Book Club: Conversations with Michael Connelly and Ronan Farrow

L.A. is synonymous with noir.
(Owen Freeman / For The Times )

Good morning, and welcome to the Book Club newsletter.

This week, my colleague Jeffrey Fleishman takes us inside the world of crime writing, exploring why L.A. and noir are so simpatico. “Los Angeles is a madman’s prayer wrapped inside a murderous dream,” he writes.

His essay explores the genre and features observations from Michael Connelly and other notable writers about the recipe for the perfect crime story.

“Telling something new about this place is what defines a great L.A. crime novel,” says Connelly, whose new book, “The Night Fire,” will be published Tuesday. “Not imitating what has been done in the past but taking those influences and inspirations, putting it in a blender with your own experiences and ideas, mixing on purée and pouring out something unique about this unique place.”


On Monday night, Connelly joins the L.A. Times Book Club to share an early peek at “The Night Fire,” which features relentless investigator Harry Bosch teaming up with Renee Ballard, an LAPD night shift detective who doesn’t mind bending the rules.

The book club talk is at 7:30 p.m. at the Montalbán Theatre in Hollywood. Get tickets here.

Thank you to all the newsletter readers who shared crime book suggestions during the past few weeks. Check out: 20 Essential L.A. Crime Books.

Argue, replace, add at will.

Book club extra: ‘Catch and Kill’

Yes, we’ve got events with two bestselling authors next week. On Tuesday night, the book club joins forces with the Times Ideas Exchange to host Ronan Farrow, author of the explosive new book “Catch and Kill.”

Farrow is the New Yorker magazine contributor who shared the 2018 Pulitzer Prize gold medal for public service with New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. Their work fueled the #MeToo movement.


Just out this week, Farrow’s book is equal parts memoir, spy story and portrait of perseverance. He details the obstacles he faced investigating and publishing stories about sexual assault allegations against former “Today Show” host Matt Lauer and movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

“You can imagine,” he says in an interview, “going to your editor, as I did, saying, ‘Hi, there’s a secret Israeli spy group staffed by former Mossad agents after me and my sources; they’re called Black Cube.’ The unanimous reaction was: ‘This can’t be true.’ But it really was, it’s all true.”

Farrow will be in conversation with Times Deputy Managing Editor Julia Turner at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Orpheum Theatre downtown. Get tickets.

Julie Andrews' memoir "Home Work" was published Oct. 15.
(Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

Julie Andrews tells her story

This week, Julie Andrews published her new memoir, “Home Work.” She joins Times readers Nov. 18 to talk about her Hollywood career, which began with a breakthrough role in “Mary Poppins.” It earned her a lead actress Oscar in 1965.

“The hardest thing with this book was finding a voice,” Andrews says.

Andrews wrote the book with daughter Emma Walton Hamilton and relied on diaries to take readers inside her films, family life and two marriages. “Unlike many Hollywood memoirs these days, it doesn’t contain any shocking or titillating revelations,” The Times’ review notes. “Instead, the 84-year-old British-born actress and singer comes across pretty much as the Julie Andrews that we admire on the screen — graceful, elegant and wholesome.”

Andrews will be in conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Mary McNamara at the Orpheum Theatre on Nov. 18. Get tickets. The event is co-hosted by the L.A. Times Book Club and Ideas Exchange.


July book club author Laila Lalami is a finalist for both a National Book Award and the Kirkus Prize for her novel, “The Other Americans.”

Susan Orlean’s The Library Book” recently inspired a pair of California journalists and an eagle-eyed antiques dealer to track down the Well of the Scribes, which vanished from the Los Angeles Central Library in 1969. A portion of the sculpture has been returned to the library, but the mystery remains.

Check out this discussion guide for “They Called Us Enemy” by actor George Takei, who shared his graphic memoir with book club readers in September.

Join the L.A. Times Book Club Facebook Group to share your thoughts and join conversations about the books we’re reading.

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