books, is a new contributor during "All Things Considered" at KCRW.

James Brown bio lands

james+brown+the+one+cover.jpg Los Angeles journalist RJ Smith's biography, "The One: The Life and Music of James Brown," is getting some rave response. Enjoy some video of the Godfather of Soul.

Pasadena LitFest postponed due to rain forecast

Pasadena's first community-wide book festival was to have been Saturday in the city's Central Park.

Zócalo book prize to Richard Sennett’s 'Together'

"Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation" has won the second annual Zócalo Public Square Book Prize.

Bestsellers of the week: SoCal vs. Northern California

We're not that different — or are we?

LA Review of Books gets $25,000 from Amazon

The money will be used to help launch a new website and to pay contributing editors, columnists and writers.

Encyclopaedia Britannica ends print set after 244 years

It's a milestone of the culture, as the editors explain. Meanwhile, the online Britannica is free for a week starting today.

Finalists for second Zocalo Book Prize

zocalo-book-finalists.jpg The winner (of $5,000 and more) will be announced on Thursday. Here are the three finalists.

Francesca Lia Block on possibly losing her home

francesca-lia-block.jpg Francesca Lia Block, the author of more than 30 books and creator of the popular LA character Weetzie Bat, writes on Facebook today that even though her mortgage is current, she is in a refi run-around with Bank of America and may lose her Culver City home.

Bestsellers this week: Julian Barnes, Katherine Boo and more

Here's what the Southern California Independent Booksellers are reporting as the top books for the past week.

She's a one-woman Wrecking Crew

carol-kaye-smithsonian.jpg Carol Kaye played bass guitar on many hit songs of the 1960s and 70s. She came out of Long Beach, played in LA jazz clubs and broke into session work in Hollywood with an invitation to play on a Sam Cooke recording.

When Leon Uris had a bookstore in Sherman Oaks

vt-leon-uris-store.jpg I'm in the midst of a fun project extracting photographs from the Los Angeles Public Library's collection of 3,000 pictures from the morgues of the old Valley Times and Hollywood Citizen-News newspapers.

Bestsellers in SoCal bookstores this week

This time, let's compare Southern California's book-buying to the Pacific Northwest. First thing we notice: no Steve Jobs.

Topanga library means the end for bookmobile

bookmobile+county.jpg When the Las Virgenes bookmobile shuts down Friday, there will be just four left in the county library system.

Finalists named for LAT Book Prizes

In a change, the winners of this year's Los Angeles Times Book Prizes will be announced at a public ceremony in USC's Bovard Auditorium on April 20.

Jeffrey Zaslow, Wall Street Journal columnist was 53

jeffrey-zaslow-wsjgrab.jpg Zaslow, a longtime Wall Street Journal writer and the author of books on Gabby Gifford, Chesley Sullenberger and last lecture professor Randy Pausch, died Friday of injuries suffered in a car crash.

City librarian bails for USC

Martin Gomez, the head librarian for Los Angeles since 2009, will become vice dean in the USC Libraries on April 2.

Media notes and a lady in gold

anne+marie+oconnor+cover.jpg Former L.A. Times reporter Anne-Marie O'Connor's book on the Adele Bloch-Bauer painting lands, Louise Roug returns from Denmark, paidContent sells, Sam Rubin reups plus a name for Aaron Sorkin's HBO newsroom and more.

The Last Bookstore makes a most-beautiful list

last-bookstore-flavorwire.jpg The Last Bookstore on Spring Street in Downtown is big and if it lasts it may actually become the last bookstore standing in Los Angeles.

Barnes & Noble won't stock books by Amazon anymore

amazon-roof-lao.jpg B&N is fighting back against the juggernaut by refusing to let its stores sell books published by the online retail giant.

Phil Jackson writing memoir of his coaching years

phil+jackson+nytcrop.jpg The former Lakers coach is writing "Eleven Rings" with Hugh Delehanty, the co-author of Jackson's previous bestseller, "Sacred Hoops." Penguin has agreed to publish.

Goodreads makes the break from Amazon

goodreads-screen-grab.jpg "Goodreads celebrates it's Independence today", founder Otis Y. Chandler tweets.

South Bay author reported kidnapped by Somali pirates

At the request of friends and the advice of government officials, we will report limited information, including the author's name, until more is known.

Now this is a quick and dirty book review

taco-usa-cover.jpg OC Weekly editor Gustavo Arellano's new book, "Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America," was just praised by Publishers Weekly as one of the top cookbooks of the spring crop. That would be nicer for the author if it were a cookbook.

Ex-Register reporter turns childhood rage into National Book Award

ThanhhaLai-ocm.jpg Former Orange County Register reporter Thanhha Lai "spent 15 years grinding away at a sprawling novel she could never quite get right. So, five years ago, she turned her creative energies to a verse novel about a single year in her childhood as a Vietnamese émigré."

Anaϊs Nin and Henry Miller, the LA years

nin+to+kraft.jpg Visiting blogger Barbara Kraft, a Los Angeles writer and former Time magazine reporter, knew both Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller. She met the famous former couple independently while they were living here.

Free tickets to see author Eric Weiner

eric-weiner-pic.jpg His new book is "Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine." He'll be in conversation with Lisa Napoli.

Bestsellers of the week

It's in hardcover nonfiction where some change is occurring.

Chief Beck holds book party for Connie Rice *

The event was held in the Compstat room at the new Police Administration Building, was hosted by Chief Charlie Beck, and included red and white wine for an audience of Civic Center types, reporters and cops.

UCLA in the 1940s — in color

A new history book, UCLA: The First Century, has hundreds of photographs of the campus through the years, but this might be my favorite.

Author comes along at the right time, arson-wise

red-flag-warning-book.jpg Kurt Kamm's "Red Flag Warning" is about an arsonist setting fires around Los Angeles.

Bodhi Tree bookstore closes today

bodhitreefront.jpg "We are hopeful for a reincarnation of a physical store in a few months at a new location," co-founders Stan Madson and Phil Thompson say.

Pemberley, Steve Jobs still the books we're buying

As they did last week, authors P.D. James and Walter Isaacson top the last pre-Christmas bestseller lists at Southern California indie bookstores.

Best books published in California in 2011

Critic David Kipen's list of his favorite California-published books of the year includes "Los Angeles Stories" by Ry Cooder, "Tomorrow is Another Song" by the late Scott Wannberg, "Car-Free Los...

L.A. librarians pick the top books of 2011

rebels-in-paradise-cover.jpg The adult choices range from David Foster Wallace's "Pale King" to the new reissue of "Our Bodies, Ourselves" to baseball numbers guru Bill James opining on true crime cases.

Tuesday news and notes

A roundup for a holiday week.

Turan: Fincher didn't get Lisbeth Salander

lisbeth-craig-bath.jpg Adding David Fincher to "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" story "has proved counterproductive," says the L.A. Times reviewer. A.O. Scott is more enthusiastic in the NYT.

Shopping for the holidays: SoCal's bestselling books

pemberley.jpg P.D. James claims the top fiction spot with "Death Comes to Pemberley."

Photos of Carleton Watkins, today at the library

la-placita-lao.jpg This amazing photograph of the old Plaza downtown, and showing La Placita and Fort Moore Hill in the background, is one of the 19th century treasures by photographer Carleton Watkins.

SoCal bestsellers: Connelly surges to the top

It didn't take long for Michael Connelly's newest Harry Bosch mystery to take over the top spot in Southern California independent bookstores.

Janet Fitch's tribute to 'a fallen giantess'

janet-fitch-eucalyptus.jpg On her blog, the novelist uses verse to mark the century-old eucalyptus' passage into firewood and sawdust.

Rodney King sells his memoir to HarperOne

rodney-king-patch.jpg Coming in time for next April's 20th anniversary of the so-called Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, King has signed with HarperOne to deliver his memoir: "The Riot Within."

Zocalo's ten favorite nonfiction books of 2011

manana-forever-cover.jpg As the year winds down, says Zócalo Public Square, "we want to give a shout-out to the books that incited our passions, changed our minds, or made proselytizers out of...

Samuel French to close Valley store, keep Hollywood

samuel-frencyh-studio-city.jpg This isn't a total dose of bad bookstore news, just a demi-dose for people in Valleywood.

Viggo Mortensen's relationship with L.A.

With some of his “Rings” earnings, he founded Perceval Press, a small L.A.-based publishing house specializing in art books and poetry.

Ray Bradbury's typewriter *

bradbury-typewriter-soboroff.jpg Steve Soboroff shared a photo after last week's news about the e-book of "Fahrenheit 451." Plus: a typewriter documentary?

Barnes & Noble looking for new Westside location

barnes-noble-westside.jpg Confirming what we reported in October, Barnes & Noble stores CEO Mitchell Klipper says the only reason the store is leaving Westside Pavilion is the mall's rent hike when the...

Bestsellers this week: a lot like last week

vengeance-cover-grafton.jpg Sue Grafton, Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography and "The Tiger's Wife" by Téa Obreht lead their respective bestseller lists in Southern California again, but there's a new leader in trade...

'Fahrenheit 451' now out as an e-book *

fahrenheit451-ebook.jpg Yes, Ray Bradbury used to say that he would never embrace e-books or the Internet. But, well, you know.

A month later, LAT discovers Barnes & Noble closing

barnes-noble-window-clearan.jpg LA Observed readers have known since October about the Westside Pavilion store shutting down.

New bestsellers for this week

Sue Grafton, Steve Jobs, Stephen King, Joan Didion and more.

Free tickets: Harry Belafonte and Tim Robbins

harry-belafonte.jpg Harry Belafonte will engage in conversation about his life as an entertainer and his new memoir, "My Song," with Tim Robbins on Monday night at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica.

Dick Adler, author and journalist was 74

Dick_Adler-toon.jpg Dick Adler, who used to write the cheeky Page Two feature at the old Herald Examiner, and more recently a book reviewer and blogger, died on Nov. 11.

Joan Didion at Aloud

The author spoke with David Ulin of the Los Angeles Times before a full house at St. Vibiana's on Wednesday night. Here's the full conversation.

Free tickets: Darrell Hammond and Fred Willard

Fred-Willard.jpg Coming up on Nov. 17 from Live Talks Los Angeles: Darrell Hammond talks about his upcoming memoir, "God, If You’re Not Up There, I’m F*cked: Tales of Stand-Up, Saturday Night...

O'Shea, Zell and the 'dismantling' of the Times

times-sniff-test-crop.jpg Ex-LAT staffer Laurie Winer reviews Jim O'Shea's book and recounts the Sam Zell years in a piece titled "Zell to L.A. Times: Drop Dead." Subtitle: On the Dismantling of a Once Great Newspaper.

L.A. domestics as literary subjects

maids-daughter-cover.jpg The subject of "The Maid's Daughter" is interviewed by Hector Tobar.

Best sellers: John Grisham, Steve Jobs

This week's bestseller lists at Southern California independent bookstores have some new arrivals.

Free tix: Adam Gopnik and Ed Zwick

New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik talks about his new book, "The Table Comes First: Family, France and the Meaning of Food," with producer-director Ed Zwick on Thursday night.

Mona Simpson puts her Steve Jobs eulogy in New York Times *

mona-simpson.jpg The Los Angeles novelist and sister of Steve Jobs breaks her media silence on his death.

Fashionization of Lisbeth Salander

rooney-mara-cover-story-01_153245359716.jpg_article_singleimage.jpg First the American actress who is portraying Swedish book and film heroine Lisbeth Salander graces the cover of this month's American Vogue. Now H&M unveils a line of clothing based...

Barnes & Noble Westside Pavilion: R.I.P. *

barnes-noble-westside.jpg Hushed talk has been around for a few weeks, but now the red clearance signs have gone up — 30 percent off on a lot of books — and store clerks acknowledged the news today.

Erika Schickel on being a Bad Girl

Erika_Buxton_1980-cropped.jpg Schickel has a revealing excerpt of her forthcoming memoir online at Sensitive Skin magazine.

Free tix: Jerry West in conversation with Peter Guber

jerry-west-logo.gif Live Talks Los Angeles is offering LA Observed readers tickets to see NBA legend Jerry West talking about his life (and new autobiography) with producer and author Peter Guber.

Margaret Tante Burk, Round Table West co-founder was 93

Margaret Tante Burk, a publicist and businesswoman here, co-founded Round Table West with Marylin Hudson at the Ambassador Hotel in 1977. The forum for authors grew into one of the...

Art Spiegelman brings 'Maus' to KCRW

kcrw-icon-sohohouse.jpg KCRW taped another installment of its online-only web cultural series, UpClose, on Sunday in the top-floor screening room at Soho House in West Hollywood.

Good day for LAT in exile at NYT

mag-cover09-sfSpan.jpg In Sunday's New York Times, it was hard to miss the bylines that were once among the top-billed names at the Los Angeles Times — plus an ad for Jim Newton's book on Eisenhower.

Free tix: Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow

Chopra-book-jacket.jpg Live Talks Los Angeles has Tuesday night tickets for LA Observed readers.

Steve Jobs was no friend of journalists

time-jobscover.jpg James Rainey visits the less appealing side of Steve Jobs, plus biographer Walter Isaacson on the late Apple co-founder.

Nobel Peace Prize winner has an L.A. author connection *

mighty-be-our-powers.jpg Leymah Gbowee, one of the three African women to win the Nobel Peace Prize today, co-authored her memoir last month with L.A. writer Carol Mithers.

Bestsellers: Affairs, confidence men and Cleopatra

Here are the new top sellers for the week at Southern California independent bookstores.

The winter of Jerry West

jerry-west-logo.gif The former Lakers star and general manager admits in a profile at Grantland that he's still uncomfortable with his fame. Maybe more now, at age 73 and apparently taking stock of his life.

In appreciation of the Thomas Guide

thomas-guide-2009.jpg Before there was Google Maps — and still today, if an Angeleno really wants to know where something is located — there was the Thomas Bros. street atlas, aka the Thomas Guide.

West Hollywood opens its new library

we-ho-library.jpg The new library at San Vicente and Melrose was dedicated with a big celebration on Saturday, leading into Sunday's West Hollywood Book Fair. The WeHo city council will meet from...

Free tix: John Lithgow, Jeff Jarvis

LA Observed readers can take their pick of events next week through Live Talks Los Angeles.

Sandra Tsing Loh on the thrill of menopause

sandratsingloh.jpg Your loved ones will immediately read from your dull eyes that you don’t love them, never will again.

Fincher talks about Lisbeth as the hype cranks up

dragon-tattoo-uncensored.jpg Empire magazine puts Rooney Mara below Daniel Craig on the cover.

Erin Aubry Kaplan on black L.A.

The former Los Angeles Times op-ed columnist talks about the post-civil rights generation of African Americans in Los Angeles and her new book, "Black Talk, Blue Thoughts, and Walking the Color Line: Dispatches from a Black Journalista."

Extended DVD of Swedish 'Girl' trilogy coming

lisbeth-salander.jpg The boxed set to be released here will add two hours of additional footage not seen in the Swedish theatrical films made from the late Steig Larsson's best-selling novels.

Economy's so bad in Van Nuys, even garage sales are hurting

Marcos Villatoro, the author and former KPFK host who lives in the Valley, made a short video for PBS on the sorry state of the American garage sale.

New bestsellers in SoCal: Jackie O

The top sellers at Southern California independent bookstores through Sunday.

