The most recommended books about Los Angeles

Who picked these books? Meet our 410 experts.

410 authors created a book list connected to Los Angeles, and here are their favorite Los Angeles books.
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Book cover of The Heaven of Animals

Martha LaGuardia-Kotite Author Of Changing the Rules of Engagement: Inspiring Stories of Courage and Leadership from Women in the Military

From my list on finding inspiration that can change your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love adventure—I'm an adventurist. I love escaping—through creative writing and the written word! And, I love the sea—I have served over 30 years in the US Coast Guard at sea and ashore and recently drove Zodiacs in Alaska and Norway for Seabourn Cruise ships. Since publishing my first book, So Others May Live about heroic US Coast Guard rescue swimmers and aircrews  (read by Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher who both told me they loved my book and used it for their roles in film, The Guardian), I have become a TEDx speaker and coach, award-winning author and rose to the senior rank of captain in the USCG. 

Martha's book list on finding inspiration that can change your life

Martha LaGuardia-Kotite Why did Martha love this book?

I recently met the author at a writing workshop. He was my facilitator—he did an excellent job! What’s more, after the week of reading and critiquing each other’s fictional stories I decided to read this book. Wow! Beautifully written. The stories are sometimes shocking, sometimes sad but always worth the time! I feel lucky to have met this author and have had him help me improve my first novel which I'm completing now

By David James Poissant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Heaven of Animals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Named one of Amazon's Best Short Story Collections of 2014
One of Atlanta Journal Constitution's 9 Best Books of 2014
Best Short Story Collection of the Year, Tweed's Magazine
Winner of GLCA New Writers Award for Fiction
2014 LA Times Book Prize Finalist
Winner of the Florida Book Awards Silver Medal for Fiction
Nominated for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction

"A debut collection of unsparing yet warmly empathetic stories...akin to both Anton Chekhov and Raymond Carver in humane spirit and technical mastery" (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).

The Heaven of Animals, award-winning young writer David James Poissant's stunning…

Book cover of Reluctant Immortals

Paul Jessup Author Of Glass House

From my list on horror that will blow your mind (kaboom).

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved weird horror from a young age, and that passion only grew as the years went on. It all started when I was ten, and I got an anthology of classic horror for my birthday. Inside I read The White People by Machen, Cast the Runes by MR James, and The Colour Out of Space by Lovecraft, and I was hooked. Ever since then I chased that same thrill of the horror that is so out there and strange it just breaks your brain and changes you inside out. I have a feeling I’ll be chasing that obsession until the end of my days.

Paul's book list on horror that will blow your mind (kaboom)

Paul Jessup Why did Paul love this book?

This is a great riff on Hammer Horror, Dracula, psychedelia, the sixties, and Jane Eyre. Yes, I said Jane Eyre!

Take Mina, Bertha Mason, throw them into the middle of the 1960s Sunset Strip, and you have yourself a rocket of a novel. It starts with the voice of Dracula coming from his urns, his ashes speaking to Mina, and her just so sick of his nonsense, and only gets better from there.

By Gwendolyn Kiste,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reluctant Immortals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For fans of Mexican Gothic, from three-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author Gwendolyn Kiste comes a novel inspired by the untold stories of forgotten women in classic literature—from Lucy Westenra, a victim of Stoker's Dracula, and Bertha Mason, Mr. Rochester's attic-bound wife in Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre—as they band together to combat the toxic men bent on destroying their lives, set against the backdrop of the Summer of Love, Haight-Ashbury, 1967.

Reluctant Immortals is a historical horror novel that looks at two men of classic literature, Dracula and Mr. Rochester, and the two women who survived them, Bertha and Lucy, who…

Book cover of Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun

Elizabeth Arroyo Author Of On the Edge of Broken Pieces

From my list on YA LGBTQIA coming out.

Why am I passionate about this?

I remember how it was to be an awkward teen, misunderstood, questioning, and having nowhere to turn. I remember living in a violent world where I had to grow up to survive. The world was a scary place for a neurodivergent who lived more in her head than in real life. I want to be able to bring stories to our young people where they might see themselves and not feel so alone because we all are a bit awkward, a bit misunderstood, and filled with stories that deserve to be told.

