Los Angeles Library

Los Angeles Library

Books About Los Angeles

A Carefully Curated List

We love reading about Los Angeles almost as much as we love exploring Los Angeles. Here are a few books that are either essential to the Los Angeles experience or offer inspiring insights into Los Angeles and its history.

City of Quartz

Subtitled “Excavating the Future in Los Angeles,” this definitive examination of the events and forces that formed Los Angeles from a small dust-blown agrarian village into a city from Mike Davis, noted historian and professor of creative writing. First published in 1990, this 2006 edition details changes that have swept the city since the first was appeared.

Day Hiking Los Angeles

An excellent guide to day hikes in and around Los Angeles from Casey Schreiner, the fellow behind Modern Hiker. Includes the hike to the Dawn Mine as featured on our Dawn Mine post.


Author Paul Haddad (L.A. Dork on Twitter) takes readers on a deep dive into the concrete roadways of Los Angeles, exploring both utopian and dystopian elements of the city’s omnipresent pathways.

Stealing Home

The Dodgers came to Los Angeles in 1958. Of course they needed a place to play and the “blighted” neighborhood known as Chavez Ravine looked ideal. But there was a problem — a Mexican-American community was already living in the ravine. Stealing Home tells the story of how this group of disenfranchised citizens were displaced to make way for a sports franchise.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Joan Didion wrote some of the best essays about Los Angeles and many of them can be found in this book — including the classic “Los Angeles Notebook,” the best essay about the Santa Ana winds. Essential reading for any aspiring Angeleno.