Tickets: Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

Live Talks LA has made tickets available for a few LA Observed readers and their guests to see Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson on Thursday at Track 16, in Santa...

Catherine Mulholland exhibit opens in Northridge

mulholland-exhibit-cover.jpg I'm taking part in a panel discussion Tuesday at the Cal State Northridge library.

Author visits Metropolis Books 'with a heavy heart'

metropolis-ream.jpg Author and humorist Ashley Ream blogs about stopping in to say goodbye to the Downtown bookstore.

The Tamale lives on

the-tamale-lapl.jpg The East Los Angeles building that used to house The Tamale is a beauty salon these days.

Free tickets to see Hal Holbrook, Jim O'Shea

Holbrook-Jacket.jpg Live Talks Los Angeles is offering LA Observed readers tickets to see actor Hal Holbrook discuss his memoir, "Harold: The Boy Who Became Mark Twain," with Robert Patrick.

New literary map of L.A.

walker-map-hammer.jpg As part of David Kipen's Libros Schmibros pop-up bookstore at the Hammer Museum in Westwood, artist and author J. Michael Walker created a map that spans 23 feet by 5 feet that depicts L.A. literary figures.

New character for Denise Hamilton

denise-hamilton-200.jpg Eve Diamond, reporter, gives way to Maggie Weinstock Silver, an Adderall-addicted crisis PR consultant who formerly worked at Sitrick and lives in Cypress Park.

New #1 on local bestseller list

Quick look at the titles book readers are buying in Southern California.

New book covers L.A.'s ethnic spas

spa-less-traveled.jpg It's not just the Russian baths and Beverly Hot Springs any more.

Weekend book notes

ltla-logo.jpg What Southern California is reading this week, plus the new season of Live Talks Los Angeles and a book sale.

Downtown's Metropolis Books to close Sept. 30

metropolis-books-window.jpeg A documentary will chronicle the store's final month.

Couple more nice tributes to Scott Wannberg

Anyone who lived on the Westside of LA in the 80’s and 90’s and who read books knew Scott Wannberg, says Richard Rushfield.

Local journo picks a bone over Vegas water tale

lake-mead-ktar.jpg Emily Green reported and wrote (and apparently went through editing hell to finally publish) a long seres in the Las Vegas Sun on a big Nevada water grab. And she's miffed to find a lot of parallels between her reporting and a chapter on Nevada in "The Ripple Effect" by Alex Prud’homme.

Scott Wannberg, poet of Dutton's was 58

Wannbergcrunch.jpg Scott Wannberg, a member of the traveling poet troupe known as the “Carma Bums” and a 23-year employee of the late Dutton's Brentwood Books, died Friday of an apparent heart attack in his recent hometown of Florence, Oregon.

Ferus Gallery in this weeknd's NYT

brittin-getty-ferus-group.jpg New York Times art critic Holland Cotter reviews "Rebels in Paradise: The Los Angeles Art Scene and the 1960s" by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp.

Lede o' the day

From Al Martinez in his Daily News column.

SoCal's bestsellers this week

These are the top-selling books at independent bookstores in Southern California, through sales of Sunday. to shut down

The web-based tools and service for authors wishing to promote their own books will close down Sept. 1

Kevin Mitnick's book lands

kevin-mitnick-twitter.jpg Mitnick is, I think, the most famous or notorious computer cracker (and hacker) to come out of the L.A. area.

Wait, some good news: a new bookstore

mysterious-galaxy-build.jpg Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego is opening an L.A. area store this summer on Artesia Boulevard in Redondo Beach.

Los Angeles Review of Books picks up axed LAT writers

Susan Salter Reynolds and Richard Rayner will continue the book columns that the Los Angeles Times recently dropped in its cost-cutting of freelancers.

L.A. authors who lawyers recommend

oney-cover.jpg The cover story of the ABA Journal for August has some good news for three Los Angeles authors who are also journalists.

Catching up: Books and authors

bryson-mccollister.jpg East of West L.A., Linda Ronstadt signs to write her memoirs, and finalists for the Southern California Book Awards.

LA Sketchbook: Amazon and California

All book-related pieces will now be done in-house, part of another cost-cutting move at the paper. Among those out of a gig: Susan Salter Reynolds, a former staffer who had...

A conversation on the Hollywood sign and L.A.

leo-braudy-hollywood-cover.jpg Professor and author Leo Braudy will be the special guest, and I'll be the not-so-special interviewer and moderator, this Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Central Library in Downtown. It's for the ALOUD series.

Mike Davis takes on Harrison Gray Otis

hgotis.jpg Future installments will look at the former LA Times owner's "interlude as 'emperor of the Pribilofs,' his military atrocities in the Philippines, his bitter legal battles with the Theosophists, the Otis-Chandler empire in the Mexicali Valley, the Times bombing in 1910, the notorious discovery of fellatio in Long Beach, and Otis’s quixotic plan for world government."

LA Weekly writer to ghost Riordan's memoir

Patrick Range McDonald, a staff writer at the Weekly, has been tapped to co-write the memoir of former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan.

Catherine Mulholland, historian was 88

CMulholland.jpg The author and granddaughter of one of Los Angeles' most discussed historical figures, the water legend William Mulholland, died today of natural causes at her home in Camarillo.

Fradkins follow the California coast

leftcoast.jpg Author and long-ago L.A. Times enviro reporter Philip L. Fradkin and his photographer son, Alex L. Fradkin, walked the eleven-hundred miles of California coast and have married their words and images in “The Left Coast."

SoCal's bestsellers: we're different

Here's what leads the lists at Southern California independent bookstores through last weekend's sales. All but the last category are different in New England indie bookstores, by the way.

Abby Sunderland wants to fly around the world

abby-sunderland-face.jpg Abby Sunderland, now 17, is taking flying lessons and talking about going around the world.

Ex-LAT publisher now saves Utah from Playboy

Mark Willes, the CEO who lost Times Mirror (and the Los Angeles Times) to Tribune, says NBC's "The Playboy Club" won't air on his LDS television channel.

Free tickets: Ann Patchett and Maile Meloy

patchett_malloy-300x198.jpg Live Talks Los Angeles is presenting a conversation between authors Ann Patchett (her new novel is "State of Wonder") and Maile Meloy with tickets set aside for LA Observed readers.

LA Times rehires David Willman in Washington *

Willman, a Pulitzer winner for the paper in 2001, is the author of the recent "The Mirage Man," about the suspected perpetrator of anthrax attacks that killed five. Read the memo.

Coming up on LA Observed on KCRW

In tonight's column I visit Pacific Palisades, one of the city's richest corners, and hang around the bookstore the community could not keep open.

Metropolis Books in Downtown is for sale

Following on the news about Village Books and Latitude 33 closing, Metropolis Books on Main Street near 4th Street was put up for sale recently.

And another bookstore: Latitude 33 in Laguna Beach

The independent bookstore on Ocean Avenue, open since 1996, will close by the end of summer.

Bookstore down: Village Books to close its doors

laughlin0602.jpg Katie O'Laughlin announced today "with great regret and sadness" that she will close Village Books on June 30, after fourteen years in Pacific Palisades.

Book note: Driving Mr. Yogi

Harvey Araton's February column in the New York Times about the spring training friendship between Yogi Berra and former Yankees pitcher Ron Guidry is heading to bookshelves.

Reading L.A. freeways

405-looking-north.jpg In his quest to read 25 books about Los Angeles this year, LAT architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne is up to David Brodsly's slim 1981 work "L.A. Freeway: An Appreciative Essay."

Trailer posted for 'Girl with a Dragon Tattoo' *

Marketing slogan: "The Feel Bad Movie of Christmas." Tag line: "She's coming." Watch the video.

Weekend obits

Gil Scott-Heron, Jeff Conaway, Margo Dydek, Irene Gilbert, Don Kubly, Dana Brand, Tom West.

Here's what goes when a college library cuts 30,000 books

Ronald Macaulay, an emeritus professor of linguistics at Pitzer College, is the author of last year's "Seven Ways of Looking at Language." When he heard that the Claremont Colleges Library...

Correction o' the day

The Robert Redford myth that refuses to die, this time in the Los Angeles Times.

Pete Noyes and "The Big News" on KNXT

real-la-confidential.jpg A little follow to Saturday's post about the Channel 2 alumni who are burning up Facebook.

Stieg Larsson and Scandinavian crime fiction at UCLA

lisbeth-salander.jpg Lisbeth Salander is all over the agenda for a two-day symposium in Royce Hall on the late Larsson's works and the larger genre.

Sal Castro wows them at Festival of Books

A Saturday panel at the LA Times book festival billed as "History, Identity & Purpose: California Chicanos & Beyond" turned into a forum for Sal Castro, an organizer of the East L.A. student walkouts of the 1960s.

Speaking of Fred Harvey, a book and some art

LosAngelesCA-UnionRestauran.jpg A biography of Harvey and a Visiting Blogger excerpt about the woman who designed the floor of the cafe at Union Station.

Getty's history of looted antiquities goes way back

aphroditegetty.jpg In their forthcoming book "Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World’s Richest Museum," reporters Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino detail Getty scams through the years.

Book festival has a good first day

latfob-43011.jpg The first day of the L.A. Times Festival of Books at USC on Saturday had nice weather, brisk book sales as far as I could tell, and a decent sized and mellow crowd.
Jennifer_Egan.jpg I guess the lede from Friday night's Los Angeles Times Book Prize ceremony is that Jennifer Egan and "A Visit From the Goon Squad" won in fiction over Jonathan Franzen's "Freedom."

Stop by and chat at the Times book festival

acp-logo.jpg I'll be signing books and having great conversations at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books from noon to 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. Look for me at the Angel City Press booth.

LeaLA, the other book festival in town this weekend

leaLA-logo.jpg LéaLA, or more properly Feria del Libro en Español de Los Angeles, is the first major Spanish-language book fair to be held here.

L.A. Flood, the emerging narrative

la-flooded-image.jpg The first stages of a "narrative experience" about a fictional flood hitting Los Angeles will be unveiled at this weekend's Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC.

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 4.26.11

Climate change and water, the state of Black Los Angeles, a parking tickets audit and a new role for book agent Steve Wasserman — plus more.

Tina Fey and Steve Martin fill the Nokia Theatre

fey-martin-ltla.jpg There were something like 5,000 people at the Nokia on Tuesday night to watch Tina Fey and Steve Martin mix and match wits.

Morning Buzz: Monday 4.18.11

Sheriff Baca urges support for Trutanich as DA, Vincent Bugliosi writes about God, the Los Angeles Review of Books debuts a website, and it's Pulitzer day for the newspaper types. Plus more.

She knows a good book when she sees one *

wendie_malick.jpg Asked which one book she would recommend to President Obama, actress Wendie Malick offered one we like here at LA Observed too.

Arthur Marx, TV writer was 89

groucho-arthur-marx-nyt.jpg The son of Grouch Marx, he's known mostly for two books on his dad, sitcom work and the unauthorized and unflattering biography of Bob Hope.

Connelly, Tina Fey debut at the top of L.A. bestseller lists

tina-fey-nbc.jpg Michael Connelly's newest, "The Fifth Witness," arrives at number one on the fiction hardcover list for Southern California independent bookstores. Tina Fey tops nonfiction books with "Bossypants."

Paramount latest studio to try 'The Martian Chronicles'

The-Martian-Chronicles-cover.jpg Paramount said today it has optioned the movie rights to Ray Bradbury's classic 1950 short story collection.

New photo book looks at L.A. from above

laday-lanight-light.jpg L.A. Day/L.A. Night features 30 aerial images of the city by photographer and pilot Michael Light. The book's introduction by Los Angeles Times critic David L. Ulin observes that "daylight...

Franzen goes away to think about David Foster Wallace

TNY-cover-41111.jpg In this week's New Yorker, author Jonathan Franzen writes about his personal retreat to the South Pacific island that likely provided the setting for "Robinson Crusoe."

Dennis McCarthy picks winners for a book

dennis-mccarthy-book.jpg Daily News columnist Dennis McCarthy writes "when I arrived at the Daily News 30 years ago this month, I had dark hair, a flat stomach, and the stamina to chase stories all day and night. Five thousand plus columns later, what's left of the hair is white, I've got a pot belly, and need a nap after lunch."

Catching up after a few days semi-offline

L.A. sits out trend on nonwhite children, more Grim Sleeper victims, Abby Sunderland's book, LACMA partners with New York Times, Nikki Finke plans her return and more.

LA Observed contributors read, write and sell

Nancy Rommelmann in town to read and sign her novel, plus Gary Leonard and Deanne Stillman.

LAT book festival schedule is out

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is at USC this year, pushed back a week to April 30 and May 1.

Pete Schabarum's son on coming out to dad

pete-schabarum-zevweb.jpg Tom Schabarum, a Seattle novelist, says his father the conservative county supervisor was never homophobic despite notable clashes with the gay community.

Bestsellers: what Angelenos are reading this week

Here is a first look at the bestseller lists at independent bookstores around Southern California through Sunday.

Morning Buzz: Wednesday 3.30.11

Look for a warmer day, Brown on YouTube again, Rosendahl gets a Lopez column, Anaheim votes to go after the Sacramento Kings and Amy Tan sells a new book.

Wendie Malick to star as 'Wild Horse Annie'

velma-johnston.jpg Good news for LA Observed contributor Deanne Stillman, whose book, "Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West," will be the basis for a Hallmark Channel movie on mustang activist Velma Johnston.

Weekend news and notes

billcunningham-square.jpg Smithsonian withdraws bid for historic murals, LAUSD's Deasy won't take $55,000 raise, a City Hall exit, art and books notes and a local media obituary.

Author's quake prediction for San Andreas debunked

Author Simon Winchester has written some nice books, including about earthquakes and other geological phenomena, but quake scientists say he's a little shaky in his latest stab at seismology. After...

And you think L.A. is in bad shape *

detroitruin3.jpg Images from a new book, "The Ruins of Detroit,“ by French photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre.

Los Angeles in the 1930s, a time traveler's guide

white-king-stack-fajack.jpg My favorite new Los Angeles book — the one I took driving with me on Saturday — is a guidebook from the distant past. "Los Angeles in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the City of Angels" has been reissued after years out of print.

From Bruin to CIA shooter

company-we-keep-cover.jpg Dayna Baer, one of the co-authors of "The Company We Keep: A Husband-and-Wife True-Life Spy Story," joined the CIA while a grad student at UCLA.

Best-selling books in Southern California for this week

"Unbroken" beats out Keith Richards' "Life" for the top spot in hardcover nonfiction.

Oney sells book on NPR

Los Angeles author Steve Oney's next book will be on the history, travails and tribulations of National Public Radio.

Ellroy goes undercover in France

ellroy-france.jpg Los Angeles author James Ellroy on Sunday received France's Order of the Arts from Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand. Note photo caption.

Appreciating the art of the LAPD report

ellen-collett.jpg Author Ellen Collett knows a well-written LAPD incident report when she sees one.

McConaughey, Connelly go for a ride in L.A.

As part of the publicity onslaught for "The Lincoln Lawyer," the new movie from Michael Connelly's mystery of the same name, the author and lead actor Matthew McConaughey chat for a Times reporter while parked in an SUV on Connelly's old street above Laurel Canyon.

Friday news and notes

mexico-city-cyber-goth.jpg Tsunami coverage, Mel Gibson, Arianna Huffington, book notes and more.

