This week’s five best book events are all about the best coast
This week’s book events are fully locavore: Lynell George’s essays on the city’s rich cultural tapestry; Erin Khar’s memoir of teen addiction in the mid-1980s; Thomas Pynchon’s Cali counterculture noir; a debut novel from Los Angeles Review of Books founder Tom Lutz; and a visit from Pod Save America to postmortem the first Super Tuesday to include California in many years.
Essayist Lynell George will be making two appearances this weekend. First, at Pasadena’s Allendale Library, she’ll talk about her latest book, “After/Image: Los Angeles Outside the Frame,” a collection of her essays and photographs examining identity, social behavior and the arts. Next she’ll join cultural historian and curator Josh Kun for a discussion with Michele Asselin, a photographer who just published “Clubhouse Turn: The Twilight of Hollywood Park Race Track,” which captures the two weeks before the track was demolished in 2014 through photos and essays (including those by Kun and George).
2-4 p.m. Saturday. Allendale Branch Library, 1130 S. Marengo Ave., Pasadena. George with Kun and Asselin: 4 p.m. Sunday. Vroman’s, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena.
On the surface, author and Ravishly columnist Erin Khar had a happy Los Angeles childhood: a loving family, popularity, horseback riding and good grades. But by age 13, she was burdened by dark feelings she didn’t understand. Dabbling with her grandmother’s expired Valium escalated to a heroin addiction that ravaged her for 15 years. She’ll discuss her memoir, “Strung Out: One Last Hit and Other Lies That Nearly Killed Me,” with Jen Pastiloff, author of “On Being Human.”
7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave.
Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama and co-host of Crooked Media’s Pod Save America, is no fan of Donald Trump and the GOP. In his follow-up to “Yes We (Still) Can,” Pfeiffer dunks on Trump et al while laying out a plan for the Democrats to take back the Senate, win the 2020 presidential election and hit the reset button on democracy. He’ll be joined by his fellow Pod hosts Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor for what’s sure to be a rousing discussion the day after the primary bonanza of Super Tuesday.
8 p.m. Wednesday. Writers Bloc at Wilshire Ebell Theater, 4401 W. 8th St. $42, includes book.
Travels with Tom
Los Angeles Review of Books founder Tom Lutz has written several acclaimed nonfiction books, but his latest, “Born Slippy,” is his fiction debut. Frank Baltimore is a struggling carpenter and handyman in New England when he connects with one of his workers, Dmitry, a lout from Liverpool who looks up to his philosopher boss. Dmitry travels to Asia and makes a fortune, only to have his building in Taipei explode. Serious high jinks ensue in this globe-trotting, time-shifting novel about — ultimately — toxic masculinity. Lutz will discuss “Born Slippy” with novelist Steve Erickson.
7 p.m. Thursday. Chevalier’s, 126 N. Larchmont Blvd.
Famously private novelist Thomas Pynchon is hiding in plain sight in New York City, but some of his most acclaimed books are set in California. “Gravity’s Rainbow,” written during a stint in Manhattan Beach, and “The Crying of Lot 49” are both spiritually Western in their explorations of counterculture and technology, and “Inherent Vice” is Westside noir par excellence. Writer David Kipen, who recently published an imaginary interview with Pynchon in Alta, will illuminate the author’s California ties with William Deverell, an Alta contributor and the director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West.
7 p.m. Thursday. Vroman’s, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
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