On November 23, we are proud to be hosting
Champion rock climber, Alex Honnold.
We will be hosting him at All Saints Church as he talks about his new book about climbing and free solo climbing, Alone on the Wall. Tickets are available through this link HERE.
One of our Children’s Department Supervisors, Eric, is also an avid climber and fan of Alex’s. He came up with six questions that we could ask him in preparation for his event

To find out more about Alex Honnold, visit his website HERE.


6 Questions with Alex Honnold

  1. What was it that originally excited you about rock climbing?

I just always loved climbing on things. Tree, buildings, whatever. I liked getting on top of things, I liked being up high. That’s probably still what I like most about climbing. 

2. What has been the most challenging rock climbing experience you have faced?

As I describe in Alone on the Wall, the Fitz traverse with Tommy Caldwell was probably the hardest climbing experience of my life. Almost 5 days of continuous climbing in difficult alpine terrain. It was a huge adventure for me.

3. Have you found rock climbing to be beneficial to other aspects of your life and if so what parts of it are and how has it been?

Well, climbing has pretty much formed the core of my whole life so it’s influenced all aspects of my personal growth. It’s given me my work ethic [what little there might be] and taught my about setting goals and working towards them. It’s allowed me to travel which has given me a much broader perspective on the world.

4. What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve read a lot of memoirs like this in my life and always found them pretty inspiring. When David approached me about writing this book together it just seemed like the right time. It felt like my turn to contribute a little. And it’s also nice to tell my stories in a longer form than YouTube videos and climbing films. Nice to consider things in more depth.

5. You are a role model for many young climbers and a celebrity within the rock climbing community. Who are the climbers that inspire you the most and why?

As a kid I was most inspired by Peter Croft and John Bachar, legendary soloists from the last generation. Plus a host of more modern climbers like Tommy Caldwell and Dean Potter. And of course Chris Sharma. Basically I’ve always looked up the best climbers – people who were pushing the sport in cool new directions.

6. What advice would you give to a person who is interested in rock climbing or is just beginning to explore rock climbing?

I generally tell beginners to focus on good technique and good footwork. Climbing is mostly about body position and less about strength. But mostly I would just say that if someone’s psyched about climbing they should get out and try.


6 Questions with Robert Crais!

by Jessica on November 5, 2015

We are pleased to be welcoming back Robert Crais to Vroman’s on 11/11! He’ll be promoting his newest book, The Promise. We asked him 6 Questions about his process and writing in general. Mark your calendars, this event is going to be great!


6 Questions with Robert Crais

  1. Can you talk about your writing process and if you do anything specific when you sit down to work?
    Turn on my computer?  My head is always in my work, so I constantly think about the story and characters, no matter what I’m doing.  So when I finally sit to commit the act of writing, I’m very structured.  It’s a job.  I work.
  1. What advice would you give to a writer who admires your work?
    Same advice I give anyone who wants to write.  Read.  Read much, and read varied.  Write, write much, and finish what you write.  Embrace art, all art, and let it inspire you.  You will have more bad days than good days, so get used to it.  Don’t quit.
  1. Who are some of your favorite authors? Who inspires you?
    Poets, mostly.  I won’t mention names, but I read a lot of poetry.  The precision and exactness demanded by poetry inspires me.
  1. What drew you to writing mysteries and thrillers?
    I enjoy reading them.  I was a fan before I was a writer.
  1. How has writing benefited or influenced daily life for you?
    It’s probably made me a more considered person.  I love observing people.  I pay attention to details, and consider what I’ve seen.  This can lead to characters and stories, but even if it doesn’t, people are entertaining. 
  1. What’s next for you?
    Joe Pike.  Giving Joe his own thriller again, as I did with THE WATCHMAN and THE FIRST RULE.  Bringing back Jon Stone.  The story blindsided me like a runaway truck, and now I can’t let go of it–an absolutely perfect, relentless story for Joe Pike and Jon Stone.  I’m writing the book as fast as I can just to see how it end.


