Vroman’s Holiday Events Guide!

by Jessica on November 24, 2017

There’s already so much to do around the holidays. Gift buying, get togethers, decorating, cookies, Christmas card photos that we forget to take some time for ourselves to have some fun! Bring the kiddos and visit us for these fun and free events! (Take note of which store they will be taking place at).


Put on your pajamas and bring over your favorite stuffed animal for a holiday story time and craft.
Afterwards, leave your friend with us, because the animals are having a bookstore slumber party!!


Saturday, December 2, 11:00am
Vroman’s presents Winter Wonderland!

This holiday spectacular will feature kid’s treats, crafts, and a photo opportunity with Santa!
(Your photo courtesy of Vroman’s Bookstore) The Pasadena Playhouse District will also be presenting Merry Merry Movie featuring a free screening of
A Muppet Christmas Carol next to Vroman’s Bookstore.


Sunday, December 3, 11:00am
Holiday Craft Fun Day at Hastings Ranch!
*This event will take place at our Hastings Ranch location!*


Join us for special crafty activities for kids at Hastings Ranch – we will supply the materials!


Join us for a fun time of special writing and crafty activity for kids.
There will be a variety of crafts to choose from – little gifts that can be taken home to give to your family!
We supply the stationery, craft supplies, and we mail the letters from the store!


Saturday, December 9, 10:00am
Special Holiday Storytime featuring Santa!

Santa reads us his holiday favorites & maybe some all-year-round favorites, too!


Join us for a special writing activity for kids.
We supply the stationery and we mail the letters to Santa from our store!


Santa reads us his holiday favorites & maybe some all-year-round favorites, too!


Decorate a house that you can take home!
$24.00 + tax – includes house and decorations, though you can bring extra candy & décor.
Space is limited and it sells out every year so don’t wait to sign up! Please sign up by 12/5/17.

Young Readers League Story Contest Winners!

by Jessica on November 20, 2017

This year our Young Readers League picked The Key To Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd! In the spirit on this book, kids aged 8-14 were invited to enter a writing contest. In 300 words of less, they were to write a ghost story. The guidelines were the word count (at 300) and must be an original story. The Pasadena Library was flooded with entries and we are happy to announce the winners here!

Young Readers League 2017 Writing Contest
3rd place
Category 1 (ages 8-11)

Sienna
Age 10 (Grade 5)

“The Ghosts in the Cemetery”

A young girl takes a not-so-ordinary walk through a cemetery
when the clock strikes twelve.

Lily is a girl who has no mother. Neither does she have sisters or brothers. It’s just Lily and her father. Her father is a lawyer. Lily visits the cemetery and stops by her late mother’s grave. She stares and thinks for hours, then leaves for home every day. One night when Lily’s father told her he’ll be away, Lily is woken suddenly and is staying awake. She wasn’t in the middle of a nightmare. She thinks it’s very strange. But when Lily feels this way, she visits her mother’s grave. Tonight will be no different. Lily dresses and grabs a light. She isn’t scared; she’ll try to prevail. But she then doesn’t feel she has might.

She ventures into the cemetery weaving in and out through the trees. She trips on roots and tumbles on the ground. The grass felt cold when she went down. Lily feels unsure of herself as the clock strikes twelve. When this happens Lily thinks about returning home. Lily is about to start her way when the ground beneath her rumbles. Lily grabs onto a tree and shouts as rocks tumble. Lily gasps as a spirit jumps out of a grave. Lily, frightened and scared, crawls out and asks the ghost who he is.
But before the spirit can answer, Lily gives a shout of surprise.

“Hey!” she says, “You’re Mayor Alvin! Our first mayor to win an Olympic prize!”

At first, the mayor is startled but he relaxes into a smile.
“Hello,” he says. “Who are you?”
“I’m Lily,” she replies.

Lily watched, amazed, as the ghosts became alive.
“We get out every midnight,” says the mayor. “You’re the first to see us rise.”

Lily runs away, finding her mother walking.
Lily says, “Hi. I’m Lily Walker. Your daughter. The one you left behind.”


Young Readers League 2017 Writing Contest
2nd place
Category 1 (ages 8-11)

Maelee
Age 11 (Grade 6)

“The Haunted Pair of Ballet Slippers”

A ballerina has trouble with her enchanted ballet slippers.

The little ballerina warned them! No one would listen to her. They had no idea of how dangerous the pair of ballet slippers could possibly be. Whenever she would put on her shoes during the class it would appear as though she is doing a crazy chicken dance. Once the teacher asked her to point her feet, she would flex them; when she asked her to flex her feet, she would point them. Everyone in her class thought that she was dyslexic or weird, but she was actually just a normal human being. One time she was so out of control that she twisted her ankle. The dancer could not take it any longer. So she threw one of her slippers breaking the glass mirror. The teachers yelled, “Young lady this is no place for a ballerina like you to throw things and damage them. You will have to pay a consequence and that is to never come back EVER AGAIN!” Sadly, the ballerina left the dance studio, never to return again.
Later that night on a full moon, the janitor went inside the studio. He noticed tiny little shattered pieces of a glass mirror on the floor. Of course the right thing to do would be to clean it up. So, he rapidly rushed over to the closet to get a broom and a dustpan. As he walked over to the room he heard a soft tone of music. Each step sounded clearer to him. “It must just be my imagination,” he thought.
There was only one way to find out!
He swiftly opened the door and saw two lonely ballet slippers dancing to the MUSIC!


