Author Archive


Elizabeth the First Wife

Elizabeth the First Wife

Another laugh-out-loud romp through Pasadena by Lian Dolan (author of Vroman’s all-time best seller Helen of Pasadena) that oh-so-gently sends up institutions beloved (and sometimes berated) by us all, while keeping the plot moving and the characters familiar, believable, and relatable. Elizabeth Lancaster is a divorced professor of Shakespeare at PCC. She lives in a vintage [...]

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

This is a stylish, thoughtful, engrossing novel, a meditation on consciousness and consequences. Ursula Todd, born to English upper class parents on a snowy night in 1910, is reborn and dies again and again, living through and with various incidents, chief among them World War II. Some chapters are lengthy, some just a few paragraphs. [...]

The Lost Art of Mixing

The Lost Art of Mixing

The Lost Art of Mixing is Pacific Northwest author Erica Bauermeister’s sort-of-sequel to The School of Essential Ingredients. We return to the cozy Seattle neighborhood restaurant run by Lillian, and meet some new characters (my favorites, the sham-author/actual accountant Al and his wife, Louise) while we delve deeper into the lives of others (the aging [...]

The Hare With Amber Eyes

The Hare With Amber Eyes

By Edmund de Waal Edmund de Waal is a ceramicist who graduated from Cambridge with a degree in English. He inherited a collection of netsuke — miniature Japanese carvings — from his uncle, virtually the only things which survived from the fabulous wealth of his father’s family, the Ephrussi, cosmopolitan Russian Jews whose banking and [...]

The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds

The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds

The Quickening Maze By Adam Foulds Who better than a poet to write a novel that deals with madness, creativity, and love? Adam Foulds brings a vividness of both diction and imagination to this story of Victorian nature poet John Clare and his time spent in an asylum which becomes ever more horrific as its [...]

NW by Zadie Smith

NW by Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith knows London and, village by village, street by street, bus line by bus line, and tube stop by tube stop, she excels at dissecting the great city’s tiny moments, tribal loyalties, dialects and, most of all, anxieties. In NW, she draws a portrait of London via its North West post codes, well outside [...]

The Warmth of Other Suns

The Warmth of Other Suns

The Warmth of Other Suns By Isabel Wilkerson  The award-winning history The Warmth of Other Suns was urged on me while I was standing in line to see Michelle Obama at a fundraiser two years ago.  In San Marino, home of the John Birch Society, hundreds of black women lined up on the sidewalk, having contributed a [...]

A State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

A State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Another haunting tale of captivity, culture clash and love from Patchett, whose Bel Canto was a wonder of a novel. The Amazon, the main setting for this novel, is itself a State of Wonder, a sort of lotus-land jungle that combines the vaguely threatening with a golden haze of passivity and credulousness. Don’t miss the [...]

The 1000 Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

The 1000 Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

The 1000 Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell David Mitchell took a 180-degree turn from Cloud Atlas to write this straight-ahead historic novel that takes place around 1800 in Nagasaki. In the harbor lies Japan’s only outpost for foreigners: a virtual prison island for the Dutch traders there. Each culture fears, mistrusts, and exploits [...]

Hilary Mantel’s “Bring Up the Bodies”

Hilary Mantel’s “Bring Up the Bodies”

If possible, better than its predecessor Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel‘s Bring up the Bodies continues to follow the harrowing career of Thomas Cromwell as he orchestrates, navigates, and patiently out-waits and outwits everyone at the court of Henry VIII. Mantel does more interesting things with her narrative, a sort of third-person singular  from Cromwell’s point of [...]

Maude Woods - Opening October 22nd in Pasadena

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