Vroman’s Annual Bookmark Contest!!

by Jessica on November 2, 2015

To download an entry form click HERE

Deadline for entries is January 18, 2016! 


by Cara on October 11, 2015

A Musical Education through Vroman’s Book Inventory

by Waylon Bacon

I’ve noticed that a lot of my favorite music has often been recorded by people who weren’t terrifically popular. Some of this has to do with the fact that music which hasn’t reached a wider audience is always going to be more exotic and therefore (to me at least) more interesting. As well, the stories behind these artists are always fascinating, (as the Oscar winning ‘Searching For Sugarman’ can attest) which can lead to some seriously obsessive music collecting.

Here at Vroman’s, we have a fantastic selection of books on these fringe music dwellers. Below are three of my favorites, which I highly recommend you check out:

Simon Reynolds

There have been many books written on the subject of Punk Music, but only one as far as I can tell on the subject of ‘Post Punk’.
Post Punk was the music that came after the Sex Pistols shook up England and in 1977. The bands that followed took the basic idea of the raw energy of punk and evolved it into something more arty and varied.

‘Rip It Up and Start Again’ goes into great detail about dozens and dozens of bands that you have probably never heard of, but definitely should check out. Some of my personal favorites include Pere Ubu, Gang Of Four, and The Raincoats. The music created between 1978 -1985 is some of the most experimental, smart, and groundbreaking music ever created, and if you’re looking to dive into this period (which turned into the much tamer ‘New Wave’ in the 80’s) this is THE book to get.

Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head
Rob Chapman

I know it’s odd to see the name ‘Pink Floyd’ anywhere on an article about unknown musicians, but that’s because it was founded by one of the best; the very talented Syd Barrett. Before they hit it big with ‘Dark Side Of The Moon,’ Syd Barrett was the chief songwriter and architect of their sound, as well as lead guitar and singer.
The songs Syd Barrett contributed to the band’s first album (‘The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’) were very different from the serious and brooding work the band became famous for; Syd Barrett wrote about subjects like cats and bicycles, conveying whimsy and a hint of madness. By the time ‘The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’ was released, Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett where already huge stars in England. Unfortunately, around this time Syd Barrett started to collapse, succumbing to a combination of pre-existing mental disturbances, drugs, and the pressures of fame. He was kicked out of his own band, which obviously went on to greater things.
A Very Irregular Head is the latest and definitely the best biography on Syd Barrett I’ve read; it dispels a lot of the myths surrounding him, presenting a more balanced look a brilliant creative mind who was unfit for the world of super-stardom. It also goes in depth regarding his two solo albums, which many music fans have championed over the years; unlike the sonic assault of his Pink Floyd work, ‘The Madcap Laughs’ and ‘Barrett,’ are quiet, ragged folk albums with a hint of psychedelia.


Say No To The Devil; The Life and Musical Genius Of Reverend Gary Davis by Ian Zack

Reverend Gary Davis is one of my all time favorite blues artists, who specialized in Gospel music. Accompanied only by his distinctive, staccato guitar playing and his throaty, soulful voice, he was one of the most unique blues artists to ever live. However, I’ve never been able to find out much more about the man other than that he went blind and was abandoned as a child, and that he was swept up in the 60’s folk revival shortly before his death, playing festivals and appearing on Pete Seeger’s television show ‘Rainbow Quest’.
So I was really excited to see this book in the music section the other day, which explores as much of the Reverend’s life as is possible. Although I haven’t yet sat down to give this a read, I will very soon and can’t wait to learn more about a man whose music has been stopping me cold since the first time I heard it.



Nick Drake: Remembered For A While

A beautiful coffee table book which gives you a visual glimpse at the enigmatic Nick Drake, who tragically passed away after recording three absolutely beautiful and haunting folk albums. I assure you you’ve heard his music at some point, even if you didn’t catch his name. Get it!

Richard Hell: I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp

Although not necessarily unknown, Richard Hell doesn’t get half of the ink as fellow NY Punk musicians like The Ramones or Patti Smith as he should. In fact, he was one of the very first artists to play at CBGB’s, and as a songwriter he brought a real lyrical intelligence to a genre that is often thought of as just angry and stupid. Obviously, his interest in writing has continued, as evidenced by this terrifically written account of his all too brief years as the king of NY Punk.







