Updating the California Reading List - The World News

Updating the California Reading List

“A fascinating and engaging book illuminating the life and influence of Isaias Hellman on the growth and changes in California from the 1850s to current times. Finance, business, health care, discrimination and the incredible power of money and financial acumen. As a Jew who grew up in Los Angeles and has lived in the Bay Area for over 40 years, the book taught me so much about the history of the regions I have lived in. My book club selection years ago, it received a positive vote from my entire book club, which rarely happens, especially for a nonfiction title.” — Farrell May Podgorsek, San Jose

“The Browns of California: The Family Dynasty that Transformed a State and Shaped a Nation” by Miriam Pawel (2018)

“Miriam Pawel possesses a remarkable talent for zooming out and revealing a broader narrative than one might expect. In this book, she doesn’t limit herself to the prominent politicians in the Brown family, such as Gov. Jerry Brown and his father, Pat Brown. Instead, she delves into four generations, offering more than just a political family biography. Through the lens of the Brown family, Pawel paints a vivid portrait of California’s own history.” — Natalia Molina, Los Angeles

“The Long Goodbye” (1953) and “The Big Sleep” (1939) by Raymond Chandler

You can’t go wrong with any of the Philip Marlowe books, especially ‘The Big Sleep’ and ‘The Long Goodbye.’ To read them is to get a lesson in the L.A. geography of that era, a picture of the society of that time, and not to mention an unforgettable cast of characters.” — Marty Levy, Los Angeles

“Ask The Dust” by John Fante (1939)

“In this novel, Arturo Bandini, the young author’s fictional alter ego, struggles to become a famous writer in Depression-era Los Angeles. I first read this story in the 1980s when I was in my early middle age. Reading it made me almost wish I had been alive and young and as impudent as Bandini is in the story, and just as hungry as he was to make it as a recognized, successful writer, in the Los Angeles of those 1930s. Robert Towne, who wrote the screenplay for ‘Chinatown’ and wrote and directed the motion picture adaptation of ‘Ask the Dust,’ has called ‘Ask the Dust’ the greatest novel ever written about Los Angeles.” — Jim Luther, Mendocino

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