Welcome to the L.A. Times Book Club, an opportunity to see, hear and interact with world-class authors and newsmakers. When you sign up for this newsletter, you become part of our community book club. We’ll keep you updated on the latest reads, live events, stories and giveaways.
Every month, we share book club selections and invite you to read along. Then we host a conversation with the authors.
During the pandemic, The Times offered many events free and virtual to make it easy to participate. Now we need your help to keep growing through the L.A. Times Community Fund. Thank you for helping us build something amazing.
On Aug. 23 chef Keith Corbin joins our book club to discuss his new memoir “California Soul” with Times food editor Daniel Hernandez.
Corbin is an innovative soul food chef and rising star in the food world. In gritty, graphic detail, Corbin’s memoir shows readers his journey from teenage gangster to maximum-security prison inmate to paroled line cook at an ambitious new restaurant that offered inexpensive meals and jobs in his neighborhood. Today, Corbin is a celebrated chef and co-owner of Alta Adams, one of L.A.’s hottest restaurants.
This book club event is presented in partnership with Arizona State University at the historic Herald Examiner Building in downtown Los Angeles. Readers can attend in person or virtually. Get tickets.
NEW DATE: On July 27 actress Jennifer Grey will join the L.A. Times Book Club to discuss her bestselling memoir, “Out of the Corner” with Times senior entertainment writer Amy Kaufman at the Montalban Theatre in Hollywood.
Grey is best known for her iconic portrayal of Baby Houseman in “Dirty Dancing.” In “Out of the Corner,” she takes readers from her breakout role in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” to her Season 11 win on “Dancing with the Stars.” And she talks about working with co-star Patrick Swayze and making “Dirty Dancing.” Get tickets.
On June 22 author and historian Ibram X. Kendi will join the L.A. Times Book Club in Los Angeles to discuss “How to Raise an Antiracist.”
Kendi is the author of five books for adults and three books for children, including “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America,” which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2016, and “How to Be an Antiracist,” a 2019 bestseller.
His new book, “How to Raise an Antiracist,” is geared toward parents, teachers and other caregivers. Kendi addresses such questions as: How do we talk to our children about racism? How do we teach children to be antiracist? How are kids at different ages experiencing race?
Update: Get tickets for book club night at USC’s Bovard Auditorium.
On May 26 authors Pico Iyer, Maggie Shipstead and Michelle Tea and editor Colleen Kinder will join book club readers to discuss “Letter to a Stranger: Essays to the Ones Who Haunt Us” with Times travel writer Christopher Reynolds.
“Letter to a Stranger” is a new collection of travel stories that guides readers across the globe and through the mysteries of human connection. Iyer, Shipstead and Tea are among 65 writers who contributed essays about unforgettable encounters.
Inauguration poet Amanda Gorman stepped onto the national stage in January 2020 with that unforgettable yellow coat and a voice full of passion, showing millions of Americans the power of poetry and its deep relevance to all our lives. The first national youth poet laureate of the United States, Gorman is our April book club author.
Gorman joined Times readers April 23 at the Festival of Books to discuss “Call Us What We Carry” with Natalie J. Graham, Orange County’s poet laureate.
Watch: Gorman’s first public performance since the pandemic.
On March 29 author Reyna Grande joined Times editor Steve Padilla to discuss her historical novel, “A Ballad of Love and Glory.”
Set in 1846, Grande’s latest saga follows a Mexican Army nurse and a disheartened Irish soldier during the Mexican-American War.
On Feb. 25 renowned naturalist, scientist and U.N. messenger of peace Jane Goodall joined book club readers to discuss “The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times.”
In a conversation with reporter Dorany Pineda, Goodall also talked about the state of her research, the “Becoming Jane” exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and how each of us can make a difference to heal the planet.
On Jan. 25 bestselling author Stephanie Land discussed “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will to Survive” with Times reporter Paloma Esquivel.
“Maid” details Land’s journey from single mother and $10-an-hour domestic worker to college student with a budding writing career. Her memoir inspired a popular Netflix series.
Further reading: To learn more about the inequalities built into our economy and potential solutions, here are nine books to read after “Maid.”
On Dec. 9 bestselling author Ann Patchett joined book club readers to discuss “These Precious Days” with Times columnist Steve Lopez.
Patchett reflects on family, friendships and writing this deeply personal collection of essays. Watch now.
Born in Los Angeles, Patchett now lives in Nashville and co-owns Parnassus Books, an independent bookstore. She also has written seven novels, including “The Dutch House,” “Bel Canto” and “Commonwealth.”
Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones discussed “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story” with Times Executive Editor Kevin Merida on Nov. 30.
Authors Terry McMillan and Nafissa Thompson-Spires also read their contributions at the California African American Museum.
