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Death by Leisure


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Caviar facials, air-conditioned convertibles, desert lawn-sprinklers. Welcome to the Leisuretocracy.

About the Author

Chris Ayres, 29, is the west coast correspondent for The Times. He was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, grew up in the Scottish borders and was educated at the University of Hull and City University, London, before joining The Times in 1997. Ayres held the positions of media business correspondent and Wall Street correspondent, based in New York, before taking up his current position in L.A. He was an embedded reporter with the United States Marines during the 2003 Iraq War, his coverage earning him a nomination for the British Press Awards 'foreign correspondent of the year'.


Ayres (War Reporting for Cowards) fancies himself the consummate outsider as a British journalist now living in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, what is supposed to be his witty and self-deprecating look at his life in LA is instead a chore to get through, offering outdated cultural insights (people post sex ads on Craigslist), obvious political observations (the Chinese government owns American bonds), and tired Los Angeles stereotypes (everyone eats alfalfa sprouts). Ayres does not live in the leisure economy, as implied. Instead, he maxes out his credit cards, leases a car he cannot afford, and buys an overpriced home with an overwhelming sense of guilt rather than enjoyment. Instead of a window on life in the leisure economy, Ayres shows us what it's like to be debt-ridden in Los Angeles during the housing bubble and subsequent crash. Ayres wants us to see him as funny and tragic, but he just comes across as tragic. Not recommended.-Manya Shorr, Omaha P.L., NB Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

'Ayres is beautifully self-deprecating, very funny and he's clearly a brilliant blagger, all of which makes for a diverting read' -- Daily Mail 'Part anthropological study of LA, part self-deprecating comic misadventure' -- Independent on Sunday 'Death by Leisure" presents a delicious vicarious thrill for the reader' -- Herald '(Ayres) carries it off with wit, panache and wry social observation ... this may be death for leisure but its reading for pleasure' -- Tatler 'Ayres second (book) chronicles his life as an LA show-bix hack. Highlights include when he takes a date to Michael Jackson's Neverland and slams a door in Mike Tyson's face' -- GQ 'A very funny book with nice comic timing' -- Guardian 'A frank, gonzo-esque account of his life among the glittering stars of Hollywood' -- Gay Times 'Ayres, a Times" journalist, not only has a gift for comedy ... but nails the complicated character of the world's maddest, saddest city' -- thelondonpaper '(Ayres) is disarmingly honest and his many gaffes make hilarious reading' -- Sunday Business Post

Upon return from embedded duty in Iraq with a marines unit, Ayres, a British journalist, chronicles his brief visit to Los Angeles, the land of glam and glitz. This gonzo-influenced volume opens with Ayres (War Reporting for Cowards) getting the sultry once-over from a beauty in a white bikini at poolside, and everything goes wacky and downhill from there with a bogus assignment to cover singer Michael Jackson, his Neverland estate and his sleepovers. Ayres marvels at the perpetually sunny weather of "the sci-fi metropolis," and the Tinseltown crowd of "Beverly Hill princesses, plum-cheeked hedonists, journalists with notebooks and bad breath, fleets of android publicists, the rich, the very rich." Ayres makes note of this life of excess, eco disasters and obsession with physical perfection. Producing a topsy-turvy carnival ride of a book, Ayres knows how to find the laughs and fantasy in this accomplished satire of Los Angeles. (Feb.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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