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Books: John Rechy, Kiese Laymon, Rebecca Traister and more book news

Books: John Rechy, Kiese Laymon, Rebecca Traister and more book news
87-year-old writer John Rechy published his breakthrough novel "City of Night" 55 years ago. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Hi I’m L.A. Times Books editor Carolyn Kellogg with what’s happening in books this week.

THE BIG STORY

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When the groundbreaking novel “City of Night,” about a gay hustler, was published 55 years ago, it scandalized reviewers but made it to the hands of readers who had never seen anything like it. It has never gone out of print, and its author, John Rechy, is still publishing at 87. Alex Espionza visited with Rechy at his Los Angeles home to catch up with the man and his ideas, and explains the ways his writing is so important.

Writer John Rechy.
Writer John Rechy. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

THE BIG REVIEW

Kiese Laymon’s new book is “Heavy,” a vital memoir, writes reviewer Nathan Deuel: “Quite simply, ‘Heavy’ is one of the most important and intense books of the year because of the unyielding, profoundly original and utterly heartbreaking way it addresses and undermines expectations for what exactly it’s like to possess and make use of a male black body in America.” Read the review.

Kiese Laymon, author of 'Heavy'
Kiese Laymon, author of 'Heavy' (Scribner)

BESTSELLERS

Debuting at No. 5 on the fiction list is “Hippie,” the new novel from international bestselling writer Paulo Coelho (“The Alchemist.”)

Making its debut at No. 9 on the nonfiction list is Rebecca Traister’s “Good and Mad.” This week we talk to Traister about the timeliness of her books — this one is about female anger and politics — see more below.

You can find all the books on our bestseller lists here.

Paulo Coelho in Paris in 2007. His new book is "Hippie."
Paulo Coelho in Paris in 2007. His new book is "Hippie." (Francois Mori / Associated Press)

A TIMELY BOOK

Rebecca Traister’s “Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger” was published Oct. 2, in the midst of the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, which included testimony by Christine Blasey Ford, who alleged she had been sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh in high school. “I feel pretty torn about being out there selling books in the midst of this and selling books to some degree off of this,” Traister tells Kate Tuttle. “This is a terrible time.” But despite that, she says, we should not despair.

Anger as expressed by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh during their testimony was perceived differently, Traister notes.
Anger as expressed by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh during their testimony was perceived differently, Traister notes. (Getty Images)

MORE BOOK NEWS

Writer Stephen Elliott sued Moira Donegan, the creator of the “Media Men List” that shared information about alleged sexual harassers, for $1.5 million, seeking to reveal the names of the anonymous contributors to the list. Donegan’s supporters have raised more than $100,000 in her defense. Read the story.

Carmen Maria Machado’s unusual, acclaimed short story collection “Her Body and Other Parties” is in development at FX for television.

The Man Booker Prize, one of the world’s most coveted prizes for fiction, was awarded this week to Anna Burns for her novel “Milkman.” American publisher Graywolf announced it will move up publication — it will be available in time for the holidays.

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Anna Burns with her book 'Milkman' and her Man Booker Prize.
Anna Burns with her book 'Milkman' and her Man Booker Prize. (Facundo Arrizabalaga /EPA-EFE/REX)
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