What We’re Reading


Going Astray with Cheryl Strayed on the Pacific Crest Trail

Going Astray with Cheryl Strayed on the Pacific Crest Trail

Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild (Alfred A. Knopf), is an overnight success who has actually been a hard-working writer praised in literary circles for years. She first won anonymous fame as the writer of the “Dear Sugar” column on The Rumpus; “Sugar” revealed her identity shortly before Wild‘s release. It was a masterful plan—her book [...]

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Science writer Rebecca Skloot uncovered much more than the history of a cell line when she set out to write a book about HeLa, a strain of human cells that figured in the development of significant advances in medicine. Her ten years of research brought her into intimate contact with the descendants of Henrietta Lacks, [...]

Discovering the Sarajevo Haggadah

Discovering the Sarajevo Haggadah

An ancient volume. An illuminated manuscript. A 500 hundred year journey evading destruction. In Geraldine Brooks‘s People of the Book, Hanna Heath, a rare-book expert, follows the trail of seemingly random clues that begin to unlock the history of the Sarajevo Haggadah. The reader is taken into the worlds of Inquisition-era Venice, early 20th Century [...]

Hoyt Street

Hoyt Street

Mary Helen Ponce grew up in a Pacoima barrio in the middle of World War II. Hoyt Street is her memoir of the times, the places, the people and the food as she experienced it as a sheltered, bratty, impish, bright, sassy, questioning young girl. She’s bilingual, raised in a household so overflowing with kids [...]

The Tiger’s Wife

The Tiger’s Wife

The Tiger’s Wife is an enigmatic, involving tale of life in the Balkans (the actual country is coyly, and rightly, never named). Interweaving the contemporary experience of Natalia, a young doctor, with that of her grandfather and, by extension, an unbroken line of folk memory stretching into the distant past, this first novel by Téa [...]

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 [...]

Maude Woods - Opening October 22nd in Pasadena

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