The Reading List: January ’12

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

 
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City of the Lost 
(DAW, paperback, $15)
By Stephen Blackmore
A zombie crime novel set in Los Angeles—need we say more?
Out: Jan 3

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Gun Games
(William Morrow, hardcover, $26)
By Faye Kellerman
L.A. teens are the bad guys (but obviously) in this umpteenth Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus mystery.
Out: Jan 3

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Hard Target 
(Touchstone, hardcover, $26)
By Howard Gordon
The producer of 24 follows up Gideon’s War with this thriller about a conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. government.
Out: Jan 3

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The Jaguar
(Dutton, hardcover, $27)
By T. Jefferson Parker
A kidnapped songwriter is forced to compose a narcocorrido (“drug ballad”) for her captors in this latest from the best-selling crime writer.
Out: Jan 10

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The Spy Who Jumped Off the Screen
(Viking, hardcover, $27)
By Thomas Caplan
In this Bond-type yarn—introduced by former President Bill Clinton!—a movie star must become a soldier-spy and save the world from nuclear war.
Out: Jan 10

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The Look of Love
(William Morrow, hardcover, $26)
By Mary Jane Clark
A wedding cake decorator who takes a posh assignment in Los Angeles finds herself in the middle of a murder mystery.
Out: Jan 17

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Taken
(Putnam, hardcover, $27)
By Robert Crais
Like that kick-butt Liam Neeson movie of the (coincidentally) same name, this novel from the L.A. author features professional kidnappers, human trafficking, and a lot of thrills.
Out: Jan 24

 
 

Fiction

 
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The African Safari Papers
(Overlook, paperback, $14)
By Robert Sedlack
A sex-crazed 19-year-old documents his family’s wild trip to Africa in this debut from the L.A. author.
Out: Dec 27

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Monstress
(Ecco, paperback, $14)
By Lysley Tenorio
The title story in this collection of Filipino-American tales follows a movie director’s fraught journey to Hollywood. Check out our review in the February issue of Los Angeles magazine.
Out: Jan 14

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Baby Geisha
(Two Dollar Radio, paperback, $16)
By Trinie Dalton
Strange, sometimes magical tidings fill the pages of this collection of 13 short stories.
Out: Jan 17

 
 

Non-Fiction

 
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Admiral Nimitz: The Commander of the Pacific Ocean Theater 
(Palgrave Macmillan, hardcover, $26)
By Brayton Harris
He was the man who led the Allied forces to victory after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Out: Jan 3

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The Man Within My Head
(Knopf, hardcover, $26)
By Pico Iyer
The “man” of the title is English writer Graham Greene, with whom the celebrated travel writer has always felt an inexplicable connection.
Out: Jan 3

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Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?: Trick Questions, Zen-like Riddles, Insanely Difficult Puzzles, and other Devious Interviewing Techniques You Need to Know to Get a Job in the New Economy
(Little, Brown, hardcover, $20)
By William Poundstone
That mouthful of a subtitle says it all.
Out: Jan 4

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Growgirl: How My Life After The Blair Witch Project Went to Pot 
(Gotham, hardcover, $26)
By Heather Donahue
If you ever wanted to know what happened to that girl from The Blair Witch Project, here’s your (not terribly surprising) answer.
Out: Jan 5

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Hannibal and Me: What History’s Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us About Success and Failure 
(Riverhead, hardcover, $27)
By Andreas Kluth
Hannibal—remember the guy who invaded Rome on elephants two thousand-plus years ago?—is the starting point for this sort-of memoir from the West Coast correspondent of The Economist.
Out: Jan 5

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Power Concedes Nothing: One Woman’s Quest for Social Justice in America, from the Courtroom to the Kill Zones
(Scribner, hardcover, $26)
By Connie Rice
Well-known names in L.A. law enforcement like William Bratton, Charlie Beck, and Lee Baca make appearances in this memoir from the prominent civil rights attorney.
Out: Jan 10

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Girl Land 
(Reagan Arthur, hardcover, $26)
By Caitlin Flanagan
Girls’ transition to womanhood is the subject of this collection of essays from the high school teacher turned L.A. writer.
Out: Jan 12

 

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The End of Illness
(Free Press, hardcover, $26)
By David B. Agus
The USC Keck School of Medicine professor’s premise is as ambitious as his title—disrupting our fundamental conception of what “health” truly means.
Out: Jan 17

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The 10 Commandments of Money: Survive and Thrive in the New Economy
(Hudson Street, hardcover, $26)
By Liz Weston
This how-to guide from the popular finance columnist includes advice on balancing your budget, paying for college, and saving for retirement. 
Out: Jan 20

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Changing Lives: Gustavo Dudamel, El Sistema, and the Transformative Power of Music
(W. W. Norton, hardcover, $27)
By Tricia Tunstall
The big cheese of Los Angeles’ classical music scene and the music education program that got him to that point are the dual subjects of this revealing bio sketch.
Out: Jan 23

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The Accidental Feminist: How Elizabeth Taylor Raised Our Consciousness and We Were Too Distracted By Her Beauty to Notice
(Walker, hardcover, $23)
By M. G. Lord
Elizabeth Taylor may not have self-identified as a feminist, but the L.A. culture writer and USC professor thinks her on-screen persona did a lot for the cause. Check out our review in the February issue of Los Angeles magazine.
Out: Jan 31