7 Book Recs, Courtesy Of L.A.'s Best Authors

Photo: Courtesy of Europa Editions and Little, Brown and Company.
In this pre-summer heat wave, spending hours watching Netflix under warm covers suddenly loses its appeal. Instead, our subdued desire to lay on a beach and get lost in a great book is now a full-fledged craving.
A wrong recommendation, however, can really send you spiraling down a dark, wasteful path. But, we're here to save your summer reading list from exactly that fate. Ahead, six brilliant, best-selling writers reveal their last great read.
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Photo: Courtesy of Europa Editions.
The Author: Mona Simpson
Most Recent Book: Casebook
Her Recommendation: My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
"I've just read Elena Ferrante's novel My Brilliant Friend, which is about two girls in an impoverished neighborhood of Naples, trying to climb out of the cycles of brutality (all their fathers beat and bruise their mothers) by becoming great students. There's a fairy-tale quality to the premise itself: Emerge from violence and squalor by memorizing Latin declensions. With her combination of granular, raw detail and her instinct for extracting stories, she's a Neapolitan Alice Munro. I'm now reading everything else that's been translated into English."
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Photo: Courtesy of Yale University Press.
The Author: Jane Smiley
Most Recent Book: Some Luck

Her Recommendation: Global Crisis by Geoffrey Parker
"I think the most important book I've read in the last year or 18 months is Geoffrey Parker's Global Crisis, about the history of the 17th century as an investigation of the effects of climate change in the form of a "little ice age" of falling temperatures, floods, crop failures, famines, wars, and epidemics around the world. Parker's research is global; his argument well organized and increasingly timely. Most of the 17th century governments had no idea what to do and simply indulged themselves in war and conquest, exacerbating the problems of their citizens. The issues Parker addresses are ones that we must address in our world. It is compulsively readable and truly essential."
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Photo: Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company.
The Author: Holly Goldberg Sloan
Most Recent Book: Counting By 7s
Her Recommendation: Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe
"It's an epistolary memoir, and while an entire book composed of letter might sound tedious, this is far from it. The book is funny in the best possible way. Twenty years ago, after being hired as a nanny in London, Nina Stibbe wrote letters to her sister at night. Today she would have sent texts or email, and all would have been lost. I won't say more than that the children's father is the film director Stephen Frears (although he is divorced from the children's mother). And, the head of the household is Mary-Kay Wilmers, editor of the London Review of Books. Add to that mix the fact (barely mentioned) that the eldest of the two boys was born with a health issue. There is a cat. A fantastic neighbor. And, everyone has an opinion. It's a joy to be part of this household."
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Photo: Courtesy of Vintage International.
The Author: Sam Wasson
Most Recent Book: Fosse
His Recommendation: Sabbath's Theater by Philip Roth
"All the great ones step into despair, but as far as I can tell Roth is the only guy who can bronco through the dark without breaking everything on his way to the lamp. Of all his books, I think this is the blackest and the brightest, the most exhilaratingly candid, so powerful and so funny."
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Photo: Courtesy of Back Bay Books and Anchor.
The Author: Margaret Stohl
Most Recent Book: Dangerous Creatures
Her Recommendation: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan & Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
"Both are cleverly, archly, spit-takingly funny, and from my own brief sojourns in the tech industry as well as Singapore and Hong Kong, these ring crazily true. But, as always, the truth is crazy! And wobbly! And irrepressible! And it floods both of these narratives like an inconveniently, inappropriately swollen river that bends and turns but will not be held back. (As no river should.)"
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Photo: Courtesy of Riverhead Hardcover.
The Author: Maria Semple
Most Recent Book: Where'd You Go, Bernadette
Her Recommendation: The Good Lord Bird by James McBride
"It's wildly imagined, hilarious, and every sentence reads like poetry. McBride is in the zone, man. Reading his book is like stepping into a big-hearted, rollicking, and righteous dream."

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