Zocalo Book Prize: They have a winner *

intheneighborhood_main.jpg The first Zócalo Public Square Book Prize goes to "In the Neighborhood" by Peter Lovenheim.

Brando Skyhorse, 'Madonnas of Echo Park' win at PEN

SkyhorseMadonnanewcover.jpg Brando Skyhorse and his novel about growing up in Echo Park have won the $8,000 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award.

First novel arrives from Nancy Rommelmann

bad-mother-cover.jpg The LA Observed contributor's book, The Bad Mother, is set among street kids in Hollywood.

L.A. losing out to proper 'aerotropolises'

A new book on the importance of world-class airports suggests that Los Angeles is being passed over in global commerce due to LAX.

Tina Fey and Steve Martin to talk on stage *

fey-martin-ltla.jpg They're at Live Talks Los Angeles in April. Plus: Michael Connelly and James Gleick.

Morning Buzz: Thursday 3.3.11

Rodney King day, more community college waste, DA Cooley promotes a key aide, rave review for "The Hollywood Sign" and more.

Bestsellers this week in SoCal indie bookstores

"When the Killing's Done" by T.C. Boyle is the top-selling hardcover fiction in Southern California this week, at least at independent bookstores. Not so in Northern California.

Here are the finalists for Zocalo's first book prize

From thousands of published candidates and eighty contenders, the judges have selected three finalists.

Did Rutten attribute a fictitious quote to Obama book?

Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent for The Atlantic, blogs at the magazine's site that a quote used by LAT columnist Tim Rutten has an unusual origin.

LA Observed on KCRW: Libraries and Measure L

In this week's column, on the air at 6:44 p.m., I discuss the pros and cons of Measure L on the March 8 ballot and come down on the side of the libraries.

Morning Buzz: Monday 2. 28.11

Archbishop Jose Gomez takes the crooked staff, Times urges defeat of three city councilmen, print pieces on Charlie Sheen, more politics and media notes and a book on the Hollywood sign.

Free tix: T.C. Boyle in Santa Monica *

tc-boyle_event-300x198.jpg Author T.C. Boyle will talk about his new novel, "When the Killing’s Done" — the one set in the Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara — on Thursday, March 3 at 8 p.m. at Track 16 Gallery in Bergamot Station.

Scott Brown is here to sell books

Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown will sign copies of his memoir, "Against All Odds: My Life of Hardship, Fast Breaks and Second Chances" at noon Friday at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena.

Morning Buzz: Thursday 2.24.11

State Department warns journos in Libya, Alarcon cleared of one accusation, Abby Sunderland memoir sells and more books notes.

Finalists named for L.A. Times Book Prizes

Christopher Hitchens, Patti Smith, Jonathan Franzen, Laura Hillenbrand and Michael Lewis (plus others) are on the list of finalists for the 2010 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes.

Potluck dinner with Lisa Napoli

The longtime public radio journalist's weekly potluck dinners were featured in the Los Angeles Times.

Steve Martin goes over better in L.A.

Unlike in New York, the LACMA audience apparently was quite satisfied to hear Martin talk about art.

T.C. Boyle's 'When the Killing's Done'

tc-boyle_event-300x198.jpg T.C. Boyle lives up near Santa Barbara and his upcoming novel is set out on the Channel Islands, which sometimes seem to loom so close to the shore from up there.

L.A. movie trailer: 'The Lincoln Lawyer'

The movie version of Michael Connelly's 20xx bestseller stars Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller, an L.A. defense attorney who eschews an office and operates out of the back of his Lincoln Continental.

At home with Benedikt Taschen

The German book publisher who lives in (and below) the Chemosphere house in the Studio City hills is profiled today by the Wall Street Journal. Just like the scavengers in...

Hilburn sells bio of Johnny Cash as seminal rock artist

Cash-and-Hilburn350.jpg Little, Brown and Company has bought world rights to "In Search of Johnny Cash," an exploration of the singer's life by former L.A. Times music critic Robert Hilburn that is promised to go beyond previous works.

Deal preserves Marquez family cemetery in Santa Monica Canyon

marquez-cemetery-ucla-today.jpg Ernest Marquez, who's a fellow author at Angel City Press, has been working to hold on to access to the cemetery, which through the years has been surrounded by homes and yards.

Free tix: Peter Guber and David Ulin *

Writers Bloc is making five pairs of tickets available to LA Observed readers who would like attend a conversatiion between Hollywood veteran Peter Guber and David Ulin, the Los Angeles Times book critic.

Reading L.A. with Christopher Hawthorne

casestudy22.jpg The L.A. Times architecture critic announced today that he will read and post brief blog essays over the next year on "25 of the most significant books on Southern California...

Kay Mills, writer was 69

kmills-210-exp-Mills_kay.jpg Kay Mills, the former Los Angeles Times editorial writer who authored five books, died Thursday at age 69.

Novelist and the museum curator: a story of coincidence

two-beths-getty.jpg Robert Masello's novel "Bestiary" came closer to the truth than he could have imagined.

Havrilesky does the memoir

heather-havrilesky-laist.jpg Los Angeles writer Heather Havrilesky, staff critic on film and TV at Rupert Murtdoch's forthcoming iPad news site, has a new memoir out, "Disaster Preparedness."

Mystery Bookstore in Westwood to close

Ack. Another independent bookstore in Los Angeles is closing.

Busy day around LA Observed today

I was tied up most of the day, but these were highlights from other contributors to the site. Think books and politics, with a little fashion.

LA Observed on KCRW

In tonight's column I observe that when Jerry Brown was sworn in as governor the first time, Borders and Barnes & Noble had not yet arrived in Los Angeles. And now the national giants that helped kill off so many local stores here are closing too.

Last day for Barnes & Noble Encino

The bookstore and its adjoining Starbucks have been pretty popular hangout spots at Ventura and Hayvenhurst in Encino.

Councilman Smith writes a book *

greig-smith-book-cover.jpg City Councilman Greig Smith has compiled his favorite City Hall stories into a self-published book from Xlibris.

Further thoughts on the loss of Borders Westwood

Mark at LA Biz Observed has been watching the slow demise of the Borders chain, and in particular the Westwood Boulevard store near his home. Now Gendy Alimurung of the...

Wednesday news and notes

I thought my daughter's snowed-in-at-Heathrow story was bad enough: eight days late coming home and missing Christmas. But the experience of UC Irvine professor Ngugi wa Thiong’o was even...

Free tickets to see Anne Rice

Live Talks Los Angeles is offering tickets to a select number of LA Observed readers wishing to see author Anne Rice in conversation with her son, the author Christoper Rice,...

Denis Dutton, Arts & Letters Daily founder was 66

arts-letters-header.jpg Denis Dutton in 1998 created the well-read Arts & Letters Daily, which the New Yorker's Blake Eskin today calls "the first and foremost aggregator of well-written and well-argued book reviews, essays, and other articles in the realm of ideas. Denis was the intellectual’s Matt Drudge."

LA Observed on KCRW: Holiday books

la-portrait-of-city-cover.jpg In my column airing tonight on KCRW, I make some suggestions of Los Angeles-centric books for the Angeleno on your last-week shopping list.

Revising history: Eisenhower's most famous speech

general-dwight-d-eisenhower.jpg Jim Newton, soon to debut as an op-ed columnist for the L.A. Times, writes in this week's New Yorker about the discovery of some long-lost papers that change what is known about President Dwight Eisenhower's 1961 speech warning of the rise of an American "military-industrial complex."

Christopher Isherwood's Los Angeles

bachardy-zocalo.jpg Sounds like some fun stories were swapped about L.A. in the 40s, 50s and 60s, and especially of the gay and artistic underworld of the time, tonight at the Hammer.

Figment: a new website for young writers and readers, launched today, is "an experiment in online literature, a free platform for young people to read and write fiction, both on their computers and on their cellphones."

Now the Abby Sunderland book

abby-sunderland-face.jpg The teenage girl who sailed from Marina del Rey to the Indian Ocean is co-writing her story with Lynn Vincent, who also ghosted Sarah Palin's memoir.

Water Grill stars in latest Connelly bestseller

water-grill-interior.jpg In "The Reversal," Michael Connelly's offering for this Christmas season, his longtime characters Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller work together on a case arising from a kidnapping and murder in Hancock Park.

Book-loving columnist converts to the Kindle

The LAT's Michael Hiltzik explains his conversion

Tix: Dick Cavett and Mel Brooks *

dick-cavett-writersbloc.jpg Writers Bloc is offering five pairs of tickets to LA Observed readers for the Dec. 7 conversation between Cavett and Brooks.

Tom Christie moves on from LA Weekly

Christie, the senior features editor, was (I believe) the last of the pre-New Times mainstay editors still with the LA Weekly.

PEN's LitFest winners

Members and fans of PEN Center USA gathered tonight at the Beverly Hills Hotel to give out the organization's 2010 Literary Awards. The journalism winner is Mary Melton, the editor...

Ellroy gets a TV show

"James Ellroy's LA: City of Demons" debuts Jan. 19 on the Investigation Discovery channel.

Back to Guadalajara

libros waiting book.jpg Next week, J. Michael Walker will make a return visit to la Feria Internacional del Libro, representing the L.A. contingent to reflect on the year since the festival celebrated Los Angeles.

Tickets update for this week

There are still some tickets available for the Live Talks Los Angeles event with author Simon Winchester ("Atlantic: The Biography of an Ocean") in conversation with Patt Morrison on Thursday at Track 16 Gallery at Bergamot Station.

Stardom is coming back for Louis Zamperini

hillenbrand-zamp-110j.jpg The Wall Street Journal gives over almost its entire Friday Journal section front today to Laura Hillenbrand's upcoming biography of Louis Zamerpini, the 93-year-old war hero and star Olympic athlete of the 1930s who grew up in the South Bay and lives in the Hollywood Hills.
We have a limited number of tickets available for upcoming author events around Los Angeles.

Librarians can be political activists too

Elizabeth Martinez, the former Los Angeles city librarian, has written a piece about coming to identify herself as a Chicano around the time of the Chicano Moratorium in East Los Angeles in 1970.

Ebert: Lisbeth Salander must continue

lisbeth-salander.jpg "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest," the third and ostensibly final film with Noomi Rapace playing the part of Swedish hacker-punk-heroine Lisbeth Salander, opens Friday to the approval of Roger Ebert.

Boyle, Heimann win SoCal book awards

Father Gregory Boyle won the nonfiction category of the Southern California Book Awards for "Tattoos on the Heart."

Glendale has good taste in books

DeniseHamilton.jpg The city of Glendale's choice for this year's One City/One Book reading selection is Los Angeles Noir, the collection edited by LA Observed author Denise Hamilton. She will be the...

Free tickets: Michael Caine *

caine-jacket.jpg LA Observed helps to sponsor the Live Talks Los Angeles series of conversations around town, and producer Ted Habte-Gabr is offering tickets to LAO readers who want to take in Thursday night's session between actor Michael Caine and Sharon Waxman of The Wrap.

Couple of LAT scribes up for National Book Awards

Barbara Demick and Megan Stack, who are both staff correspondents in the Los Angeles Times Beijing bureau, have each picked up nominations in the non-fiction category of the National Book Awards

James Franco options 'Holy Land'

James Franco apparently read D.J. Waldie's memoir about growing up in the Lakewood suburbs while the actor was at UCLA. Now Franco has optioned "Holy Land" for a possible movie.

Want to see P.J. O'Rourke on us?

orourke_muller.jpg Actually, the folks at Live Talks L.A. are making ten pairs of tickets available to LA Observed readers to catch P.J. O'Rourke in conversation with Judy Muller.

New L.A. book of the week: L.A. in maps

la-maps-book-cover.jpg I haven't seen this book yet, but I'd still bet it will be one of my favorite books of the year. Glen Creason, the ace map librarian in the history...

Stephen J. Cannell, writer-producer was 69

Cannell wrote best-selling novels and for TV shows like "Adam-12" and "Mission Impossible," then went on to produce series such as ""The Rockford Files," "The A-Team" and "21 Jump Street." He died Thursday at home in Pasadena from complications associated with melanoma.

Ruth Reichl lands at Random House

Ruth Reichl, the longtime California-based food writer and editor before moving to the New York Times and Gourmet, has been named an editor-at-large of Random House.

NPR's Michele Norris offers a memoir of growing up black

michele-norris.gif NPR host and reporter Michele Norris' new book is called "The Grace of Silence: A Memoir."

Patty Fox, fashion director and author was 62

Patty Fox, a longtime media commentator on fashion and the former fashion director of Divine Design, died Sunday of ovarian canc

Times moving Festival of Books to USC *

L.A. Times publisher Eddy Hartenstein and USC just jointly announced that next year's Festival of Books will be moving from UCLA, where it started and was held for 15 years.

Doing without Boyarsky for a while

billbanner-crop.jpg Bill's hard at work on a future book and needs to pull in from his writing on politics for awhile.

Nicole Richie's publicist does her job

nicole-richie-book-release.jpg Simon and Schuster is all over the case of pitching Nicole Richie as a well-rounded author-whatever.

Jonathan Franzen reads in L.A.

There's been a lot of talk about Franzen and his novel "Freedom," and close to 600 people came out to hear him last night at the Aratani Japan-America Theater in Downtown.

This time his retirement will stick, D.J. Waldie says

Author and thoughtful Los Angeles observer D.J. Waldie is leaving his longtime day job with the city of Lakewood, his home town, at the end of the month.

First read: Euna Lee's story from North Korea

glamoureuna-lee-laura-ling_.jpg Current TV producer Euna Lee's book on her and Laura Ling's captivity in North Korea is coming this month from Broadway Books. Here's a snippet from the excerpt online of...

Noomi Rapace talks about moving on

reakout Swedish actress Noomi Rapace sat down in Venice with Anne Thompson to talk about her new movie projects, her recent introductory trip to Hollywood and leaving behind the role of Lisbeth Salander.

Bruce Lisker reacts: Keep the faith *

lisker-nofurn-crop.jpg In Part 6 of The Lisker Chronicles at LA Observed, Bruce Lisker is hit with the state's move to send him back to prison, just as he celebrates his one-year anniversary of freedom.

'Bookworm' gets new theme music

michael-silverblatt-kcrw.jpg Today's KCRW show will unveil new theme music after 21 years of the old song.

First lines: Ellroy's 'Pursuit of Women'

Hilliker Curse.jpg At the mailbox today was the newest by James Ellroy. "The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women" came billed as a "raw, brutally candid memoir" that draws on the infamous...

She will eat lunch in this town again

noomi-rapace-toh.jpg Amid all the talk about the American actress who will replace her as Lisbeth Salander in the remake of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," the real thing is in town this week launching a Hollywood career.

Ray Bradbury on living to be 90

Ray Bradbury tells fans about his upcoming 90th birthday in a series of exclusive videos shot in his home for UCLA, where he wrote "Fahrenheit 451."

A Guadalajara reunion in Boyle Heights

libros waiting book.jpg Those of us who didn't take part in the celebration of Los Angeles literary goodness at last year's Guadalajara book fair have a new reason to be envious. A new book, edited by Veronique de Turenne and J. Michael Walker, celebrates the scene all over again.

Um, another Lisbeth post after all *

rooney-mara.jpg I was wrong: there's still life in the Lisbeth Salander topic. American actress Rooney Mara has been tapped to play the heroine of Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy in the English-language version of "The Girl with the DragonTattoo."