Read columnist LZ Granderson’s interview with Hannah-Jones here.
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard and actor Clint Howard joined book club readers Oct. 15 to discuss “The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family” with Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Mary McNamara.
Update: the book club video is now available online: Watch now.
This special book club evening, held at L.A. Live’s Rooftop Terrace atop the Grammy Museum, was our first in-person event since Feb. 2020. The Howards also sat down for pre-show chat with L.A. Times Today.
“The Boys” brings readers inside “The Andy Griffith Show,” “Happy Days,” “Gentle Ben” and other iconic TV shows of the 1960s and 1970s. Ron and Clint Howard talked about why they wrote the book in a recent Times interview.
Filmmaker Rodrigo Garcia joined book club readers July 29 to discuss “A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes” with Times editor Steve Padilla.
Garcia’s book is a remembrance of his father, renowned author Gabriel García Márquez, and his mother, Mercedes Barcha. The director chronicles life, death, family and celebrity in a memoir sprinkled with personal photographs and snippets written by his father, whose books include “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”
Bonus: Here’s a Gabriel García Márquez reading guide.
Michele Harper joined book club readers June 29 for a conversation with Times reporter Marissa Evans about “The Beauty in Breaking,” her bestselling memoir about life as an ER doctor.
“When I was in high school, I would write poetry,” Harper says in an interview. “Then I started the medical path, and it beat the words out of me.”
Our May book club pick is “Interior Chinatown,” Charles Yu’s 2020 National Book Award-winning novel about into pop culture, Hollywood and Asian stereotypes.
Yu joined us May 27 for a conversation with Times film critic Justin Chang. Watch now.
Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of “The Committed,” joined book club readers March 10 for a conversation with Times columnist Carolina A. Miranda. Watch here.
Nguyen’s novel is a sequel to “The Sympathizer,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2016. “The Sympathizer” told the story of a conflicted double agent in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. The sequel follows Nguyen’s protagonist to Paris. “I wasn’t done with his story,” Nguyen says.
Australian writer Charlotte McConaghy, author of the novel “Migrations,” joined us from Sydney for a Feb. 24 conversation with Times reporter Rosanna Xia. Watch now.
“Migrations” has drawn praise from reviewers for its powerful discussion of climate issues. The novel’s plot twists have attracted Hollywood, too: Claire Foy and Benedict Cumberbach are adapting “Migrations” for film.
“I wanted to energize people and myself and come out of the other side of despair and apathy and into a place of hope, love and action,” McConaghy says in a Times interview.
Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, author of “The Undocumented Americans,” and Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, author of “Children of the Land,” shared their stories of a hidden America. They talked about immigration and family with Times editor Steve Padilla. Watch here.
The L.A. Times Book Club explores the legacy and prolific writing of science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler. Step inside her L.A. world with this interactive map.
Giveaway: This event included the book club’s first book giveaway, made possible with a donation from the estate of Octavia E. Butler and literary agent Merrilee Heifetz. The giveaway featured five of Butler’s books: “Kindred;” “Parable of the Sower;”“Parable of the Talents;” “Wild Seed;” and“Fledgling.” The other books are: “Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora,” edited by Sheree R. Thomas; “Binti: The Complete Trilogy” by Nnedi Okorafor;“An Unkindness of Ghosts” by Rivers Solomon; “Pet” by Akwaeke Emezi ; and “How Long ‘Til Black Future Month?” by N.K. Jemisin. Update: All 700 books have now been claimed!
Reading guide: How to chose your next Octavia E. Butler book
Book excerpt: ‘A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky’ reveals Octavia E. Butler’s early life in Pasadena
Book club newsletter: Octavia E. Butler’s Pasadena and giveaway
On Sept. 24 the L.A. Times Book Club hosted Black Poets in a Time of Unrest, featuring National Book Award winner Robin Coste Lewis, the Los Angeles poet laureate, in conversation with reporter Makeda Easter.
Lewis joined a lineup of poet performers sharing their experiences in verse: Natalie J. Graham, Ashaki M. Jackson, Douglas Kearney, jayy dodd, Amaud Jamaul Johnson, Khadijah Queen and Kima Jones, the co-host of the event with the L.A. Times Book Club. Watch.
The August book selection is” The Vanishing Half,” Brit Bennett’s bestselling novel about twin sisters, identity and family secrets. “You can escape a town but you can not escape blood.”
Bennett joined book club readers Aug. 25 for a conversation with Times writer Carla Hall. Watch here.
“Why We Swim” by Bonnie Tsui is the book club’s July selection.
Tsui, a Bay Area journalist, surfer and former competitive swimmer, joined Times reporter and masters swimmer James Rainey July 28 for a virtual meetup. Long-distance swimmer Lynne Cox shared her favorite passage during the event.
