9 Books About Los Angeles That We Loved in 2018

Thrillers, surfing memoirs, an Italian cookbook and more

December 18, 2018 9:00 am

Give someone the wrong book for the holidays and you’ve essentially assigned them homework. Give the right book, though — the kind that proves you know them on some essential, ineffable level — and they’ll ask you for book recs till the end of days.

To help you find those books, we’ve compiled a list of nine superlative books by, from and for L.A. that were written in 2018.

We’ve got books about the biz. Books about surfing. Books full of letters and recipes and overheard conversations. And since you may not have time for that Amazon delivery, we’ve also got the local bookstores where you can find each of them.

For Art Lovers: Friedrich Kunath: I Don’t Worry Anymore
Found at: Blum + Poe, Skylight Bookstore
A new collection of the paintings, sculptures and witticisms of Friedrich Kunath, one of L.A.’s most provocative artists. The collection comes with excerpts from James Frey, James Elkins and John McEnroe, who played tennis with Kunath.

For People Who Miss Jason Bourne: Hellbent by Gregg Hurwitz
Found at DIESEL Bookstore, Skylight Bookstore, Booksoup
Angeleno Gregg Hurwitz has penned issues of Wolverine, Batman and Punisher, but his new book, Hellbent, is part of the Orphan X series, about a child raised to be a government assassin. In this volume, changes at the top mean the program is no más, and our hero must fight for his life as the government attempts to scrub the program.

For Your Most Literary Friend: Memento Park by Mark Sarvas
Found at Chevalier’s, DIESEL Bookstore, Skylight Bookstore, Booksoup
Memento Park is a mystery novel for people who love luscious prose. The story follows a C-level actor named Marc Santos, who learns of the resurfacing of a painting that was stolen from his family by the Nazis. He sets out on a journey to find the rare artwork, rekindling a relationship with his father and bringing to light hidden family histories.

For People Who Listen to “Serial”: Chicago by David Mamet
Found at Chevalier’s, DIESEL Bookstore, Skylight Bookstore,  Booksoup
Mamet is mostly known for his scripted dramas. But the dude knows how to spin a yarn, and Chicago, a novel, brims with gangster violence and sharp-tongued wise guys. Dollars to donuts says this one makes its way to the silver screen.

For History Buffs: Dear Los Angeles by David Kipen
Found at Chevalier’s, DIESEL Bookstore, Skylight Bookstore, Booksoup
Here, LA Times writer David Kipen compiles diary entries from Angelenos dating all the way back to 1542. Included in the long list of luminaries: Marilyn Monroe, William Faulkner, Caesar Chavez and Albert Einstein. When Kipen isn’t writing, he runs the Boyle Heights Lending Library. You could say he loves L.A., and this book proves it.

For Starf*ckers: L.A. Man by Joe Donnelly
Found at Chevalier’s, DIESEL Bookstore, Skylight Bookstore, Booksoup
Joe Donnelly has surfed with Chris Malloy and driven to Texas with Wes Anderson. The LA Weekly critic has celebrity profiles down pat, and this collection is fodder for anyone who keeps tabs on the glitterati.

For Foodies: Bestia Bold Italian Cooking by Ori Menashe, Genevieve Gergis and Lesley Suter
Found at Chevalier’s, DIESEL Bookstore, Skylight Bookstore, Booksoup
Bestia has been a top Italian restaurant in L.A. since its doors swung wide in 2013, and now Menashe and his wife Gergis have released a cookbook of their lip-smacking recipes, including that mind-blowing bone marrow pasta.

For News Obsessives: State of Resistance by Manuel Pastor
Found at Chevalier’s, DIESEL Bookstore, Skylight Bookstore, Booksoup
New and improved isn’t something most of us think of when pondering California. But for sociologist Manuel Pastor, our state is leading the way on cultural, climate and immigration issues, and the leading light for a nation reluctant to face the facts.

For the Instagram Generation: We Only Dated for 11 Instagrams by Overheard LA
Found at Chevalier’s, DIESEL Bookstore, Skylight Bookstore, Booksoup
Overheard LA is an Instagram account that shares funny lines overheard around town. It’s been in production since 2015. They just published their first print collection, an anthology entitled We Only Dated for 11 Instagrams. The title comes from Margolis’s favorite entry, which, like all of his posts, appears as simple text on a white background (though the book features illustrations by Emmet Truxe, as well as an introduction from Mayor Eric Garcetti).

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