The Reading List: L.A. Authors. L.A. Topics. November 09 Books.

Every month LAmag.com highlights titles of local interest that are hitting bookshelves. Here’s what’s new
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LAmag.com, November 2, 2009

The Birth (and Death) of the Cool
(Speck Press, hardcover, $25)
By Ted Gioia
It’s no longer hip to be cool according to the jazz authority who was born in the city of Hawthorne.
Out:  Nov. 1


City of Industry: Genealogies of Power in Southern California
(Rutgers University Press, hardcover, $25)
By Victor Valle
A rigorous study of the way new and corrupt technologies of power were marshaled in the founding of a city by the Cal Poly professor and former Los Angeles Times investigative reporter.
Out:  Nov. 1


Power of Gardens
(Stewart, Tabori & Chang, hardcover, $60)
By Nancy Goslee Power
A portfolio of projects from Santa Monica’s celebrated landscape designer, including residential gardens in Beverly Hills and Malibu, street planning for downtown Los Angeles, and play areas for the Pasadena Children’s Museum.
Out: Nov. 1


Less Rightly Said: Scandals and Readers in Sixteenth-Century France
(Stanford University Press, hardcover, $60)
By Antónia Szabari
The USC professor looks at both the high (Ronsard, Calvin, and Rabelais) and low (popular pamphlets) of early modern French writing to reveal how religious debate led to highly polemicized and vitriolic discourse.
Out:  Nov. 2


A.I. Artificial Intelligence: From Stanley Kubrick to Steven Spielberg: The Vision Behind the Film
(Thames & Hudson, hardcover, $60)
Edited by Jan Harlan and Jane Struthers
Chris Baker’s drawings, commissioned by Kubrick and used by Spielberg, are set alongside Kubrick’s notebooks and stills from the film to reveal the forces behind the production.
Out:  Nov. 3


Bear Portraits
(Little, Brown, and Company, hardcover, $27)
By Jill Greenberg
One wonders about any similarities between those growling grizzlies and the celebrities the L.A. photographer and Los Angeles magazine contributor regularly shoots.
Out:  Nov. 3


Free for All: Joe Papp, the Public, and the Greatest Theater Story Ever Told
(Doubleday, hardcover, $40)
By Kenneth Turan and Joseph Papp
The Los Angeles Times film critic interviews dozens of stars, including George C. Scott, Meryl Streep, and James Earl Jones, to tell the story of the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Public Theater, and the charismatic leader of these institutions, Joseph Papp.
Out:  Nov. 3


Hidden Talent: The Emergence of Hollywood Agents
(University of California Press, hardcover, $55)
By Tom Kemper
A look at the forces that propel such stars as Katharine Hepburn, John Wayne, and Lauren Becall.
Out:  Nov. 3


High Society: The Life of Grace Kelly
(Harmony Books, hardcover, $26)
By Donald Spoto
Offering rich details of 1950s Hollywood, Spoto draws on never-before-published material to provide a new understanding of the personal life of the Oscar-winning movie star and princess.
Out:  Nov. 3


Knit the Season: A Friday Night Knitting Club Novel
(Putnam, hardcover, $25)
By Kate Jacobs
A sequel to The Friday Night Knitting Club and Knit Two from the LA-based novelist.
Out:  Nov. 3


Mother California: A Story of Redemption Behind Bars
(Atlas & Co., hardcover, $22)
By Kenneth Hartman
Sentenced to life for a murder he committed as a drug-addicted 19-year-old in 1980 in Los Angeles, the inmate has become a prison activist, working to reform the California State Correctional System.
Out:  Nov. 3


The Road Out of Hell: Sanford Clark and the True Story of the Wineville Murders
(Union Square Press, hardcover, $25)
By Anthony Flacco and Jerry Clark
Sanford Clark’s son collaborates with a crime writer to tell the true story behind the film, Changeling.
Out:  Nov. 3


Total Health the Chinese Way: An Essential Guide to Easing Pain, Reducing Stress, Treating Illness, and Restoring the Body through Traditional Chinese Medicine
(Da Capo Press, paperback, $18)
By Esther Ting and Marianne Jas
The body has five primary power centers, according to the L.A. acupuncturist, and they each can play a role in strengthening our physical and emotional defenses if we simply listen.
Out:  Nov. 3


