Some books remain with you long after reading them. Their haunting images or gripping stories stick in your head and reappear in your dreams. My Huffington Post readers may recall some book reviews that I wrote in recent months, books which made an indelible impression on me. Bill Stadiem's Moneywood, which detailed the incredible doings in Hollywood in the 80s, was one. Lucy Lean's fascinating cookbook, Made in America, which contained favorite recipes from famous chefs. Three stunning books from the Okun family: Jenny Okun's picture book, Dreamscapes (which I found last night on the bookshelf at Mr. C's Restaurant), Milt Okun and Richard Spark's Along the Cherry Lane, and Rosemary Okun's engaging poetry in An Imperfect Life. A wonderful illustrated tale by Rick Hyman and Ronda Hyman, My Texas Family, which featured photos and drawings from 1912 to 1927 in a small Texas town. But the one book above all others which has stayed with me this year, and which I find myself going back to on a regular basis, was a first book called Emotional Memoirs, by Lani Hall Alpert, a famed singer and wife of musician Herb Alpert, a short story fiction-and-fact collection detailing her growing up in Chicago, a city of which I'm inordinately fond. It was like a jazz piece, riffing on incidents and memories she experienced in the 60s before venturing out into the world of music, told from the intimate vision of a modern young woman.
Lani Hall Alpert, author of "Emotional Memoirs"
So when I read that Lani would be signing copies of her book at the LOS ANGLES TIMES FESTIVAL OF BOOKS at USC, at Booth #862, on April 20 and 21, from noon to 3 pm, I made plans to attend and meet this brilliant author. This annual book festival is a wonderful event for all of us who love books in all of their infinite varieties. The event on the USC college campus is free, you just have to get to one of the parking lots and take the shuttle bus to the event. I am planning visits on both days, for there are so many authors I want to greet and meet, and books I want to buy and get signed. Carol Burnett will be there with her new book, Carrie and Me, about her dear departed daughter, and I will certainly get a copy or two. (She co-starred for me with Alan Arkin in a wonderful movie I produced which almost no one has ever seen. Called "Chu Chu & The Philly Flash," it featured Carol as Chu Chu, a one-woman band with all kinds of musical instruments strapped to her body, who played at the pier for tourist tips. Imagine how hysterical that scene is in the film.) There are several chefs appearing in cooking demonstrations, exciting ones like Ludo Lefebvre and Susan Feniger, with Times' food columnist Jonathan Gold conducting several sessions. Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom will be speaking, and Tyler Perry is screening Tyler Perry Presents Peeple. Debbie Reynolds will be plugging her new book, Unsinkable, A Memoir. (I was her press agent for a short time in the Sixties, a calimatous relationship.) And even another early client of my publicity years will be there, Paul Anka, heralding his new book, My Way. We'll reminisce about the Sinatra years. Go to latimes.com/FestivalofBooks for more information on getting a festival pass and the like. See you there!
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