7 New Books About L.A. from Our Absolute Favorite Indie Bookshop
Funny, thrilling, gossipy, retro—and that’s just the first book
Who doesn’t love the feeling of rushing home—or stealing an hour away—to spend time with a page-turner? West Hollywood’s temple of creative book peddling, Book Soup, gave us its picks in so many genres: thrillers, gossipy memoirs, a wildlife studies and the newest fiction craze, dystopias. Get lost in our list of the best recent L.A. books.
“Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, the Flesh and L.A.”
Eve Babitz, in her day (she is still with us), was a muse with a classic Hollywood pedigree, the daughter of bona fide artistes with European cred. She is also a damn fine writer. Like much of her work, this novel is quite transparently based on her spectacular exploits as a fearless adventuress of L.A. in the ’60s and ’70s.
In this Peter Spiegelman thriller, Dr. Adam Knox runs a clinic serving the downtrodden in DTLA, and to pay the bills, he moonlights on weekends treating discreet medical emergencies (think: a celeb accidentally gluing himself to a supermodel). But things take a turn when a mysterious sick child shows up at the clinic and all hell breaks loose.
“When Mountain Lions Are Neighbors: People and Wildlife Working it Out in California”
From the monitoring of our beautiful puma pals (the book is dedicated to Griffith Park’s famed P-22 wildcat) to the fox habitats of the Facebook campus, Beth Pratt-Bergstrom’s book gives you a warm and fuzzy glow. And book proceeds go to the National Wildlife Federation. Win-win!
“Miss Fortune: Fresh Perspectives on Having It All from Someone Who Is Not Okay”
Actress/comedy writer/West Side mom Lauren Weedman has experienced all the same everyday indignities that the rest of us have, and she finds the humor. Affordable housing in Santa Monica, acting auditions, marital scandal, child birth—nothing is off the table.
With the ruins of Los Angeles in the rear-view mirror, Edan Lepucki’s novel about a couple in search of a community, post-world-altering-climate-change-event, stridently reveals the vagaries of marriage and fully-imagined Southern California future.
“West of Eden: An American Place”
It's not hard to imagine yourself at a party on Doheny Drive, sitting in a corner with a Beverly Hills doyenne, being regaled by stories—delightful and sordid—when you read this book, an oral history written by the daughter of an old Los Angeles family. This is another must-read by Jean Stein, who previously co-wrote the cult must-read Edie: An American Biography.
“Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk”
When rent in L.A. was still cheap enough to foster sub-cultures (we’re talking the late ’70s, early ’80s), renegade rockers created a now-infamous punk scene. John Doe of the influential band X remembers, and includes voices of the friends and musicians who inhabited the dark streets and alleys of L.A.