All events listed below take place online. Please visit the organizers’ websites for details.

“The Editor” by Steven Rowley

After years of trying to make it as a writer in 1990s New York City, James Smale finally sells his novel to an editor at a major publishing house: none other than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Jackie—or Mrs. Onassis, as she's known in the office--has fallen in love with James's candidly autobiographical novel, one that exposes his own dysfunctional family. But when the book's forthcoming publication threatens to unravel already fragile relationships, both within his family and with his partner, James finds that he can't bring himself to finish the manuscript.

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Gail Tsukiyama discusses “The Color of Air”

Daniel Abe, a young doctor in Chicago, is finally coming back to Hawai'i. He has his own reason for returning to his childhood home, but it is not to revisit the past, unlike his Uncle Koji. Koji lives with the memories of Daniel's mother, Mariko, the love of his life, and the scars of a life hard-lived. He can't wait to see Daniel, who he's always thought of as a son, but he knows the time has come to tell him the truth about his mother, and his father. But Daniel's arrival coincides with the awakening of the Mauna Loa volcano, and its dangerous path toward their village stirs both new and long ago passions in their community.

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Katherine Alford and Kathy Gunst discusses “Rage Baking”

Since the 2016 election, many women across the country have felt rage, fury, and frustration, wondering how we got here. Some act by calling their senators, some write checks, some join activist groups, march, paint signs, grab their daughters and sons, and raise their voices. But for so many, they also turn to their greatest comfort--their kitchen. ​

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Amanda Brainerd discusses “Age of Consent” with Aline Brosh McKenna

It's 1983. David Bowie reigns supreme, and downtown Manhattan has never been cooler. But Justine and Eve are stuck at Griswold Academy, a Connecticut boarding school. Griswold is a far cry from Justine's bohemian life in New Haven, where her parents run a theater and struggle to pay the bills. Eve, the sophisticated daughter of status-obsessed Park Avenue parents, also feels like an outsider amidst Griswold's preppy jocks and debutantes. Justine longs for Eve's privilege, and Eve for Justine's sexual confidence.

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Miriam Feldman discusses “He Came In With It”

In an idyllic Los Angeles neighborhood, where generations of families enjoy deep roots in old homes, the O'Rourke family fits right in. Miriam and Craig are both artists and their four children carry on the legacy. When their teenage son, Nick, is diagnosed with schizophrenia, a tumultuous decade ensues in which the family careens permanently off the conventional course.

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Byron Lane discusses “A Star is Bored”

Charlie Besson is tense and sweating as he prepares for an insane job interview. His car is idling, like his life, outside the Hollywood mansion of Kathi Kannon, star of stage and screen and People magazine's worst dressed list. She needs an assistant. He needs a hero.

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Jordan Blashek and Christopher Haugh discuss “Union”

In the year before Donald Trump was elected president, Jordan Blashek, a Republican Marine, and Chris Haugh, a Democrat and son of a single mother from Berkeley, CA, formed an unlikely friendship. Jordan was fresh off his service in the Marines and feeling a bit out of place at Yale Law School. Chris was yearning for a sense of mission after leaving Washington D.C.

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Jeffrey Toobin discusses “True Crimes and Misdemeanors” in conversation with Scott Turow

Donald Trump's campaign chairman went to jail. So did his personal lawyer. His long-time political consigliere was convicted of serious federal crimes, and his national security advisor pled guilty to others. Several Russian spies were indicted in absentia. Career intelligence agents and military officers were alarmed enough by the president's actions that they alerted senior government officials and ignited the impeachment process. Yet despite all this, a years-long inquiry led by special counsel Robert Mueller, and the third impeachment of a president in American history, Donald Trump survived to run for re-election. Why?

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Ariel Sabar discusses “Veritas”

In 2012, Dr. Karen King, a star professor at Harvard Divinity School, announced a blockbuster discovery at a scholarly conference just steps from the Vatican: She had found an ancient fragment of papyrus in which Jesus calls Mary Magdalene "my wife."

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Jon Wiener discusses “Set the Night on Fire: L.A. in the 60s”

Los Angeles in the sixties was a hotbed of political and social upheaval. The city was a launchpad for Black Power--where Malcolm X and Angela Davis first came to prominence and the Watts uprising shook the nation. The city was home to the Chicano Blowouts and Chicano Moratorium, as well as being the birthplace of "Asian American" as a political identity. It was a locus of the antiwar movement, gay liberation movement, and women's movement, and, of course, the capital of California counterculture.

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Jody Armour discusses “N*gga Theory”

America's criminal justice system is among the deadliest and most racist in the world and it disproportionately targets Black Americans, who are also disproportionately poor, hungry, houseless, jobless, sick, and poorly educated. By every metric of misery, this nation does not act like Black Lives Matter. In order to break out of the trap of racialized mass incarceration and relentless racial oppression, we, as a society, need to rethink our basic assumptions about blame and punishment, words and symbols, social perceptions and judgments, morality, politics, and the power of the performing arts.

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John Shallman discusses “Return from Siberia” in conversation with Dan Shallman

In the midst of running a long-shot political campaign, Democratic political consultant John Simon discovers a 100-year-old manuscript written by his grandfather Joseph—a brilliant young revolutionary whose exile to Siberia by the last czar of Russia is just the beginning of an extraordinary tale of survival, romance, and revolution. Return From Siberia chronicles not only the Simon family's relationship to each other and the past, but also the remarkable story of a young man who sacrificed everything for his political ideals.

