What We’re Reading


Bright’s Passage

Bright’s Passage

I’d never heard of Josh Ritter, the soulful singer-songwriter, but I was intrigued by a snippet of his first novel, about a young veteran of World War I whose guardian angel happens to be a horse.  The description of the aftermath of an aerial explosion in no man’s land had me riveted. It turns out […]

Children of the Street

Children of the Street

“To all those who dare to care” is the dedication in the newest novel by Pasadena author Kwei Quartey. Children of the Street has just been released in paperback. It’s a book unlike any you have read, unless you are already a fan of his first detective tale, Wife of the Gods. Both books are […]

Dog On It

Dog On It

A savory little summer read for lovers of dogs and mysteries, Dog On It is the first in a series that features a disgraced K-9 member of the police force (Chet) partnering with his equally misfit human partner (Bernie). A real romp in the arroyo, this Arizona-set mystery is saved from being over-sweet by a […]

Fundamentally, Transcendentally American

Fundamentally, Transcendentally American

Tinkers, by Paul Harding This quietly beautiful book centers around the deathbed of George Crosby, a remarkable, unremarkable old man. As the life fades from this modern Yankee, his mind opens in cascading fragments of his present and past—and the pasts of his father and grandfather. An examination of family, beauty and ecstasy, this novel […]

The Little Stranger

The Little Stranger

Its blurbs claim that the excellent novel The Little Stranger is haunted by the spirits of Edgar Allen Poe and Henry James. I would say that author Sarah Waters, so successful in channeling Dickens’ and Wilkie Collins’ Victorian London in Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith, took on, with this gothic-tinged novel set after World War […]

Joy for Beginners

Joy for Beginners

I slipped into this inviting novel like a warm bath.  It’s soothing and sensual, comforting and relaxing.  There’s no psycho behind the shower curtain either – if you are looking for a reading experience that is the equivalent of a good long soak, and are willing to shed some tears and giggle a bit as […]

Room Comes to Vroman’s

Room Comes to Vroman’s

If you haven’t read Emma Donoghue’s novel Room yet, you’re probably sleeping well—but we’re here to warn you that you’ll be staying up until the wee hours once you start reading it. It’s a gripping story of a most unusual mother-son duo, told solely from the 5-year-old boy’s perspective, and it’s both terrifying and uplifting. […]

The Telling of the Irish

The Telling of the Irish

Spring, even in Southern California, provides exhilaration, variety and a great excuse to curl up with a cup of tea and read. Here’s a literary suggestion to complement a wet, cold weekend that follows a warm, mock-orange-scented week: Tana French’s three-novel cycle of crime and (not much) redemption. With French’s luminous writing, you are in […]

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

If Miss Marple investigated social consciousness instead of murder mysteries, Agatha Christie might have written this book. Set in a charmingly upscale village on the Sussex downs, this novel is a charmingly upscale commentary on British snobbery as widowed, bookish and oh-so-English Major Pettigrew falls inevitably in love with the village’s Pakistani shopkeeper. Consequences ensue, […]

Mudbound

Mudbound

Pasadena’s selection for the upcoming One City One Story program is Mudbound. This debut novel by Hillary Jordan is set in the Mississippi Delta just after World War II, as two families play out the South’s eternal conflicts over race, land and class. Six main characters alternate in telling the story, which begins with a burial […]

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Maude Woods - Opening October 22nd in Pasadena

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Camelot and Vine

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