The Reading List: August ’11

Every month compiles titles of local interest that are hitting the bookshelves. Here, arranged by genre, are some highlights



A Pleasure to Burn: Farenheit 451 Stories
(Harper Perennial, paperback, $15)
By Ray Bradbury
Most people know Bradbury’s essential classic, but not as many are familiar with its literary antecedents — these 16 short stories that shaped his dark, dystopian vision of the future.
Out: Aug 2


The Family Fang: A Novel
(Ecco, hardcover, $24)
By Kevin Wilson
The kids are not all right in this debut novel about a brother and sister poorly navigating the bizarre world of their parents — obsessive performance artists who force their children to participate in their kooky pieces. 
Out: Aug 9


The Submission: A Novel
(Farrar, Straus & Giroux, hardcover, $26)
By Amy Waldman
The L.A.-born author re-imagines an aftermath of 9/11 in which an American Muslim is chosen to design the memorial. You can imagine the controversy that ensues.
Out: Aug 16


Pretty: A Novel
(Plume, paperback, $15)
By Jillian Lauren
This debut novel from the author of the memoir Some Girls follows main character Bebe’s struggle to regain control of her life in Los Angeles after the sudden death of her boyfriend a year earlier.
Out: Aug 30


Velva Jean Learns to Fly: A Novel
(Plume, paperback, $15)
By Jennifer Niven
A failing country singer finds a new dream when she tastes the joys of flying in this L.A. writer’s debut novel, based on her Emmy-winning film of the same name.
Out: Aug 30




Krazy Kat & the Art of George Herriman: A Celebration
(Abrams, hardcover, $30)
By Craig Yoe
This tribute to one of America’s best-known cartoonists, who worked for the L.A. Herald-Examiner in the early 20th century, is a veritable grab bag of tasty goodies: rare comic strips, photographs, paintings, memorabilia, essays, interviews, and more. Check out our review in the August issue of Los Angeles magazine.
Out: Aug 1


Tom Waits on Tom Waits: Interviews and Encounters
(Chicago Review Press, paperback, $20)
Edited by Paul Maher Jr.
Fans of the reclusive Waits will delight in the 50-plus interviews that fill this collection — a rare opportunity to get to know the L.A. musician behind the signature fedora and earthy growl.
Out: Aug 1


Follow My Lead: What Training My Dogs Taught Me About Life, Love, and Happiness
(Seal Press, paperback, $17)
By Carol Quinn
Two Rhodesian ridgebacks rescue the Venice-based writer from a midlife funk in this warm-hearted confirmation of what most pet owners already know: Dogs really are man’s — or woman’s — best friend.
Out: Aug 1


Spray Paint the Walls: The Story of Black Flag
(PM Press, paperback, $20)
By Stevie Chick
Punk-rock musicians and their fans owe a serious debt to Black Flag, the Hermosa Beach band that pioneered the hardcore subgenre in the mid-70s. This is their story, informed by exclusive interviews with the band’s colorful members and their many contemporaries.
Out: Aug 1


Everett Ruess: His Short Life, Mysterious Death, and Astonishing Afterlife
(University of California Press, hardcover, $25)
By Philip L. Fradkin
This biography probes the mystery of Everett Ruess, an L.A. explorer who vanished in 1934 on one of his expeditions.
Out: Aug 1


Desilu: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz
(It Books, paperback, $17)
By Coyne S. Sanders and Tom Gilbert
Before there was Bradgelina or TomKat, there was Desilu, one of entertainment’s most enduring star couples despite their eventual parting. This paperback reissue of the original 1994 dual biography chronicles Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s personal and professional dealings, with special attention paid to the finances of their hit-making production company.
Out: Aug 2


The Rules of the Tunnel: A Brief Period of Madness
(Gotham, hardcover, $26)
By Ned Zeman
The L.A.-based Vanity Fair contributing editor recounts his desperate battle with clinical depression, in which he resorted to electroconvulsive therapy at serious personal and professional cost. Check out our review in the August issue of Los Angeles magazine.
Out: Aug 4


