(LA Trend) — From Taylor Swift’s wealth of albums to intricate baking projects, there have been a few positives during 2020. With more spare time and less time spent commuting, many people have embraced gardening, home improvement projects, and hobbies like reading.
A survey published in The Guardian showed that U.K. residents became avid readers during the pandemic. From April 29 to May 1, respondents nearly doubled the amount of time they read per week—from 3.5 hours to 6 hours—and 41 percent of people said they were reading more.
This trend mirrored the increase in reading in the U.S. and even helped revive the romance genre, which had been flagging since 2012. As reported by The Washington Post, contemporary romance was the top romantic genre, followed by historical romance, and printed romantic comedy book sales grew by 188 percent since last year.
In the final chapter of 2020, readers can enjoy a booming literary scene thanks to Los Angeles’ independent book publishers. Here are a few of the books we’re looking forward to reading in the new year.
Explore local architecture with “Paul R. Williams: Master Architects of Southern California 1920-1940” by Angel City Press. This twelve-volume series by Marc Appleton and Bret Parsons takes a detailed look at residential dwellings featured in the early days of The Architectural Digest and the architects who constructed them. Step back into the Golden Era, populated by oil titans, film industry moguls, bankers, and successful entrepreneurs through rare photographs. The book follows underdog Paul R. Williams, the orphan son of an African American fruit-and-vegetable merchant, and he has his stamp on over three thousand structures in Southern California.
Learn the history behind some of the Southland’s most delicious innovations with “Made in California: The California-Born Diners, Burger Joints, Restaurants & Fast Food that Changed America” by food historian George Geary. Read about favorites like A&W Root Beer, Foster’s Freeze, IHOP, Der Wienerschnitzel, See’s Candy, Winchell’s Donuts, In-N-Out, and many others. After reading, enjoy a tasting tour of culinary innovation.
Enjoy a fictional account of life on the Eastside with “Shaky Town,” by Lou Mathews, an instructor at UCLA Extension’s acclaimed Creative Writing program. This distinctly L.A. story follows a former mechanic and street racer, a teenage girl caught in the middle of a gang war, a priest who has lost his faith and hit bottom, and others as they navigate the city of angels.
Immerse yourself in the Southern California lifestyle with “Lush Life: Food & Drinks from the Garden” by Valerie Rice. Known for her Instagram, EatDrinkGarden, Rice shares some of her favorite cocktail recipes, seasonal recipes for entertaining, family meals, snacks, and wine advice in this beautifully photographed book.