The new book Paperback L.A. covers diverse eras and geographies of our L.A.

Word is getting around about our just-published anthology, Paperback LA Book 1, A Casual Anthology: Clothes. Coffee. Crushes. Crimes.  And, of course, readers are wondering: LA? Whose LA? Is my LA a part of this book?

Take Dodger Stadium.  It’s a part of LA that many people drive around with– listening to game broadcasts on the car radio. And it’s part of Paperback LA Book 1, thanks to an excerpt from the call of a historic game. It’s transcribed from this rare recording.

good pic broadcastVinScully
Paperback LA features a game broadcast sold as a souvenir at Dodger Stadium.

Or how about Pacific Coast Highway?  Forget the cliches. The excerpt we share from the Man Book Award Prize-winning novel, The Sellout by Paul Beatty brings exuberant new life to a storied highway.

Beach lander?

To provide  a welcome to our book, we turned to  Steve Martin for an epigraph and found it his his depiction of brunch at what kinda reminds some folks of spots such as the Bel Air Hotel.



In the Paperback LA selection from an autobiography by labor activist and writer Carlos Bulosan, the author arrives as a young student in LA in the 1930s. He walks for miles around Union Station, searching for his brother among the work-seeking Pilipino men in social halls like this one in downtown LA.


Pilipino REc Hall
LA Public Library collection photo

Fifty years later, and several miles south and east, novelist Héctor Tobar takes his Mexican ex-pat artist heroine through an odyssey from the ocean-breezy suburbs of south Orange County to the dusty but still forgiving neighborhoods of South LA. We offer a selection from the 2011 New York Times notable book The Barbarian Nurseries.

39th street

If you’ve ever been annoyed by reading Edmund Wilson’s Boys in the Backroom, when you’re not even a champion of the writers he so airily dismisses, you’ll be glad to read Victoria Dailey’s informed, nuanced discussion of Los Angeles bookstores in downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood during the era when LA was a rare books mecca. She wrote a special piece for Paperback LA on two LA booksellers, one of whom was the model for Raymond Chandler‘s A.J. Geiger character.

Humphrey Bogart in a still from The Big Sleep (1946 Warner Bros)

We’ve only mentioned about a third of the selections in Paperback LA, but other sweet spots and cherished cultures depicted or referenced by our nineteen writers and photographers are the San Gabriel and San Fernando Valleys, Silver Lake, and Watts. Some criss-cross the county and some keep close to a single setting like Venice Skate Park. Find your LA in our LAs!

Eve Babitz’s “Frozen Looks” story captures a beach moment  in the 1950s tough teen world.


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