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Newsletter: Book Club | George Takei and Michael Connelly join fall lineup

  Shenho Hshieh,  For the Times
(Illustration by Shenho Hshieh/ For The Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Book Club newsletter.

Our fall lineup has star power galore, headlined by conversations with two Los Angeles icons: actor and author George Takei and bestselling novelist Michael Connelly.

Takei, best known for playing helmsman Hikaru Sulu on the original “Star Trek” series, joins book club readers on Sept. 10 to discuss his new memoir, “They Called Us Enemy.” Told in the form of a graphic novel, the narrative and illustrations revisit Takei’s early childhood years spent in Japanese American internment camps during World War II.

“It is burned into my memory,” Takei writes about the morning his family was forced from their Los Angeles home.

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Takei also stars in the AMC series “The Terror,” which is set within a WWII-era Japanese American community. In an interview with The Times, he talked about the deeply personal journey of the show’s second season.

Next up on Oct. 21, Connelly comes to the L.A. Times Book Club to debut “The Night Fire,” the latest installment of his series featuring detective Harry Bosch. In the new book, Bosch and LAPD detective Renée Ballard team up on an unsolved case that obsessed Bosch’s longtime mentor.

Ticket information is at latimes.com/bookclub.

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WHO GETS TO BE AN AMERICAN?

On July 30, book club readers welcomed author Laila Lalami in conversation with Times reporter Lorraine Ali about “The Other Americans.”

Set in the Southern California desert, Lalami’s novel follows nine characters connected to a Moroccan immigrant who is killed by a speeding driver. Told through different voices, the man’s family and others take turns moving the plot forward to reveal whether the hit-and-run was an accident or an attack.

Lalami told the audience she spent 4½ years writing “The Other Americans.” “If we knew how difficult it was to write, none of us would be writers,” she said.

Join the new L.A. Times Book Club Facebook Group to share your thoughts and compare notes with fellow book lovers.

Laila Lalami, right, speaks about “The Other Americans” with reporter Lorraine Ali at the Skirball Cultural Center.
Laila Lalami, right, speaks about “The Other Americans” with reporter Lorraine Ali at the Skirball Cultural Center.
(Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times)

REMEMBERING TONI MORRISON

One of the nation’s most celebrated writers, “Beloved” author Toni Morrison, died this week at 88. As the Times obituary details, she won the Nobel Prize in literature and a Pulitzer Prize and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

L.A. writer Lynell George shares a personal appreciation, describing Morrison as a mirror and a map who reflected experience back to us. “Making a way, she cleared space for all of us to follow. It was intentional, every gesture. Her very being and presence was an affirmation and declaration: There is a place for you, but you will have to demand it.”

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Filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders adds that Morrison was wickedly funny and made a mean carrot cake too.

Author Toni Morrison
Author Toni Morrison
(Timothy Greenfield Sanders/Random House)

BOOKS FOR L.A. SCHOOLS

If you’ve attended a recent book club events, you may have met Rebecca Constantino and her team at Access Books.

The L.A. nonprofit is renovating and restocking 18 school libraries, from Watts to East Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley. Here are a few ways we can all help build the next generation of readers.

1. Make a donation. The Times is matching contributions up to $100,000.

2. Donate books. Access Books seeks books for elementary school readers. The website lists drop-off locations.

3. Volunteer. Invite friends and spend a Saturday refurbishing a school library. The next volunteer event is Sept. 7.

4. Start a book drive. Sponsor an underserved school as a community service project.

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More info is here: accessbooks.net

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