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Book news: sad chefs, Bentley riders, Latin American Zoetrope and Wil Wheaton's cheer

March 25, 2009 | 11:28 am


Our Food Section talks to some of L.A.'s top chefs about the upcoming closing of the bookstore Cook's Library. "Noooo," said Suzanne Goin (AOC, Lucques), "that's the most horrible thing I've heard. Oh my God, the world is coming to an end."

The Galaxy British Book Awards -- called The Nibbies -- will have fewer in attendance this year because of the slumping economy. "Publishers cannot make people redundant, then take two tables at £295 plus VAT a head," the international book blog Beyond Hall 8 writes. "But it promises to be another glitzy affair nonetheless, with some authors -- notably Sebastian Faulks -- being ferried to the Grosvenor House in Mayfair by Bentley (because of Faulks' reinstatement of Bentley as the car of choice for James Bond)."

An economic downturn had an affect on young Laurie Halse Anderson, author of the YA hit "Speak." "I was a pretty unhappy kid as a teenager," she told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "We moved a lot and my dad lost his job and there were a lot of hard things." Her new book, "Wintergirls" -- about friends struggling with eating disorders -- hits shelves this week.

But some good news (about the bad news): Smart and funny Choire Sicha has scored a book deal. Sicha, who has freelanced for the L.A. Times, was the editor that gave Gawker its goose. Laid off by Radar late last year, Sicha, 37, will focus the book on "being young in recession-era New York. ... I had a million jobs when I moved here, and what I see happening among my younger friends, and among people I’m interviewing who are kind enough to give me their time, is there’s nowhere to go." 

There is cheer from Wil Wheaton (who will be at the L.A. Times Festival of Books); he's been posting on his blog about books he loves. The topics are all over the place -- hackers and the Department of Justice, Pink Floyd, hockey (by George Plimpton) -- which is exactly what makes Wheaton so popular (at this writing, he's got 293,299 followers on Twitter, setting him at No. 20; he's behind Al Gore, Britney Spears and Barack Obama, but ahead of the Onion, 10 Downing Street, Ryan Seacrest and almost everyone else).

And this sounds good: the spring issue of Zoetrope magazine is all Latin American. Co-editor Daniel Alarcon tells La Bloga:

We selected these stories because they moved us, they taught us things we didn’t know. ... It’s easy to note some overlapping sensibilities among the writers, particularly in regards to the influence of film and music and migration. One striking fact: at least half of these writers live outside the country of their birth." As for magical realism? "The small town settings favored by Garcia Marquez’s numerous imitators still exist, but you’re more likely to find young people there online, trading music files with their peers across the continent than sitting around a tree listening to folk tales. ... The most pleasant and reassuring surprise was that no single style reigns.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times