The Reading List: L.A. Authors. L.A. Topics. December 09 Books.

Every month highlights titles of local interest that are hitting bookshelves. Here’s what’s new
465, December 1, 2009

BianculliDangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
(Touchstone, hardcover, $25)
By David Bianculli
Performing at CBS Television City for its three-year run in the late 1960s, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour shocked the censors with its political irreverence.  The entertainment journalist’s book marks the 40th anniversary of the show’s sudden cancellation.
Out:  Dec. 1

williams2Conceptual Realism: In the Service of the Hypothetical
(Fantagraphics books, paperback, $25, signed hardcover, $50)
By Robert Williams
The catalog, introduced by Don Ed Hardy, includes 25 new paintings – each with commentary by the artist — and accompanies the artist’s solo exhibit, which will visit Cal State Northridge, Feb. 20-April 3.
Out:  Dec. 2

VanderLans2Emigre No. 70: The Look Back Issue: Celebrating 25 Years in Graphic Design
(Gingko Press, hardcover, $50)
By Rudy VanderLans
The magazine’s co-founder, who received an honorary degree from CalArts, reviews the first 69 issues of the periodical that created the “Los Feliz” typeface and often highlighted L.A.-based designers.
Out:  Dec. 4

tadde92The Tube Has Spoken: Reality TV and History
(University Press of Kentucky, hardcover, $40)
Edited by Julie Anne Taddeo and Ken Dvorak
Analyzing a wide range of shows, from the “vintage” Candid Camera to the contemporary Big Brother, Wife Swap, and The Biggest Loser, this volume of essays explores how popular tastes both shape and are shaped by the reality phenomenon.
Out:  Dec. 5

greven2Manhood in Hollywood from Bush to Bush
(University of Texas Press, hardcover, $55)
By David Greven
In such films as The Silence of the Lambs, Fight Club, and Brokeback Mountain, the Connecticut College English Professor finds that Hollywood’s expressions of manhood vacillate between narcissistic and masochistic.
Out:  Dec. 6

Smyth2Edna Ferber’s Hollywood: American Fictions of Gender, Race, and History
(University of Texas Press, hardcover, $55)
By J.E. Smyth
Hollywood’s adaptations of Ferber’s historical novels, including Cimarron (1931), Show Boat (1936) and Giant (1956), were mega hits, and this volume restores Ferber to her important place in film history.
Out:  Dec. 7

kelly2Black, Brown, & Beige: Surrealist Writings from Africa and the Diaspora
(University of Texas Press, hardcover, $65)
Edited by Franklin Rosemont and Robin D.G. Kelley
Rosemont, a surrealist poet who recently passed away, and Kelley, a USC Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, collaborated to bring visibility to writers of African descent within the surrealism movement.
Out:  Dec. 7

Keegan2The Futurist: The Life and Films of James Cameron
(Crown, hardcover, $24)
By Rebecca Keegan
A portrait of the filmmaker’s life and work, including a glimpse at this month’s Avatar.
Out:  Dec. 15

atlas2How They See Us: Meditations on America
(Atlas & Co., paperback, $14)
Edited by James Atlas
Writers from around the globe, including UC Riverside Professor Chris Abani, reflect on the construction of “America.”
Out:  Dec. 15

palmer2A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents
(5 Spot, paperback, $14)
By Liza Palmer
A third book from the Pasadena novelist who wrote Conversations with the Fat Girl (2005).
Out:  Dec. 23

demick2Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea
(Spiegel & Grau, hardcover, $25)
By Barbara Demick
The award-winning Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent follows six citizens during a 15-year period in which Kim Il Sung died, Kim Jong Il rose to power, and a famine devastated the population.
Out:  Dec. 29

beavers2Drawings by Rembrandt and His Pupils:  Telling the Difference
(Getty Publications, hardcover, $75, paperback, $50)
By Holm Bevers, Lee Hendrix, William W. Robinson, and Peter Schatborn
This volume collects more than 40 works by the Dutch master and related works by his students, and it accompanies an exhibit at The Getty, Dec. 8-Feb. 28.
Out:  Dec. 31


topographs2New Topographics
(Steidl & Partners, hardcover, $58)
By Britt Salveson
The exhibition from 1975 marked a paradigm shift in the art world, and this volume accompanies a re-showing of the exhibition at LACMA through Jan. 3.
Out: Dec. 31

Pham.tif2Sublife Vol. 2
(Fantagraphics Books, paperback, $8)
By John Pham
The artist’s second volume continues the serials “221 Sycamore St.” and “Deep Space,” and includes the post-apocalyptic “The Kid” and others.
Out:  Dec. 31

Photograph courtesy Flickr/timetrax23