Award-winning LA Times staff writer covering books and publishing.

The crazy, beautiful, idiosyncratic bookstores of Los Angeles — Los Angeles has glorious beaches, stunning cityscapes and more than its share of highly photogenic human beings. And though it may not be known for its bookstores, they too are out of this world. Some are extraordinary and unusual. Others are humble or handsome. One has a tree growing in its center.

'Fifty Shades of Grey's' breathless new trailer — The bestselling erotic novel "Fifty Shades of Grey" has taken another step toward its screen debut with a second full-length trailer. It features a breathless Anastasia, a brooding Christian and a lot of smoldering looks. And a few, safe-for-work-but-just-barely shots of stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson getting intimate.

Lerner’s latest offers elegant detours — It is a rare skill, crafting prose that reads like stream of consciousness, and Ben Lerner has it. He's as smooth as W.G. Sebald, witnessing the world go by, detouring into elegant loops of memory and self-doubt, then returning.

Ebola victim's fiance lands book deal — Thomas Eric Duncan was the first victim of Ebola to die in America. Feeling unwell, the Liberian immigrant went to a Dallas hospital that at first sent him away with antibiotics. After Duncan returned, he was diagnosed with Ebola but did not survive.

Hachette and Amazon reach e-book deal after 6-month dispute — Hachette and Amazon have reached a deal over e-books and print sales, the two companies announced Thursday. They have been locked in an unusually public dispute over pricing since May. While the new e-book terms will not take effect until early 2015, the settlement was reached in time for Hachette books to return to Amazon's digital shelves in time for the Christmas shopping season.

Judd Apatow, Lena Dunham and Aisha Tyler among the stars who attended the PEN awards in Beverly Hills — The PEN Center USA literary awards, as always, honored excellent writing and celebrated heroes of free speech on Tuesday. And host Aisha Tyler exercised it with a high-energy, highly profane commentary that kicked the event's energy up a notch.

Bad Sex in Fiction finalists include Haruki Murakami — Haruki Murakami's "Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage" was one of the most hotly anticipated novels of the year. Now it's in the running for the most dreaded prize in fiction. The Bad Sex in Fiction Award was created by the British magazine Literary Review to recognize truly awful writing about sex in fiction, usually novels.

Bouchercon is a killer convention for crime fiction fans, authors — Bouchercon, like many conferences that bring together creators and fans, has panel discussions, signings and an awards dinner. But the 44-year-old crime fiction convention also offers activities unlikely to be found elsewhere, such as cadaver dog demonstrations and a walk-through crime scene constructed by FBI agents.

First National Readathon Day planned for January 24, 2015 — Wouldn't you like to curl up with a good book for four hours straight some gray Saturday in January? Penguin Random House hopes so. The publisher is behind the efforts to launch America's first National Readathon Day, Jan. 24, 2015, from noon to 4 p.m.

Author Isabel Allende to be awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom — Isabel Allende will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, President Obama announced Tuesday. Allende, whose best-known book is "The House of the Spirits," is the only novelist among the 19 recipients of the nation's highest civilian honor.
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Nov 22, 2014

@mattdpearce I think the one for the 4 officers in the Rodney King beating may have been watched.

Nov 21, 2014

The good news: found espresso right by the hotel in Dhaka. The bad news: they're playing xmas music.

Nov 20, 2014

RT @MiriMarkow: Submit your nominations for the NBCC John Leonard first book prize today! Or soon...… @bookcritics

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