Books: National Book Award longlists, a fall preview and concern about ALOUD

Jose Antonio Vargas, left, will discuss his book “Dear America: Notes From an Undocumented Citizen” with Viet Thanh Nguyen.
(Gerry Salva Cruz / BeBe Jacobs)
Books Editor

Hi — I’m Carolyn Kellogg, books editor of the L.A. Times. This week in print you’ll find the Fall Arts Preview — books included.


This fall brings books from Michelle Obama, Jonathan Franzen, Haruki Murakami, Michael Connelly, Stephen King and more; see our picks of books you won’t want to miss.

Michelle Obama spoke at a library conference in June; her memoir "Becoming" publishes in November.
(Gerald Herbert / AP)



And speaking of not missing, this list of 19 fall literary events happening across the Southland will have you driving all over town to see rock star Roger Daltrey and also Dav Pilkey, creator of Captain Underpants; Jose Antonio Vargas discussing his book “Dear America: Notes From an Undocumented Citizen” with Viet Thanh Nguyen; and married entertainers Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman with their joint memoir, “The Greatest Love Story Ever Told: An Oral History.”

Roger Daltrey performs with the Who at Monterey Pop in 1968.
(Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images)



On Wednesday a petition signed by more than 800 writers and readers was delivered to the board of directors of the Library Foundation raising concerns about the future of the ALOUD reading series following the August departure of director Louise Steinman, who founded the program 25 years ago, and associate director Maureen Moore. “We hope to engage the Library Foundation in an open conversation about their plans both for ALOUD and literary public programming for the future,” David L. Ulin told me, speaking on behalf of the ad-hoc committee that organized the petition. (Ulin is also the former book critic and book editor of The Times). “One of the troubling aspects of this situation is that it was so sudden and there has been no explanation from the foundation for their decision.”

This week the longlists for the 2018 National Book Awards were announced. 10 titles made the longlist in each of five categories — this year, translation was added to poetry, fiction, nonfiction and young people’s literature. Making it onto the longlist for the first time is L.A.-based author Tahereh Mafi for her young adult novel, “A Very Large Expanse of Sea.”

Tahereh Mafi', author of "A Very Large Expanse of Sea."
(Tana Ghandi)



Entering the fiction list at No. 5 is “The Fall of Gondolin” by Christopher Tolkien with the writings of his father, J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s the third — and likely last — in tales of the elder days of Tolkien’s Middle-earth.

On the nonfiction list, John McCain’s memoir “The Restless Wave,” stays on the list at No. 2 after the Senator’s death at age 81 in August

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

John McCain accepting the Republican nomination in 2008.
(Susan Walsh / Associated Press)


Thanks for reading!