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The most important book of 2019 was available to Americans for free (in fact, they had already paid for it). Its cover was indistinguishable from the starkest of corporate reports, large chunks throughout were redacted, and the prose that was readable carried all the warmth of an Apple licensing agreement. It was a 400-something page epic that somehow played smaller and less satisfying than ...

"The Confession Club" by Elizabeth Berg; Penguin Random House (290 pages, $26) ___ It all started innocently as the Third Sunday Supper Club, a companionable evening that evolved into a confidence-sharing, soul-baring session. Now, none of these confessions is too shocking - no murder, no infidelity. Lacking true scandal, the members live by the practical motto "The truth is always ...

What happens to the set of heirloom china no one in the family wants? Where does your iPhone 5 end up? And do those pilled jeggings from Zara really find a second life? Adam Minter answers those questions and more in his riveting new book, "Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale." Minter, the son of a Minneapolis scrap dealer, has worked in and written about what most of us consider ...

"The hardest thing with this book was finding a voice," Julie Andrews says. She is talking, in a phone interview along with her co-writer, her daughter and longtime collaborator Emma Walton Hamilton, about her new memoir, "Home Work." The statement sounds, at first, like a joke - the voice of Julie Andrews is, after all, one of the most famous in the world, and not just the impossibly ...

Rankings for hardcover books sold in Southern California, as reported by selected bookstores: ___ Fiction ___ 1. "The Water Dancer," by Ta-Nehisi Coates (One World: $28) A gifted young man with mysterious powers becomes part of a war between slavers and the enslaved. 2. "The Testaments," by Margaret Atwood (Nan A. Talese: $28.95) The sequel to "The Handmaid's Tale" picks up after 15 years. 3. ...

In the spirit of exploring crime novels set in and around Los Angeles, a city where noir is instinctive and eerily resplendent, here are 20 essential books that rouse the darker angels of the metropolis. The stories vary in tone, style and subject. But the canon, which includes two nonfiction books, is a starting point for a conversation on crime writing and how it has informed a city driven ...

In 1969, when he was 22 years old and slogging through the jungles of Vietnam, land mines in front of him, snipers behind him, Tim O'Brien was certain every day that he was going to die. He wrote only a few letters home because "I didn't know how to put a good face on it all, and I didn't want to lie," he said in a recent telephone interview from his home in Austin, Texas. He did some other ...

Subdue the stresses of a modern world by including spa and wellness options in your family vacation. Here are five ideas to consider. ___ 1. Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan, Bali For the most peaceful snooze of your life, opt for the Sacred Nap, offered in an open-air setting within this jungle resort's Sacred River Spa. Designed by on-site wellness mentor Ibu Fera, the experience was ...

Rankings for hard-cover books sold in Southern California, as reported by selected book stores: ___ Fiction 1. "The Water Dancer," by Ta-Nehisi Coates (One World: $28) A young man with mysterious powers becomes part of a war between slave owners and slaves. 2. "The Dutch House," by Ann Patchett (Harper: $27.99) A brother and sister's lives are changed when a stepmother enters their family. 3. ...