Exploring L.A.’s Book Culture

By Katie Orphan

March 2020

Hardcover | $35
ISBN 978-1-945551-68-0
Ebook | $14.99
ISBN 978-1-945551-69-7

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Is Los Angeles a bookish town? Hell yes!

Read Me, Los Angeles is a colorful, lively, and informed celebration of all things bookish in L.A. past and present, including interviews with current L.A. writers; day trips in search of favorite fictional characters, from Marlowe to Weetzie Bat; author quotes galore; curated lists of the must-read L.A. books, from fiction to history to poetry; a look at where writers have lived and worked in the City of Angels; and insight into the city’s literary festivals, bookstores, publishers, literacy nonprofits, libraries, and more.

Rich with photographs, book images, and vintage maps, Read Me, Los Angeles is a gift to L.A. from a creative team that includes author Katie Orphan, editor Colleen Dunn Bates, associate editors Katelyn Keating and Julianne Johnson, designer Amy Inouye, photographer Shahin Ansari, and artist Kate Wong.

Click to read the foreword by
Colleen Dunn Bates

About the Author

Katie Orphan is the owner of Orphan Books Inc., a book-business consultancy; before that, she worked at the Last Bookstore in downtown L.A. for a decade. The co-author of the Last Bookstore’s guide to downtown L.A. and the author of the recurring feature “Drinking with the Ghost” for the Los Angeles Review of Books, she’s been a longtime literary explorer. She earned a BA in English literature from Whitworth University and an MA in literature and history from the University of Sheffield, where she studied with experts in literary tourism. Orphan lives in Los Angeles, where she always finds new places to explore.

Just a few of the writers showcased in
Read Me, Los Angeles 

Eve Babitz • David Ulin • Luis Rodriguez

Naomi Hirahara • Raymond Chandler

Ray Bradbury • Octavia Butler • John Fante

Michael Connelly • James M. Cain

Aimee Bender • Sina Grace • Amber Benson

Joan Didion • Liska Jacobs • Jerry Stahl

and many more!

Praise for Read Me, Los Angeles

One of Smithsonian’s “Ten New Travel Books to Read When You’re Stuck at Home”

“A reference guide that is deserving of a spot on the bookshelf of any bookworm.”

“The book is a chatty guide to literary tourism in the city but it has surprising depth…While Read Me is a light romp, it has the potential to open new doors to familiar territory.”
Alta Magazine

“I found Orphan’s literary tourism to be the most fun part of her book… Anyone who enjoys exploring real-life locales, described in fiction, will delight in following Orphan’s quest. Orphan’s well-rounded knowledge of all genres of Los Angeles-centric fiction is on display but there’s no conceit here. The book is fun, beautifully designed, informative and smart. Orphan honors our great city by reminding us of our literary traditions as well as the L.A. authors, both past and present, who gave it life. This is definitely a book you want to take with you next time you’re out and about in the City of Angels.”
— Nicholas Beyelia, Los Angeles Public Library Blog


Read the LAPL Blog’s interview with Katie Orphan to hear about Katie’s favorite spots in L.A., the local literary scene, and what inspired her to choose the places and literature she explored.


Despite our best efforts, occasionally errors manage to evade our notice until after a book has been printed. We apologize for any mistakes. Please take note of the following corrections that have come to our attention:

p. 31: Naomi Hirahara is credited as the author of Farewell to Manzanar. Naomi is actually the author of Life After Manzanar. James D. Houston and Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston are the authors of Farewell to Manzanar.