READ­ING LOS AN­GE­LES, ONE BOOK AT A TIME

L.A. Times pub­lisher Austin Beut­ner wel­comes all An­ge­lenos to join a new book club

Los Angeles Times - - FESTIVAL OF BOOKS - — PAUL ROGERS Brand Pub­lish­ing Writer

In Fe­bru­ary, Los An­ge­les Times Pub­lisher and Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Austin Beut­ner launched Read­ing Los An­ge­les, an open in­vi­ta­tion to join him in read­ing and dis­cussing books that can both in­form and broaden our ways of think­ing. Each month, Read­ing Los An­ge­les high­lights a book in­tended to shed light on the chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties of An­ge­leno life. Jour­nal­ists and staff from the pa­per mod­er­ate dis­cus­sions about the cho­sen ti­tles. Those top­ics might range from dining to re­lated arts and cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ences.

“If jour­nal­ism is the first draft of his­tory, then books are the fi­nal cut,” Beut­ner said. “Books not only in­form us, they in­spire con­ver­sa­tions. Read­ing Los An­ge­les is part of our ef­forts to help build a greater sense of com­mu­nity in Los An­ge­les.”

To inaugurate Read­ing Los An­ge­les, Beut­ner se­lected Jill Leovy’s “Ghet­to­side: A True Story of Mur­der in Amer­ica.”

Leovy is an L.A. Times staff writer who spent many years em­bed­ded in the LAPD’s 77th Street Di­vi­sion. “Ghet­to­side” has its roots in the L.A. Times’ ground­break­ing Homi­cide Re­port blog, which Leovy started in late 2006.

Leovy has en­joyed broad ac­claim for the com­plex, nu­anced “Ghet­to­side,” which uses the true story of the killing of an LAPD of­fi­cer’s son in South L.A. to ex­plore what the au­thor has called the his­tor­i­cally as­tound­ing rate of homi­cide in black com­mu­ni­ties.

In March, Beut­ner and Leovy hosted a free, in-per­son dis­cus­sion of “Ghet­to­side” at Che­va­lier’s Books on Larch­mont Boule­vard. The talk raised timely ques­tions about polic­ing in ur­ban en­vi­ron­ments.

The sec­ond Read­ing Los An­ge­les se­lec­tion is Roger Kahn’s 1972 non­fic­tion clas­sic “The Boys of Sum­mer.” A long­time base­ball re­porter, Kahn in­ter­weaves his child­hood mem­o­ries of root­ing for the Dodgers with his fa­ther, sto­ries from his years of cov­er­ing the team dur­ing Jackie Robin­son’s phe­nom­e­nal years as both a player and civil rights am­bas­sador, and in­ter­views with leg­endary play­ers.

Fes­ti­val of Books at­ten­dees can learn more about Read­ing Los An­ge­les at the event’s L.A. Times booth, where read­ers can sign up for the club will re­ceive a spe­cial gift. Al­ter­na­tively, any­one can join the con­ver­sa­tion any­time on­line at www.la­times.com/bookclub.

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