Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

Arts and Entertainment

LAist Recommends: Contributors Share Their Favorite Books of the Year

Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

5b2bb8024488b30009269075-original.jpg

It was a great year of new books, re-discovered books, and books we meant to get to last year but didn't. The end of the year is nearly here and before we look forward, we'll take a look back. Last week, LAist Editors shared their favorite books of 2007. This week, a few LAist Contributors share their favorite book they read this year:

Who: Christine Ziemba
What: The Ominvore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Why: It gave me such a different outlook on the food industry --
and how current food policy is just plain screwed up. The food we eat -- which is mostly industrial corn -- is generally unhealthy and so far removed from nature. Makes you think twice about eating that chicken nugget.

Who: Julie Wolfson
What: Persepolis by Marjane Santrapi
Why: I can't wait to check out the film and see how she translates it to the screen.

Support for LAist comes from

Who: Beth Kopley
What: Spook Country by William Gibson
Why: Gibson steps from behind the cyberpunk curtain (which has pretty much gone the way of the Iron Curtain by now) to tell a fascinating story with his most fully-realized female protagonist. The plot twists and turns and the ultimate secret is pretty damn clever. All that plus an L.A. location (Mr. Sippee! also some geographical errors!) made this a book I couldn't put down, which is saying a lot for me.

Who: Corey Podell
What: L.A. Rex by Will Beall
Why: It's horribly violent but interesting and all about our fine city.

Who: Aarti Sequera
What: The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Why: I was taken by how he writes -- pithy, measured, aggressive. He doesn't care if you have to put the book down and go look a word up. The world he created was palpable, vivid... I could almost feel the dead earth crunching under my feet.

Who: Mialka Bonadonna
What: I Am the Man Who Loves You by Amy King
Why: Sometimes I think that Amy King is an archaeologist at heart. She meticulously unearths the presenting details of the world, one word, one line, one poem at a time, leaving you, the reader, sensuously fatigued and ready for a cigarette.

Who: Nick Reimond
What: The Braindead Megaphone by George Saunders
Why: Droll wit and incisive reason make this collection of essays resonate long after reading.

Who: Michele Reverte
What: Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
Why: After hearing about this book for a few years, I finally cracked it open in '07 and kicked myself for waiting so long. Through related stories that take place at different points in time, "Cryptonomicon" combines compelling characters with the history of cryptography. The author seems to know everything about everything and his work is smartly written.

Who: An Tran
What: Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
Why: It's about a doctor in the '60s, whose wife unexpectedly has twins and one has Down syndrome. He tells his wife the baby girl died and has the nurse take the baby to an orphanage. The nurse decides to leave town and raise the baby herself. It's beautifully written about parallel lives and family secrets. I don't think I've read a writer describe light and shadow as part of the story like she does...

Who: Ryan Young
What: Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama
Why: I really enjoyed getting an insight into the life and background of Obama, particularly since it was written before he had made a name for himself on the national scene. I also appreciated his description of the struggle he has endured to find cultural context and identity in his multi-ethnic heritage while trying to fit into mainstream society.

Who: Simone Snaith
What: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Why: Isn't it obvious?

Who: Jacy Young
What: The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon
Why: It's like nothing else out there. Michael Chabon is really good at creating complete worlds with unique characters and making them all believable.

Support for LAist comes from

Who: Eric Reyers
What: Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins
Why: Scary insider account of how US companies/gov't in the 70's/80's/90's were in league to form a new kind of global empire by getting other countries to spend themselves into debt using the world bank. Great read and more than a little terrifying.

Who: Rafi Nazarians
What: Heydey by Kurt Andersen
Why: A great novel about America's coming of age. Its set in the 1840's New York, San Francisco and practically everything in between. Great characters who embody the classic American spirit.