'The Humbling' by Philip Roth Richard Rayner, Rayner is the author, most recently, of "A Bright and Guilty Place" and writes the Paperback Writers column, which appears monthly at www.latimes.com/books.
'The Union of Their Dreams' by Miriam Pawel Richard Steven Street, Street is the author, most recently, of "Everyone Had Cameras: Photography and Farmworkers in California, 1850-2000," the third volume in his history of California farmworkers.
California's deficit of common sense Rebecca Solnit, Rebecca Solnit, a product of California public schools from kindergarten to graduate school, is the author most recently of "A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster."
The Golden State isn't worth it William Voegeli, William Voegeli is a contributing editor of the Claremont Review of Books. This article is adapted from the autumn 2009 issue of City Journal.