Young Readers League 2015!

by Jessica on October 7, 2015

Vroman’s is pleased to announce a new Young Readers League program and selection,
sponsored by the Friends of the Pasadena Public Library!

This exciting program, in the spirit of One City, One Story
was designed as a school-wide community reading extravaganza.
Last year over 1,000 children in the Pasadena community participated in some aspect of our program –
by reading the book or attending one of our events, which included cape making,
comic book workshops, a pajama party and more.

Our Fall 2015 Selection is… Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

This wonderful debut novel gives us a new spin on a fairy tale classic.
Rump has never known his full name – his mother died before she could tell him.
So all his life he’s been teased and bullied for his half-a-name.
But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change.
For Rump discovers he can spin straw into gold.  Magical gold.

His best friend Red Riding Hood warns him that magic is dangerous – and she’s right!
That gold is worth its weight in trouble.
And with each thread he spins, Rump weaves himself deeper into a curse.

There’s only one way to break the spell:
Rump must go on a quest to find his true name,
along the way defending himself against pixies, trolls, poison apples, and one beautiful but vile-mannered queen.
The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship – and a cheeky sense of humor – Rump just might triumph in the end.

Rump is available now!
You can stop in and grab a copy or give us a call at 626-449-5320.

This fall, Vroman’s Bookstore and the Pasadena Public Library will be hosting all kinds of special Rump events and activities.
In November we’re pleased to bring author Liesl Shurtliff to Pasadena where she will visit local schools, the Boys & Girls Club and the Pasadena Central Library (to meet you!).

Upcoming Young Readers League Events:
Please note the location of each event and registration information.

Thursday October 8, 5:30pm
Teacher Appreciation Night at Vroman’s Main Store

Saturday October 17, 4:00pm
Rump Kickoff at Vroman’s Main Store

Join us for an afternoon of Rump-inspired crafts!
Learn to paint with “straw” to create your own masterpiece,
make your own gold putty and decorate a square for our story quilt.

Wednesday October 21, 7:00pm
Mother Daughter Book Club at Pasadena Central Library

Discussion of Rump. Girls and moms,
join us to discuss books that inspire compassion, self-esteem, and courage
in the face of social pressues, as we explore what it means to be a strong, confident young woman!
To register call 626-744-4066 option 4.
(For girls 10 and up and their mothers or an adult guest of their choice.)

Tuesday October 27, 10:00am
Fairy Tale Storytime at Vroman’s Hastings Ranch

(Ages 3+)

Sunday November 1, 2:00pm
PARTY WITH RUMP at Vroman’s Main Store

Our friend Rump (aka Rumpelstiltskin) is throwing a party at Vroman’s!
Come prepared for surprises and special guests.

Tuesday November 3, 4:00pm
Gnome Home at Hastings Branch Library

Legend has it that if you build a tiny house in your yard, you just might attract a fairy or gnome.
Grab a basket and head outside to gather your building materials.
Bring all your materials to create a fantastic structure, to be envied by all the neighborhood gnomes.
Don’t worry if you don’t have all the supplies, additional building materials will be provided.
Registration required. 626-744-7262. Ages 10+

Wednesday November 4, 11:00am
Magic Show at San Rafael Branch Library

Like Kessler, the traveling magician in Rump,
join us for a magic show!
For all ages.

Thursday November 5, 4:00pm
Treasure Dig at Vroman’s Hastings Ranch

Rump and his friends spend their days digging for gold in the mines.
Put your digging skills to work in our sand pool filled with golden treasures.
Exchange your gold for more games and prizes, but beware of the pixies…
Ages 4-12.

