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New Los Angeles Edition Now Available!

The 6th Edition of the Newcomer's Handbook for Moving to and Living in Los Angeles is now available.

Newcomer's Handbook for Moving to and Living in Los Angeles, 6th EdBrand new, updated for 2014! First Books, publisher of the bestselling Newcomer’s Handbook® relocation series, is excited to announce publication of the sixth edition of the Newcomer’s Handbook® for Moving to and Living in Los Angeles: Including Santa Monica, Pasadena, Orange County, and the San Fernando Valley.

This 398-page volume will quickly orient newcomers to the history, culture, and lifestyle of the Southland. Highlights include:

  • Local Quirks & Lingo, in the Introduction, offers essentials for living here; unsurprisingly, many points are related to driving and parking. How does a “red flag day” alert affect parking? Does “going over the hill” have something to do with unavailability of plastic surgery?
  • Each community section in the Neighborhoods chapter now features a photosample of local housing in the area. Get an idea of what to expect before exploring neighborhoods for yourself.
  • A new section of Helpful Apps has been added to the Getting Settled chapter, offering even more ways to get connected in the area.

Here is a short introduction to Los Angeles:

“At first glance, Los Angeles appears to be a sprawling metropolis with no clear demarcations from one municipality to the next, let alone distinct neighborhoods. It takes time and patience to navigate this d to understand the subtle qualities that make Santa Monica different from Venice, or Silver Lake from the Fairfax district, but after a while, you will find neighborhoods in Los Angeles have different characteristics. Exploring LA’s com- munities is easy and fun, and for newcomers especially, it’s encouraged—just expect to spend at least some of the time sitting in traffic.

While cruising through the city, you will no doubt encounter the “strip mall” phenomenon; that is, the appearance of one-to three-story mini-malls on every other block. While some consider these modern strip malls architectural eyesores, these neighborhood commerce centers usually provide a needed service or product.

Los Angeles’ problems of crime and violence may be notorious, but in reality, they reflect the nation’s urban woes and are certainly no better or worse here than in other major US cities. In fact, in the latest survey of FBI crime statistics, which ranked violent crime levels of the 300 largest metropolitan areas in the country, Los Angeles didn’t even make the top 100. As in any city, a good dose of street smarts and common sense will help steer you away from trouble, and as safety experts are fond of reminding us, always be aware of your surroundings. Certain high-crime neighborhoods, such as South Central and Watts, are not recommended for outsiders or newcomers, but there are plenty of safe and affordable areas in which to live, work, and play.

In terms of climate, the warmest temperatures and worst air pollution occur in the summer months, and in general, you can expect the climate and air quality to be hotter and smoggier the further east you go. The Los Angeles metropolitan area reliably ranks at or near the top of ozone pollution lists, so if smog-related illnesses are a particular concern, choose your location carefully. For detailed information on the air quality in the areas you are considering calling home, contact the South Coast Air Quality Management District at 909-396-2000,

The City of Los Angeles is the second most populous city, behind New York City, in the USA, with an estimated population of 3.8 million in 2012. Los Angeles County is comprised of 9.9 million residents and alone would rank as the eighth most populous state. LA is a multi-ethnic, multicultural society, as diverse as any city in the world. The ethnic breakdown of students enrolled at LA Unified School District (the largest district in the USA after New York) tells you just how diverse it is here: 73.7% Hispanic, 10.2 % Black, 8.8% White, 5.8% Asian, and the balance includes American Indian, Filipino, and Pacific Islander. People from more than 140 coun- tries live in Los Angeles County, including the largest population of Mexican, Armenian, Korean, Filipino, Salvadoran, and Guatemalan communities outside their respective home nations. The city is so large you can fit St. Louis, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Boston, Pittsburgh, and Manhattan all within the municipal boundaries!

For decades, people around the world have been attracted to Los Angeles for its promises of fame and fortune, and excellent year-round weather. While only a sliver of the population is famous and wealthy, the good weather here is no myth. Average temperatures range from 58 degrees Fahrenheit in December to 73 degrees in September, and it’s not uncommon to have an 80-degree day at the beach in February, while much of the rest of the country shivers under a layer of snow. Our annual precipitation is just under 15 inches, with an average of 291 sunny days a year.

Some fun facts you may want to know about LA…”

Buy now to read the rest of this excerpt and learn all you need to know about Los Angeles!

Musicians and Their Hometowns

Famous Musicians' Home Cities

Do you know of any great musicians from your hometown? Newcomer’s Handbooks can name a few, and we want to share them with you!

