There was a big feature in today’s Los Angeles Times Calender section about Walter Mosley — his Easy Rawlins mystery LITTLE SCARLET has been chosen as the first book in LA’s ambitious "One Book, One City" program.
For the entire month of April, Angelenos will be encouraged to read the "Little
Scarlet" book, stepping into Easy Rawlins’ shoes, which will take them back to
1965 Los Angeles to sort through the debris of the Watts riots.
manner of city-sponsored events are scheduled — from library discussions and
drop-in signings to a town meeting session and a bus tour of Easy Rawlins’ L.A.
The roster is so extensive (even Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton
wants to meet with him) that Mosley, who now makes his home in New York, will be
moving into an apartment in town for a sizable portion of the month so he can
Out of ALL the books written about LA by Los Angelenos, they chose a mystery novel (and a fine one at that) as a reflection of our city. You’d think this would send a strong message to Steve Wasserman, editor of the LA Times Book Review, about how important mystery novels are to LA readers and how, in many ways, they are an integral part of the our local literary culture and heritage.
You wouldn’t know from reading the LA Times Book Review, of course, where mysteries and thrillers are given scant attention at best…grudgingly. A local newspaper is supposed to reflect the interests, culture, and issues of the community it serves…as well as inform, entertain, and provoke. The numbingly dull Book Review is written for some mythical populace of transplanted East Coast snobs who believe the books on LA Times bestseller list (which is regularly dominated by mysteries and thrillers) reflect the reading tastes of illiterate heathens who need to be educated.
I’m pleased that "One Book, One City" has inaugerated their program by not only choosing to honor a mystery writer… but the latest book in a long-running series.