Elizabeth's book list on YA LGBTQIA coming out

Elizabeth Arroyo Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Coming out to the people you love is difficult enough. Julian comes out to the world in a tweet–and has to live with it the following day when he remembers. Oops.

This is a heartfelt story of a boy trying to find his place in the world despite not being understood by the people who matter most. For Julian, it’s his dad. Funny, heartfelt, and much deserving of a HEA.

By Jonny Garza Villa,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A poignant, funny, openhearted novel about coming out, first love, and being your one and only best and true self.

Julian Luna has a plan for his life: Graduate. Get into UCLA. And have the chance to move away from Corpus Christi, Texas, and the suffocating expectations of others that have forced Jules into an inauthentic life.

Then in one reckless moment, with one impulsive tweet, his plans for a low-key nine months are thrown-literally-out the closet. The downside: the whole world knows, and Jules has to prepare for rejection. The upside: Jules now has the opportunity to be his…

Book cover of From Coveralls to Zoot Suits: The Lives of Mexican American Women on the World War II Home Front

Gregory A. Daddis Author Of Pulp Vietnam: War and Gender in Cold War Men's Adventure Magazines

From my list on war and society.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the USS Midway Chair in Modern US Military History at San Diego State University. I’ve been teaching courses on the relationships between war and society for years and am fascinated not just by the causes and conduct of war, but, more importantly, by the costs of war. To me, Americans have a rather peculiar connection with war. In many ways, war has become an integral part of American conduct overseas—and our very identity. And yet we often don’t study it to question some of our basic assumptions about what war can do, what it means, and what the consequences are for wielding armed force so readily overseas.

Gregory's book list on war and society

Gregory A. Daddis Why did Gregory love this book?

I teach at a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) and it’s important for my students to identify with the historical actors we study. Escobedo resonates with them because she artfully discusses how the “Good War” was perceived within Mexican American families living in Southern California. She argues that Mexican American women, especially those working in the defense industry, were “racially malleable” and members of an “in-between” community during the war.

There’s so much going on in this story—insights into race and gender, sexuality and family dynamics, fears about “race mixing,” and wartime demographic shifts. Yet in all this, Escobedo never loses sight of the women themselves and their powerful voices.

By Elizabeth R. Escobedo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From Coveralls to Zoot Suits as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During World War II, unprecedented employment avenues opened up for women and minorities in U.S. defense industries at the same time that massive population shifts and the war challenged Americans to rethink notions of race. At this extraordinary historical moment, Mexican American women found new means to exercise control over their lives in the home, workplace, and nation. In From Coveralls to Zoot Suits, Elizabeth R. Escobedo explores how, as war workers and volunteers, dance hostesses and zoot suiters, respectable young ladies and rebellious daughters, these young women used wartime conditions to serve the United States in its time of…

Book cover of The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level

Christian Mayer

From Christian's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Tech enthusiast Optimist Coder

Christian's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Christian Mayer Why did Christian love this book?

The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks explores the self-imposed barriers that prevent us from realizing our fullest potential.

As I journeyed through its pages, I was confronted with the profound concept of the Upper Limit Problem, which illuminated the subconscious ways I might be holding myself back from true success and happiness. Hendricks' delineation of the four zones - Incompetence, Competence, Excellence, and Genius - was a revelation.

It provided a clear roadmap for navigating my own life, urging me to transcend mediocrity and strive for that elusive Zone of Genius where passion and talent converge.

The book's insights into how we often sabotage our own success resonated deeply, making me reflect on my own patterns and behaviors. It's not just a guide to achieving external success but a call to inner fulfillment and true self-realization. By the end, I felt equipped and inspired to take that 'big leap'…

By Gay Hendricks,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Big Leap as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The Big Leap" reveals a simple yet comprehensive model of life fulfillment, presented in a way that engages both mind and heart. Gay Hendricks, a major voice in the fields of relationship transformation, and body-mind therapies, developed these methods over the last thirty years by working closely with more than one thousand extraordinary achievers in business and the arts. Readers will discover what prevents them from fulfilling their true potential so they may enjoy the highest levels of success. Through a step-by-step program, Hendricks shares his proven method for identifying and breaking through our personal upper limits to achieve ultimate…

Book cover of The Big Nowhere

Steven Powell Author Of Love Me Fierce In Danger: The Life of James Ellroy

From my list on the king of LA noir James Ellroy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by James Ellroy’s life and writing since I first discovered it as a lonely teenager on a rainswept family holiday. He went through dark times; the unsolved murder of his mother and his subsequent struggles with addiction. But how he overcame this to become one of America’s greatest writers is an inspiring story and has inspired me to get through my own personal turmoil. Indeed, many Ellroy readers will attest to how his life story and writing helped them overcome their struggles. Now as Ellroy’s biographer, I am continually drawn back to his work. Reading just a few pages allows me to contemplate what Ellroy calls ‘the Wonder’.

