Books: Rigoberto González on the power of the written word, finding books all over L.A. and more

Rigoberto González, one of our critics at large, was raised in a family of immigrant farmworkers. Now he writes award-winning books. He tells his story and more this week in Books at the L.A. Times.


“In 1980, I arrived with my family to the U.S.-Mexico border from Michoacán with what little we could bring with us on the three-day journey by bus. Not long after, once more members of our extended family joined the migration, 19 of us moved into a tiny apartment in Thermal, Calif., where we didn’t have much privacy or personal space for the next few years,” writes Rigoberto González. “My brother and cousins took to the streets to claim that independence, but as the introvert among the group of 11 kids, I reached for the books.” Read his essay here.

Rigoberto González is one of the L.A. Times' critics at large and a professor who has published a dozen books.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)



In bars and cafes, clothing stores and skate shops, you can find books all over Los Angeles in the least expected places. Christine Zhang explores the unexpected literary outposts of our city. With video.

Catcher in the Rye is a book-themed bar in Toluca Lake.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)


Next month the National Book Critics Circle will vote on its 2016 awards, selecting winners in six categories. Board member Kate Tuttle looks at the five nonfiction finalists: “Evicted” by Matthew Desmond, “Stamped From the Beginning” by Ibram X. Kendi, “Dark Money” by Jane Mayer, “Nothing Ever Dies” by Viet Thanh Nguyen and “Writing to Save a Life” by John Edgar Wideman. Each book, in its own way, speaks to our moment, a time of economic inequality, political shifts, and long-simmering conversations about race, history and violence.


If you’re aching for a cozy refuge from our wintry rainstorm, you’re not alone. SoCal book buyers have put “The Little Book of Hygge” by Meik Wiking into its third week on our bestseller list, where it’s at No. 8 in nonfiction. Hygge, a lifestyle trend, is the Danish philosophy of comfort, togetherness and well-being — think dinners by candlelight, warm socks and curling up on the couch with a blanket. A tip for being truly hip? It’s pronounced “hoo-ga.”



Did you hear about the daring book heist in London, where robbers cut through a skylight, rappelled 40 feet down, and then selectively took $2.5 million in antiquarian books? Or that Philip Pullman is returning to write three more books that run in parallel to his beloved “His Dark Materials” trilogy? How about that CalArts has launched a new literary magazine called Sublevel with some fascinating essays? We’ve got book news daily for you online at our blog, Jacket Copy.