Writing Life
I'm on the Otherppl podcast

I’m on the Otherppl podcast

Ever wondered about my thoughts on religion, AA, and the Midwest? Okay, maybe you haven’t — but tune in to the latest episode of Otherppl with Brad Listi, my favorite literary podcast, to hear me ramble about all of those topics and more! I’ve listened to so many authors I admire on Otherppl, so it was an honor and a treat to get to be part of the podcast myself — And I talked about a lot of things I don’t usually talk about. Religion, AA, and the Midwest are three of these topics, but the episode also has interludes about boarding school, not being vegan, self-help books, and aimlessness. Give it a listen — and if you have thoughts or questions about it, drop me a line. Thanks to Brad for having me! If you’re not yet subscribed to Otherppl, subscribe now — More: 5 best literary podcasts in Los Angeles

6 Best Book Clubs in Los Angeles

6 Best Book Clubs in Los Angeles

If you long to discuss books you love — in real life, outside the confines of Amazon reviews and Goodreads comments — make joining a local book club a resolution. Here are five to check out — For girls who brunch: L.A. Girly Book Club With most of the regulars in their twenties and thirties, this book club usually reads novels by female authors, ranging from the more literary to chick-lit-ish to thrillers. The L.A. chapter’s organized by Janie, who picks out a different fun bar or restaurant for each meeting. Expect a lively conversation over appies and drinks, a raffle for a copy of the following month’s book, and lots of fun post-discussion socializing. One extra fun aspect of the Girly Book Club is the followup event — a brunch, a movie screening, a cookie break — planned between the book club meetings. Often, the events tie in to the latest book. Cost: $5 a month. More: L.A. Girly Book Club: Fiction, food, and fun excursions For the cocktail aficionado: The Edison Book Club This book club offers an intimate chat about a fantastic book over specialty drinks in a speakeasy-style bar — sometimes with a chance to talk […]

L.A. Girly Book Club: Fiction, food, and fun excursions

L.A. Girly Book Club: Fiction, food, and fun excursions

What is a book club without appies and drinks? Well, I guess it would still be a book club, technically. But if you prefer your literary discussions to take place over wine and cheese plates at a fun spot in the city, join the L.A. Girly Book Club. The Girly Book Club’s actually a global group, with groups meeting from Seattle to Singapore, all discussing the same book. Most of the novels are by female authors, ranging from the more literary to chick-lit-ish to thrillers like Liane Moriarty’s What Alice Forgot. Last month, the pick was Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing (my microreview here)! The L.A. chapter’s organized by Janie, who picks out a different fun bar or restaurant for each meeting. I joined eight other girls at Vinoteque in West Hollywood for a lively conversation about identity and singing and feminism and work. At the end of the meeting was a raffle for a copy of the following month’s book — then we chatted and socialized over more drinks before calling it a night. With most of the girls in their twenties and thirties, this book club skews much younger than say, the West Hollywood Women’s Book Club. And — thanks […]

Belletrist: Emma Roberts starts a book club for the age of Instagram

Belletrist: Emma Roberts starts a book club for the age of Instagram

Do people read anymore? Apparently not, according to the headlines. The Washington Post reports that literary reading’s been victim to a long, steady decline (only 43% of Americans managed to read even a single literary work in an entire year!) — and The New Yorker reports statistics aren’t likely to improve with the next generation — since teenagers are too busy playing with their phones to read books. But what if all those screen-addicted young people could be enticed to join an Instagram book club — by a hot celebrity? have you gotten your copy of #touchthenovel yet? we want you to so we can start discussing #touchvstech! 📷: @putnambooks A post shared by Belletrist (@belletrist) on Jun 15, 2017 at 2:10pm PDT That’s sort of the idea behind Belletrist, an online book club hashtagged into existence by actress Emma Roberts and her friend Karah Preiss. With pretty pictures of Emma reading and gorgeous flat lays featuring book club pics, Belletrist’s Instagram account already boasts 93,000 followers — a.k.a. #belletristbabes — posting their own bookish selfies and commenting on club discussions. That following’s dwarfed by Emma’s own 10.9 million fans on Instagram, but hey — a book club’s gotta start […]

Pen Center USA:  Bookish cocktails and literary community

Pen Center USA: Bookish cocktails and literary community

How to enjoy your favorite book as a cocktail: Go to a PEN Center USA party at The Edison! At the Member Mixer last week, book lovers drank In Cold Blood (a black Manhattan), The Sound and the Fury (mezcal margarita), and The Age of Innocence (gin, prosecco, and elderflower) — while supporting a literary nonprofit. I actually gave my drink tickets away — Hope you enjoyed your cocktails, Laura and Julia! — and had a fun time! Here I am with Libby Flores, PEN’s director of literary programs. J Ryan Stradl (Kitchens of the Great Midwest), Susan Orlean (The Orchid Thief; below), and Julia Fierro (The Gypsy Moth Summer) all gave lovely toasts to get drinkers to become members of PEN. PEN Center USA is a literary and human rights organization, committed to “cultivating and expanding a diverse and engaged literary community in the western United States.” It does everything from provide fellowships to emerging writers to give out literary awards to organize dozens of local readings to publish a literary journal. Oh, and Pen also “advocates for imprisoned, censored, and persecuted writers throughout the world.” Plus, PEN throws fun parties! Members at the mixer got to display their […]

Best coffee shops for writers in Los Angeles: Northeast LA

Best coffee shops for writers in Los Angeles: Northeast LA

Picky writers can’t just go to any coffee shop. We need good working spaces with comfy chairs and tables. We need decent wifi and electric outlets for our laptops. We (or at least I) need good reading light. And we like to be able to hang for a few hours without feeling like we’re overstaying our welcome. Which is to say — I’m really putting together this best coffee shops list for me. I often find myself stuck in a part of town I don’t know very well — usually before or after some event — because I don’t want to drive home until after rush hour ends. Now (or more accurately, soon, when I finish this 5-part guide covering most L.A. neighborhoods), whatever area of Los Angeles I happen to be in, I know where I can stop to read or get some writing done while I wait for traffic to clear. Earlier: * Best coffee shops for writers in Los Angeles: Westside * Best coffee shops for writers in Los Angeles: The Valley ___ Silver Lake: Dinosaur Coffee. 4334 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. Need freedom from free wifi? This no-free-wifi spot will force you to work on […]