Books: Is America on the brink? Spring events preview and more books news

Books Editor

I’m books editor Carolyn Kellogg; welcome to this week’s books newsletter.


Is America on the brink of losing its historic democracy? That’s the question Yascha Mounk raises in “The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger & How to Save It.” Combining trains of political thought with sometimes surprising data-driven analysis, Mounk has written a brilliant book, writes former congressman Mickey Edwards in our review, that is an important read.

Then-candidate Donald Trump campaigns in traditionally Democratic Ambridge, Pa., in 2016.
(Jeff Swensen / Getty Images )



This week in Sunday Calendar, you’ll find the Arts & Books spring preview, which includes shows and happenings in pop music, classical music, dance and theater. And also book events. See my editor’s picks here.

Author James Ellroy will discuss "L.A. Confidential" after a screening of the film.
(Quique Garcia/EPA/Shutte )


Now in its fifth week on our bestseller list, Kristin Hannah’s “The Great Alone” — about a family that finds itself in trouble after a move to Alaska — is the No. 1 L.A. Times fiction bestseller.

Michelle McNamara’s debut book, “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark,” about her amateur investigation of a cold case — the terrifying Golden State Killer — climbs to No. 2 on our nonfiction bestseller list. After McNamara’s sudden death, her husband, Patton Oswalt, brought the book to publication. He’ll talk about it at the L.A. Times Festival of Books.

See all the books on our bestseller lists here.

Michelle McNamara is seen with husband Patton Oswalt in 2012.
(Matt Sayles / Associated Press )


Harry Mathews’ posthumous novel, “The Solitary Twin,” is a fitting digression, writes Tyler Malone in our review.

Items owned by poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes were auctioned in London this week.

Former FBI Director James Comey’s memoir, “A Higher Loyalty,” won’t be out for weeks, but it has reached Amazon’s bestseller list based on pre-orders (perhaps spurred by goings-on in Washington, D.C.)

If events in the news have got you down, Rochelle O’Gorman reviews humorous audiobooks from Lewis Black, Tim Dorsey, Peter Carey and Alexander McCall Smith.

Cultural superheroine Claire L. Evans sings in a band, created a popular app and has now written a book about the history of women in technology, “Broad Band.” She talks to Agatha French.

Claire L. Evans' book is "Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet."
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times )

Thanks for reading!