Steven's book list on the king of LA noir James Ellroy

Steven Powell Why did Steven love this book?

This is a personal favourite as it’s the Ellroy novel that carries the biggest emotional punch. Although it didn’t match the sales of its predecessor The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere is a more accomplished novel. The setting is LA, 1950. A murder plot is interweaved with the politics of the Red Scare, and a Hollywood milieu at the height of the film noir age. This is the novel that proved Ellroy was a literary writer, and not just a genre one.

By James Ellroy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Big Nowhere as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The D. A.'s brass, a sheriff's deputy, and a rough-and-tumble bagman are unknowingly chasing a nightmare in this thrilling novel from the author of "some of the most powerful crime novels ever written" (New York Times).
Los Angeles, 1950 Red crosscurrents: the Commie Scare and a string of brutal mutilation killings. Gangland intrigue and Hollywood sleaze. Three cops caught in a hellish web of ambition, perversion, and deceit. Danny Upshaw is a Sheriff's deputy stuck with a bunch of snuffs nobody cares about; they're his chance to make his name as a cop...and to sate his darkest curiosities. Mal Considine…

Book cover of Roxanne

Katie Delahanty Author Of Keystone

From my list on 20th century YA that will give you all the feels.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a teen, I had zero aspirations to become a writer. I didn’t discover my passion for writing until I was thirty! But once I started writing, it was these books and the way they made me feel that I drew on. I wanted strong heroines that I wanted to be—and be friends with. I wanted a slow burn, skin-tingling romance with a lot of push and pull. I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself. To go on a quest. To feel victorious. And it is my hope that I can give my readers all the feels these books gave me.

Katie's book list on 20th century YA that will give you all the feels

Katie Delahanty Why did Katie love this book?

I have loved many a Sunfire historical Romance. Danielle (pirates!), Caroline (Gold Rush!), Amanda (Oregon Trail!), Nicole (Titanic—way before there was a movie). There’s always a kick-ass heroine and a love triangle and fun outfits (also a must for me—I was a fashion designer before becoming a writer and styling the wardrobe and “sets” is very important to me when crafting a story. I keep a Pinterest board for all my books and unlock it once a book/series is fully published). Anyway, I especially loved Roxanne because I’ve always loved Old Hollywood and old movies (much like Elisha in Keystone). I moved to Orange County, California from Pittsburgh when I was a kid, and on day trips to Los Angeles, I preferred seeing Hollywood through Roxanne’s eyes. It was her story that connected me to my new home. 

By Jane Claypool Miner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Roxanne as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Miner, Jane Claypool

Book cover of Nora Webster

Margaret Farrell Kirby Author Of Becoming Nora

From my list on characters navigating the fragility of life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always wanted to be a writer. I love reading and am inspired by authors of character-driven novels—Anne Tyler, Elizabeth Berg, Colm Toibin, Anna Quindlen, and others—who take time to explore the inner thoughts and motivations of their protagonists. The novels I picked take the reader deep into the interior thoughts of their protagonists. As they explore the complexities of relationships amid the texture of ordinary life, they reveal the fragility and strength of the characters as we discover what simmers beneath the surface of their relationships. Long after reading them, I remember the characters and the time I spent with them.

Margaret's book list on characters navigating the fragility of life

Margaret Farrell Kirby Why did Margaret love this book?

Colm Toibin is one of my favorite writers. The drama in his novels is found in quiet moments with portraits of ordinary characters that we get to know and love. Nora Webster is a 44-year-old woman living in a small town in Ireland. We meet her soon after her husband dies, as she grieves amid navigating her new life with four children and little income.  