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John W. Dean discusses “Authoritarian Nightmare”

John Dean, of Watergate fame, knows what it's like to work for a strong-willed, vindictive president. But even Richard Nixon, says Dean, didn't have the raw lust for power that Donald Trump has. Nor the lack of skill. Nor the deep, willful ignorance of our democracy. So how did such a person achieve power?

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Jeff Hobbs discusses “Show Them You’re Good” in conversation with F. Douglas Brown

Four teenage boys are high school seniors at two very different schools within the city of Los Angeles, the second largest school district in the nation with nearly 700,000 students. Author Jeff Hobbs, writing with heart, sensitivity, and insight, stunningly captures the challenges and triumphs of being a young person confronting the future--both their own and the cultures in which they live--in contemporary America.

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Héctor Tobar discusses “The Last Great Road Bum” in conversation with Roberto Lovato

Joe Sanderson died in pursuit of a life worth writing about. He was, in his words, a "road bum," an adventurer and a storyteller, belonging to no place, people, or set of ideas. He was born into a childhood of middle-class contentment in Urbana, Illinois and died fighting with guerillas in Central America. With these facts, acclaimed novelist and journalist Héctor Tobar set out to write what would become The Last Great Road Bum.

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Capricia Marshall discusses “Protocol” in conversation with John Emerson

History often appears to consist of big gestures and dramatic shifts. But for every peace treaty signed, someone set the stage, using hidden influence to effect the outcome. In her roles as chief of protocol for President Barack Obama and social secretary to President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton, Capricia Penavic Marshall not only bore witness to history, she facilitated it. From arranging a room to have an intended impact on the participants to knowing which cultural gestures earned trust, her behind-the scenes preparations laid the groundwork for successful diplomacy between heads of state around the world and tilted the playing field in her team's favor.

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Cass R. Sunstein discusses “Too Much Information”

How much information is too much? Do we need to know how many calories are in the giant vat of popcorn that we bought on our way into the movie theater? Do we want to know if we are genetically predisposed to a certain disease? Can we do anything useful with next week's weather forecast for Paris if we are not in Paris?

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Timothy Snyder discusses “Our Malady” in conversation with Mark Lipstitch

On December 29, 2019, historian Timothy Snyder fell gravely ill. Unable to stand, barely able to think, he waited for hours in an emergency room before being correctly diagnosed and rushed into surgery. Over the next few days, as he clung to life and the first light of a new year came through his window, he found himself reflecting on the fragility of health, not recognized in America as a human right but without which all rights and freedoms have no meaning.

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Maryrose Wood discusses “Alice Farm: A Rabbit’s Tale” in conversation with Steven Banks

When a new family moves into Prune Street Farm, Alice and the other cottontails are cautious. The new owners are from the city; the family and their dog are not at all what the rabbits expect, and soon Alice is making new friends and doing things no rabbit has done before. When she overhears a plan by a developer to run the family off and bulldoze the farm, Alice comes up with a plan, helped by the farmer's son, and other animals, including a majestic bald eagle.

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Lan Cao and Harlan Margaret Van Cao discuss “Family in Six Tones”

In 1975, thirteen-year-old Lan Cao boarded an airplane in Saigon and got off in a world where she faced hosts she had not met before, a language she didn't speak, and food she didn't recognize, with the faint hope that she would be able to go home soon. Lan fought her way through confusion, and racism, to become a successful lawyer and novelist. Four decades later, she faced the biggest challenge in her life: raising her daughter Harlan--half Vietnamese by birth and 100 percent American teenager by inclination. In their lyrical joint memoir, told in alternating voices, mother and daughter cross ages and ethnicities to tackle the hardest questions about assimilation, aspiration, and family.

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Peter Lunenfeld discusses “City at the Edge of Forever” in conversation with Lawrence Weschler

How did Los Angeles start the 20th century as a dusty frontier town and end up a century later as one of the globe's supercities - with unparalleled cultural, economic, and technological reach? In City at the Edge of Forever, Peter Lunenfeld constructs an urban portrait, layer by layer, from serendipitous affinities, historical anomalies, and uncanny correspondences. In its pages, modernist architecture and lifestyle capitalism come together via a surfer girl named Gidget; Joan Didion's yellow Corvette is the brainchild of a car-crazy Japanese-American kid interned at Manzanar; and the music of the Manson Family segues into the birth of sci-fi fandom.

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Janna Ireland discusses “Regarding Paul R. Williams”

Regarding Paul R. Williams: A Photographer’s View is a photographic exploration of the work of the first licensed Black architect west of the Mississippi River. Known as “Hollywood’s Architect”, Paul Revere Williams was a Los Angeles native who built a wildly successful career as an architect decades before the Civil Rights Movement. He designed municipal buildings and private homes as well as banks, churches, hospitals, and university halls. He designed public housing projects and mansions for celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Lucille Ball. In 1923, Williams became the first Black member of the American Institute of Architects. In 2017, nearly forty years after his death, he became the first Black recipient of the AIA Gold Medal.

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