What I've only come to appreciate (or freak out about) after announcing this fine project of mine is how many amazing novels set in Los Angeles feature parts of L.A. that no longer exist and how much fiction that is "quintessentially LA" for many people is crime fiction. A few contributors bemoaned the "crime" fiction situation in Los Angeles so much that I feel certain they went out of their way to suggest other books.
After many of you submitted your favorite #LANovel for the project I announced last week, here are the top 20 picks with the most votes (in random order):
- Our Ecstatic Days by Steve Erickson
- The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
- Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
- Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon
- Ask the Dust by John Fante
- The Barbarian Nurseries by Hector Tobar
- What Makes Sammy Run by Budd Schulberg
- Play it As it Lays by Joan Didion
- Black Dahlia by James Ellroy
- The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh
- Day of the Locust by Nathanael West
- Shopgirl by Steve Martin
- Jamesland by Michelle Huneven
- The Long Goodbye Raymond Chandler
- L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy
- My Hollywood by Mona Simpson
- Zeroville by Steve Erickson
- The Flutter of an Eyelid by Myron Brinig
- This Book Will Save Your Life by A.M. Homes
- The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle
Quite a list, no? Now that you've seen it, what do you feel is missing? Are you among those who suggested a novel that didn't make the Top 20? Will you still follow along anyway? Or are you now over this entire thing before it has properly begun?
It should also be noted that many of you suggested I add all of Michael Connelly's books and all of Robert Crais. If there's clarity and consensus among you as to which ones are truly top of the pops and deserve to be on this esteemed-company list, let me know.
The real task looms: How to select a novel that has places I can actually visit vs. simply sharing photo archives of a razed Bunker Hill with you all? As a proper bookish LA nerd, this is a task I'm relishing. Next week, I'll announce my first pick and I'll get to reading.