Estate Jewelers of South Pasadena



Author Archive

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Swamplandia!

Swamplandia!

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell explores family, peer pressure, hell and the occult. But what struck me most is how the story speaks of ignorance and innocence. Throughout Swamplandia!, author Karen Russell leads the reader along the fine line between fantasy and reality. The Bigtree family has created their own history (they’re not Native Americans, but their [...]

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

I picked up a copy of Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout several months ago, read about twenty pages, and put it down. I didn’t like it. It seemed cold and sad. But it won a Pulitzer, for god’s sake, so I put it on the shelf, thinking there must be something worthwhile in it and maybe [...]

Black Water Rising

Black Water Rising

There’s a place somewhere between the overdone, show-off prose of some “literary” fiction, and the merely serviceable, pulp genre stuff. In either case, the language can kick you out of the story. “That’s a beautiful sentence!” you think. Or “This is godawful stuff.” It doesn’t matter which, because the same thing happens. For a moment, [...]

Americashire

Americashire

Lately I’ve been reading memoirs. It surprises me that I like them so much because I tend to read novels, and because I write fiction. I can’t imagine writing my own memoir. Too many people are still around to find out about it and hate me for it. I suppose I could sugarcoat it but [...]

Running With Scissors

Running With Scissors

A memoir by Augusten Burroughs Born into an already troubled family— —wait. Let’s tell it like it is. Because in Augusten Burroughs’ memoir, Running With Scissors, he tells it like it was. And it was weird. Born into a totally screwed-up family, with an alcoholic father and a psychotic mother who fought raging battles on [...]

Royalist Rebel

Royalist Rebel

Regardless of the story inside, recent covers of historical novels are all about the bodice. A hint of cleavage indicates a hint of romance, maybe even lust. These books are obviously aimed at women, but when the character’s head is cut out of the picture, I wonder what kind of women those cover designers are [...]

Belinda’s Birthday by Petrea Burchard

Belinda’s Birthday by Petrea Burchard

Damn hot flashes. Belinda Marvel rolled over onto the empty Cheetos bag, causing orange dust to blow in her face. Her pajama pants pinched at the waist. Her stomach growled. She allowed her sock feet to flop to the floor, the motion propelling her to sit up. On the silent TV screen a skinny girl [...]

Human Cargo

Human Cargo

A smart, sexy detective; a case involving a mysterious, wealthy American and the Russian Mafia; danger, romance and pathos: it’s local, and our hero is a heroine. In a fast-paced detective novel, Human Cargo (2011) by Des Zamorano, gives us flashes of Dashiell Hammett with a style all her own. Instead of Sam Spade we have [...]

Kim Fay’s “The Map of Lost Memories”

Kim Fay’s “The Map of Lost Memories”

Fiction often gives us characters who lie, cheat, and commit murder to achieve their goals. Usually these nefarious types are presented as the villain. But in Kim Fay’s The Map of Lost Memories, our young, determined heroine, Irene Blum, will stop at nothing to claim the mysterious lost scrolls of the Khmer. It’s the mid-1920s [...]

Margaret Finnegan’s “The Goddess Lounge”

Margaret Finnegan’s “The Goddess Lounge”

Margaret Finnegan’s novel The Goddess Lounge turns Homer’s The Odyssey inside out. I know this not because I’ve read The Odyssey, but because I read its Wikipedia page. You don’t have to be familiar with Homer to laugh your way through Finnegan’s tale, but if you’re an Odyssey scholar (as is Finnegan), you’ll find her [...]

Maude Woods - Opening October 22nd in Pasadena

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