Literary


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 [...]

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls

We tried to explain the appeal of satirist/essayist/absurdist David Sedaris to our Turkish guide as our family exploded with laughter while passing around his latest book, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls.  Every time one of us put the book down, having just finished a chapter that dealt with his observations on China, or his father [...]

Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Equal parts harrowing and hilarious, Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, concerns the disappearance of a semi-dysfunctional mother (aren’t we all?) as told through the eyes of her super-smart eighth grade daughter, Bee. Bernadette is as smart as her daughter, but considerably more acerbic and decidedly misanthropic. It turns out she has been on the [...]

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 [...]

Camelot & Vine by Petrea Burchard

Camelot & Vine by Petrea Burchard

“I hadn’t planned on a mid-life crisis…but I was gripped by the urge to run.” “As soon as the plane took off I knew I’d made a mistake.…The pilot chattered away over the intercom. It would take something like nine hours to get to London. Nine hours of panic in economy class was just plain [...]

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 [...]

Old Filth

Old Filth

Like a bracing draught of quinine water, the beautifully written Old Filth by Jane Gardam is both astringent and purifying; it’s good for you and, it turns out, has more than a little kick. If you are fascinated by the effects of the Empire on Britain and its subjects, this novel will be like adding gin to [...]

Death at the Voyager Hotel: a Novella

Death at the Voyager Hotel: a Novella

by Kwei Quartey Prologue In equatorial Africa, day breaks around 5:30 a.m. no matter the time of year. Morning preparations at the Voyager Hotel in Accra, Ghana follow a similar timetable. The breakfast buffet is laid out, the day staff arrives to take over from the graveyard shift, the janitor sweeps the lobby, and tour buses and hired [...]

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. [...]

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Maude Woods - Opening October 22nd in Pasadena

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Camelot and Vine

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