Fall Fiction: Meet Lydia Millet, Percival Everett and Celeste Ng


Hello and welcome to the LA Times Book Club newsletter.

This fall, we’re focusing on engaging and intelligent fiction. I love this powerful range!

October 26 Author from Tucson Lydia Millet joins readers at the Autry Museum of the American West’s book club to discuss “dinosaurs.” ‘A Children’s Bible’ author Millet was a 2020 National Book Award finalist. ‘Dinosaurs’ debuted on Tuesday and is already one of the we talk about the most new this fall. Get tickets.

“Each time, the ‘Dinosaurs’ develop in unexpected directions, avoiding several potentially cliched turns and all sorts of preachy messages,” writing Cory Oldweiler in the Boston Globe. “The novel buzzes with an underlying malaise of violence.”

Then on November 16 we are back at l’Autry for an evening with the novelist from Los Angeles and professor of English at USC Percival Everett. Everett writes books that play with gender, language, and our assumptions about race and sex. But for his new novel, “Dr. No,” he wrote a supervillain caper about “nothing.” Get tickets.

Critical Lorraine Berry described the book as a “cross-genre hybrid featuring a cast of characters from a 007 novel”. Everett is the author of more than 30 novels, including “The Trees”, shortlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize.

Percival Everett’s novel “Dr. No” will be published on November 1.

(Percival Everett)

This just in: December 8novelist Celeste Ng, the author of “Little Fires Everywhere,” joins us to discuss his new bestseller, “Our Missing Hearts,” the story of a 12-year-old boy’s epic quest to find his missing mother. Ticket information for this virtual event will be available soon.

“Like many of his fellow dystopian fiction writers, including Margaret Atwood, PD James, Philip K. Dick and Hillary JordanNg harnesses the power of the story of David and Goliath – a prototypical quest story that perhaps has the advantage of being real,” says the Times reviewer. Bethanne Patrick.

“Or if it’s not, it’s consistent with history.” The asymmetrical power of a small group versus a large corrupt state is more than just a storytelling trope. This has happened several times in recorded history.

A woman sits in a modern angular chair in front of glass walls with city buildings in the background.

Celeste Ng’s novel “Our Missing Hearts” is set in a near future plagued by surveillance and xenophobia.

(Kieran Kesner for Buzzfeed)

‘Dinosaurs’

In anticipation of our next book club night, Lydia Millet spoke with the writer Martin Wolk about the inspiration for his new novel, “Dinosaurs.”

The birds of the desert are the dinosaurs in the title of the novel. Millet loves to draw inspiration from the idea that birds are the living descendants of these ancient creatures.

“The older I get, the more fascinated I am with [birds],” she says. “They’re just evolutionarily perfect beings with their strength and lightness and the way they can migrate these long distances – they seem so well-engineered.”

In more than a dozen books, Millet has been acclaimed for his darkly humorous works touching on a wide range of topics, from bereavement to California real estate to the construction of the bomb. atomic. She has become a major Western voice on the environment, a subject she addresses in fiction as well as non-fiction essays and other writing.

Portrait of a woman with shoulder-length hair and a black button-up shirt.

Lydia Millet is the author of “Dinosaurs”.

(Ivory Orchid Photograph)

Millet juggles between writing novels and his day job at the Center for Biological Diversity, a non-profit organization whose mission is to “save life on Earth” by preserving the diversity of plant and animal species around the world. Her role as editor at the Tucson center means she is “bombarded” every day with news about the state of the planet.

“I can’t stop myself from reading, writing and editing material on extinction and climate change,” she says.

October 26 Millet will be in conversation with the Times journalist and novelist Jeffrey Fleishman at l’Autry, a special book club night that includes wine, live music and an after-hours museum tour. Please Join us! After so many months on Zoom, this is a great opportunity for book clubbers to connect in person again.

What questions do you have for Millet and Fleishman? Please email them to bookclub@latimes.com.

4 questions to Angie Jaime

Angie Jaime leads The Times’ new 404 team, a team tasked with experiment, including TikTok videos, memes, illustrations, comics, graphic art, and content for emerging platforms. She is also an avid reader and has shared some of her favorites.

What’s the best book you’ve read lately? I just re-read “Eve’s Hollywood” by Eve Babitz and it’s still so dreamy. Each phrase is somehow lucid and crisp, yet cool and flowing.

Where do you like to read? I love reading in bed most of all, but lately I took a book for a walk with me to a local park at the foot of Baldwin Hills.

Where do you find new books? Books have a way to find me, I think.

Who are your favorite authors? There are far too many to name, but I’ll keep it simple by saying that Neil Gaiman is a perennial favorite (“Sandman”! “Ocean at the End of the Road”!). Lately I’ve been a fan of Silvia Moreno Garcia work. It’s probably not surprising, but I’ll always find room to wander through fantasy, gothic, and horror works.

FOB 2022: Characteristic of Silvia Moreno-Garcia

ICYMI: Moreno-Garcia joined book club readers in September to discuss ‘Doctor Moreau’s Daughter,’ and you can watch her chat with the Column One editor Steve Padille here. Don’t miss her Times essay on why she loves to write about the genres of science fiction, fantasy, horror and noir.

Last word

“Make sure you do things the way you want. Write the songs you want to write. Say what you want to write,” said willie nelson at Thursday’s book club night. He stopped by on his SoCal tour to discuss a new memoir, “Me and Paul: Untold Stories of a Fabulous Friendship.”

Willie Nelson is pictured next to a window.

Willie Nelson is a 10-time Grammy winner.

(Pamela Springsteen)

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