What We’re Reading


The Amado Women

The Amado Women

From its shocking opening to its dream-like ending, Désirée Zamorano’s The Amado Women dishes out secrets, lies, and hurts as fast as we can gobble them up. Mercy, the family matriarch, rules over her three daughters not with an iron hand but with a constant hope that they’ll find happiness. Mercy’s secrets are old ones. [...]

The Stager

The Stager

With The Stager, Susan Coll has created a funny, crisp, self-aware farce that skewers Big Ambition, Big Pharma, and Big Housing Stock alike with the help of a literal-minded ten-year-old (Elsa), a rabbit who may or may not speak (Dominique), and a wry sense of English major humor and outsider wit. Elsa’s father Lars, a [...]

Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go

It’s England, late 1990s. In the beginning Kathy H., “Kath,” tells us that she is 31 years old and has been a “carer” for eleven years. She is a good carer, she boasts, and even gets to choose her “donors” sometimes. “Carer” and “donor.” It may be the 1990s, but we quickly understand this is [...]

My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag

My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag

A handy how-to-clean handbook for mature audiences only, My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbags And Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha by Jolie Kerr is a breathless romp through cleanliness, which in this book is not next to godliness, but often a consequence of raunchiness. Kerr, a self-described “Clean Person,” dispenses plenty of solid — [...]

The Golem and the Jinni

The Golem and the Jinni

Making a world of “magical things” weave into our idea of reality is a skill. Maybe even more so when this magic is woven into not our present time, but our history, as we have set ideas and an understanding of what has already been. In The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker brings to [...]

Without a Net

Without a Net

Esther Bradley-DeTally has had adventures most of us will never undertake, nor would we want to. On a whim and a (literal) prayer, Esther and her husband Bill lived in Russia in the early 1990’s, for several months at a time, as missionaries of the Baha’i Faith. Bradley-DeTally’s Without a Net isn’t about the Faith, however. [...]

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

Thirty-something Clay Jannon’s friends have designed world-famous websites, advanced touch-screen interfaces, work at Apple, and run their own companies. Clay, on the other hand, has won an award from the San Francisco AIGA chapter for his re-designed logo for NewBagel, a unsurprisingly stillborn business started by two ex-Googlers who thought anything they touched would turn [...]

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Louie started smoking at five years old, drinking at eight, stole anything edible, jumped off a moving train, greased the rails to get back at a railcar conductor, deflated a teacher’s car tires for disciplining him, rigged the bell at a local church rousing the whole area including the police and fire department, rigged a [...]

Parnucklian for Chocolate

Parnucklian for Chocolate

My parents lied to me: “Nobody cares how much you weigh;” “You’re the smartest girl in your class;” “Everything’s going to be fine.” I’ll bet your parents lied to you, too, in small ways or large. But few children grow up hearing and believing the kinds of lies Josiah grows up with in B.H. James’ [...]

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Rarely do I find a more perfect voice than that of the narrator in Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Fifteen-year-old Christopher John Francis Boone could be described as a high-functioning autistic individual or perhaps one with Asperger’s syndrome, or perhaps a savant, though his condition is never stated in the [...]

Maude Woods - Opening October 22nd in Pasadena

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