John Chase, West Hollywood's urban designer was 57

john-chase-gelatobaby.jpg Chase, the author of several books on urbanism and Los Angeles, died Friday of an apparent heart attack. He was the godfather to the daughter of Frances Anderton, host of...

Gil and Eric Garcetti, a long time ago

gil-eric-garcetti.jpg City Council President Eric Garcetti posted this childhood photo to his Facebook wall: "Nice mustache, Dad!"

Stieg Larsson's girlfriend on Lisbeth Salander

Before we leave the subject of Lisbeth Salander, this video from ABC's Nightline: author Stieg Larsson's girlfriend talks about how the character came to be introduced in "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

Finding an American Lisbeth *

lisbeth-salander.jpg Noomi Rapace is so perfect as sulky, brilliant hacker-heroine Lisbeth Salander that it seems like a waste to spend any time trying to cast the part for the English-language version of "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo."

Marylin Hudson, co-founder of Round Table West was 76

An important figure in the Los Angeles book world has died. Marylin Hudson co-founded the legendary and long-running Round Table West book and author program.

Boyarsky a SoCal book awards finalist

inventing-la-cover.jpg LA Observed columnist Bill Boyarsky's latest book, "Inventing L.A.: The Chandlers and Their Times," has been nominated for this year's Southern California Independent Booksellers Association awards.

People who dress up in armor and reenact wars

baronesa-dulcinea.jpg enice photographer E. F. Kitchen has a new book out, Suburban Knights: A Return to the Middle Ages, exploring the activities of the Society for Creative Anachronism, whose members recreate the arts and battles of the Middle Ages.

Dawson's moving off Larchmont, holding big sale

dawsons1940.jpg Dawson's Books, which began Downtown and is the oldest bookstore in Los Angeles, is giving up the Larchmont Boulevard location of many decades that its fans love so much.

Mad Mel owns the rights to 'Fahrenheit 451'

Ray Bradury says Mel Gibson is too busy with "that Russian girl" right now to move ahead with a film remake of his classic book.

Jon Thurber is new books editor at L.A. Times

Jon Thurber had been one of the Los Angeles Times managing editors, but only for the past year or so. On the books desk he replaces David Ulin, who recently...

Why Hitchens cancelled book tour: cancer

chris-hitchens-wp.jpg Christopher Hitchens has announced that doctors have advised him to undergo chemotherapy for cancer in his esophagus. "This advice seems persuasive to me," the 61-year-old author says

Layoffs at the library: one blogger's story

While the politicians and unions haggle over whether the next round of city worker layoffs will actually happen, at the Los Angeles Public Library they already are happening.

Ulin shifts to new role at L.A. Times

Book editor David Ulin moves to book critic. No successor immediately named.

Where in L.A. Anthony Bourdain ate tonight

The book-touring chef and TV host praised L.A. food culture (and endorsed the Lakers over the Celtics) and revealed where he ate before taking the stage at Royce Hall.

First issue of Slake is at the printer *

Slake-1-cover.jpg Slake, the quarterly literary journal being launched by former LA Weekly editors Laurie Ochoa and Joe Donnelly, is scheduled to arrive in bookstores by the first week in July.

Ten years on Dennis Hopper bio -- and still no book

Richard Stayton, now the editor-in-chief of Written By, was working at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner in 1985 when he met and first wrote about Dennis Hopper.

Laura Ling has book and baby coming

lings-villaraigosa.jpg Former Current TV reporter Laura Ling's book with her sister Lisa Ling, "Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home," is due out today from Harper-Collins.

Author versus Bank of America

tod-goldberg.jpg Tod Goldberg blogs a transcript of his telephone conversation with Bank of America Home Loans, with which he's been having a horror story of screw-ups. When a call starts out this way, you know what's coming is a tale of frustration.

Author blogs her divorce from billionaire

justine-musk.jpg Bel-Air author Justine Musk is blogging about the financial details of her divorce from Elon Musk, the Paypal co-founder who is behind the Tesla electric car company and Space X. It sounds contentious.

Tom Bradley film looking for money

om-bradley-sign.jpg Filmmakers Lyn Goldfarb and Alison Sotomayor are taking a new tack in their push to make a feature documentary on the life of the late mayor Tom Bradley. They have sent out a pitch for funds saying, "If the Hollywood Sign said Tom Bradley, would we allow his story to be forgotten?"

Marcia Clark sells a book

marcia-clark-court.jpg Marcia Clark, the lead Los Angeles County prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson murder trial in 1995, has sold her debut crime thriller "Guilt By Association" to Little, Brown for publication in spring 2011.

Hollywood sign-adjacent hill to be saved

Hugh Hefner helped put up the last chunk of money in the Trust for Public Land's campaign to buy and preserve acreage west of the Hollywood sign. Councilman Tom LaBonge will talk up the effort this evening on "Which Way, L.A.?" on KCRW.

Dave Eggers gets two LAT book awards

At Friday night's Los Angeles Times Book Prize ceremony, Dave Eggers won the current interest award for "Zeitoun" and was given the event's first Innovators Award.

Ira Glass fact checks Poizner's book as urban legend

Candidate Steve Poizner's book about teaching at Mt. Pleasant High School in San Jose makes act one of this week's "This American Life" on NPR.

Festival of Books this weekend

I'll be signing "Wilshire Boulevard" and "San Fernando Valley" on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Angel City Press booth. LA Observed authors will be all over the place, including on a bunch of panels.

Ciudad Juarez as 'Murder City'

natalie-merchant-lapl.jpg Journalist/author Charles Bowden will discuss his new book, "Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy’s New Killing Fields," tonight at Aloud at the Central Library. KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez will...

A more literary view of the hockey playoffs

My take on the Kings' exciting playoff win last night was really just a sequence of quick observations. Brian Kennedy, my seatmate in the press box who covered the game...

Morning Buzz: Tuesday 4.20.10

Rain on the way, less-dire budget news all around, the morning news battleground, a new book show and more.

Lakers win game one over Thunder

The Lakers began their playoff run with an 87-79 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center. Kobe led the way with 21 points, Pau Gasol 19.

Zocalo launches a book prize

Starting next year, Zócalo Public Square will award an annual $5,000 book prize to "the U.S.-published book that most enhances our understanding of community ­ the forces that strengthen or undermine human connectedness and social cohesion be it locally, regionally, nationally or globally."

Reduced library hours begin this weekend

Starting tomorrow, all Los Angeles city libraries are closed on Sundays. The Central Library in Downtown is open 10 to 6 other days, and stays opens until 8 p.m. only on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Peabodys for 'SoCal Connected' and 'Inventing L.A.'

This year's Peabody Awards, which the broadcasters really value, include KCET's "SoCal Connected" for its story Up in Smoke.

Reading L.A. and its networked ecologies

la-port-mammoth.jpg Over the new few months, the architectural discussion website mammoth will be hosting an online discussion of a forthcoming book, "The Infrastructural City: Networked Ecologies in Los Angeles," as an "experiment in the cooperative reading and discussion of a text."

L.A.'s not so Big Read

lapl-read-event.jpg Journalist Adolfo Guzman-Lopez went down to the Central Library for a panel discussion of this year's Big Read selection for Los Angeles, "Sun, Stone, and Shadows," a new collection of short stories by Mexican writers. Attendance was sparse and he left discouraged that "independent cultural events and arts spaces...are now on the endangered species list."

OC's brotherhood of acid-dropping surfers

Orange-Sunshine.jpg OC Weekly staff writer Nick Schou's new book is "Orange Sunshine: The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and Its Quest to Spread Peace, Love, and Acid to the World."

John McPhee, plus DWP on KCET *

Prize-winning author John McPhee is Michael Silverblatt's guest today at 2:30 p.m. on KCRW's Bookworm. McPhee's most recent book is "Silk Parachute." Tonight at 8 p.m. on KCET's SoCal Connected,...

Father Boyle and his new book hit the circuit

father-greg.jpg Double praise in the L.A. Times today from friends of Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries for his new memoir, "Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion."

One more interpretation of Angels Flight *

angels-flight-sheets-crop120.jpg I've been receiving some nice comments all day for posting yesterday's item about the Millard Sheets painting called Angel's Flight. Here's a cover from the literary journal Black Clock that shares the noir vibe and Bunker Hill setting.

Things to do for smart people in L.A.

left-coast-crime-logo.jpg LA Observed contributor Adrienne Crew is an entertainment attorney by day. At night she goes to interesting places, and wants you to know where you can go too. Her Angeleno...

Book notes: John McPhee, fact-checking and more

mcphee_index.jpg Jonathan Kirsch broadens his review of John McPhee's latest collection into a paean to fact-checking and, in particular, to former New Yorker editor Sara Lippincott, who lives here in L.A. Plus some book notes.

LAT adds book prize for graphic novels, names finalists

The L.A. Times announced the finalists for its 30th annual book prizes and added a new category for graphic novels

Book notes, plus what we're reading this week

Willie-Mays-cover.jpg With no changes this week at the top of the local bestseller lists, I decided to see if there is any difference in book buying between Southern California and Northern California.

Angeleno social diary

Looking for some smart things to do around town over the next week? LA Observed contributor Adrienne Crew, the creator of L.A. Brain Terrain, offers her suggestions.

Politics, food & Zinn: book notes & bestsellers

game-change-cover.jpg Time again for the newest Southern California bestseller lists, fresh through Sunday's sales at local independent bookstores.

Media people calendar

elvis-mitchell-120.jpg Writers and photographer Nick Ut on the calendar.

Novel of SoCal dream going bust

model-home-cover.jpg Model Home," the first novel by Eric Puchner, is set during the Reagan presidency and tells the story of a family — Camille, Warren and their three kids — who move from Wisconsin to Southern California so Warren can get into the real estate game. Bad move.

Equator Books in Venice, RIP

equatorbooks-to-close.jpg Sunday at midnight is the final closing for Equator Books on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. The owners sent a note to customers and friends saying, "We ask that you come by...

Bestsellers: Edwards, Beatty, Salinger, food

edwards-hunter.jpg John Edwards is certainly doing his part to sell books. His dying reputation propels two onto this week's Southern California bestseller lists.

J.D. Salinger, author was 91

j-d-salinger-graphic-nyt.jpg Salinger died Wednesday at the home in Cornish, N.H., where he had lived in seclusion for more than 50 years. From the New York Times: Mr. Salinger’s literary reputation rests...

What Southern California is reading this week

game-change-cover.jpg The new bestseller lists are posted, covering sales in local independent bookstores through last Sunday — and you just can't get any fresher than that. The politics talker that everyone...

Howard Zinn, author and activist was 87

howard-zinn.jpg Zinn died today of a heart attack while traveling in Santa Monica.

Have drinks with TJ Sullivan

The LA Observed contributor gives an advance preview of his new novel at an SPJ event this evening Downtown.

Village Books puts out the appeal again

village-books-logocrop.jpg This past season wasn't so great at the independent bookstore in Pacific Palisades, so they're asking customers to come in for a 25 percent off sale this weekend.

New version of 'Newsthinking' is available

book-newsthinking-cover1.jpg Former Times reporter, editor and writing coach (and occasional LA Observed contributor) Bob Baker has updated his book, "Newsthinking: The Secret of Making Your Facts Fall Into Place."

Joe Papp book with Kenneth Turan appears 20 years later

ken-turan-cropped.jpeg Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan has a new book out co-authored by New York theater impresario Jospeh Papp — who died in 1991 and who killed the book a few years before that.

Huneven, Vollman finalists for Book Critics Circle

michelle-huneven.jpg Los Angeles writer Michelle Huneven and William T. Vollman are among the finalists for National Book Critics Circle awards announced Saturday night.

Internal split at Getty led to Brand's exit

getty-entrance-view.jpg Michael Brand's resignation as director of the Getty Museum was requested by Getty Trust president James Wood, according to L.A. Times reporter Jason Felch, citing unnamed sources.

George Lucas and the history of movie blockbusters

alexbenblock-mug.jpg L.A. journalist Alex Ben Block was the lead editor on the the new book, "George Lucas's Blockbusting: A Decade-By-Decade Survey of Timeless Movies." Block, now at the Hollywood Reporter, will...

Red Hen Press working on a California book

Publisher Kate Gale blogs that the idea of a book on the living history of California was inspired by book agent and Truthdig book editor Steve Wasserman. Doesn’t have an...

What Southern California is reading this week

elizabethgilbert.jpg There are fresh number ones at the top of the bestseller lists from Southern California independent bookstores, counting sales through this past Sunday.

Bodhi Tree Bookstore to close in a year

bodhitreefront.jpg Forty years after it was opened by two reformed aerospace engineers, the Bodhi Tree on Melrose Avenue is likely to close. "Perhaps a wealthy philosopher entrepreneur will come in to buy the store and keep it going," co-owner Phil Thompson says.

Tritia Toyota writing books and grading papers

tritiatoyotabook.jpg Former KNBC anchor Tritia Toyota, an adjunct assistant professor of anthropology and Asian American studies at UCLA< has a new book on Chinese American political power in the San Gabriel Valley.

What to do with the papers when the book's done

deadshallrise.jpg Los Angeles journalist Steve Oney was consumed for nearly half his life by bringing "And the Dead Shall Rise:The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank" into print.

LA Observed on the radio

My weekly Friday afternoon segment on KCRW tied together the Chicago flutist's farewell finger at the L.A. Phil, Michael Brand's departure from the Getty and the end of the Aerospace...

Bestsellers: we like to eat

julia-child-my-life-in-france.jpg After Greg Mortenson's "Three Cups of Tea," the next four best-selling nonfiction trade paperbacks in Southern California this week are all about food.

'East of West LA' getting discovered

brysonandroyalaptsmccollister.jpg It's nice to see the blogger-photographer getting some mainstream media acclaim for his new collection of L.A. images,

Lakers and me on 'Politics of Culture'

Thumbnail image for lakersbookcover.jpg Inside on the new LA Observed books page, the featured book of the week is "Los Angeles Lakers: 50 Amazing Years in the City of Angels," the first issue from...

David Levine, artist was 83

levinelbj.jpg He drew more than 3,800 caricatures and other pieces for the New York Review of Books.

Weekend reads and notes

The L.A.. Times ran another investigative collaboration with ProPublica on lax enforcement that lets problem nurses keep working. There's a pretty good summation of how 92 digital billboard came...

'Twitterature' on the radio

Emmet Rensin, a sophomore at the University of Chicago when he's not in Tarzana, will guest on KPCC's "Patt Morrison" at 1:30 p.m. to talk about "Twitterature: The World's Greatest...

Zocalo's top books of 2009

The public forum's website culls favorites from among the books reviewed during the year, including UCLA prof Kal Raustiala's "Does the Constitution Follow the Flag?" Also, after doing 124 interviews...

LAT books, science (and sports?) take hits

Today is departure day for some of the Los Angeles Times staffers who were laid off this week or who retired and/or took buyouts. Arts reporter Suzanne Muchnic sent a...

$2 million in funding for 'Goodreads'

The books-and-social-networking site Goodreads announced last week it has picked up $2 million in venture capital funding — its second round. Founder Otis Chandler, grandson of the former L.A. Times...

Greenberg goes home again

When our LA Sketchbook cartoonist Steve Greenberg had a drawing in Sunday's Daily News, it was something of a time warp. He was the paper's first staff cartoonist back in...

