Welcome to the new LA Times books newsletter – Los Angeles Times
Hello! I’m Carolyn Kellogg, book editor at the Los Angeles Times, and this is our shiny new newsletter. In it you’ll find links to our coverage every week plus additional fun bookish stuff.
THE BIG STORY
Two major (mostly) Southern California novelists have new books: T.C. Boyle and Michael Connelly.
Connelly continues his Harry Bosch series with “The Wrong Side of Goodbye” as Bosch, now retired, is picking up some freelance detective work to help pay for his daughter’s college education. Would you believe me if I told you I ran into Connelly and his college-age daughter at a bookstore just this week? It was a surprise, because Connelly now lives in Florida; Bosch, however, remains an Angeleno, and the story follows a cold case and an investigation instigated by a Pasadena billionaire.
The inspiration for Boyle’s new novel “The Terranauts” was the ill-fated BioSphere 2 experiment in the Arizona desert. His fictional version pits true believers against those with more muddy motivations, all trapped under glass in an ecosystem that’s supposed to be self-sustaining for two years. “Boyle is offering an honest picture of humanity here, particularly the sort of humanity that gets involved in such a plainly romantic enterprise,” writes our reviewer Michelle Dean.
A FUN TOUR
The popular website Atlas Obscura has cataloged more than 5,000 unusual, beautiful and intriguing places; for its first book, its creators whittled the total down to about 700. Co-author and co-founder Dylan Thuras was in L.A. for an “Atlas Obscura” book signing and joined us to visit a couple of unique, and somewhat creepy, Los Angeles sites, including Prey Taxidermy and the L.A. County Coroner’s gift shop, Skeletons in the Closet. Thuras doesn’t just want people to make checklists of the offbeat and enticing; he wants them to embrace exploration in a real way. Don’t miss the video.
— Nell Zink’s novel “Nicotine” satirizes contemporary activists by imagining a houseful of smokers; our reviewer A. N. Devers finds the book moving and addictive.
— Love, Icelandically: Oddný Eir is operating in the compelling blurry area between fiction and memoir. Her book “Land of Love and Ruins” is from the independent press Restless Books and, as Justin Taylor writes in our review, contains a solitude less reticent, less chastened than literary cousins W.G. Sebald and Teju Cole.
THE BOSS AND THE DONALD
How is it that Bruce Springsteen fans have made Donald Trump their hero? The New Jersey rocker has sung songs of working men — in, for example “Youngstown” — but the people who live there have politics very different from his. The L.A. Times’ Jeffrey Fleishman goes to Ohio to explore the dichotomy in the weeks before the presidential election.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
As the newsletter changes, I’d like to hear your thoughts. Just e-mail Carolyn.Kellogg@latimes.com.