Best books about los angeles

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best books about los angeles

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In a city of transplants, I am a rare loyal native, an Angeleno through and through. People ask me about LA all the time. Is it really 75 and sunny every day? Do you see famous people all the time? So what exactly is pressed juice?
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Los Angeles is a city that has inspired many literary classics. But in reality, the city has just as compelling a history as any fictional account of it.

Books about Los Angeles: Our top city-based reads

This year saw a bumper crop of terrific books about Los Angeles, and some great material from L. Los Angeles magazine contributor David Kipen recently distilled five centuries of observations about the city into his excellent Dear Los Angeles: The City in Diaries and Letters, to , but we already ran a nice chunk of that in our last issue. A larger-than-life Taschen art book is the perfect venue for the giant hot dogs, drive-through doughnuts, and derby-shaped restaurants that captivated L. Author Jim Heimann has spent decades prowling libraries, pestering old-timers, and hitting up swap meets before dawn looking for photos, matchbooks, and historical evidence that this California Crazy world ever existed, since most of it with a few exceptions disappeared before you were born. Even today, more than 50 movies and TV shows are filmed there every year, and its because City Hall is a spectacular building that provides a dramatic backdrop to the humdrum routines that make a city function. This handsome, elegant volume explores every nook and cranny of the iconic tower, bringing us up close to see all the tiny details.

Native Californian Joan Didion takes a look at her home state in this thoughtful, well-researched book. Buy now from your favorite retailer:. The fall of Adam and Eve, the rivalry of Cain and Abel, are reenacted by these unwitting participants as they love, betray and shed blood in the rich farmlands of the valley. In San Francisco, , four Chinese women meet to play mahjong, eat dim sum, and talk about their lives. If you want to know what California tastes like, this is it.

Last week, Kate Gale blogged about some of the essential literary works set in LA , and our readers had a lot to add. Here are some of their recommendations:.
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Living in Los Angeles does something to you. The literature of Los Angeles paints a city that is rich but also a brutal playground, its inhabitants balancing on that tightrope of contradiction. Some are classics, others lesser known, but all have captured part of that elusive LA soul.

If you like your hard-boiled crime novels full of similes with a side of action, look no further than Chandler. A colorful read, The Big Sleep is notable less for its corrupt Los Angeles cops and mobsters and its high-drama plot and more for Chandler's unwavering bent for likening. Amazon Goodreads. Plascencia introduces us to an El Monte at once grounded in reality and thoroughly enchanted. The novel complicates our understanding of metaphors: Merced de Papel is a woman who's made of paper , and the primary plot involves the rebellion of a gang of carnation pickers against the planet Saturn. With its multiple levels of narration, the book will remind you that the fantastic and the absurd are sometimes the strongest vehicle for truth.

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