Finally, the 3rd Chapter in summer reading….and an intriguing, smart, amusing and quirky list it is. We’ve got Controller Laura Chick, DA Steve Cooley, Attorney General Jerry Brown, City Council Member Ed Reyes, gang advisor Dr. Jorja Leap, and Tell Zell’s the honorable Mr. Inkstained Retch.
There is the public school contingent, LAUSD board prez, Monica Garcia, and teachers union prez A.J Duffy.
And just to make sure the literary LA folks are represented, we have LA Times Opinion Editor Nick Goldberg (who makes a case for reading Anthony Trollop on the beach). And novelist/author Rachel Resnick—who has a wild and wonderfully-written memoir coming out this fall called Love Junkie (and a good recommendation or 2 for you now).
Both Jerry Brown and Joe Domanick thought that pre and post WWII-era Historian and theorist, Louis Mumford, was just the ticket for poolside. (What’re the odds?) And there were a couple of Graham Greene lovers in this batch.
Interestingly, it was both Steve Cooley and Jerry Brown who couldn’t stop with only one book. (In fact, Cooley was cheerily enthusiastic about four books [I only included 3] and, I suspect, would have easily gone further. Jerry too.)
As a reporter, I don’t think I’ve ever asked a question of public officials that so many people seemed, not only willing, but eager to answer.
And that’s a very good thing.
LAURA CHICK, Los Angeles City Controller
I know that Lisa See has a new novel out, Peony In Love, but I actually just finished her earlier book Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. I loved it for many reasons. This book opened up a whole new world , taking me on a great adventure in ancient China. It also has terrific character development and I feel like I really got to know them.
Above all this is a phenomenal story of the tremendous strength of women.
STEVE COOLEY: District Attorney, City of Los Angeles
Well one book I read recently that I thought was extremely well done and insightful was called The Criminal Justice Club. It’s written by a retired deputy named Walt Louis. He recounts is time in the criminal justice system in LA county. He spends a lot of time documenting what he asserts are the failings of the media in reporting on the criminal justice system, especially the Los Angeles Times.. I read it and couldn’t put it down.
And Hollywood Station and Hollywood Crows by Wambaugh. They’re sort of a one two punch, one is a continuation. Hollywood Station is very funny. Hollywood Crows is a little darker. They’re right up to the minute.
EDMUND G. BROWN, JR., California Attorney General
You could read Bad Money, by Kevin Phillips. It’s about the confluence of oil dependency, financial debt and leverage and the takeover of the financial sector from manufacturing.
Also, The Condition of Man by Louis Mumford. I’m just reading it. It’s from 1944, and it’s hard to get but it’s very interesting. It’s a classic. It’s about how we plan. How we live together.
NICK GOLDBERG: Opinion Editor, The Los Angeles Times
There is no author whose books are better for lazy, fun, utterly engaging summer reading than Anthony Trollope. He wrote so many nearly perfect books that it’s hard to choose among them, but if I had to recommend just one it would be the first one I ever read: “The Last Chronicle of Barset,” the story of the Reverend Josiah Crawley and the (very minor) crime he is alleged to have committed.
A.J. DUFFY, President, United Teachers of Los Angeles
I don’t get much time to read. But I haven’t read Catch 22 in ten years. I’d like to read it again. It’s such a great book. It shows the whole hypocrisy of war. How we’re one world, but we take money out of one pocket and put it into another pocket to fight ourselves. It’s a great, great book.
DR. JORJA LEAP: adjunct professor of social welfare at UCLA’s School of Public Affairs, advisor on gangs and youth violence for the National Institute of Justice
For a fun summer read, Girls Like Us by Sheila Weller. This is the ultimate summer book. Part great rock gossip, part social history and enough feminist psychology to lend some insight into everything from what women want to why Hillary failed. A great read and some hidden learning!
ED P. REYES, City Councilmember First Council District
I recommend “The Power and the Glory,” Graham Greene, which I read while a student at UCLA. No matter how bad things are, or how badly you may find yourself, there’s always something good about you. There’s a lot to an individual if you do the right thing.
MONICA GARCIA: Board President, Los Angeles Unified School District.
I’m reading, The Search for a Civic Voice, by Kenneth C. Burt. It’s about how Latino communities have worked with the political system. It’s such an amazing time, but the challenges are so great that we have to have a historical perspective of what the struggles have been, to encourage us and inspire us to continue.
Books that resonate, that one would suggest for summer, or any time…? Giacometti: A Biography by James Lord. The Palace at 4 a.m., to the spookily attenuated figures that made him a preeminent profiler of existential unease. Lord astutely chronicles this transformation, and the evaluation of Giacometti’s formidable personality is notable for its sensitive delineation of his ambivalent feelings toward women. Without scanting the sculptor’s tragic view of life, the author also inspires exhilaration with his portrait of a man who was always true to his art.
Why Did I Ever by Mary Robison is another—but somehow I’m not able to quickly sum up why…
THE INK STAINED RETCH: LA Times reporter, creator/blogger, TellZell.com
Here I will surely disappoint. I don’t do much book reading. I’m a news guy, through and through. However, I did recently reread Graham Greene’s The Quiet American, about a CIA agent trying to foment democracy in Vietnam. Man, the parallels to Iraq were outstandingly weird.