Hi, I’m Carolyn Kellogg with the latest Books newsletter from the L.A. Times.
THE BIG STORY
Dave Eggers has proven his hand at fiction and children’s books, screenplays, literary journals and literacy nonprofits. For his latest project, the nonfiction book “The Monk of Mokha,” he tells the story of a Yemeni American from San Francisco who decides, against the odds, to pursue his own version of the American Dream. Paul Constant has our review.
GOODBYE, URSULA K. LE GUIN
We learned this week that Ursula K. Le Guin died Monday at the age of 88. The outspoken, visionary author best known for science fiction and fantasy had huge influence over the generations of writers who came after her. One of them, our Critic at Large John Scalzi, pays tribute.
ESSAYS FOR ALL
Morgan Jerkins is a gifted millennial writer whose debut book of essays, “This Will Be My Undoing,” explores what it’s like to be a black woman in the U.S. today, tackling tough questions with nuance and passion. The book is not “about all women,” she writes, “but it is for all women.” Ilana Masad has our review.
The No. 1 L.A. Times bestseller in fiction is the novel “Sing, Unburied, Sing” by Jesmyn Ward, landing in the top spot in its tenth week on the list.
The No. 1 L.A. Times bestseller in nonfiction this week is “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff. It’s the controversial book’s second week on the list and its second week in a row in our top spot.
MORE IN BOOKS
The Pen America Literary Awards — based in New York — announced their long list of finalists. Among the 40 titles are Carina Chocano’s essay collection, “You Play the Girl,” “The Changeling” by Victor Lavalle, Ron Chernow’s “Grant” and Ursula K. Le Guin’s essay collection published in December, “No Time to Spare.”
Google has launched an audiobook service, stepping into the territory where Audible has already made a major claim.
In other Google news, it was the anniversary of Virginia Woolf’s birthday Thursday, and the search engine celebrated the modernist author with a Google Doodle.
At the Sundance Film Festival, The Times’ Justin Chang watched many things, including the upcoming biopic “Colette,” which stars Keira Knightley as the French literary icon.
Agatha French went to the Central Library to see Jane Hirshfield and Víctor Terán discuss and read haiku in English, Japanese and Spanish (translation headsets were required).
Swapna Krishna reviews the science fiction novel “Black Star Renegades” by Michael Moreci, which is part “Star Wars” homage, part a surprising coming-of-age story.
Maris Kreizman talks to Sandra Allen, whose unusual book, “A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise” tells her uncle’s story of schizophrenia using his words, family lore and scientific research.