What We’re Reading


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 [...]

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 [...]

Maude Woods - Opening October 22nd in Pasadena

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