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Author Picks

Looking West

Photo of Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney


Because I wrote a novel that takes place in New York City, I’m usually asked to recommend books about New York City, something I would happily spend days doing, but I haven’t been a New Yorker for a while (except at heart). I moved to Los Angeles in 2009. I’m an Angeleno now. I know what you’re thinking: which city do I like best? I’m not going to tell you, because I can’t, because it’s impossible to choose and it’s always a little surprising to me when people think I can—or that I have to. It’s impossible for me to imagine going without either and my heart is big enough for both. I love New York for all the vibrant, resplendent multitudes it contains, including 27 years of my personal history. I love Los Angeles because it’s my present and my immediate future and because it’s a gorgeous mess of contradictions: a blossoming city built on the high desert always divining for water; a tinseled town hovering above deep fissures in the earth; a place where dreamers come to reinvent themselves and end up staying because life here is… nice. And not just because of valet parking and the weather, but because of the wild expanse of blue sky, the light, the otherworldly succulents, the hummingbirds and coyotes, the lizards and lemon trees, the mountains and the oceans—all of it is food for the mind, the heart, the soul. Unsurprisingly, a lot of my reading over the past few years has centered around California’s past and present. Here are five books I particularly love.

About the Author

Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons. She has an MFA from The Bennington Writing Seminars. Previously, she lived and worked in New York City for more than two decades, writing copy for a variety of clients, including American Express, McDonald’s and more defunct Internet start-ups than she cares to count. Her non-fiction essays have been published in The New York Times Magazine and Martha Stewart Living. The Nest is her first novel.