TJ will miss Editor & Publisher

TJ Sullivan has a nice piece at Native Intelligence on the essential role that the venerable Editor & Publisher played in his early years as an itinerant journalist in Ketchum,...

Dana Goodyear's reading year

The poet, New Yorker staff writer and USC teacher blogs at The Millions about what she read this year. Excerpt: This was the year in which I read Twilight, in...

New from David Foster Wallace *

This week's New Yorker publishes All That, new fiction by the late David Foster Wallace, who killed himself last year. In March, the magazine published an excerpt from his last...

New life for old newspaper stories

lakersbookcover.jpg Time Capsule Press was started last year by Narda Zacchino, a former top editor at the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle, and Dickson Louie, an ex-LAT and Times...

Fried grasshoppers with Jonathan Gold

friedgrasshoppers.jpg Veronique de Turenne shared a cab in Guadalajara with Jonathan Gold and his wife, Laurie Ochoa, then joined them for an adventurous lunch — fried grasshoppers included. Veronique's photos will...

Future of book publishing is unknowable

Steve Wasserman, the former Los Angeles Times book editor who is now an agent and book editor at Truthdig, gave a keynote address in Guadalajara in which he said predicting...

PEN's award winners to be feted

PEN Center USA's annual awards dinner and LitFest is tomorrow night at the Beverly Hills Hotel. It's always chock full of local authors, journalists and interesting people. (Tickets are still...

Best Sarah Palin nugget ever?

In her new book "Going Rogue," best-selling author Sarah Palin claims to wrap herself in the flag of UCLA legend John Wooden. But, um, the quote she attributes to Coach...

L.A. art is popular all over

arcomadrid.jpg Or maybe it's the willingness of the city's Department of Cultural Affairs to get involved as a sponsor. While a hundred or so Los Angeles writers, artists and speakers —...

L.A. authors in Guadalajara

guadalajaraicon.gif LA Observed contributors Veronique de Turenne, Jenny Price and Denise Hamilton will be heading to Guadalajara in coming days (or are already there) for the big book fair, which has...

Zócalo goes to Guadalajara *

zocalologo1.jpg Zócalo Public Square is decamping in early December to the Guadalajara International Book Fair, with some assistance from the National Endowment for the Arts and the City of Los Angeles...

'East of West LA', the book

mccollistercafe.jpg Readers of LA Observed have seen Kevin McCollister's photographs of Los Angeles, first on his blog Jimson Weed Gazette, and more recently on its successor, East of West LA. His...

Alkon gets some ink

amyalkonpsychtoday.jpg Local advice columnist Amy Alkon's new book "I See Rude People: One woman's battle to beat some manners into impolite society” comes out this month and she showed up in...

Euna Lee signs book deal

glamoureuna-lee-laura-ling_.jpg Euna Lee and Laura Ling continue to go their separate ways. Today in New York, Broadway Books confirmed it has a deal for Lee's account of the Los Angeles journalists'...

Sandra Tsing Loh confesses some more

sandratsingloh.jpg In the December issue of The Atlantic, author Sandra Tsing Loh discusses two books about the concept of bad mothers and expands a little on her current situation. Remember, in...

Theater critic critiques the critic

Don Shirley, a theater critic in Los Angeles for many years, including many at the L.A. Times, is now writing for L.A. Stage. He wasn't real thrilled on Sunday to...

Agassi's agony continues

agassicover.jpg Former tennis great Andre Agassi took his woe-is-he book tour tonight to NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Nice shout-out at the top of the segment for Los Angeles magazine...

Bruce Davidson, around L.A.

runyoncanyondavidson.jpg The 76-year-old New York photographer is "among the leaders of a loose-knit new wave of photographers — including Lee Friedlander, Danny Lyon, Garry Winogrand and Diane Arbus — who emerged...

D.J. Waldie on 'Opposite Field'

Now this is a book review. D.J. Waldie considers the latest book by another Los Angeles author, Jesse Katz, and says "The Opposite Field" is "a sweet baseball memoir with...

Connelly finds a real mystery

connellyhongkong.jpg In his latest book "Nine Dragons," author Michael Connelly sends his signature character Harry Bosch to Hong Kong to hunt for his own missing daughter. Now, in a piece posted...

Vidal on Polanski & Hollywood

John Meroney spent a couple of days with Gore Vidal at his Hollywood home and files his dispatch for The Atlantic. Vidal says, among other things, that concerns about Barack...

Book reading by flashlight

jessekatzbooksoup.jpg Last night's winds knocked out the power at Book Soup for the first half hour or so of Jesse Katz's launch party for The Opposite Field, his new memoir about...

Sully on 'Airtalk'

The pilot everybody has now heard of, Chesley Sullenberger, was on KPCC's Airtalk with Larry Mantle in the 10:30 segment. He's fairly alarmist about the declining experience level of airline...

Bono to Hilburn: Love the book

u2atrosebowl.jpg New author Robert Hilburn got a pretty nice shout-out for "Corn Flakes with John Lennon And Other Tales from a Rock 'n' Roll Life" at last night's U2 show at...

Best Music kudo for scribe

bestmusic09cover.jpg Former CityBeat editor Rebecca Schoenkopf has a piece she wrote for the late weekly included in "Best Music Writing 2009," the annual edited by Greil Marcus. Schoenkopf also gets a...

Catching up with Miriam Pawel *

unionoftheirdreams.jpg Miriam Pawel was the editor in charge of local coverage at the Los Angeles Times during the first couple of years that John Carroll was the paper's editor. Her reign...

Ellroy and Schickel, together

ellroyschickel.jpg Author James Ellroy sat for a Zócalo Public Square interview with LA Observed contributor Erika Schickel at the Hammer Museum, "discussing Ellroy’s reputation as a genre writer, as the Demon...

Derby dolls land their book

downandderby.jpg L.A. media types who also skate — Alex Cohen of KPCC and Jennifer Barbee of Blood & Thunder magazine — have written "Down and Derby: the Insiders Guide to Roller...

Well, it sounds the same

teenreedweek.jpg An LAO reader forwarded this errant headline spotted this morning atop the L.A. Times books blog. The hed has now been fixed to Teen Read Week....

Brendan Mullen, punk promoter was 60

brendan-mullen.jpg Brendan Mullen, author and the founder in 1977 of local punk rock club the Masque, died today after suffering a stroke while celebrating his birthday on the road with his...

Vroman's to buy Book Soup

The LAT's Carolyn Kellogg has the story: Pasadena's Vroman's is buying Book Soup on the Sunset Strip. She calls it somewhat of an odd pairing. The 115-year-old Vroman's is the...

Helmut Newton's people not amused

Alpha-Sumo1.jpg I've noticed the window display at Alpha Man in West Hollywood; so have plenty of others. And apparently the estate of photographer Helmut Newton doesn't care for the store's homage...

Huffington launches a book channel

The Huffington Post — which, incidentally, has been interviewing potential staffers for its upcoming Los Angeles news site — today announced a book section. From Arianna's post: Since I was...

Couple of new local blogs

inventinglacover.jpg There are two new blogs by L.A. journalists that I've started following. L.A. Explored is by journalist and fellow Angel City Press author Amy Dawes, who posts, "I live in...

In Los Angeles this month

lamag0ct09.jpg Los Angeles Magazine kicks off a new Hollywood sociology column, Cut!, in the October issue. New contributing writer Gina Piccalo writes the first one, talking to spouses and partners about...

Around LA Observed

In case you missed them: Bill Boyarsky spent a delightful evening with Norman Corwin, the 99-year-old "Los Angeles literary treasure," at the Barnes & Noble in Westside Pavilion. Visiting blogger...

Kevin Starr's Valley

kevin-starr-california-gold.jpg Historian Kevin Starr's latest thick work on California, "Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance, 1950-1963," devotes much attention to the San Fernando Valley, which swelled during the time...

Local author makes good

williesboyscover.jpg John Klima, the writer behind the website Baseball Beginnings, has written "Willie's Boys: The 1948 Birmingham Black Barons, The Last Negro League World Series, and the Making of a Baseball...

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree

Make that apples in this case, as the offspring of two local writers make publishing deals. First, 19-year-old Emmett Rensin, son of LAO's own David Rensin, has made profitable use...

D.J. Waldie retires (Is that even legal?)

Brace yourselves for a shock -- D.J. Waldie, whose lyrical writings about his hometown have earned him awards, honors and the title 'the bard of Lakewood', is stepping down from...

Here's the 'Politics of Culture' link

OK I'm biased, but I thought we had a fun 30 minutes with authors Richard Rayner and John Buntin talking about Los Angeles' dark and storied past. Here's the audio...

Corruption like you wouldn't believe

I thoroughly enjoyed reading two recent books on the colorful history of Los Angeles politics, mobsters and City Hall corruption. This afternoon I get to host a discussion on KCRW's...

Westlake District featured

westlakeparkboat.jpg The new episode of Vista LA that airs Sunday at 11:30 a.m. on Channel 7 focuses on recent improvements to MacArthur Park — led by the Levitt Pavilion — and...

Morning Buzz: Thursday 9.3.09

Ted Kennedy's letter about Sirhan — plus more politics, fires and books — in the news and notes hidden below the jump. Also see Mark Lacter's morning headlines at LA...

Has Bratton changed LAPD culture?

That is the question explored by journalist John Buntin in a new piece for Governing magazine. Buntin comes at the subject with extensive background: he's the author of a new...

Boyarsky: Questions for the mayor

INLA-cvr.jpg Bill Boyarsky has been absent from LA Observed since February writing a book and taking some vacation. The book hits stores in September — and looks truly gorgeous. "Inventing L.A.:...

Waxman: How Congress works

waxmanbook.jpg Rep. Henry Waxman talks to guest host Marc Cooper on KCRW's Politics of Culture at 2:30 p.m. today. The main topic is the congressman's new book, "The Waxman Report: How...

Bookseller nominations

Finalists are out for the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association awards for 2009. Nominees include "Losing My Religion" by ex-L.A. Times reporter William Lobdell, "The Wonder Years" by Rick Rickman...

Gastrokid cookbook

gastrokidbook.jpg Hugh Garvey, features editor at Bon Appetit magazine here and a food blogger, has a new cookbook out called "Gastrokid Cookbook: Feeding a Foodie Family in a Fast-Food World." Self-explanatory...

Michael Viner, publisher was 65

The president of Phoenix Books in Beverly Hills was 65. He died of cancer over the weekend. Viner has published or tried to publish several controversial books, including in 2003...

Robert Hilburn goes online

hilburnlennon.jpg The L.A. Times' emeritus pop music editor has a memoir of his decades covering the business — "Corn Flakes with John Lennon And Other Tales from a Rock 'n' Roll...

Unofficial Thomas Pynchon guide to L.A.

pynchonmap.jpg Wired magazine's Mark Horowitz has created a Zee Maps-assisted guide to the Los Angeles locations in Thomas Pynchon's novels and real life, based on the presumption that "Pynchon, the paranoid...

'Hancock Park,' the debut bestseller

Isabel Kaplan is 19, got her book deal when she was a high school junior, and now is enjoying "Hancock Park" hold a spot on the L.A. Times bestseller list...

Author E. Lynn Harris dies here at 54

The best-selling writer of gay black fiction fell ill yesterday at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. He lived in Atlanta. LAT...

Bukowski tours Hollywood & Western

Charles Bukowski narrates a tour of the Hollywood and Western area, highlighting his favorite bars, hangouts, hookers and dope-dealers. From "The Charles Bukowski Tapes" (1985), by Barbet Schroeder, via...

L.A. Jewish history on Flickr

Frances Dinkelspiel, the author who talks tonight at ALOUD about "Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California," is also president of the board at the...

Free tix to Chris Anderson

Mark Lacter has ten tickets for Thursday morning's appearance by Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson to talk about his book, "Free: The Future of a Radical Price," at the ALOUD Business...

LAPD vs. NYPD, on TV

Los Angeles and New York both make great settings for police dramas on TV. But why, over the last decade or more, are most of the better ones located in...

Hitler's music exiles in Southern California

Jonathan Kirsch reviews "A Windfall of Musicians: Hitler's Émigrés and Exiles in Southern California," Dorothy Lamb Crawford's study of the 1930s emigres to Los Angeles such as Igor Stravinsky, Arnold...

Kevin Starr's California

goldendreamscover.jpg In the same issue of The Atlantic where Sandra Tsing Loh finishes off her marriage, the editor's choice book is Kevin Starr's eighth in his series on Golden State history:...

When bin Laden was in L.A.

I skipped right past this Steve Coll piece in last week's New Yorker skimming revelations from a forthcoming book by Osama’s first wife, Najwa Bin Laden, and his son. Coll...

'Moneyball' benched

For some reason Sony agreed to make a movie out of the Michael Lewis baseball bestseller "Moneyball." Brad Pitt got on board, crews were hired, shooting was to begin today...

Twitter, the books

A nice local book deal: Penguin picked up "Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books, Now Presented in Twenty Tweets or Less," called a humorous retelling of works of great literature in...

Burning Weetzie

babybebop.jpg Studio City author Francesca Lia Block has hit a small PR jackpot. Some overheated Christians in West Bend, Wisconsin want to publicly burn her novel "Baby Be-Bop." They also want...

Smogtown panel Tuesday night

smogtownicon.jpg I'm moderating Tuesday night's Aloud LA lecture series panel at the Central Library pegged to the book "Smogtown: The Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles," by Chip Jacobs and...

Morning Buzz: Wednesday 6.3.09

Schwarzenegger's plea, the Lu Parker/Villaraigosa talk continues, those Chinese are still at LAX, books by Barbara Streisand and Choire Sicha, a journalist gets a job and more. Mark Lacter's LA...

The book Vinnie's going to hate

pullupachair.jpg Well, maybe Vin Scully will end up being glad Curt Smith went ahead with an unauthorized biography. But Scully has said often that he didn't want a book done on...

Follow up on 'The Scarecrow'

I've now read and thoroughly enjoyed Michael Connelly's latest book. In today's Times review, Tim Rutten calls "The Scarecrow" Connelly's best since "The Poet," and also the first novel to...

Connelly's hero gets laid off, blogged

The-Scarecrow.jpg I just started reading Michael Connelly's latest Los Angeles mystery "The Scarecrow," and it feels hot off the presses. He's got the Rocky Mountain News shut down in Denver, newspapers...

Lit props to Venice Paper

When Elmore Leonard was researching his new novel "Road Dogs," Venice Paper publisher Tibby Rothman showed him around Venice for a few hours. Now she's in some of the book's...

Beverly Hills Adjacent, the book

bhadjacentcover.jpg Haven't seen the book yet, but I like the title. "Beverly Hills Adjacent" is a debut novel with strong local flavor and media bloodlines: it's by Jennifer Steinhauer, the New...

Upside to the downside at newspapers

Author Frances Dinkelspiel has noticed that ever since the San Francisco Chronicle laid off dozens of reporters, the number of author and artist features in the paper has gone up....

Morning Buzz: Monday 5.4.09

NBC picked up four dramas and two comedies for its fall lineup but "left several questions unanswered until later this month." Variety, The Wrap, Finke Rep. Jane Harman went...

LA Sketchbook by Steve Greenberg

greenbergcaricature.jpg I'm pleased to say that Steve Greenberg will be contributing original editorial cartoons to LA Observed; this is his first. Steve is an editorial cartoonist, illustrator and graphic artist...

