TVNewser FishbowlDC AgencySpy TVSpy LostRemote PRNewser SocialTimes AllFacebook 10,000 Words GalleyCat UnBeige MediaJobsDaily

So, What Do You Read?

Mr. Fish is Back in Town

Editorial cartoonist and illustrator Mr. Fish, a.k.a. Dwayne Booth, has landed in Los Angeles via his book tour. Mr. Fish is a regular contributor to Truthdig and Harper’s, though Angelenos may remember him best for his six-year gig at the LA Weekly. He was blacklisted by the alt-weekly back in 2010 for speaking rather candidly about what he viewed as the paper’s “obvious drop in quality,” but then, what else would you expect from a guy whose bread n’ butter is political satire and social commentary?

Point is, he’s mouthy, he came out with a book, and he’s in town to sign it. Where to find him:

* Thursday, 2/9, 7:00 pm
Revolution Books
5726 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles

* Monday, 2/13, 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
In conversation Robert Scheer, author of Playing President. Presented by the Center for the Study of Political Graphics.
West Hollywood Library
625 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood

* Tuesday, 2/14, 7:00pm
Vroman’s
695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena

Bill O’Reilly Books Get Burned in Afghanistan


A few days ago, a U.S. soldier stationed in Afghanistan posted these photos to his Tumblr account, along with an explanation:

Some jerk sent us two boxes of this awful book (SPOILER ALERT: George Washington – Patriot; George Soros – Pinhead) instead of anything soldiers at a remote outpost in Afghanistan might need, like, say, food or soap. Just burned the whole lot of them on my Commander’s orders.

The post quickly went viral, and the soldier, who does not blog under his real name, felt the need to respond to some of the reactions. He clarified that while he understood the issues surrounding the burning of books, these were torched for practical reasons. At his remote location there is no way to return the books, and extra space is at a minimum. All unwanted items are disposed of, mostly by burning.

He added, “I won’t say I didn’t take pleasure in removing a few copies of this bigoted twerp’s writings from circulation, but the reason for doing so was military necessity.”

If you’d like to send the troops things they actually need, you can do so via Operation Shoebox.

Former Borders Bookstore Employees Let Loose on Former Borders Customers

Workers of the now defunct Border’s bookstore chain reportedly created this poster-sized list of gripes and revelations. A few of our favorites:

  • We always knew when you were intently reading Better Homes and Gardens, it was really a hidden Playboy.
  • It confused us when we were asked where the non-fiction section is.
  • Most of the time when you returned books you read them already — and we were onto you.
  • We were never a daycare. Letting your children run free and destroy our section destroyed a piece of our souls.

Via our sister blog Galleycat.

KCRW Launches Book Club on Facebook

The public radio station is experimenting with the book club formula, moving it out of living rooms, libraries, and church basements, and onto a social networking platform. Bookworm host Michael Silverblatt will lead the invitation-only group, which currently has about 250 members. There are no plans to include the club in Bookworm programming, but depending on how the experiment goes, we may see crossover in the future.

The first book on the roster is Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion, which Silverblatt describes as “perhaps the most dazzling and dissolute Los Angeles novel, a good way to talk about how style can become content. Since Ms. Didion has a new book coming out soon (I’ve read it, it’s amazing), it would be a good way to begin a broader discussion of her work.”

Anyone interested in joining the book club should request membership via Facebook.

Gunfight, the Biography of Guns in America, Isn’t Taking Sides

When UCLA law professor Adam Winkler first began to promote his new book, Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America, he spoke to a booking agent about appearing on television news programs.

“So which side are you on,” the agent asked, “far-right or far-left?” Winkler explained that neither he nor his book came down hard on either side of the gun debate, to which the agent replied incredulously, “Have you ever seen a TV news show?” Nuance, it seems, doesn’t get booked on FOX or MSNBC. So without an extremist stance, Winkler’s career as a talking head was over before it began.

This anecdote was shared with guests by the author at his book party in Beverly Hills Thursday night, held at the home of his parents, Irwin and Margo Winkler, and co-hosted by Arianna Huffington and Ron and Kelly Meyer. But the history of guns in America, Winkler explained, doesn’t correspond neatly with extreme ideologies.

Read more

J.K. Rowling Unveils ‘Pottermore,’ an Online Reading Experience

This morning Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling finally revealed what the Pottermore website is all about. Rowling is introducing an interactive online reading experience, which may just revolutionize the way we read. Unlike e-books, which largely emulate the analog experience, the site will experiment with ways to further explore the stories and characters. Rowling has written new material, and will be “sharing additional information I have been hoarding for years about the story.”

Rowling, who has retained the digital rights to her books, will sell the Potter series as e-books exclusively through the site. That means she’s cut out the middle men booksellers, and can do what she likes with pricing. No word on what prices will be yet, but the website itself promises to be free.

The site will open in October, and its success or failure could serve as a baromoter for the future of digital publishing.

LA Press Club’s Bad Mother Book Party

Silverlake’s El Chavito bar was packed Wednesday night with literary types, all there to celebrate journalist Nancy Rommelmann‘s debut novel, The Bad Mother, which centers around the lives of Hollywood street kids. Rommelmann now lives in Portland, but she put in nearly two decades as an Angeleno, has written for the LA Times and LA Weekly, and remains a contributor to the LA Observed website. A book trailer for The Bad Mother can be viewed here.

American Idol beat reporter Richard Rushfield, Nancy Rommelmann, and David Rensin


Read more

Atlas Shrugged Part Two: The Trailer

This comes to us from our ol’ buddy Andy Cobb.

The Notorious James Frey Returning to Oprah

The last time James Frey appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show it was to receive a public spanking for passing off his largely fictional tome A Million Little Pieces as a memoir. That was 2006, and Frey has had some time to recover.

He also has a new book to plug, The Final Testament of the Holy Bible, an admittedly fictional novel about a re-imagined Jesus Christ living in modern times. Frey seems to have embraced controversy as his ticket back to the best seller list — his version of Christ is a bed-hopping, bisexual troublemaker.

So why is Oprah having the disgraced author back on her show? An unnamed source tells the New York Post:

Oprah apologized to James a couple of years ago, and he appreciated it. So he agreed to go back on her show and talk about everything that’s happened over the last five years.

Read more

Atlas Shrugged, ‘Meh’

In a piece titled, “Paul Ryan and the New Politics of Sadism” in Esquire they draw a fascinating parallel:

In terms of their connection to actual human reality, the difference between the doctrines of Ayn Rand and the doctrines of L. Ron Hubbard is not substantial, and the fervor of their acolytes is almost exactly the same. Picking Paul Ryan to handle your political economy is tantamount to electing Tom Cruise to be pope.

We’ll add one more: In 2000 when Battlefield Earth, a movie based on a L Ron Hubbard novel, came out the reviews were universally bad and by and large hilarious.

Now Atlas Shrugged Part I is registering similar on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s ranking (as of this posting) is 6% on the Tomatometer. Reviews like:
Read more

<< PREVIOUS PAGENEXT PAGE >>