Books

Books

Superheroes are thriving in movies and on TV – but comic books lag behind

There is no hotter commodity in pop culture than Marvel Comics superheroes. They're the powerhouse behind four hit films this year (including the top two in global box office, Disney's $3.6 billion tandem of "Black Panther" and "Avengers: Infinity War") and on television they're featured in 10 live-action series spread across ABC, Fox, Netflix, FX, Hulu and Freeform as well as five more animated franchises.

Books

Best-sellers

Rankings for hard-cover books sold in Southern California, as reported by selected book stores:

Books

Best-sellers

Rankings for hard-cover books sold in Southern California, as reported by selected book stores:

Books

‘Barracoon’ editor Deborah Plant on discovering Zora Neale Hurston, reading Alice Walker

We caught up with Deborah Plant, the editor of "Barracoon: The Story of the Last 'Black Cargo,'" a newly published book by Zora Neale Hurston. The book is based on Hurston's interviews in 1931 with Cudjo Lewis, who was the last living survivor of the Middle Passage. Plant is the former chairwoman of the University of South Florida department of Africana studies and co-founder of the department's graduate program. She was able to quickly recall when she first became intrigued with Hurston. It was 1979 in Atlanta. Plant found a copy of Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God" in the Shrine of the Black Madonna Bookstore. "This book mirrored my life," she said. "I stood there in the aisle and read enough to know I had to make the purchase. I had never seen myself so perfectly captured in print before. I mean my cultural self, the language, the customs and traditions."

Books

Rebecca Makkai, author of Chicago-set ‘The Great Believers,’ knows the value of diligence

"The Great Believers," the new novel by Rebecca Makkai, describes the AIDS epidemic in Chicago in the 1980s and its impact on the gay community. Whereas the story of the disease in the United States tends to be a New York or San Francisco tragedy, here it is a "slow-motion tsunami from both coasts," a pool of water collecting at Midwestern ankles that climbs so quietly many are surprised to find themselves drowning. The book begins in 1985 at a Lincoln Park memorial for a gay man whose family disowned him, only to reclaim him at the last moment, "insisting he die in the suburbs in an ill-equipped hospital with nice wallpaper"; it finds a city where initial survivors, not yet seeing the reach of AIDS, don't know whether to host rowdy house parties in honor of the dead or somber, hands-folded funeral services. It visits Door County, Wis., and the Art Institute of Chicago; it finds a place for World War I Europe circa 1918 and the secluded nooks of Belmont Harbor circa 1982 ("a gay space hidden from the city but wide open to the vast expanse of Lake Michigan"). It ends in Paris, several decades and many victims later.

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The Last Word: Philip Roth

The New York Times sat down with Philip Roth in 2008 to talk about his life and accomplishments.