Scenes from the Festival of Books

An amalgam of observations and reports from the L.A. Times Festival of Books, held Saturday and Sunday at UCLA: There were really long lines to have books signed by children's...

Book prize winners — and a no-show

stevewassermantruthdig.jpg How times change. Steve Wasserman, the former books editor at the Los Angeles Times, presided for years over the LAT Book Prizes soiree at UCLA's Royce Hall. He didn't even...

LA Observed at the Festival of Books

A nice group of LA Observed contributors will be taking part in this weekend's Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at UCLA. I'll be signing copies of Wilshire Boulevard and...

LAT Book Prizes scaled back

The annual awarding of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes has been moved from UCLA's Royce Hall, scene of a fairly copious free dinner and open bar for authors, invited...

Authors like this kind of prize

Judy Pasternak will get $30,000 from the Lukas Prize Project Awards for Exceptional Works of Nonfiction to help finish her book, "Yellow Dirt: The Betrayal of the Navajos." The book...

Steven Bach, studio exec & author was 70

stevenbach.jpg Steven Bach was the executive at United Artists who took the fall for "Heaven’s Gate" and went on to write "Final Cut," which William Grimes in the New York Times...

Cook's Library on 3rd to close

Another good bookstore is folding up its tent — and the news drew multiple, audible protests here in the house when I read it out loud. "After 20 years selling...

That's a big nest *

Author John Shannon says he smelled something burning while driving home today. Under the hood of his car he found this bird's nest smoldering atop the engine. His ride had...

Another reporter switches teams

Mark Arax, the former Los Angeles Times reporter based in Fresno, is joining the staff of the state's Senate Select Committee on Air Quality, a new committee headed by Sen....

Times book prize nominees posted

Rick Wartzman, the former editor of the LAT's own West magazine, is a finalist for a Los Angeles Times Book prize in the history category for "Obscene in the Extreme:...

David Foster Wallace's last book

The New Yorker that hits the streets today has an excerpt from "The Pale King," the unfinished novel that David Foster Wallace was working on when he hanged himself at...

'A Different Light' bookstore to close

The gay-oriented West Hollywood store announced this week that it's closing soon after nearly thirty years, citing in part the loss of foot traffic from all the construction work to...

John Updike, writer was 76 *

John Updike released more than 50 books in a career that started in the 1950s. He won two Pulitzer Prizes, for ''Rabbit Is Rich'' and ''Rabbit at Rest,'' two National...

O'Shea gets gig he knows something about

Former Los Angeles Times editor Jim O'Shea, who lost the top job after clashing with then-publisher David Hiller, will study conflicts between newspaper editors and owners as a spring fellow...

New L.A. book by Chris Ayres

Ayres, the Los Angeles correspondent for The Times of London, previously wrote "War Reporting for Cowards." From the flap for "Death by Leisure: A Cautionary Tale," his newest: All Chris...

Houses for a Californian imagination

Author D.J. Waldie ruminates on the Spanish Colonial Revival style, inspired by dinner at the Santa Monica home of Angel City Press publishers Paddy Calistro and Scott McAuley. From his...

Angry and black in PV Estates

Jennifer Baszile, a professor of history at Yale, has written a memoir called "The Black Girl Next Door" that doesn't reflect kindly on her upbringing as an African American girl...

Today's L.A. book in the NYT

Echo Park author Charlie Huston, who blogs at, gets a helpful Janet Maslin review in today's New York Times for his latest book, "The Mystic Arts of Erasing All...

Glenn Goldman, Book Soup founder was 58 *

Goldman died today of pancreatic cancer, a disease that was just recently diagnosed. He leaves two teenage sons. As I posted earlier today, Goldman and staffers at the Sunset Strip...

Book Soup looking for buyer

Staffers and friends of Sunset Strip fixture Book Soup are contacting potential buyers due to a serious illness afflicting founder Glenn Goldman. Judging by emails circulating in L.A. book circles,...

2008 passings: Music, arts & letters

Forrest J Ackerman, archivist Tina Allen, artist Arthur C. Clarke, author Philip Conisbee, curator Michael Crichton, author Bo Diddley, rocker Elaine Dundy, author Patricia Faure, art dealer Robert Graham,...

Book dumped for being critical of TV *

Los Angeles author Howard Rosenberg (the former LAT critic) and his co-author Charles Feldman were booked on KRON TV in San Francisco on Jan. 3 to talk about their new...

'Ecotopia' revisited

I observed more WTF? head scratching over the L.A. Times' layoff of Calendar writer Scott Timberg this fall than over just about anybody. So no surprise he shows up today...

Tom Hanks steps up for Village Books

Village Books struggles to get by in the little shopping district of Pacific Palisades, but things seem especially grim on that street this year. The bookstore has loyal fans, though,...

Forrest Ackerman dies at 92

Here's how AP announces the news: Forrest J Ackerman, the sometime actor, literary agent, magazine editor and full-time bon vivant who discovered author Ray Bradbury and was widely credited with...

Tour sites of L.A. lynchings

Ken Gonzales-Day, a photographer and Scripps College professor, wrote the book "Lynching in the West: 1850-1935." He has traveled California trying to locate the actual trees used by lynch mobs....

PEN honors Gelbart, WGA, journos

Last night at the Beverly Hills Hotel, PEN Center USA gave a lifetime achievement award to multi-faceted writer Larry Gelbart and its First Amendment Award to the Writers Guild. Jesse...

Anthrax, the book

David Willman, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his 2000 investigation into the FDA's approval of some deadly drugs, is one of the solid reporters to recently leave the former...

'Faces of Sunset Boulevard,' the book

Photographer Patrick Ecclesine's new book from Santa Monica Press, "Faces of Sunset Boulevard: a Portrait of Los Angeles," travels the length of the boulevard through portraits of people who live,...

Maria Semple's Los Angeles

Maps or guides to mentioned locales seem to be a more popular marketing wrinkle for books set in Los Angeles. At least those from Hachette: remember the dining guide to...

Today's interviews today

From around the local media: Sam Rubin talked to SAG president Alan Rosenberg on the KTLA Morning News. "We've made monumental moves in their direction...and they have not moved one...

Reading 'The Maltese Falcon'

Los Angeles' participation in the national Big Read program has been to encourage reading and discussion of "The Maltese Falcon," the classic Dashiell Hammett noir novel from 1930 that the...

Books of the week

For a couple of years I've been anticipating the biography of Isaias Hellman, who had a hand in so much early Los Angeles history as the power behind Farmers and...

Book title others will wish they grabbed *

Los Angeles-born Olympic wrestling champion Henry Cejudo will write his memoir, "The Americano Dream," for Celebra. It's about growing up Mexican American in South Los Angeles, being moved to New...

Michael Crichton dies at 66 *

The author and creator of "ER" died yesterday in Los Angeles "after a courageous and private battle against cancer," his website announced. His books included "Jurassic Park" and "The Lost...

Studs Terkel, 96

The Chicago Tribune summarizes Studs Terkel as "author-radio host-actor-activist and Chicago symbol." He died today at home there, with his book scheduled for release next month, "P.S. Further Thoughts From...

Nice Tony Hillerman tribute

Deanne Stillman posts at Native Intelligence about Tony Hillerman, her former professor who died yesterday and who provided inspiration for her own writing about the West. I can't remember any...

Tony Hillerman, mystery writer was 83

Tony Hillerman introduced readers to the Navajo culture of the Southwest through his series of mystery novels centered on Navajo Tribal Police Lt. Joe Leaphorn and officer Jim Chee. Hillerman...

Which books do fleeing writers take?

Mark Hull, publisher of Red Hen Press, got the word to get out of his Granada Hills home office as the Sesnon Fire bore down. Which books did he choose...

Arts and the economy

It's not just the Pasadena Symphony. The almost-certainly-a-recession is affecting arts and culture organizations all around. On KCRW's Politics of Culture at 2:30 this afternoon, Ruth Seymour talks with key...

Hollywood defies the recession

The New York Times' David Carr jets out to the coast and finds that in Hollywood, it's still morning in America. Hollywood comes by its indifference honestly. Certainly, the stock...

West Hollywood Book Fair video

Just for kicks, before and after my "Noir of Politics" panel at Sunday's West Hollywood Book Fair I shot some video of other panels and did interviews with author...

When L.A. was Smogtown

"Smogtown: the Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles" will be published Thursday by The Overlook Press/Penguin U.S.A. The book, by Chip Jacobs and William J. Kelly, looks like it...

Blatchford does the Mexican Mafia

Fox 11 crime reporter Chris Blatchford is out with "The Black Hand," which Dominick Dunne calls in a blurb, "A gripping, powerful, chilling inside look at a criminal organization that...

Programming notes

My KCRW spot this afternoon talks about the story possibilities of having the Dodgers and Angels in the playoffs, and about the star power of Manny Ramirez. LA Observed on...

Trailer for 'The Soloist'

The film in which Robert Downey Jr. portrays LAT columnist Steve Lopez, and Jamie Foxx plays downtown street musician Nathaniel Ayers, must be getting close. The trailer runs 2:31 on...

KCRW adds program on David Foster Wallace

KCRW (89.9 FM) will devote this week's "Politics of Culture" to the death and literary legacy of David Foster Wallace, who killed himself last week at home in Claremont. "Bookworm"...

David Foster Wallace, writer was 46

Novelist David Foster Wallace, best known for "Infinite Jest" and other books, hanged himself at home in Claremont, police said in the city east of Los Angeles. He had been...

Acres of Books sets the date

October 18 will be the final day for the venerable Long Beach book store. Everything is 50% off as of now, with further markdowns to come. Ray Bradbury did what...

Who remembers Tim and Tom?

I enjoyed reading the story of Tom Dreesen and Tim Reid, who met at a Jaycees meeting outside Chicago in 1968 and struggled to break through as a black-and-white comedy...

A place to put your buyout bucks

Attention ex-journalists looking for something new to do. A bookstore in Big Bear Lake is for sale. "In the heart of Big Bear Village, a four seasons resort community in...

More ink for Sandra Tsing Loh

Los Angeles magazine's September issue includes a round-up of the area's best high schools (not on line) and a book review-cum-profile of the city's most visible activist parent of the...

Loh life weekend

This was the weekend that Sandra Tsing Loh's latest book, "Mother on Fire," got reviewed in the New York Times and her hometown Los Angeles Times. Both reviewers enjoyed the...

Eating with Denise in postwar L.A.

Eating L.A.'s Pat Saperstein joined LA Observed author Denise Hamilton on a culinary tour based on locations mentioned in "The Last Embrace," Denise's latest Los Angeles-based mystery. This one, set...

Rensin and Brillstein

LA Observed author David Rensin was on a book tour-vacation when Hollywood manager and producer Bernie Brillstein ">died, but I for one have been anticipating David's reaction. He helped Brillstein...

Zell's Cubs sale a tax dodge?

Allan Sloan of Fortune Magazine, a persistent skeptic of Tribune dealings, breaks down Sam Zell's latest creative financing scheme for Marketplace: "The company is in, as you know, big trouble....What...

She knew Rielle Hunter back when

Echo Park author Sarah Miller has an amusing piece in the Times opinion pages Sunday about John Edwards' former extra-marital squeeze, who rented the room Miller had vacated in a...

Local kudos

Bill Boyarsky, LA Observed's occasional politics columnist, is a finalist in nonfiction for the 2008 book award from the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association. It's for "Big Daddy: Jesse Unruh...

Skylight Books expands this week

Even as Acres of Books' coming demise in Long Beach becomes more certain, Skylight Books in Los Feliz is becoming the rare independent bookstore to grow these days. On Wednesday...

Book talk on PBS tonight

The "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" drills down on the closure of newspaper book sections, pegged to the L.A. Times situation. Here's the email blast at Romenesko: This past Sunday, the...

Ulin "extremely anguished" about books cuts

Times book editor David Ulin tells Publishers Weekly that, in the post-Book Review era, the upside is that editorially and aesthetically, we are going to be producing the same kind...

Author asks LAT to save Book Review

Yesterday it was the Book Review's former editors pleading to keep a distinct books presence in the Los Angeles Times. Today, Los Angeles author Daniel A. Olivas (Latinos in Lotusland,...

Book editors protest cuts at the Times *

Four past book editors of the Los Angeles Times — Sonja Bolle, Digby Diehl, Jack Miles and Steve Wasserman — released a letter protesting the planned termination of the Sunday...

Homicide blog to book

Jill Leovy is turning her year as the Los Angeles Times' homicide blogger into a book for Spiegel & Grau. "The Homicide Report: Black Men, Murder and Americas Unseen Catastrophe"...

Upside to the Obama-New Yorker cover

Carolyn Kellogg blogs at Jacket Copy that there is a potential winner in all the handwringing and debate over the magazine cover depicting Barack and Michelle Obama as Islamic militants....

'Profound malaise' at L.A. Times

That's how one staffer describes the mood around the Los Angeles Times offices, where editors were believed to be working last night on their final lists of staffers — 150...

Abrams: Rethink book reviews

Sam Zell's in-house innovator Lee Abrams has memoed again, long and rambling and ungrammatical as usual. Now that the cost-cutting Los Angeles Times is apparently moving towards folding the stand-alone...

Dawson's Book Shop cuts back

Email from proprietor Michael Dawson announces that Los Angeles' oldest bookstore, now located on Larchmont Boulevard, will go to appointment only. Dawson's has sold books in L.A. since 1905 and...

Ray Bradbury mourns Acres of Books

Ray Bradbury spoke last night at the iconic Long Beach bookstore and railed about its threatened closure and the dearth of bookstores in certain areas around Los Angeles. was...

Add Geneva Ellroy

Frank Girardot, city editor at the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, also posted his paper's original 1958 coverage of the murder of writer James Ellroy's mother. In the post Girardot describes...

Geneva Ellroy, 1915-1958

Today is the 50th anniversary of a story hitting the Los Angeles papers that would become iconic in local literature. On June 22, 1958, 10-year-old James Ellroy came home in...

Waldman book on liberalism

Tom Waldman is the chief of staff to Los Angeles school board member Tamar Galatzan (and he formerly was press secretary to Rep. Howard Berman.) He's also the author of...

Where is...Jules Asner

The former E! Channel host, Elite model and daughter-in-law to Ed Asner (she's now married to Steven Soderbergh) has a new novel landing tomorrow. "Whacked" is set in Hollywood, of...

Weekend shorts

At least two Japanese gangsters who received liver transplants at UCLA Medical Center then donated $100,000, the LAT reports. (WitnessLA adds some context to the UCLA transplant stories.) Todd...

Book notes for BEA: Friday

Book launch 2.0, the video: LA Observed channel on YouTube NOTES: Marketplace ran a nice piece on Skylight Books expanding, featuring owner Kerry Slattery...BEA party roundup from the New York...

Book notes for BEA: Wednesday

Working through the pile on my desk in advance of this week's BookExpo America at the Downtown Convention Center. Sascha Rothchild's piece on ending her starter marriage ran in the...

BookExpo comes back to L.A.

A huge chunk of the book world will be here this week for BookExpo America, which opens Thursday at the Convention Center and runs through the weekend. BEA, last here...

LA Observed's long weekend

Deanne Stillman, author of the forthcoming "Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West," posts a Memorial Day paean to Buffalo Bill Cody and one of his...

If Zakaria gets this wrong...

Newsweek editor Fareed Zakaria packed them in at the Central Library's ALOUD series last week and his new book, "The Post-American World," is getting mostly good reviews. His argument that...