Thursday November 5, 6:00pm
Family Fairytale Night at Vroman’s Hastings Ranch

Our monthly trivia night takes a fairytale turn.
Bring a team to test your knowledge, munch on snacks,
and possibly find a place on our Wall of Fame!
(Ages 10+ and adults)

Monday November 9, 4:30pm
Rump’s Restaurant at Cental Library, Studio on 4th

Come have food filled fun as we create food and food-structures.
We’ll make butter to put on Miller’s bread, build a spaghetti tower for Rump’s gold and
create some tasty troll sludge. Yum!
To register call 626-744-4066 option 4. Ages 8+

Wednesday November 11, 4:30pm
Kids Book Club at Pasadena Central Library, Children’s Room

Join as we discuss and have fun with this year’s Young Readers League book: Rump.
Register and pick up your book at the Children’s Desk.
Call 626-744-4066 option 4. Kids in grades 3-5. 

Thursday November 12, 3:00pm
Teen Discover Day at Allendale Library

To celebrate Young Readers League, Allendale Library invites students to discover something about the novel, Rump.
Will we weave gold? Will we make gones or pixies to creep through the dark forest?
Come and see – you may be surprised! For teens.

Thursday November 12, 3:30pm
Gold Rainbow Looms at Santa Catalina Branch Library

Want to be like Rump and weave your own bracelet?
Kids ages 7 & up are welcome to make their
very own bracelets using the Rainbow Loom!

Saturday November 14, 11:00am
Gnome Painting at Linda Vista Library

Families are invited to build their very own magical Gnome!
Call 626-744-4066 to register.
Ages 7 +

Saturday November 14, 4:30pm
Kids Writing Workshop at Pasadena Central Library, Children’s Room

Are you a dreamer? Do you love to write?
It’s never too early to start writing your own stories.
Call the Children’s Desk to register.
626-744-4066 option 4.
Ages 8-12.

Sunday November 15, 2:00pm
Rhyme Off at Vroman’s Hastings Ranch

Rump is a master of rhymes, so at this event,
we’ll do a writing exercise to create our own rhymes.
Participants can share their best rhymes
out loud and the most clever performers will win prizes.
(Ages 8+)

Sunday November 15, 4:00pm
Tribe of Endless Reading Book Club at Vroman’s Main Store

Join us for a discussion and snacks at this special meeting of our middle grade book club.
Meet upstairs by the Squishables.
Ages 9-13.

Monday November 16, 3:00pm
Maleficent Movie at Allendale Library

Angelina Jolie stars as a teenager who is a powerful princess and
respected winged fairy helping to rule a magical land full of strange creatures.
Rated PG. Runs 94 minutes.

Tuesday November 17, 4:30pm
Tween Book Club at Hastings Library

Students ages 9-12 are invited to read great books and
make new friends by participating in a special book club just for Tweens.
Sign up by calling 626-744-7262.

Tuesday November 17, 6:00pm
Meet the Author at Central Library

Meet the author, learn the truth, search for gold! Celebrate Rump!
Meet author Liesl Shurtliff, go on a scavenger hunt, don disguises in the photo booth,
snag a prize, and munch on themed snacks. Free event!

Thursday November 19, 3:30pm
Trees of Gold at Hill Avenue Library

Create a tree or a whole forest withs leaves of gold.
All materials are provided. For all ages.

Thursday November 19, 4:30pm
Teen Hand Lettering at Central Library, Studio on 4th

Transform your handwriting into artful drawings.
Style a phrase or your name and develop an illustrative concept that matches its mood and tone.
Led by Alethea Allarey.
For teens. To register call 626-744-4246.

Saturday November 21, 3:00pm
Doll Making at Lamanda Park Library

Sew your own Rump inspired doll with artists Liane Shih.
Call 626-744-7266 to register. Ages 8+


The famous Clifton’s Cafeteria is on the verge of opening back up and the excitement is through the roof! Edmond J. Clinton III has just published a book about the story of Clifton’s. We just so happen to have him for a book talk and signing on October 11 at 4pm. We were lucky enough to pick his brain on a few things ranging from his favorite Clinfton’s dish to the process of writing the book. Take a look at his answers below and we can’t wait to see you on the 11th!

Q: After all these years, why was now the time to write and release a book on Clifton’s?