Young Readers League 2017 Writing Contest
1st place
Category 1 (ages 8-11)

Lauren 
Age 11 (Grade 7)

“The Journal”

A story of an ordinary girl with a not so ordinary story, who discovers the shocking truth of her family.

This is the story of an ordinary girl with a not so ordinary story. My name is Jenna Adler and I live in New Orleans, Louisiana. According to Google, New Orleans is called the most “haunted city in America.” I never really thought of it like that. New Orleans has had many tragedies such as the Yellow Fever Epidemic during 1817-1905. There was also The LaLaurie Mansion where a lady named Delphine enslaved African American people and she tortured and murdered them. My home wasn’t creepy at all, but my parents decided it was time to move from our small house to a penthouse in the French Quarter. It was during the move I realized something very disturbing about my family.
I once had a sister named Daphne. Her name was beautiful and perfect and these are the things I remember about her. She died when I was very young. So, the night we moved into our new home, I felt like I wasn’t alone at all. I told my parents I felt very spooked and they said that I will be okay and told me to rest. The next morning, I woke up early and noticed a panel of uneven wood in the floor. I pull the wood up and saw a journal that said “Daphne” on it. “How strange,” I thought, because that was my sister’s name. I opened the journal and the first page was written to me! I slammed the journal closed and ran into my parents’ room and showed them what I found. My mom started crying and my dad said, “Jenna, there is something you should know.” It was then that I learned the shocking truth about my family. We are actually ghosts and Daphne murdered us. The journal was the story of what happened.


Young Readers League 2017 Writing Contest
3rd place
Category 2 (ages 12-14)

Penelope
Age 13 (Grade 7)

“The Selfie”

Three girls at a sleepover discover a strange figure in their picture.

‘‘It was a dark and stormy night, just like how most ghost stories start,” Kate began. “We’re seriously doing this? Ghost stories are super childish!” Poppy exclaimed. Kate and Abby laughed. “You’re just scared, Poppy!” Abby added jokingly. The three of them had been best friends since third grade, when Abby lost her tooth in Kate’s apple. Poppy sat watching and became jealous that she hadn’t lost any molars yet and got Kate to pull it out with a string. Now, they were in eighth grade, and still as close as sardines, or whatever people say. “Anyways, there were three girls at a sleepover. One of them was too scared to do anything fun, so they had the worst time ever,” Kate said, elbowing Poppy. She was not impressed. “Ghost stories just aren‘t scary!” Abby looked around awkwardly as the two glared at each other. “Selfie time!” she yelled out of the blue. She pulled out her phone and took a picture of the three. The picture was cute. Nothing out of the ordinary, except something that Poppy caught in the corner. A person. A little girl with blond pigtails, and a blank facial expression. It gave Poppy chills. “Guys, look in the corner.” Kate gasped. “There’s someone there,” said Abby. “No duh,” Kate replied. Poppy turned around. No one was there. A cold mist filled the air, where the girls were sitting. Eventually, they all fell asleep. The next morning, Abby checked her phone, like she did every morning. There was a picture of all three girls sleeping. There was another video of the girl they saw earlier, saying, “Catch me if you can!” Abby dropped her phone and screamed. She ran out of the room. Kate and Poppy swore they heard laughing. Abby never had a sleepover again.


Young Readers League 2017 Writing Contest
2nd place
Category 2 (ages 12-14)

Raela 
Age 12 (Grade 7)

“Horror Houses”

The narrator moves into a new house and experiences ghostly encounters.

I must have been eleven when I saw a ghost. We had just moved into a new house. I ran up the stairs to the bedrooms. I chose the one closest to the stairs, it was bigger. My sister didn’t want to have the bedroom next to the stairs. She thought it was creepy.
I was going to bed one night. I was exhausted. In my bathroom I was brushing my teeth. Everyone was downstairs. The room was cold. I felt like I was being watched. I looked down to the vent in the wall. In the bars, I saw a person. A little boy, just watching.
I remember running downstairs. My parents convinced me it was nothing, that this house was too new for ghosts. So I went to my bed and went to sleep. That night I heard the stairs creaking like someone was walking up them I went to investigate. Nobody. All there was, was the smell of old perfume.
I followed the scent to the basement. I went down the steps. The door closed behind me, I heard the lock click. I then heard the scream. A child’s. Then I saw the little boy. He said to help him. His name was Thomas and he needed help. A ghostly figure appeared behind him. A woman. Thomas screamed. I pounded on the door and was relieved to hear my mother’s murmurs and footsteps.
That morning we were watching television. “Horror Houses” was on. lt was talking about a house where an old woman lived. She lured children into her house and killed them. A little boy was one of her victims. A picture of her room went on the screen, it was my bedroom.


