Good morning, and welcome to the L.A. Times Book Club newsletter.
Join us on Tuesday, April 21, when we welcome “Always Home” author Fanny Singer and her mom, chef Alice Waters, in conversation with Times editor Laurie Ochoa. Singer’s memoir with recipes offers a portrait of life at the heart of California’s farm-to-table movement.
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Since she and 40 million other Californians were ordered to stay at home last month, Singer has noticed two things about her cooking habits: First, she and her mother bake more than usual. Second, she’s especially careful to avoid to wasting food.
“I feel very conscious about using every little scrap of everything,” she said in a recent Times interview. “It’s a more providential approach. I’m definitely thinking about how one thing can make many things.”
Speaking of writers who cook, Pen America just launched an online series featuring authors sharing essays and favorite recipes. First up: Chris L. Terry’s Lentil Soup Empowerment.
The Times Book Awards are out
March book club author Steph Cha was among the writers honored Friday by the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes. The annual in-person ceremony was canceled due to the coronavirus crisis, so the awards were announced via Twitter. Here is the full list of winners:
Innovator’s Award: Keren Taylor, founder of WriteGirl
Robert Kirsch Award: Walter Mosley
The Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose: Emily Bernard, “Black Is the Body: Stories From My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time, and Mine”
Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction: Namwali Serpell, “The Old Drift: A Novel”
The Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction: Marlon James, “Black Leopard, Red Wolf”
Biography: George Packer, “Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century”
Current Interest: Emily Bazelon, “Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration”
Fiction: Ben Lerner, “The Topeka School”
Graphic Novel/Comics: Eleanor Davis, “The Hard Tomorrow”
History: Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers, “They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South”
Mystery/Thriller: Steph Cha, “Your House Will Pay”
Poetry: Ilya Kaminsky, “Deaf Republic”
Science & Technology: Maria Popova, “Figuring”
Young Adult Literature: Malla Nunn, “When the Ground Is Hard”
Watch the video acceptance speeches and read more here.
Author Margaret Wappler says we should be chronicling this moment in history and all those weird grocery store trips.
“How many times have you thought lately, I should write this down? We’re living in Never Before times: Pillaged grocery-store aisles. Skyrocketing unemployment rates. Nurses begging strangers for N95 masks on Twitter.
“Yes, reality is now dystopic, but we’re also living in unprecedented times for journaling. These are Golden Wow days. You should be writing this down. Not only will you thank yourself later, you will be grateful now.
“You’re snorting with laughter behind your mask. With what time? How?”
Her suggestion? Start journaling — with a little help from Michelle Obama’s guided journal. Read Margaret’s essay on how to get started.
For the record: Last week’s newsletter misstated the title of Fanny Singer’s memoir as “Almost Home.” It is “Always Home.”
Stay tuned for more events and conversations, and stay in touch. Tell us: What stories do you want to share? What authors would you most like to meet?