Frey's L.A. errors are easy pickings

Steve Harvey debunked some of author James Frey's so-called quirky facts about Los Angeles in his Only in L.A. column on Saturday. Author Frances Dinkelspiel picks up the cause and...

Tale of two books *

Actually it's just one book, the new novel set in Los Angeles by fabulist James Frey. But look at how differently it's being read. LAT Book Editor David Ulin holds...

Connie Martinson donates archives

The host of the long-running "Connie Martinson Talks Books" gave nearly 3,000 tapes of her cable show to Claremont Graduate University. "It's a pretty extraordinary gift," said Rick Wartzman, director...

Darryl Strawberry, the book

You could say that former Dodger and product of Los Angeles Darryl Strawberry had the book thrown at him so often he should write one. Well, now he is. According...

Book blogger's rep comes back to bite...or not

Mark Sarvas is often biting in his reviews and commentaries at The Elegant Variation, a point that Scott Timberg makes up front in his Q&A with Sarvas in today's LAT...

LAO interview with Larry McMurtry

Nice Q&A by Deanne Stillman over at Native Intelligence with Larry McMurtry, the author and screenwriter who was in town this week to receive the Los Angeles Public Library Award...

Book stuff from contributors

Denise Hamilton sits in at The Elegant Variation today and guest-interviews author Nina Revoyr about her new novel, "The Age of Dreaming." Excerpt: "The Age of Dreaming" recounts the story...

Scenes from the book festival

My panel at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books ("California: The Great Experiment") was well-attended by an enthusiastic crowd that asked many provocative questions, provocatively answered by Bill Deverell,...

Dutton's feted at Book Prizes

Before the first author was honored at Friday night's Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, Times critic Kenneth Turan delivered a tribute to Dutton's Brentwood Books, which closes April 30. As...

LAO guide to the book festival

In her new travel guide "Great Escapes Southern California," Donna Wares describes author D.J. Waldie's ritual for the weekend of the L.A. Times Festival of Books. He takes the bus...

'Latinos in Lotusland' arrives

'Tis the season for new Los Angeles-focused releases — and the week for book parties — with the Times Festival of Books on tap this coming weekend. "Latinos in Lotusland:...

LA Observed at the Festival of Books

This year's L.A. Times Festival of Books is the weekend of April 26-27 at UCLA. I'm moderating a 3 pm Saturday panel called "California: The Great Experiment," with a distinguished...

Stan Chambers book reading

He still makes appearances and will be talking about "KTLA's News at Ten: Sixty Years with Stan Chambers" tonight at 7:30 pm at the Beverly Hills City Hall. Info...

Canseco's night at Book Soup

Unlike in New York, baseball steroid man Jose Canseco drew a muted response at this week's book signing here. Stuffed behind a counter in a dimly lit corner of a...

Scheer has another book coming

On the day that Michael Ramirez won a Pulitzer Prize, it's somewhat fitting to run a Robert Scheer item too. He and Ramirez were both dropped from the L.A. Times...

Six Pulitzers for WashPost, two for ex-LATers *

My prediction of this morning was correct, if general. The Washington Post cleaned up with six Pulitzer prizes, for coverage of Walter Reed, Virginia Tech, Dick Cheney and Blackwater among...

Good day for a print journo

The OC Weekly's Nick Schou got a double dose of good news today. Universal is developing a film based on his 2006 book "Kill the Messenger," about the late journalist...

It takes a bookstore

A few hundred fans applauded Dutton's Brentwood Books on Sunday afternoon, filling the courtyard where so many authors have spoken on their L.A. tours. The store closes April 30, and...

Final party at Dutton's

Friends, fans and employees of Dutton's Brentwood Bookstore will gather in the courtyard one last time this Sunday at 5 pm. The shelves already look rather sad, but the final...

Finally, L.A. sewers get some respect

As a reporter, I liked to write about L.A's infrastructure — freeways, water, refuse. I always thought there was a book in the history of the Los Angeles sewer system,...

Stuff white people like to read

Christian Lander, the Culver City-based writer of the hit satire blog Stuff White People Like, has gotten a William Morris agent (Erin Malone) and a book deal out of the...

Arthur C. Clarke, 90

The English-born writer of science fiction died in Sri Lanka, his home since 1956. NYT, BBC, AP...

The Hilburn Chronicles

Longtime L.A. Times pop critic Robert Hilburn has signed with ModernTimes/Rodale to do a "deeply personal and highly opinionated memoir" of his decades covering the music scene. From the flackage:...

LA's keeper of the saints

Last weekend's New York Times did a nice spread on J. Michael Walker and his one-of-a-kind Los Angeles book, "All the Saints of the City of the Angels: Seeking the...

Clueless in New York

Her years in Los Angeles taught Nancy Rommelmann, an ex-New Yorker, that no one is more provincial than New Yorkers. So she isn't surprised that Manhattan's publishing industry and the...

Radio week at LAO

Mark Lacter and I were just on "Airtalk" talking with Larry Mantle about the buyouts at the Times and other local papers. You can hear it in the archives at...

More bloggers on radio

Celeste Fremon is expected to guest on "Patt Morrison" on KPCC at the top of the 2 pm hour, to talk about the fake Margaret B. Jones "memoir" and what...

Margaret B. Jones is a Valley Girl

She's Margaret Seltzer, she went to preppy Campbell Hall, and she never ran drugs for the Bloods in South L.A., she confessed to the New York Times. The publisher of...

LAT Book Prize nominees announced

Novelist Maxine Hong Kingston wins this year's Robert Kirsch Award. Nominees in the nine categories, announced tonight in New York, include Ron Brownstein, Naomi Klein and Tim Weiner. Winners are...

Developer will cover $550,000 in Dutton's debt

Charlie Munger, who owns and wants to redevelop the Brentwood block that includes Dutton's Books, promised to pay all of the bookstore's debts — and forgive the rent — in...

Angeleno's poem of the day

Poet T.S. Kerrigan lives in Burbank, so not precisely L.A.. And OK, it was Friday, not today. But some verse of his was the selection of the day at Best...

Dutton's reaction rolling in

A lot of sites and media are reacting to the sad news — first posted here at LA Observed early this morning — that Dutton's Books in Brentwood will be...

More signs of the (new) Times

Jacket Copy, the blog written by the staff of the L.A. Times' books section, today added a new voice: Carolyn Kellogg's. She is the former editor of LAist who left...

Book PR release of the week

The words "speculative sports fiction" caught my eye and made me go: huh? But that's the genre that covers the anthology edited by Tujunga author Karen A. Romanko. She emails...

Dutton's calls it quits with 'profound regret and sorrow'

Dutton's Brentwood Books will close April 30 after a tough year. A clientele like Dustin Hoffman, Diane Keaton and half the authors in the city isn't enough to keep a...

Back to L.A., virtually

When LA Observed was just a toddler of a blog, I watched Nancy Rommelmann chronicle her anxiety-filled but hopeful (and ultimately happy) move to Portland in a blog she called...

Weisberg book party

Slate editor Jacob Weisberg gave a little shout out to LA Observed in his remarks last night at a book party at Arianna Huffington's home. Actually, he noted that I...

Martha has met her match

L.A. author, humorist and kitschy snapshot collector Charles Phoenix will share his vintage Valentine's Day slides with Martha Stewart on her syndicated TV show on Thursday. I have no idea...

Blogs make the book

At least two Los Angeles blogs are included in a new book, "Ultimate Blogs: Masterworks From the Wild Web," edited by the NYT's Sarah Boxer. They are Go Fug Yourself...

All in the family

Native Intelligence contributor Deanne Stillman has the cover of the new Los Angeles CityBeat with a nice piece on the Mojave Desert portion of L.A. County. Photos by Mark LaMonica...

Coming war between the Valley and Westside

Much honored Los Angeles sci-fi writer and alternate historian Harry Turtledove writes about time travel in his Crosstime Traffic series. Could he be predicting the future with the sixth book...

Where is Doug Frantz?

Last year's managing editor of the Los Angeles Times (actually he stayed nearly two years) will be on Hugh Hewitt's radio show Thursday. Frantz and his wife, Catherine Collins, will...

Yes, another post about opossum poetry

Who knew? I'm told, by Los Angeles poet Richard Beban, that this morning's verse about opossums was no lone wolf. He says there is something of a cult of local...

Times reviews Mary McNamara's novel

Author Samantha Dunn writes in today's Calendar section, "We should thank our lucky stars Mary McNamara's debut novel, 'Oscar Season,' arrives when it does, because if the writers strike goes...

Another used book shop goes down

An LA Observed reader who works at Cal State Long Beach stopped by Wilshire Books in Santa Monica and found the store cleared out. "Quietly closed at the end of...

'Tarnished Heisman' website up

The authors of that book claiming a slew of ethical breaches by former USC Trojans star Reggie Bush and his family have posted excerpts and documents on a website:

Laura Archera Huxley, 96

The author and widow of Aldous Huxley has died in Los Angeles, according to family friends. She was 96. She was born in Italy and became a top violinist at...

Trio of local book deals

Publishers Lunch brings word that Maria Shriver has sold Just Who Will You Be, "presenting life lessons and reflections on what's important in her life, inspired by a poem she...

More bookstore tales

This one is more of a prank than yesterday's scam, also from Shelf Awareness: Kerry Slattery, general manager of Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif., has another cautionary tale about an...

Call it the Nigerian author scam

John Evans, co-owner of Diesel: A Bookstore out in Malibu, told the newsletter Shelf Awareness about a strange come-on at his Oakland store. I guess with everything else they face,...

Name from the past is back again

Remember Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, the journalist who quit the L.A. Times in a huffy outburst and resurfaced as a successful novelist? (And who more recently mourned the death of Cathy Seipp.)...

Village Books calls for help

Katie O'Laughlin of Village Books, one of the city's best and coziest small bookstores, says she's losing the battle against the big boxes and rising rents in her Pacific Palisades...

Boyarsky to hit the campaign trail

In addition to his blog here at LA Observed, Bill Boyarsky is a regular columnist for Robert Scheer and Zuade Kaufman at Truthdig. They actually pay him, unlike here, and...

Clancy Sigal has this to say about Robbins

Los Angeles novelist and screenwriter Clancy Sigal turned up in today's letters section in the New York Times Book Review, offering a counter view to the description of mass-market writer...

Regan sues, involves Kerik and Giuliani

Judith Regan today sued News Corp for $100 million over her firing last year and charged that a senior executive urged her to mislead federal investigators about her relationship with...

Remembering Big Daddy

Events are starting up for Bill Boyarsky's major political history from University of California Press, Big Daddy: Jesse Unruh and the Art of Power Politics. Unruh, of course, was the...

Walking Chandler's L.A.

In a post over at Native Intelligence, Denise Hamilton goes for a sidewalk adventure in the city with Judith Freeman, author of the new book The Long Embrace, Raymond Chandler...

Eating L.A. with Eve Diamond

Author Denise Hamilton and Eating L.A. blogger Pat Saperstein did a fun road trip recently, visiting many of the local dining spots patronized by Hamilton's lovelorn newspaper reporter protagonist, Eve...

Change at Writers Bloc

Andrea Grossman's independent literary series Writers Bloc has become part of the Town Hall Los Angeles organization. Grossman will continue to select the programs, but there will be more promotion...

Steven Seagal wants an apology

He did not pay anyone to threaten reporter Anita Busch and pretty much loathes PI Anthony Pellicano, says the actor whose name was prominently mentioned when the feds first began...

Saying goodbye, a little late

Former L.A. Times feature writer-turned-novelist Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez had been a victim of journalist Cathy Seipp's gratuitous mean side, and gave it back to her. But she was sad to learn...

Wasserman joins Truthdig as books editor

Steve Wasserman and Robert Scheer are together again. The former Los Angeles Times book editor, now managing director of the New York office of Kneerim & Williams at Fish &...

Best noir writer you don't know

Douglas Anne Munson, author of an L.A. noir trilogy that opened with the admired Dogtown, has champions in Michael Connelly, Carolyn See, John Rechy and Jonathan Kellerman. Also in Denise...

Literary awards season

PEN USA has chosen the winners of its 2007 literary awards for writers and journalists in the West. Among the local winners is Cynthia Kadohata, who won in children's literature...

Ford interrupts her bliss *

Our post earlier this month on Hollywood tabloidist-turned-author Marlise Kast and her pursuit of blissful contentment inspired Luke Ford to interview her for his blog. Or was it the picture?...

Speaking of L.A. books

Marlise Kast is a former Hollywood production assistant who began digging up dirt for The Globe at age 21. She now dishes about her three years on the tabloid beat...

Book sale of the week

A memoir, noted at Publishers Lunch: "Director of strategic alliances for global think tank, TalentSmart, Lac D. Su's THE CRIP WALK, a coming-of-age memoir about his life as a first-generation...

Lisa Leslie sells book

Don't Let the Lipstick Fool You will be "an uplifting memoir profiling the author's personal and professional life," says Publishers Lunch. Dafina bought it for publication next May. Leslie won...

Weekend catch-up *

Now Michelle Delgadillo has business tax problems, but abruptly took care of them Friday in advance of a new round of stories. LAT, DN Popular progressive and previously faceless...

Kristin Gore as L.A. writer

The 30-year-old daughter of former VP Al Gore lives near downtown with husband Paul Cusack, writes for "Saturday Night Live" and "Futurama" and has a new novel, Sammy's House, coming...

Heritage Book Shop to close

Business was fine, but the building was sold and co-owner Ben Weinstein got a good offer for what Scott Timberg calls in the Times about $10 million worth of inventory....

Book deal for Jesse Katz

Publishers Weekly leads today's Deals with Los Angeles Magazine staff writer Jesse Katz selling The Opposite Field to Crown in a preempt "said to be worth major dollars." Katz will...

Three literary salonistas

Producer and author Tom Teicholz hit on a pretty good way to give his next book a shot at a favorable reception. He devoted his column in the Jewish Journal...

Book notes *

How's this for a tangible book prize? Charles Rappleye, formerly of the LA Weekly, won the $50,000 George Washington Book Prize, "honoring the most important new book about America's founding...

Lit bloggers in the news

L.A. bloggers Mark Sarvas (The Elegant Variation) and Callie Miller (Counterbalance) were quoted in a weekend LAT story on the rise — to a point — of books blogs as...

Book festival adds

Couple of additions to the lineup of LA Observed contributors at this weekend's L.A. Times Festival of Books at UCLA. Veronique de Turenne has been added as moderator of the...

Edgar for Naomi Hirahara

Snakeskin Shamesin, third in the series of Naomi Hirahara's novels set in Southern California that feature Japanese-American gardener Mas Arai, won the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America...

Ulin on books

Books editor David Ulin is scheduled to discuss the changes in the Times Sunday Book Review, the situation at the paper and this weekend's LAT Festival of Books with host...

David Halberstam, 73, killed in NorCal crash

The author and journalist was involved in a three-car crash this morning near the Dumbarton Bridge in San Mateo County, according to AP stories out of Menlo Park and San...

LAO at the FOB *

Erika Schickel and myself (along with Times columnist Al Martinez) were the guests on KABC 790 AM's show "Spotlight on the Community" this morning talking with hosts Nelkane Benton and...

Book news du jour

T. Jefferson Parker's L.A. Outlaws is moving to Dutton as part of a two-book deal, with publication next February. But here's my favorite L.A. angle from Publishers Lunch: Adena Halpern's...