Fante: A Family’s Legacy of Writing, Drinking and Surviving
(Harper Perennial, paperback, $15)
By Dan Fante
The son of writer John Fante traces his family’s history in Los Angeles, focusing on his complicated relationship with his father, from whom he inherited both virtues and vices.
Out: Aug 30


Thirty Explosive Years in Los Angeles County
(Huntington Library Press, paperback, $30)
By John Anson Ford
This reprint of the 1961 classic chronicles the former L.A. County Supervisor’s decades-long crusade to revolutionize his city, complete with a new bibliography of the Huntington Library’s collection of Ford papers.
Out: Aug 30




Dead Man’s Switch: A Kate Reilly Mystery
(Poisoned Pen Press, hardcover, $25)
By Tammy Kaehler
A newbie racecar driver’s most important race is for the truth in this L.A. author’s debut novel, the first of her planned Kate Reilly Mystery series.
Out: Aug 2


The Gentlemen’s Hour: A Novel
(Simon & Schuster, hardcover, $25)
By Don Winslow
The death of one of Boone Daniels’ surfer buddies rocks a small Pacific Beach community in this latest from the Southern California writer.
Out: Aug 2


Thirteen Million Dollar Pop: A Frank Behr Novel
(Doubleday, hardcover, $25)
By David Levien
In this third Frank Behr thriller, after City of the Sun and Where the Dead Lay, the Indianapolis cop-turned-PI is nearly killed protecting a wealthy client in a nasty gunfight. But much to his surprise and suspicion, Frank alone seems interested in pursuing the case.
Out: Aug 9


Triple Crossing: A Novel
(Mulholland Books, hardcover, $25)
By Sebastian Rotella
A Border Patrol agent infiltrates a Mexican crime family in this debut from a long-time L.A. Times foreign correspondent.
Out: Aug 10



Sex on Six Legs: Lessons on Life, Love, and Language from the Insect World
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, hardcover, $25)
By Marlene Zuk
Before you squash another errant ant on your kitchen counter, consider this title from a UC Riverside professor of biology. They — or you — may not know it, but bugs are windows into our souls.
Out: Aug 2


The Source Field Investigations: The Hidden Science and Lost Civilizations Behind the 2012 Prophecies
(Dutton, hardcover, $30)
By David Wilcock
Extending his work on the Internet documentary The 2012 Enigma, the L.A.-based filmmaker and writer tries to convince you that 2012 really is a significant year, but not necessarily in a Mayan-style, end-of-the-world kind of way.
Out: Aug 23


(First Second, hardcover, $30)
By Jimm Ottaviani; illustrated by Leland Myrick
The Pasadena illustrator teams with a nonfiction comics writer in this graphic novel about the life and science of Nobel-winning Caltech quantum physicist — and by most accounts all-around stand-up guy — Richard Feynman.
Out: Aug 30



The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Los Angeles: Secrets of Living the Good Life–For Less!
(GPP Travel, paperback, $15)
This entry in a series that includes New York, Boston, Chicago, and Los Vegas details our city’s plenitude of affordable offerings, from theater to wine tasting, haircuts and more.
Out: Aug 2


Playbook for Progressives: 16 Qualities of the Successful Organizer
(Beacon Press, paperback, $15)
By Eric Mann
Learn to galvanize support for your cause with this informed guide from a 45-year veteran in anti-war, labor, and environmental organizing and the director of the Labor/Community Strategy Center in Los Angeles.
Out: Aug 9


Happy Chaos
(Dutton, hardcover, $20)
By Soleil Moon Frye
Advice comes by way of reminiscences in this book from the child star of the 80s sitcom Punky Brewster, whose early days as an actress gave way to parenthood, entrepreneurialism, and renown in the online mommy-sphere.
Out: Aug 23


The Wealth Cure: Putting Money in Its Place
(Gotham, hardcover, $26)
By Hill Harper
The do-everything L.A. man — he writes, stars in CSI: NY, and studied at Brown, Harvard, and the Kennedy School of Government — redefines wealth in this self-help guide to financial responsibility and general happiness.
Out: Aug 23