What We’re Reading


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 [...]

Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall

Attention Tudor fanatics: This new novel by Hilary Mantel, winner of the Man Booker Prize, is a fascinating take on Henry VIII’s early reign. Brawling, brilliant Thomas Cromwell, the Archbishop Thomas Cranmer’s loyal dogsbody, is the central character who rises literally from the mud of the London dockside to Henry’s right hand. Meanwhile, Katherine of [...]

The Pasadena Short Story Project

The Pasadena Short Story Project

Local writer, comic and marketing consultant Paula Johnson is also the proprietor of the Rose City Sisters, a “online flash fiction blog” that publishes very short stories of 1,000 words or less. The writers don’t have to live locally, but their stories must have some connection to Pasadena. In the blog’s first year, it’s piled [...]

The Last Embrace

The Last Embrace

Over the last couple of years I’ve been devoting a fair amount of my fiction reading time to books set in my hometown of Los Angeles, and/or my adopted hometown of Pasadena. Because I’m a fan of mystery and crime novels, it’s easy to find lots to choose from — L.A. is hugely popular with [...]

I Love Trader Joe’s Cookbook

I Love Trader Joe’s Cookbook

This is a departure from the usual nightstand novels and nonfiction, but I just can’t resist sharing the charms of this goofy new cookbook by La Cañada gal Cherie Mercer Twohy. The cover and design are pretty dreadful, but they’re dreadful in the homespun spirit of Trader Joe’s, so I can forgive that. Her writing [...]

The Tale End of Summer

The Tale End of Summer

The other day an entering ninth-grader confided that he was excited to begin the year at a school that really valued learning; he was looking forward to being a student in a place where he did not have to keep his intellectual curiosity a secret. That warmed the nerdy cockles of my heart – and [...]

The Help

The Help

I’m taking the title of this section, “What We’re Reading,” seriously, because I’m posting about a book that I’m only halfway through. But I stayed up two hours too late last night reading it, and I can’t wait to get back to it tonight. So this is not a review, it’s a report on what [...]

The Scarecrow

The Scarecrow

Contrary to what many people think, not all women of my age and socioeconomic category read only what Oprah tells us to — or, for that matter, read only “women’s” fiction. Oh sure, I read the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and totally loved it, and I have Shanghai Girls on my nightstand (but stopped [...]

Maude Woods - Opening October 22nd in Pasadena

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