Cee-Lo GreenCeeLo Green (born Thomas DeCarlo Calloway) reigns from Atlanta, GA. The five-time Grammy winner is best known for his song “Forget You,” released in 2010. After being a judge on The Voice, Green started his own show called The Good Life, where he and a group of friends, Big Gipp, Khujo and T-Mo, work together. Green also works with The Greenhouse Foundationin Atlanta, which he and his sister founded to help educate children in disadvantaged areas as well as to follow a family tradition of philanthropy.

Fall Out BoyFall Out Boy, the band consisting of Patrick Stump, Pete Wentz, Joe Trohman, and Andy Hurley, formed in Chicago in 2001. Songs like “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark,” “Thks fr th Mmrs,” and “Dance, Dance” have helped to maintain the band’s popularity even after a hiatus from 2010 to 2012. After releasing their comeback album Save Rock and Roll in 2013, the band conducted an expansive tour and performed with the other popular rock bands such as New Politics and Panic! At the Disco.

Sara BareillesSara Bareilles, whom you probably recognize from one of her big hit’s “Love Song,” hails from Los Angeles, where she went to the University of California. The five-time Grammy nominee taught herself to play the piano, and she started her career with Epic Records in 2005 after years of singing for acapella groups. Bareilles is currently in the midst of her “Little Black Dress” tour to promote her most recent album, The Blessed Unrest, released in 2013.

Fun.Many musicians call New York City home, but Fun. has been one particularly-popular band. The band consists of Nate Ruess, Andrew Dost, and Jack Antonoff, and they made it big in 2012 with their songs “Some Nights” and “We Are Young.” Besides creating catchy music, the band takes on a variety of charity projects: Andrew paints pies with all profits going to animal shelters in Detroit, and the band as a whole supports a variety of LGBT organizations such as Free & Equal and The Ally Coalition.

Macklemore & Ryan LewisLastly, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis call Seattle home. Macklemore, whose given name is Ben Haggerty, released the top-hit song “Thrift Shop,” which won two Grammys for best rap performance and song. During the 2014 Grammys, Macklemore preformed his song “Same Love” while the host, Queen Latifah, read out marriage vows from a mix of couples in support of equal marriage rights. Macklemore is also a big sports fan, and he dedicates songs to his Seattle teams; for instance, “My Oh My” is dedicated to the Seattle Mariners.

Written by: Kristin Monteith

Bookstores to Visit

World's Coolest Bookstores

On July 24, 2014 CNN released their list of World’s Coolest Bookstores, and we can confirm the coolness of five that are located in cities we know well from our handbooks.

The Last Bookstore 1

To start, The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles started as an online store but is now located in an old bank, vaults included. On the top floor, there is a section called the Labyrinth with over 100,000 books all priced at a dollar. The Last Bookstore 2Along with their wide collection of books (making them the largest independent bookstore in California), Last Bookstore also sells records and holds book signings/readings. If that isn’t enticing enough, the book structures (such as the desk and tunnel to the Labyrinth) will make the visit worth your while.

StanfordsThe next couple of shops are Stanfords and Foyles Flagship, both of which are in London. Stanfords carries the world’s largest stock of maps and travel bFoyles Flagshipooks, which comes as no surprise since the store initially opened as a map shop in 1853. If you are traveling through London and need assistance with your next excursion, the attentive staff at Stanfords can help with your research. Foyles Flagship, on the other hand, originated in 1903 when brothers William and Gilbert Foyles started selling textbooks based on an exam they had failed. Now the store is thriving with five locations, one of which is where the Sex Pistols first performed.

The StrandAnother of CNN’s coolest bookstores is The Strand in New York City. The Strand was started by Ben Bass on 4th Avenue in book row amongst 48 other bookstores and is the only one left standing today. Currently on 12th and Broadway, The Strand carries over 2.5 million new, used, and rare books. According to their website, the store is still kept in the Bass family, and they expect to continue this tradition, not seeing online stores like Amazon as a threat.

PowellsAnd last, but certainly not least, is Powell’s City of Books in Portland, OR. It might be a little biased to say this, but Powell’s is a book-lover’s paradise. The store takes up a whole city block and is packed up to three levels with books. Powell’s carries 122 subjects and 3,500 subsections, making it hard to not find a book on their shelves. If you do find something they don’t carry (because it has been self-published), Powell’s can print it right in the store with their Espresso Book Maker.

Those are the bookstores from CNN’s list we know from our Newcomer’s Handbooks. And if you’re moving to any of these cities, we suggest checking these stores out.

Written by: Kristin Monteith