“Why We Swim” is a mix of memoir, history and swim adventure that journeys from the California Coast to Iceland’s swim culture to the “Hawaii” of the South China Sea.
“The Compton Cowboys,” a true story about identity and belonging by Walter Thompson-Hernández, is the June selection.
The book traces the history and fragile legacy of black cowboys in a Los Angeles bedroom community. The cowboys’ credo: “Streets raised us. Horses saved us.”
Thompson-Hernández joined us June 24 for a conversation with Times reporter Angel Jennings. Here are 5 Things to know about The Compton Cowboys.
Emily St. John Mandel, author of the bestselling pandemic novel “Station Eleven,” joined the Los Angeles Times Book Club on May 19. Her new book, “The Glass Hotel,” revolves around another issue of great current concern — a financial crisis.
Watch Mandel in conversation with Times reporter Carolina A. Miranda.
Mandel and other authors, including Susan Orlean, T.C. Boyle, Marlon James, Charlie Jane Anders and Jess Walter, helped us put together this end-of-the-world reading list.
Writer Fanny Singer and her mother, renowned chef Alice Waters, will join Los Angeles Times Book Club readers on April 21 for a virtual meet-up from Waters’ home kitchen in Berkeley.
During April we read “Always Home: A Daughter’s Recipes & Stories,” Fanny Singer’s memoir about growing up at an epicenter of California cuisine. Singer is the daughter of Alice Waters, the chef behind Chez Panisse Café in Berkeley and the founder of the Edible Schoolyard Project.
Singer’s memoir with recipes strikes just the right note for this strange time of sheltering in place. “It feels like a moment to redefine how we relate to the things that we consume,” Singer says in an interview. Her favorite roast chicken recipe is here.
On March 30, the L.A. Times Book Club rebooted with its first virtual event: novelists Steph Cha and Joe Ide joined Times reporter Maria L. La Ganga to discuss the new world of L.A. noir.
Cha is the author of the bestselling 2019 thriller “Your House Will Pay.” Ide’s new mystery is “Hi Five,” the fourth book in his “IQ” detective series set in East Long Beach. The book club conversation streamed live on Facebook and YouTube.
On Saturday, Feb. 15, former Los Angeles poet laureate Luis J. Rodriguez discussed “From Our Land to Our Land,” a new collection about race, culture and identity, with Times reporter Daniel Hernandez at the Colony Theatre in Burbank.
On Jan. 27, author Ocean Vuong shared his debut novel, “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous,” with Times arts and culture reporter Carolina A. Miranda at the Montalban Theatre.
On Dec. 16, the book club welcomed Homeboy Industries founder Gregory Boyle for a breakfast conversation with author Héctor Tobar about “Barking to the Choir.” Read our interview with Boyle and five things to know about his book and his work. For school groups and book clubs, here’s a discussion guide to “Barking to the Choir.”
On Nov. 18, Julie Andrews shared stories from “Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years” in a conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning Times columnist Mary McNamara at the Orpheum Theatre.
On Oct. 22, Ronan Farrow discussed surveillance, counter-surveillance and the stories behind “Catch and Kill,” his new book detailing sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein and other powerful men. Read The Times’ interview with Farrow.
On Oct. 21, best-selling crime writer Michael Connelly joined book club readers for the launch of “The Night Fire.” He also previewed two upcoming books and talked about living with the same character for 27 years.
Keep reading: Here’s a look at 15 iconic Harry Bosch haunts across L.A., plus 20 essential L.A. crime books, and this special report on why L.A. is the perpetual dark heart of crime writing.
On Sept. 10, actor and author George Takei discussed “They Called Us Enemy,” a graphic memoir about his childhood years in Japanese American internment camps during World War II. Watch a segment from the event on LA Times Today.
For book clubs and school groups, here is a discussion guide.
In June we read “The Library Book” by bestselling author Susan Orlean and hosted a community forum where Orlean and readers shared library stories. We also took a deep dive to explore what L.A. is reading right now and showed book lovers how to read for free with library apps.
The L.A. Times Book Club builds on the success of America’s largest literary event, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, which attracts 150,000 people every April. Our community book club keeps the storytelling and conversation going year-round.
Get in touch
Want to be part of the book club? Sign up for our newsletter in the subscription box above, and we’ll keep you in the loop about book club news and upcoming events.
Want to share an idea? On Twitter, you can reach us @latimesbooks. To suggest a book, please include a brief summary and link to the publisher’s website in an email to email@example.com. We’ll follow up if we need more information.
The L.A. Times Book Club Facebook group is a chance to share your thoughts and compare notes with fellow book lovers. Please join the discussion there too.