A: With all of the excitement of Clifton’s Cafeteria re-opening I wanted Los Angeles to know the story of my grandfather who was the man who started it all. His is a fascinating story. As the oldest grandchild of Clifford and Nelda Clinton, I felt it was time to step up and tell an insider’s account of the Clifton’s story. Having a full-time medical practice, it has taken me seven years to research and collect materials to contextualize Clifford Clinton’s important place in Los Angeles history.

Q: Why is Clifton’s important to the history of Los Angeles?

A: Clifton’s was a beacon of hope and a source of nourishing food in the Depression era. It continued its mission of providing healthful food for the body and soul throughout its life span. Because of the renown of the restaurant, Clifford Clinton was able to use his influence to uncover corruption in local government and set the city on a course of reform.

Q: Did you run into any challenges while working on the book?
How were those overcome?

A: The biggest challenge was to establish a timeline of events described in my grandfather’s unpublished memoirs in the context of Los Angeles history (which was complicated at best). This was helped immensely by the esteemed Los Angeles historian Tom Sitton who provided guidance and orientation in the evolution of this story. Dr. Sitton also wrote the Foreword to the book. Many hours of valuable research in libraries including the Huntington Library, USC and UCLA provided primary sources to support my efforts.

Q: What was your favorite part about working and being a part of Clifton’s?

A: I worked for Clifton’s during vacations in high school and college. I learned by doing with many associations with Clifton’s workers, managers, and my father, aunt, and uncle. In retrospect, these connections were very valuable in later life.

Q: What is your favorite dish served at Clifton’s?

A: Strawberry pie—without a doubt.

Q: Can you narrow it down to just one favorite memory of all the years of Clifton’s?  

A: No—there were so many! But, if I get really practical, I guess it was writing job descriptions during my college summer break with the assistance of my dear Aunt Jean who was in charge of food operations. That’s a skill I’ve used many, many times throughout my career—one you don’t learn in medical school.



We are pretty dang excited to be hosting Greg Renoff for his new book, Van Halen Rising on 10/9! He’s also be bringing a special guest along with him that we can’t quite disclose at this moment. In order to get YOU all more excited about this event we asked Greg 6 questions about the writing of this book and the process behind it. Take a read and join us on the 9th!

1. What sparked the idea for an all-encompassing Van Halen book?

I grew up a big Van Halen fan, and then went on to be a historian. Over the years, I’d read every Van Halen interview I could get my hands on and every Van Halen book that had appeared. But I was struck by the fact that there was one big gap in the band’s history: their early years in Pasadena. I thought if that period of time was investigated, fans like me would get a good understanding of how the band’s talents developed to a degree that they could record a debut that to date has sold 10 million copies and steal the show from a veteran act like Black Sabbath when they toured together in 1978. I figured as a historian and a fan, I was the right person to take this project on.

2. How was the research for this kind of book?
How long did the whole process last? I did more than 230 interviews with everyone from their earliest fans to luminaries like former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, and visited archives from coast to coast. This included stops at Pasadena City College and the New York Public Library. I got started in 2009 and delivered the manuscript to ECW Press in the fall of 2014.

3. Did you find out anything surprising while putting the book together?
Lots of things, but probably the most surprising thing was how important David Lee Roth was to shaping the band’s radio-friendly sound. Since guitarist Edward Van Halen wrote the vast majority of the band’s music, it was illuminating to discover that Roth pushed Edward and the others in the band to write commercial material rather than more traditional heavy metal music.  Another surprising discovery was that many of the stories I’d heard about the GIANT backyard parties that Van Halen threw in Pasadena in the early 1970s were largely true!

4. Were there any major challenges that came about while in the process?
If so what were the solutions to those? There are always setbacks along the way; I think one challenge was trying to make the case to presses that an academic historian with a PhD could tell this tale in a way that would be engaging to a broad reading audience. The solution came once my book proposal got into the hands of the good folks at ECW Press. They believed in me and my project.

5. The readers must know…what’s your favorite Van Halen song/and or album?
It’s hard to choose, but today I will say, “I’m The One” from Van Halen’s 1978 debut album.

