Rasheeda Saka to Join Dana Johnson Event

This week’s California Book Club: Michael Schaub, Vendela Vida, and Rebecca Handler.

rasheeda saka, dana johnson, john freeman

There are just two days until our California Book Club gathering with Dana Johnson, and we hope you’ve had a thrilling time reading Elsewhere, California! We are writing to announce that I will briefly join the discussion with Johnson, host John Freeman, and you, dear reader!

I am the outgoing assistant editor at Alta Journal’s California Book Club and previously worked as Literary Hub’s 2020 fall-winter editorial fellow. In 2018, I was named one of eight winners of Epiphany’s inaugural Breakout 8 Writers Prize by judges Alexander Chee, Tracy O’Neill, and Hannah Tinti. My work has appeared in Literary Hub, TriQuarterly, and on altaonline.com. I will start my MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop this fall.

Here are the details of the event:

  • When: Thursday, August 19, at 5 p.m. Pacific time.
  • Where: To join the event on Zoom, click here.
  • What: Your host, John Freeman, will be in conversation with Dana Johnson, author of Elsewhere, California. They will be joined by me, the evening’s special guest.
  • Author questions: Please send questions for Dana Johnson to info@californiabookclub.com. You can also submit them using Zoom’s chat feature after the event begins.
  • Attend to win: We will be giving away author-signed copies of Elsewhere, California to five attendees, selected at random, following Thursday’s program.
  • Mark your calendars: The CBC’s upcoming discussion with Rebecca Solnit, author of A Paradise Built in Hell, will be on September 23.

    To sign up for Alta Journal’s California Book Club for free, click here. And don’t forget to join your fellow book club members in the Alta Clubhouse for ongoing discussions about our selected book of the month.

    Thank you, and see you Thursday!

    california road maps


    “Where is the road map for how to navigate such treacherous relationships? Avery seems to ask at certain points in this sumptuously thoughtful book,” CBC host John Freeman says about the protagonist of Elsewhere, California. —Alta

    elsewhere california, dana johnson
    Counterpoint Press


    Elsewhere, California received overwhelmingly positive reviews. Here is what a few critics had to say about the novel. —Alta

    rude talk in athens, mark haskell smith
    Unnamed Press


    Michael Schaub considers how Mark Haskell Smith’s Rude Talk in Athens, about ancient Athenian comedy, is “a resolutely odd book, but also a very funny, frequently brilliant one.” —Alta

    jenny yang, chris capizzi, a good used book
    Jason Armond/Los Angeles Time


    Want to know how the popular Los Angeles pop-up bookstore A Good Used Book weathered the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic? —Los Angeles Times

    a registry of my passage upon the earth, sout to freedom


    Congratulations to the winners of the 90th annual California Book Awards, who were celebrated in a virtual ceremony yesterday. —Datebook

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    Philip Cheung


    Katherine Rosman explains how Taylor Jenkins Reid—whose latest novel, Malibu Rising, will be adapted for a television series—offers a sense of escapist respite for her readers. —New York Times

    matthew specktor


    “The L.A. of Joan Didion is different from the L.A. of Chandler, or of Steve Erickson, of Kate Braverman, of Salvador Plascencia, of Paul Beatty, of Walter Mosley, of Charles Yu, of Carolyn See, or of myself,” Matthew Specktor says about the varying perspectives and future of California literature. —InsideHook

    vendela vida, rebecca handler
    Kristen Sard


    Read this interview between Vendela Vida, author of We Run the Tides, and Rebecca Handler, author of Edie Richter Is Not Alone, about literary endings, the primacy of setting, and what it means to lead a creative life. —Los Angeles Review of Books

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    Lorenzo Gritti


    Megan McCluskey details how scammers and cyberstalkers have weaponized Goodreads to “extort authors with threats of ‘review bombing’ their work,” oftentimes targeting writers from marginalized communities. —Time

    eleanor henderson
    Emily Merrill


    “It is a continuous loop of illness, despair, hope and illness again. Henderson is smart and insightful, but this story is more litany than narrative,” Samantha Schoech remarks of Eleanor Henderson’s latest novel, Everything I Have Is Yours. —Datebook

    california book club bookplates

    Alta’s California Book Club email newsletter is published weekly. Sign up for free and you also will receive four custom-designed bookplates.


    Rasheeda Saka is a graduate student in fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
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