Audrey Hepburn: International Cover Girl
(Chronicle Books, hardcover, $45)
By Scott Brizel
In the 1950s and 60s, the world wanted to see one lovely face more than any other, and this volume collects more than 600 magazine covers from around the globe featuring the iconic star of such films as Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Out:  Nov. 4


When the Game Was Ours
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, hardcover, $26)
By Larry Bird, Earvin Magic Johnson, and Jackie MacMullen
One was the brightest star of “Showtime” in the NBA glory-days of the 1980s, and the other was his fiercest competitor; this tells the story of their legendary rivalry on their court and of their epic personal struggles.
Out: Nov. 4

Irving Thalberg: Boy Wonder to Producer Prince
(University of California Press, hardcover, $35)
By Mark A. Vieira
He ran major studios in his early 20s and made such stars as Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, and Clark Gable before dying at the age of 37, but who really was the “Boy Wonder”?
Out:  Nov. 5


The Narcissism of Minor Differences: How America and Europe are Alike
(Oxford University Press, hardcover, $25)
By Peter Baldwin
Trans-Atlantic differences are overstated because some stand to gain by perceived contrasts, says the UCLA history professor.
Out:  Nov. 5


Playboy and the Making of the Good Life in Modern America
(Oxford University Press, hardcover, $30)
By Elizabeth Fraterrigo
A look at the value, style, and gender formulations that were constructed in the magazine’s pages and embraced by mainstream America.
Out:  Nov. 5


Marc Bell’s Hot Potatoe: Fine Ahtwerks: 2001-2008
(Drawn and Quarterly, hardcover, $35)
By Marc Bell?
A decade’s worth of comics and “fine aht” from the L.A. Weekly cartoonist.
Out:  Nov. 10


Alchemical Mercury: A Theory of Ambivalence
(Stanford University Press, hardcover, $55)
By Karen Pinkus
Along with its magical and metaphorical connotations, the USC professor argues, “alchemy” is linked to productions of real metals and also can be adumbrated in almost every culture around the world.
Out:  Nov. 11


Tim Burton
(The Museum of Modern Art, New York, paperback, $20)
By Tim Burton, Jenny He, and Ron Magliozzi
This volume includes works on paper, film stills, conceptual art, and much more and accompanies a retrospective of the iconic filmmaker’s career at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, through April 26.
Out:  Nov. 12


Saints of California: A Guide to Places and Their Patrons
(Getty Publications, paperback $20)
By Edward Mornin and Lorna Mornin
A handy little guidebook to the multitude of California cities and landmarks with Christian monikers.
Out:  Nov. 15


Wild Horses of the World
(Hamlyn, hardcover, $25)
By Moira C. Harris
A look at the world’s remaining herds of undomesticated steeds by one of America’s leading equine journalists, who lives in Long Beach.
Out:  Nov. 15


How to Be Famous: Our Guide to Looking the Part, Playing the Press, and Becoming a Tabloid Fixture
(Grand Central Publishing, hardcover, $20)
By Heidi Montag & Spencer Pratt
What debasing acts must one commit to go from “nobody to notorious” – these two surely know.
Out:  Nov. 16


Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice
(NYU Press, hardcover, $30)
By Alexandra Natapoff
Police informants are inherently problematic and often lead to costly and violent mistakes according to the Loyola Law School professor.
Out:  Nov. 16


American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765-1915
(Metropolitan Museum of Art Publications, hardcover, $60)
This volume of masterpieces about ordinary people accompanies an exhibit at LACMA, Feb. 28-May 23.
Out:  Nov. 17


Here’s the Deal: Don’t Touch Me
(Bantam Books, hardcover, $25)
By Howie Mandel
The comedian candidly discusses his struggle with his severe fear of germs.
Out: Nov. 24


The Morning Show Murders: A Novel
(Random House, hardcover, $26)
By Al Roker and Dick Lochte
Treachery roils a TV newsroom in this novel by the famous morning show host and a former Los Angeles Times writer.
Out:  Nov. 24


Hollywood Moon: A Novel
(Little, Brown and Company, hardcover, $27)
By Joseph Wambaugh
Cops, street people and high-tech criminals are spun together in a wild and complex whodunit on the streets of LA.
Out:  Nov. 24 

Photograph courtesy Flickr/timetrax23