Henry David Thoreau has long been an intellectual icon and folk hero. In this strikingly original profile, Michael Sims reveals how the bookish, quirky young man evolved into the patron saint of environmentalism and nonviolent activism. Working from 19th-century letters and diaries, Sims charts Henry’s course from his time at Harvard through the years he spent living in a cabin beside Walden Pond. Sims uncovers a previously hidden Thoreau - the rowdy boy reminiscent of Tom Sawyer, the sarcastic college iconoclast, the devoted son who kept imitating his beloved older brother’s choices in life.
As he was composing what was to become his most enduring and popular book, E. B. White was obeying that oft-repeated maxim: "Write what you know." Helpless pigs, silly geese, clever spiders, greedy rats - White knew all of these characters in the barns and stables where he spent his favorite hours. In The Story of Charlotte's Web, Michael Sims shows how White solved what critic Clifton Fadiman once called "the standing problem of the juvenile-fantasy writer: how to find, not another Alice, but another rabbit hole."
"Read E.B. White's book instead!"
The Dead Witness gathers the finest adventures among private and police detectives from the 19th century and into the early 20th - including a wide range of overlooked gems creating the finest ever anthology of Victorian detective stories. "The Dead Witness", the 1866 title story by Australian writer Mary Fortune, is the first known detective story by a woman, a suspenseful clue-strewn manhunt in the Outback. This forgotten treasure sets the tone for the whole anthology....
Ghost stories date back centuries, but those written in the Victorian era have a unique atmosphere and dark beauty. Michael Sims, whose previous Victorian collections Dracula’s Guest (vampires) and The Dead Witness (detectives) have been widely praised, has gathered twelve of the best stories about humanity’s oldest supernatural obsession. The Phantom Coach includes tales by a surprising and often legendary cast, including Charles Dickens, Margaret Oliphant, Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, and Arthur Conan Doyle, as well as lost gems by forgotten masters such as Mary E. Wilkins Freeman and W. F. Harvey. Amelia B. Edwards’s chilling story gives the collection its title, while Ambrose Bierce ("The Moonlit Road"), Elizabeth Gaskell ("The Old Nurse’s Story"), and W. W. Jacobs ("The Monkey’s Paw") will turn you white as a sheet. With a skillful introduction to the genre and notes on each story by Sims, The Phantom Coach is a spectacular collection of ghostly Victorian thrills.
"The Classics That Haunt You Forever"
Before Twilight and True Blood, even before Buffy and Anne Rice and Bela Lugosi, vampires haunted the 19th century, when brilliant writers everywhere indulged their bloodthirsty imaginations, culminating in Bram Stoker's legendary 1897 novel, Dracula. Michael Sims brings together the very best vampire stories of the Victorian era - from England, America, France, Germany, Transylvania, and even Japan - into a unique collection that highlights their cultural variety.
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books began in 1996 with a simple goal: to bring together the people who create books with the people who love to read them. The festival was an immediate success and has become the largest and most prestigious book festival in the country, attracting more than 130,000 book lovers each year.