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Tuesday, Jun 24, 2014
Now a parent herself, Carpenter asks how her father, such a gifted man, became so ruined.

Novella Carpenter is best known for her 2009 memoir, Farm City, wherein she details her decision to squat farm the empty lot beside her rental. That this land is located in one of Oakland, California’s worst neighborhoods only adds to the madcap quality of Carpenter’s choice.


Make no mistake, however, she is utterly serious about life off the grid in one of the country’s grittiest cities. Farm City won Carpenter a lot of readers with her humor, honesty, and earthy refusal of consumerist values.


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Monday, Mar 25, 2013
A heavily circulated image of a '60s era magazine article outline says quite a bit about journalist Gay Talese.

Having originally appeared in The Paris Review‘s 2009 Summer Issue, a photograph of an ornate shirt board that Gay Talese used as a notebook for his now legendary 1966 Esquire story, “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold”, was heavily circulated via social media networks in February. In a special anniversary edition of Esquire that also featured Talese’s marked-up boards, the editors in 2003 called his artful profile of Sinatra the best story that the magazine had ever published.


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Friday, May 11, 2012
The 20th century did its best to dismantle innocence and inflict ideologically based suffering on children so as to darken human psychology for generations to come. Sendak dealt in honesty to make sense of bleak legacies.

Maurice Sendak (1928-2012).


A master dies, and everyone musters to analyse his contribution to children’s literature. Probably, it can be summed up by the way in which he tapped into childhood memories, dreams, dramas – awake and asleep; this ability makes Sendak’s work so influential. I don’t recall his most famous book, Where The Wild Things Are (1963) nearly so much as I remember the imprint of the much criticized In The Night Kitchen (1970) on my childhood recollections of reading.


Max, the hero of Wild Things, was just a naughty boy. I did not relate to him in the way that I found the intimidating and surreal landscape of Mickey’s adventures in the Night Kitchen more impactful. So, what that says about me I’m not sure! (Paging Dr. Freud!)


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Monday, Apr 23, 2012
by Nick Owchar - Los Angeles Times (MCT)
His success as a solo author has also led to some impressive partnerships in recent years. Mlodinow’s the guy who made scientific visionary Stephen Hawking more accessible — after Hawking read “Euclid’s Window,” he wanted to work with Mlodinow.

LOS ANGELES — Hollywood’s full of interesting figures with dreams — struggling actors and writers who wait tables, walk dogs or sell insurance on the side.


In the 1980s and early ‘90s, Leonard Mlodinow was likely one of the most unexpected: a theoretical physicist-turned-scriptwriter.


When TV action hero MacGyver or the Starship Enterprise crew needed new dilemmas to solve, the UC Berkeley-trained scientist was there to supply them.


“I just really loved films and thought I should be writing screenplays,” said the best-selling science writer on a recent sunny afternoon at Caltech, where he’s a lecturer. He was describing his early career at Caltech, in 1981, and why he left for Hollywood. “I was 25 and had really great opportunities in academia, but I kept thinking, ‘I’m in L.A. Hollywood’s not far away!’ I had encouraging experience with a screenplay so I decided to take a chance.”


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Friday, Apr 20, 2012
by Carolyn Kellogg - Los Angeles Times (MCT)
T.C. Boyle has an uncommon three-sided gift: He makes bestseller lists, publishes esteemed literary fiction, and is a consistently prolific author.

The Tea Fire was raging across the hills of Montecito, and T.C. Boyle was worried. He was worried about the safety of his home, as anyone near the flames would be, and that concern was amplified by the fact that the nearly century-old house was designed by no less than Frank Lloyd Wright. And then there were the papers: the highly combustible manuscripts, research, notes and bound volumes that constitute Boyle’s life’s work. Everything that had gone into writing two dozen books and 150 stories was stashed in Boyle’s basement. If the wind shifted, it would all be lost.


“It scared the bejesus out of me,” Boyle said four years later.


Although the Tea Fire claimed more than 200 homes, it never reached Boyle’s. And now Boyle’s archive has found a safe house of its own: at the Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. The Ransom Center, the premier collector of the complete papers of 20th and 21st century novelists, paid $425,000 to add Boyle’s archive to its collection.


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