L.A. Bizarro and four of my other favorite books about the City of Angels
Arguably the greatest guide ever written about Los Angeles, 1997’s L.A. Bizarro, is finally getting a much deserved sequel update. This is a book that spilled all of the city’s secrets before blogs came along and ruined the idea of local secrets, such as the Coroner’s Gift Shop, Clifton’s Cafeteria, or the history behind the “fags go away” sign at Barney’s Beanery.
The Time’s Calendar has an interview up with authors Matt Maranian and Anthony Lovett, revealing that “Part 2” will be “an expanded and updated version, with 60% of its material brand new.” The article offers only a couple hints of what the 60% will include, but I can only hope they’ve uncovered some gems that haven’t already been raked over by the L.A. blogosphere.
While first Bizarro is out of print, and the update isn’t available for pre-order yet, I did want to suggest my four other favorite books about Los Angeles… a few of which were most likely “inspired” by the idea of L.A. Bizarro. All are great to have on hand when putting together a tour of the city for out of town visitors, or simply to study up on before testing for your LA City Nerd certification exam…
>>the list after the jump<<
After L.A. Bizarro, my top four favorite books about Los Angeles
L.A. Exposed: Strange Myths and Curious Legends in the City of Angels, by Paul Young
A catalog of well and lesser known L.A. legends along with a “mythbuster” approach to deciphering if the stories are true, and if not, where they originated. (Google book preview)
California Crazy & Beyond: Roadside Vernacular Architecture, Jim Heiman
Chock full of pictures, this book helps me imagine when Randy’s Donuts, Tail O’ The Pup, and the Brown Derby were conservative storefronts comparatively.
Weird California, by Greg Bishop, et al.
While the book tries to cover the whole state, there is simply no higher concentration of weirdness than Southern California. What sets this apart from the superior L.A. Exposed is its avoidance of celebrity tales, leaving plenty of room from hyper-local legends, including a collection of numerous “gravity hills”.
Hollywood Death and Scandal Sites: Sixteen Driving Tours with Directions and the Full Story, by E. J. Fleming
The motherlode. The list price of $39.95 is worth every penny, as the book is packed with facts and organized along “routes” that’ll inspire you to hop in your car and tour your neighborhood with new eyes.
Any others I should add to my Los Angeles bookshelf?