No book burning in Santa Clarita

To juice up interest in Ray Bradbury's appearance this Sunday in Santa Clarita, this ad ran in The Signal. Dozens of mystified, angry calls flooded into the paper, the fire...

Kurt Vonnegut, author was 84

Kurt Vonnegut died tonight in Manhattan, several weeks after suffering brain injuries in a fall. His wife, photographer Jill Krementz, confirmed the news for the Times. Elaine Woo's obituary calls...

Traffic tonight? Not good *

President Bush has an evening fundraiser in Brentwood, there are accidents on both sides of the 405 near Wilshire, and the northbound Pasadena is backed up near I-5. Luckily, Bush...

Interview with Helena Mara Viramontes

The author and professor of creative writing at Cornell was born in East Los Angeles, graduated from Garfield High and Immaculate Heart College, and worked as a bottler at...

Book Review merger a done deal

An L.A. Times press release announces several reductions in the value of what the paper give its dwindling readership — oops, I mean "editorial changes designed to meet the evolving...

Trib has downsized books before

I'm going to guess that the pressure to fold the Times' Sunday Book Review into a cheaper, thinner Saturday tabloid comes from the Chicagoans in temporary residence on Spring Street....

WSJ says Book Review lite due April 14

If Jeffrey Trachtenberg's Wall Street Journal report is accurate, that would mean the Times decided to face the critical music and launch the scaled-back Book Review before the big LAT...

Merged 'Book Review' could be unpopular *

The San Francisco Chronicle has a unique understanding of how readers here might react to the LAT folding its Book Review in with Current. The Chronicle merged its Sunday review...

LAT announces book prizes in New York again

Essayist William Kittredge will pick up the Robert Kirsch Award on April 27 when the winners in the following Los Angeles Times Book Prize categories will be announced. Finalists were...

Having a good week

Mark Sarvas, L.A.'s most recognized lit-blogger, has a post up at The Elegant Variation that he's been hoping to write for a long time. He sold his first novel, and...

Book news

L.A. freelancer Janelle Brown has sold her debut novel, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything — "about a woman and her two daughters coming together after their lives are dramatically...

LAT Book Review in for a change *

Newsroom sources at the Times expect the Sunday Book Review will be folded into a new hybrid opinion section and delivered in Saturday papers. The new section that some staffers...

America rejects L.A.'s future

Results are in for The History Channels City of the Future design competition. On-line voters selected Chicago the winner. New York came in second. The Eric Owen Moss design for...

Finding time to write

Daniel Olivas, the author of Devil Talk, writes at California about trying to make the transition to novelist while also finding time to be a father, husband and full-time...

What O.J. 'confessed'

The New York Times received a partial transcript of O.J. Simpson's never-televised Fox interview with Judith Regan describing how the 1994 murders of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman might have...

Sidney Sheldon, best-selling author was 89

Sidney Sheldon had won a screenwriting Oscar (The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer), a Tony ("Redhead") and created TV sitcoms ("I Dream of Jeannie" and "Patty Duke") before beginning to write...

Barbara and Munch

Denise Hamilton writes that Barbara Seranella, who died this week, was the rare mystery author who didn't have to rely on second-hand observations to create gritty, realistic characters and scenes....

Lapides on L.A. and NYC

Manhattan's 92nd Street Y is hosting a night this week with three L.A. literary types who happen to be ex-New Yorkers. In advance of Thursday's event, artist/writer/standup Beth Lapides answers...

Sneak peek at Swink 3

Issue number three of Swink — the "bi-coastal, biannual print magazine dedicated to identifying and promoting literary talent in both established and emerging writers," edited by Leelila Strogov — will...

Barbara Seranella, author was 50

The best-selling mystery author from Laguna Beach died yesterday in Cleveland while awaiting a liver transplant. She had received two livers in 2005 and spent much time since at USC's...

Dutton's Brentwood is next

Will the sad bookstore news never stop? Dutton's Brentwood Books on San Vicente "may soon succumb to its landlord's plans to redevelop the site," the Times' Scott Timberg and Martha...

Tia Chucha in trouble

Another independent bookstore is on the ropes. Tia Chucha's Cafe & Cultural Center in Sylmar lost its lease and has to move. Co-founder Luis J. Rodriguez writes on the website:...

L.A. less literate

A study at Central Connecticut State University ranks the most literate cities in the U.S. based on "newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment, and...

Dutton's update

Last-chance talks between Dutton's management and the city of Beverly Hills failed to stave off the Dec. 31 closure of the Canon Drive bookstore. The doors did not reopen today...

Murdoch vs. Regan: Hollywood girds

Judith Regan's upcoming fight for her honor with Rupert Murdoch's empire inspires the NYT's Sharon Waxman to muse on Hollywood court battles of yore: think Bette Davis meets Joan Crawford...

Dutton's Beverly Hills to close

It was a big deal for Beverly Hills in 2004 when Dutton's opened the city's first general bookstore in a decade. Business has not been all it was hoped, however,...

Tuesday shorts

Yeah, the former head of LAPD internal affairs cops to the affair with a sergeant under his command — but only for three years! Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally apologized (sort...

Regan was fired by fax

An "offensive" phone call to a HarperCollins attorney on Friday preceded Judith Regan's sudden firing, Sunday's Los Angeles Times says citing two unnamed but "highly placed corporate sources." Regan was...

Judith Regan gets pink slip

Judith Regan, publisher of the terminated O.J. Simpson book, was abruptly fired tonight by HarperCollins. The company announced the dismissal, effective immediately, in a news release issued about 7 p.m....

Interview with Salvador Plascencia

On the occasion of the paperback release of his well-received first novel, The People of Paper, Salvador Plascencia talks with guest blogger Daniel A. Olivas over at The Elegant Variation....

Bebe Moore Campbell, novelist was 56

Bebe Moore Campbell, a best-selling novelist "known for her empathetic treatment of the difficult, intertwined and occasionally surprising relationship between the races," has died at home in Los Angeles, the...

Detective comes north

John Shannon's literary private detective Jack Liffey has lived in Redondo Beach and (lovely) Mar Vista and I think even wandered up Highway 395 to the Eastern Sierra. But he's...

Caitlin Flanagan no longer at TNY

Caitlin Flanagan told the New York Observer a year ago that "Youd never, never, never leave The New Yorker," but now she has. Flanagan has left the magazine's staff to...

Yeah, O.J.'s book isn't gonna happen

Rupert Murdoch pulls the plug on the Judith Regan book and the Fox TV special. "We are sorry for any pain that his has caused the families of Ron Goldman...

Love letter to literary L.A.

Wendy Werris worked at some of the most cherished and long-vanished Los Angeles bookstores, starting at Pickwick Bookshop on Hollywood Boulevard, where Susan Sontag developed her love for books on...

Another bookstore goes down

Jerry Blaz says he'll soon close his BOOKie Joint on Reseda Boulevard. His post at (via The Valley Observed) talks about the book biz and some of the clientele...

SoCal book awards

Authors, publishers and good bookstore people — revelers all — partied tonight in the Gold Room at the Biltmore downtown for the 2006 Southern California Booksellers Association awards. Carolyn See,...

PEN award winners

PEN Center USA, based here, announced its annual awards for books, journalism, poetry and drama by writers living in the West. In addition to the winners below, the finalists in...

Now the Getty book

The L.A. Times' investigative reporters on the Getty story, Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino, didn't get the Pulitzer but they did get a book contract. Chasing Aphrodite was billed as...

Wambaugh on today's LAPD

Author and former Los Angeles cop Joseph Wambaugh, writing on the Times op-ed page, calls Rossmore Avenue his favorite L.A. street and only partly because James Ellroy lives on it....

Susan, is that you? (* updated)

Why yes, it is. On the cover of her new book, Democratic campaign steerer-turned-columnist and USC law professor Susan Estrich strikes an Ann Coulter pose. The pic, in fact, mimics...

Action-packed LAPD novel

LA Observed regulars may remember last year when Will Beall, a homicide investigator for the LAPD in 77th Street Division, sold a novel called L.A. Rex to Riverhead and the...

Sleeping with a mid-level actor

In an essay that ran in the Los Angeles Review, novelist Tara Ison writes about her six-month relationship with an actor who has worked enough to be familiar — and...

Placido sells a book

W.W. Norton picked up the world publishing rights to The Joy of Opera by Placido Domingo, general director of the Los Angeles Opera. Steve Wasserman, the former LAT book editor...

Ellroy backs away from Hodel book

On Tuesday, News and Chatter noted that James Ellroy's copies of the Steve Hodel book, Black Dahlia Avenger, appear to be for sale on eBay. In today's CityBeat, Ellroy elaborates...

Can't say I'm surprised

Arianna Huffington's new book, On Becoming Love, Work and Life, has morphed instantly into a new feature section at the Huffington Post: "...devoted to promoting fearlessness in all aspects...

No standing on sentiment (* updated)

One of the surprising things about retired LAPD detective Steve Hodel's 2003 book arguing that his father killed Elizabeth Short was that James Ellroy endorsed the theory in his introduction...

Appreciating the Far East Cafe

Los Angeles mystery writer Naomi Hirahara, whose best-known character is Japanese American gardener Mas Arai, will be giving a private walking tour of Little Tokyo mystery sites later this year....

One more book in him

Kirk Douglas says that Let's Face It will be the last of his nine books. The announcement at Publishers Lunch calls it a "humorous and poignant examination of moments in...

SoCal book nominees

Nice to hear that Wilshire Boulevard: Grand Concourse of Los Angeles (link) is a finalist for the Southern California Booksellers Association 2006 Book Awards. Especially nice to be included in...

Pro and con on Ellroy

Two letters make it into today's West magazine praising James Ellroy's July 30 essay about moving home to Los Angeles, but it's the zinger that's more notable. Ellroy must be...

Aren't editors a bitch?

Silman-James Press here is upset all over again with the New York Times for not allowing the title of its book, Chess Bitch: Women in the Ultimate Intellectual Sport by...

Book coming on Gary Webb

The topic of Gary Webb and his treatment within the journalism world remains divisive. People I respect fall on both sides: that he was a courageous investigative digger who got...

Wilentz does California *

First thing Amy Wilentz did when she moved to Los Angeles with her husband, Nick Goldberg — op-ed editor at the LAT — was to write a book about California...

Ellroy comes home

Author James Ellroy writes in today's West Magazine about returning in June to live in Los Angeles after a lengthy self-exile. "The L.A. mandate," he says, "was always enticement and...

Revisiting Pynchon's L.A. ties

Over at his blog From the Desert to the Sea, John Stodder goes literary and recalls that the reclusive author Thomas Pynchon wrote much of Gravity's Rainbow while high and...

Admiring an L.A. poet

Lucinda Michele Knapp, managing editor of the L.A. Alternative, nominates S.A. Griffin as Beat avatar and should-be poet laureate of Los Angeles. Her cover story in today's issue includes history...

'My California' keeps on giving

The collection of close-to-home travel narratives titled My California has been newly chosen as the One City, One Book pick for Whittier, Santa Barbara and Sacramento. The collaborators at

Al Martinez donates papers

Author, Emmy nominee and longtime LAT columnist Al Martinez is giving his literary archive to the Huntington Library. The library will fete him Thursday at 7:30 pm when he will...

Mommy's make Sunday Styles

Los Angeles now has a media-anointed Yahoo parents group—introduced to the national spotlight in today's Sunday Styles section of the New York Times. Peachhead has 3,000 members, about 500 of...

Paperback blog

Paperback Mysteries, reviews of new books by Dick Adler, reviewer for the Chicago Tribune and Publishers Weekly and longtime Los Angeles author and journalist. Add books: Jailed PI Anthony Pellicano...

Doing Laurel Canyon right

Seems to me that Michael Walker is doing the whole book-blog synergy the right way, and creating a readable and valuable Los Angeles neighborhood website. (I'd say this even if...

Weekend shorts

♦ The Clippers tie up their NBA playoff series 2-2, beating the Suns 114-107 at Staples Center on Sunday. ♦ USC basketball freshman Ryan Francis was shot and killed while...

Afternoon snackage

♦ Answer: Mayor Villaraigosa, Sheriff Baca, Lakers owner Jerry Buss, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, Magic Johnson, Natalie Cole, Johnny Grant and Councilman Tom LaBonge. Question: Who shows up when Channel...

How about 'The LAO Code'

For its June 4 fundraising auction at the Skirball Cultural Center, PEN Center USA plans to let guests bid to have their name used in a writer's next novel or...

The Hiltzik Affair

Michael Hiltzik came up, of course, during my interview of Los Angeles Times Editor Dean Baquet on Sunday at the Times Festival of Books. He beat me to the punch,...

Ask the editor

Posting will be light (if that) this weekend due to time commitments at the Festival of Books thrown at UCLA by the Los Angeles Times. One of my roles is...

Return to nonfiction

Best-selling mystery author Michael Connelly has pulled together a collection of articles from his days as a crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times and in Florida. Crime Beat: A...

Gay Talese does L.A.

When Gay Talese reported his famous 1966 Esquire story "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold," his Beverly Hills hotel and restaurant tabs became legendary. Things have changed some. This week he's...

Black Clock 5

The fifth issue of Black Clock, the literary journal edited by Steve Erickson and published by California Institute of the Arts, focuses on Los Angeles fiction reaching from "the Hollywood...

Afternoon snack

♦ Longtime L.A. radio reporter and anchor Hettie Lynne Hurtes is joining KPCC as mid-day anchor. Her film credits include roles in Terminator and Throw Momma from the Train. ♦...


Black Dahlia expert Larry Harnisch has been blogging the errors he finds as he reads through Donald H. Wolfe's new book The Black Dahlia Files: The Mob, the Mogul and...

TNY's woman in L.A.

Caitlin Flanagan perhaps "owes her success largely to a misogynistic media that loves a catfight...[but she] has so masterfully created a persona that it virtually guarantees literary celebrity," says the...

Unlikely hero

The good guy in Robert S. Levinson's new mystery, Where the Lies Begin, is an elected member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Nicknamed Duke, he used to...

Straight from video news

Three Los Angeles TV stations are fingered in a Center for Media and Democracy report out today critical of news operations that package video releases from sources and PR agencies...

Wambaugh is back

Joseph Wambaugh was (I think) the original LAPD detective to turn novelist. He's certainly the biggest. His books set in and around the department—beginning in 1970 with The New...

Tough act to follow

Eric Lynxwiler and I were pleased to give a little talk about Wilshire Boulevard yesterday at Round Table West, a venerable luncheon group that began meeting 29 years ago at...

Next the book

Times columnist Steve Lopez has sold Putnam a book to be called Imagining Beethoven, based on his personal connection to the columns he has been writing about the homeless, Juilliard-trained...

Wednesday, 3.22.06

Turn the page for items on Dean Singleton's California strategy, Sheriff Baca's Compton strategy, a Saudi prince gets booed at Town Hall Los Angeles, celebrities at the fashion shows and...

Times Book Prizes

At this year's Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, Joan Didion will receive the Robert Kirsch Award previously accepted by Carolyn See, Tony Hillerman, Wallace Stegner and a list of other...

First thing Wednesday, 3.8.06

Runoff for school board...more strangeness around the Ferrari Enzo crash...Rob Reiner's campaign chief steps out of the limelight...L.A.'s blogging pet czar blasts the Animal Defense League...while Cardinal Mahony seeks a...