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A SoCal reading list for when the weather gets chilly




New books with a California Connection
New books with a California Connection

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Chilly winter weather makes a lot of people want to curl up on the couch with a hot cup of coffee and a good book. So with the recent cold snap, we thought we'd get some suggestions. Los Angeles Times Books Editor Carolyn Kellogg walked us through some new titles with a California connection.

The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantu
The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantu

The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border, by Francisco Cantú

Fransisco Cantú is of Mexican American heritage and is a former border patrol officer. The book tells his stories of patrolling the border.

Border security was politically charged at the time he worked as an agent, and it has only become more fraught in the years since. Cantu's book is not in favor of tighter border security, Kellogg said. It's a much more personal story.

"The prose style is almost dreamlike. When he recounts a conversation, there aren't even quotation marks about what other people have said. It's all filtered through his subjective experience," she said.

Cantú joined the border patrol to follow in the footsteps of his mother, who was a park ranger, Kellogg said. He wanted to be outside and serve his country, but he quickly saw the ways the job was problematic.

Down the River Unto the Sea by Walter Mosley
Down the River Unto the Sea by Walter Mosley

Down the River Unto the Sea, by Walter Mosley

Walter Mosley a bestselling author, who is well known for his hard-boiled mystery novel, Devil in a Blue Dress, set in 1940s Los Angles.

He's been back in L.A. recently to work on John Singleton's television show, Snowfall, about the 1980s crack-cocaine epidemic in South Central LA. Kellogg said she spoke to Mosley and he said hewas much happier working on books than T.V.

"For him, I think falling into creating the narrative fiction of a novel is more exciting," Kellogg said.

Mosley's newest book is about a wrongfully accused New York Police Department detective, who comes out of prison, bent on revenge. The detective's tale is then interwoven with the story of a radical journalist accused of killing two police officers, who were abusing the power of their badges. 

Green Sun by Kent Anderson
Green Sun by Kent Anderson

Green Sun, by Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson's new novel is the story of a police department in Oakland in the 1990s.

"It's got various threads with these cops who are struggling to make their way in this predominantly African American community and when these threads eventually come together, it's pretty exciting," Kellogg said. 

Napa at Last Light by James Conaway
Napa at Last Light by James Conaway

Napa at Last Light: America's Eden in an Age of Calamity, by James Conaway

James Conaway has been writing nonfiction stories about Napa for decades. In this book, he tells the story of how the region has been transformed from an idyllic place full of mom and pop businesses to a place controlled by big companies. Kellogg said Conaway covers just how much the fabric of the town has changed.

"All these big city interests are putting pressure on these small family businesses, and he seems to imply that there's a murder," Kellogg said.