What We’re Reading


The Lacuna

The Lacuna

A “lacuna” is a hole, an empty place in a stone or bone — and a metaphor for The Lacuna‘s central character. Harrison Shepherd moves through Mexico and America in the first half of the 20th century, aching to be a part of a family, and a nation, but never quite fitting in.He’s too bookish for [...]

Lincoln Vampire Log Lags a Bit

Lincoln Vampire Log Lags a Bit

I am an oozing, drooling undead groupie for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, so I rushed out to buy Seth Grahame-Smith’s latest mashup, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. The premise is deliciously dumb: In addition to his other accomplishments, Honest Abe is a hunter of vampires, who are depicted in “historic” photos throughout the book in [...]

Three Weissmans: Keep the Mom Spirit Going

Three Weissmans: Keep the Mom Spirit Going

Mother’s Day may have passed, but you can (and should) keep the spirit going by diving in to Cathleen Schine’s wonderful new novel, The Three Weissmans of Westport. Reminiscent of Anne Tyler at her best, Schine is a deft writer who blends humor, social observation and a real understanding of humankind’s foibles and strengths into [...]

Game Change, Indeed!

Game Change, Indeed!

These two quotes really say it all about Game Change, the book that provides both a front-row seat and a back-hallway glimpse into the roller-coaster ride that was the 2008 presidential election. I could not put it down.

Gardens of Water: One Book, Many Discussions

Gardens of Water: One Book, Many Discussions

If you did not get a chance to read Pasadena’s One City One Story choice for 2010 in time for the events on March 14, it’s a good read any time: accessible, dramatic and fascinating. Gardens of Water takes place in a distant, lower-class suburb of Istanbul during the devastating Marmara earthquake of 1999. First-time [...]

Through a Glass Darkly

Through a Glass Darkly

The glass room is the centerpiece of a starkly modern “machine for living” house built by the equally modern Landauers, a young, progressive couple who marry in the heady days of the new democracy of Czechoslovakia. The sleek, striking building expresses their hopes and personalities and the drive to be “new.” But old forces are [...]

Follow Sierra Madre’s Lead — Read Zorro

Follow Sierra Madre’s Lead — Read Zorro

Sierra Madre just finished One Book One City, reading one of my all-time favorites: Zorro, by Isabel Allende. Zorro is among Allende’s lighter works (not much magical realism, but a healthy dose of feminism, and family-friendly on the love scenes). It’s a headlong but thoughtful re-imagining of our own California Robin Hood epic, starring the [...]

A Fast Valentine to Slow Food

A Fast Valentine to Slow Food

Erica Bauermeister’s lyrical novel about the adventures of a cooking class in a snug little Seattle bistro — The School of Essential Ingredients —  is out in paperback. If your valentine is into slow food, soft rain and happy endings, this fantasia on the healing power of food and connection makes a nice little gift for [...]

The Children’s Book

The Children’s Book

Arty, Crafty & a Little Bit Potty The English Arts and Crafts movement  is the mothership to our own Arroyo arts culture, and A.S. Byatt’s new novel, The Children’s Book,  though a bit too teeming (why name one boy Gerald and one Geraint when you can make all 20 of your major characters’ names up?), [...]

A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents

A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents

If you are tickled whenever you see a glimpse of Pasadena in a movie or TV show, then Liza Palmer’s A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents will deliver the same thrill. This family drama set against a San Gabriel Valley backdrop will have locals nodding their heads and murmuring “I know that place!” with [...]

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Maude Woods - Opening October 22nd in Pasadena

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Camelot and Vine

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