What We’re Reading


The Hummingbird’s Daughter

The Hummingbird’s Daughter

This wonderful novel captures a remote time and place (northern Mexico in the late 1800s) teeming with fascinating characters who live large while debating politics, spirituality, community and faith. There is an aristocratic Don and his engineer companion; his mistress, his wife and illegitimate children; faithful retainers; rebellious natives; a dastardly priest; and soldiers who [...]

The Barbarian Nurseries

The Barbarian Nurseries

Pulitzer Prize–winning L.A. Times columnist Héctor Tobar captures the angst and ecstasy of living in Southern California in this tale of dislocation, dysfunction and miscommunication. Enigmatic Araceli Ramirez, who has put her dreams of an art career in Mexico City aside for economic reasons, is the live-in housekeeper for a well-to-do Orange County family falling [...]

Feynman: From Esalen to Einstein

Feynman: From Esalen to Einstein

Award-winning Pasadena artist Leland Myrick  has joined forces with author Jim Ottaviani to produce a unique take on one of Pasadena’s most colorful characters: the all-around genius, iconoclast and bon vivant Richard Feynman. An almost-straightforward, chronological narrative of Feynman’s life, the book – now a New York Times bestseller – with six or so full-color [...]

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

I didn’t read this when it came out. The breathless acclaim for this 2005 book, dubbed by many to be the must-read novel about 9/11, made me nervous. Four years after the events of that morning, I still did not want to be reminded of thousands of people dying; my imagination would not handle it. [...]

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 [...]

Maude Woods - Opening October 22nd in Pasadena

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