6. What’s next for you?
I’ve got a number of ideas, but I think it’s likely
that I’ll write a sequel to Van Halen Rising.


Batman Day – In Photos!

by Jessica on September 30, 2015

Batman Day was this past weekend on 9/26/2015. We hosted a little soiree of our own here. We had special guest Paul Dini give a little talk and book signing to some awesome fans. He also played a trivia game with the crowd and gave away some really great prizes. Some that aren’t event out yet! It took us a few days to recover from how much fun we had but here’s a little recap in photos! Can’t wait for Batman Day 2016! 

Of course there were Batman themed treats!

The 170+ fans in attendance wait patiently for Paul Dini!

The man of the hour, Paul Dini!

A crowd shot of Paul speaking!


The Promise by Robert Crais!

by Jessica on September 28, 2015

The wonderful crime writer, Robert Crais has a new book dropping on November 10th (making this his 20th novel! What?!). We’re big fans of him and his work over here and can’t wait for a new read! The Promise joins his series characters Elvis Cole and Joe Pike with the heroes of Suspect: LAPD K-9 officer Scott James and his German shepherd, Maggie.

In honor of Maggie, special tags were created to showcase in all different ways. They’re not just for your pets (though they look great on them) they can also be used as earrings, necklaces…you name it.

We hopped onto the Maggie tag train to show our support for The Promise. I modeled the tags with my 25 lb. tuxedo cat, Jamal (BFF necklaces!).

Booksellers are encouraged to post similar pictures on Crais’ Facebook page,
website or Instagram (@robertcrais)!

We’ll be hosting him the day after the release of The Promise
on 11/11 at 7pmso be sure to mark your calendars for that one.
See you then!

To read a full description of The Promise click HERE!

— Jess


Banned Books Week 2015!

by Jessica on September 23, 2015

Every year around this time we have the privilege of celebrating
Banned Books Week!
This year we are celebrating from
Sunday Sept. 27-Saturday Oct. 3.

If you’re not quite sure what exactly Banned Books Week is here is a little background.

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. Check out the frequently challenged books section to explore the issues and controversies around book challenges and book banning. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

Even today books get challenged more than you would think. Luckily, for us and the work of the people mentioned above we are able to keep these challenged books out in the public. Definitely worth some celebrations!

The Children’s Department at the Main Store always does a spectacular display every year and of course this year is no different. This display takes up a whole wall and really should be seen in person but here are a few photos so you can get a glimpse of it!

Over at our Hastings Ranch location there are a number of events throughout the week to help celebrate. The full list of events is below and we hope you’ll be able to make one, two or all of them! It’s a great week to get involved in the community.

Tuesday September 29, 10am
CENSORED Storytime at Hastings Ranch! 

We’ll be reading some of our favorite picture books that have been banned.
The titles are sure to surprise you!

Wednesday September 30, 9am
CENSORED Day at Hastings Ranch!
Say the code word CENSORED at our Book Information desk and receive a special Banned Books pin made by our booksellers.

Thursday October 1, 6pm
CENSORED Trivia at Hastings Ranch! 
Our monthly trivia night will include a special section on banned books.
So brush up on your literary knowledge before attending!

Friday October 2, 4pm
CENSORED Bookmark Craft at Hastings Ranch! 
At this kids’ craft, we’ll start with a brief discussion about what Banned Books Week is,
followed by all making bookmarks celebrating the week.

Saturday October 3, 6pm
CENSORED Mixer at Hastings Ranch! 
Join us for open mic readings of our and your favorite paragraphs and poems from books that have been banned. Sign up for a slot in advance by emailing Danielle at dborsch@vromansbookstore.com,
or show upand we’ll squeeze you in that night.
We’ll also have some Censored Cocktails (as in mocktails, no alcohol).

Celebrate Banned Books all this coming week but really every day! If you’re celebrating in any patricular way let us know! We’d love to hear what everyone is doing.
To visit the official Banned Books site to find out what’s happening in other parts of the world
click HERE