What We’re Reading


Leaving Everything Most Loved

Leaving Everything Most Loved

Jacqueline Winspear’s newest addition to the Maisie Dobbs saga, Leaving Everything Most Loved, is a continuation of the norm and of the magical life born out of tribulation and toil that we fans follow. Maisie is the daughter of a simple man who long ago lost his beloved wife and the mother of his only [...]

Dandelion Wine

Dandelion Wine

I rarely read the same book twice and I don’t always read the latest thing. I like snooping around independent book stores for new and used treasures. I read everything from classics to junk (only the finest junk, of course). But the most recent treasure I discovered was on my own bookshelf. I’d read Ray [...]

Singled Out

Singled Out

In 1917, the senior mistress of Bournemouth High School for Girls in Dorset in the United Kingdom spoke to the sixth form class: “I have come to tell you a terrible fact. Only one out of ten of you girls can ever hope to marry. This is not a guess of mine. It is a [...]

On Writing by Stephen King

On Writing by Stephen King

If you ask me for a list of my favorite authors, Stephen King won’t be on it. This isn’t because I don’t like his novels. I can’t even read them. I’ve tried, but I’m never able to get past a few pages because the guy is so good at what he does. “Wimp,” you say, [...]

Flight Behavior

Flight Behavior

An extended metaphor saved by Kingsolver’s brilliant writing, Flight Behavior sets up the wayward migration of Monarch butterflies, drawn off-course by global warming, as an echo of the situation of Dellarobia Turnbow, an Appalachian farmer searching for something less confining than her existence as a mother and wife in a remote mountain hamlet. When Dellarobia [...]

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

This is a tale by Mohsin Hamid, set in Lahore, Pakistan, in which a charming local named Changez tells a story of immigration, assimilation, disillusion, and emigration in the course of a single afternoon and evening. His “guest” at the table in the bustling market restaurant might be a CIA operative, but is most certainly [...]

What Do You Want to Do Before You Die?

What Do You Want to Do Before You Die?

By the Buried Life (Jonnie Penn, Dave Lingwood, Duncan Penn, and Ben Mentin) When my middle-aged friend gave middle-aged me a copy of What Do You Want To Do Before You Die? I thought, “this is a bunch of boys running around on road trips. It sounds like fun, but I don’t have time for [...]

The Cuckoo’s Calling

The Cuckoo’s Calling

This extremely likable debut detective novel by JK Rowling (writing as Robert Galbraith) features an up-to-the-minute rant on celebrity, a standard-issue schlubby-but-brilliant detective-with-a-past with a twist, his winsome gal Friday, and a cast of well-drawn, semi-unsavory people as suspects/bad actors. The sympathetic characters get even better treatment, and everyone’s lives are satisfyingly messy, detailed, and [...]

Swamplandia!

Swamplandia!

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell explores family, peer pressure, hell and the occult. But what struck me most is how the story speaks of ignorance and innocence. Throughout Swamplandia!, author Karen Russell leads the reader along the fine line between fantasy and reality. The Bigtree family has created their own history (they’re not Native Americans, but their [...]

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

This novel is a linked set of stories about the life and children of Hattie, a black woman brought up in the South who moves to Philadelphia as a young girl, marries young and pregnant, and has 11 kids. The book starts in 1925 and ends in 1980, and is a vivid saga of damage, [...]

Maude Woods - Opening October 22nd in Pasadena

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