Alta Journal’s Top Book Reviews of 2021
This year, our critics sought out books that dealt with crucial themes like freedom, history, race, power, and adventure.
In 2021, Alta Journal got literary. Check out our editors’ favorite Alta Monday Book Reviews, which deeply and carefully attended to some of the amazing California-related books that were released this past year.
Myron Brinig’s The Flutter of an Eyelid is the great lost classic of Los Angeles literature. Reviewed by Chris Daley
Carribean Fragoza’s debut collection, Eat the Mouth That Feeds You, is a work of exceptional power. Reviewed by Wendy C. Ortiz
In ELADATL: A History of the East Los Angeles Dirigible Air Transport Lines, Sesshu Foster and Arturo Ernesto Romo imagine the City of Angels as it might have been. Reviewed by Mark Haskell Smith
Rosecrans Baldwin’s Everything No is a Los Angeles fever dream. Reviewed by David L. Ulin
Matthew Specktor’s Always Crashing in the Same Car is a memoir through the lens of art. Reviewed by Claire Dederer
With On Freedom, Maggie Nelson raises complicated questions about what it means to be free. Reviewed by Joy Press
Percival Everett’s The Trees is a masterful allegory about America and race. Reviewed by Michael Schaub
José Vadi’s Inter State looks at California from the inside. Reviewed by Sophia Stewart
Revolutionary Letters and Spring and Autumn Annals recall the power of Diane di Prima’s voice. Reviewed by Lynell George
Natashia Deón’s The Perishing and Venita Blackburn’s How to Wrestle a Girl give voice to powerful Black women characters. Reviewed by Anita Felicelli