California Reading List Update

“A fascinating and engaging book that illuminates the life and influence of Isaias Hellman on development and change in California from the 1850s to the present day. Finance, business, health care, discrimination and the incredible power of money and financial acumen. As a Jewish woman who grew up in Los Angeles and lived in the Bay Area for over 40 years, the book taught me a lot about the history of the regions where I lived. My book club choice many years ago received a positive vote from my entire book club, which rarely happens, especially for a nonfiction title.” — Farrell May Podgorsek, San Jose

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

“Miriam Pawel has an extraordinary talent for zooming in and revealing a wider story than one might expect. In this book, she does not limit herself to prominent politicians in the Brown family, such as Governor Jerry Brown and his father, Pat Brown. Instead, it spans four generations, offering more than a political family biography. Through the lens of the Brown family, Pawel paints a vivid portrait of California history.” — Natalia Molina, Los Angeles

The Long Goodbye (1953) and The Big Dream (1939) by Raymond Chandler

You can’t go wrong with any Philip Marlowe book, especially ‘The Big Sleep’ and ‘The Long Goodbye’. To read them is to get a lesson in the geography of LA at the time, a snapshot of society at the time, 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 fictional alter ego of a young author, 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 years. Reading it, I almost wished I was alive and young and as brash as Bandini is in the story, and as hungry as he was to make it as a recognized, successful writer, in Los Angeles in the 1930s. Robert Towne, who wrote the screenplay for ‘Chinatown’ and wrote and directed the film adaptation of ‘Ask the Dust,’ called ‘Ask the Dust’ the greatest novel ever written about Los Angeles.” — Jim Luther, Mendocino

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