New LA Books

Guides, histories, sports tales, and photo logs all bring fresh perspective to SoCal.

The oncoming swelter is making headlines this week, as the first big heat wave of the summer always does, and while people are surely rushing to pack their beach bags, we're sure others would like to stay in, next to a fan and a bowl of ice cubes, enjoying a little rest, a little relaxation, and a little catching up on all things Los Angeles.

There've been a spate of recent books about the city. They're histories, guides, and pictorials, mainly, but, let's be honest: There's never a time when a bunch of books detailing our megalopolis aren't in the pipeline. Here are some recent offerings:

"Compton": Arcadia Publishing now has literally dozens of books out full of historical photos and details of all of our dozens of neighborhoods; this past spring brought the publication of "Compton," "Alhambra," "Hawaiians in Los Angeles," and "Oak Park." Oh, and "Lynwood" and "Pasadena's Bungalow Heaven" as well. Bungalow Heaven, of course, looks much the same as it did 80 years ago. Actually many of our neighborhoods do, making us a lucky and preservation-minded city indeed.

"The Disneyland Encyclopedia": Chris Stodder updates the second edition of this definitive Magic Kingdom guide from Santa Monica Press. Our favorite bit? The peek at what all the tombstones say in front of the Haunted Mansion. Don't you always slow the line, trying to read them all? We know we do.

"High Fives, Pennant Drives, and Fernandomania": Did you love the Big Blue back in the late '70s? Your book arrived in the spring. This is a fan's remembrances and it is also from Santa Monica Press.

"SoCal Close-Ups": There's been a lot of talk about newspapers going the e-book route. LA Times definitely is with this quirky look at spots around town. Oh, and if you're a hockey fan, the Times has a book out on the Kings' winning season, too. That's in softcover.

(Thanks to Arcadia Publishing and Santa Monica Press for review copies of "Oak Park" and "The Disneyland Encyclopedia.")

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