Through Toibin’s exceptional character development, we become immersed in Nora’s journey: her realization of feeling confined by the well-meaning expectations of her neighbors; her relationship with her sons as she struggles to parent them through their grief; her growing self-reflection as she awakens to her hidden strength. We cheer her as she achieves her newfound independence.

By Colm Toίbίn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nora Webster as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

* * * Shortlisted for the 2014 Costa Novel Awards and the 2015 Folio Prize * * *

Nora Webster is the heartbreaking new novel from one of the greatest novelists writing today.

It is the late 1960s in Ireland. Nora Webster is living in a small town, looking after her four children, trying to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. She is fiercely intelligent, at times difficult and impatient, at times kind, but she is trapped by her circumstances, and waiting for any chance which will lift her beyond them.

Slowly, through the gift of music…

Book cover of In Case You Forgot

Hari Ziyad Author Of Black Boy Out of Time

From my list on loss and grief from a certified death doula.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a journalist, author and screenwriter, my work has always pondered loss and grief. I think this has something to do with the fact that of my mother’s religion; she was a convert to Hinduism and started conversations about the inevitability of death and how the soul and the body aren’t the same when us children were at a very young age. It probably also has something to do with the constant presence of death within my family and communities as a Black and queer person in a violently anti-Black and queerantagonistic world. I currently volunteer at a hospice, and provide community-building programming to death workers from diverse communities.

Hari's book list on loss and grief from a certified death doula

Hari Ziyad Why did Hari love this book?

This rare Black queer romance novel is a heartfelt exploration of friendship and second chances.

It doesn’t shy away from the complexities of maintaining relationships in the midst of grief, addressing head on one of the most difficult and underexplored aspects of loss. It’s a reminder that our past shapes us, but our present can redefine us, through the refreshing lens of Black queer characters just trying to figure out their lives.

By Frederick Smith, Chaz Lamar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In Case You Forgot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two newly single, Black, queer, and socially aware men have packed up to start again--in love, career, and life--in the West Hollywood neighborhood of LA.

Zaire James, on the cusp of 30, has decided marriage isn't all it's cracked up to be. Despite friends, family, and coworkers loving Zaire's "perfect" partner, divorce is a necessary step for finding himself and being free. If only it were that easy.

Kenny Kane has made a career of deferring dreams, lowering expectations, and chasing partners not on his level in hopes of finding a love to call his own. However, on the verge…

Book cover of Lost Light

Marjorie McCown Author Of Final Cut

From my list on crime about Hollywood.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been hooked on the magic of storytelling since childhood, always eager to go wherever imagination can take me. I think that early fascination led me to become a costume designer because costume design is about using clothing to help tell a story. I spent 27 years working on the costume design teams for films like Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, Angels & Demons, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. When I decided to take what felt like a logical creative step, to write my own stories, I knew I wanted to write murder mysteries. And I thought the world behind the scenes of a movie would make the perfect setting.   

Marjorie's book list on crime about Hollywood

Marjorie McCown Why did Marjorie love this book?

In the ninth book featuring Connelly’s iconic character, (now retired) LAPD detective Harry Bosch, the quintessential modern knight errant is working a case that’s haunted him for years – the murder of Angella Benton.

Her death might be linked to a bold and bloody robbery of 2 million dollars from a movie set where she worked as a production assistant, but neither crime was ever solved. Now Harry is intent on finding Angella’s killer.

The story is set against the backdrop of the movie industry and the celebrity-obsessed culture of Hollywood. Unimpressed by the trappings of power, Harry follows his instincts, led only by his guiding principle, “Everybody counts or nobody counts.”

But this time, he’s on his own without a badge or backup, and when his investigation hits very close to home, Harry finds himself facing brutal enemies determined to strike him down. 

By Michael Connelly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lost Light as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Award-winning No.1 bestselling author Michael Connelly's ninth Bosch book. Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch has retired from the Los Angeles Police Department - but the discovery of a startling unsolved murder among his old case files means he cannot rest until he finds the killer.

When he left the LAPD, Bosch took a file with him: the case of a production assistant murdered four years earlier during a movie set robbery. The LAPD thinks the stolen money was used to finance a terrorist training camp. Thoughts of the original murder victim were lost in the federal zeal, and when Bosch decides to…