Young Readers League 2017 Writing Contest
1st place
Category 2 (ages 12-14)

Christopher 
Age 12 (Grade 6)

“The Ghost Story”

A bolt of lightning hits a cemetery causing ghosts to appear.

It was a dark and gloomy night and the wind howled like hunting wolves. Out of nowhere, a bolt of lightning hit one of the graves at the cemetery. The explosion was so big that it destroyed a few tombs. After the smoke cleared, a ghost appeared. This ghost appeared to be cloudy white with eyes and mouth that looked like an endless hole that could consume anyone in its path. Unfortunately, this was a ghost that could bring back other ghosts. This meant that he would have an army of ghosts. Day by day, the ghosts would haunt homes in the nearby town. These ghosts were on the mission take over the town and make it their own.

In the town, when the first person saw the ghost, he screamed, “GHOST!! GHOST!” People fled their homes and went running as far as they could, except for one person. This person was an old grandma who was hard of hearing, and could hardly see anything in front of her. When a ghost arrived at her home to scare her off, she didn’t even notice it. She was too busy vacuuming her living room of cat hairs. To get her attention, the ghost had to shove her. The startled grandma ended up turning the vacuum on the ghost, where it got sucked up with all the cat hairs.

Word got out how this grandma defeated the ghost with her vacuum. The town’s people returned to their homes to grab their vacuums. One by one, the ghost were sucked up until they were gone.
The town‘s people rewarded this grandma with a new vacuum, and called her “The Ghost Slayer.” She was just happy with a new vacuum, and one that didn’t smell like a cat.

Indies First 2017!

by Jessica on November 17, 2017

On Saturday, November 25,
Join us on Indies First and Small Business Saturday when
our stores are visited by some very special guest booksellers
chatting about books and recommending their favorite titles.
About Indies First:
Indies First, held on Small Business Saturday, brings together authors, readers, and publishers in support of independent bookstores. Authors and local celebrities volunteer at events across the country. Indies First and Small Business Saturday are being held this year on November 25, a day which is dedicated to supporting the local businesses that help communities thrive.
At Vroman’s Main Store:
(located at 695 e. Colorado Blvd.) 
At Vroman’s Hastings Ranch:
(located at 3729 E. Foothill Blvd.)
At Book Soup:
(8818 Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood, 90069)
SPECIAL INDIES FIRST OFFER from our friends at Libro.fm! 

Allison Hill Reviews ‘Catalina’!

by Jessica on November 13, 2017

Our own President/CEO, Allison Hill has written a review for the new novel Catalina. The full review is below!

The original post an be seen here.


The sex and drugs of ‘Catalina’ fuel a dark, desperate look at L.A. life 

by Allison Hill

The title of the novel “Catalina” sounds like a book about a Hollywood starlet or perhaps a chick-lit beach read about a young woman escaping to Catalina Island for the weekend to recover from a breakup.

Look closer, though.

The palm tree on the cover looks a little sickly, like it’s dying from the fatal fungus that you read about — a threat to these non-native trees of Los Angeles. And the tree’s disjointed, blurry image seems as though you’re viewing it from underwater or perhaps through a haze of drugs or alcohol.

Something seems wrong.

catalinaAnd it is, as quickly becomes apparent in Liska Jacobs’ debut novel about Elsa, a young woman who isn’t so much recovering from her breakup with her married boss and subsequent layoff from her job, as unraveling. Jacobs, who got an MFA from the University of California, Riverside, has appearances at The Last Bookstore on Nov. 10, Skylight Books on Nov. 15 and at UCR Palm Desert Nov. 16 with author Tod Goldberg.

Having escaped New York, Elsa has retreated to Los Angeles and her old life with former friends and an ex-husband. Not unlike the cover of the book, Elsa’s sudden appearance on the scene appears to be a vacation — especially as the group takes off for Catalina Island — but is deceiving.

Elsa has lied about the impetus for her visit and even lied about her arrival date: She has already been staying at the Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica for days and has begun a not-so-slow, downward spiral beginning with drinking a pitcher of Bloody Marys solo, trying on swimsuits for a busboy, letting the hotel maid catch her masturbating and engaging in a one-night stand with a stranger on the beach — all “enhanced” by the pills she stole from her mother’s medicine cabinet.

The reader has an advantage over Elsa’s friends; we’ve been privy to these events and to Jacob’s foreshadowing so we know what they don’t: Bad things are going to happen. Jacobs’ taut, suspenseful writing keeps the reader anxious and disturbed and yet still completely unprepared for the shocking ending. Comparisons to California noir and Joan Didion’s painful and profound truths about loneliness, relationships and the passage of time are inevitable.

Jacobs’ world also conjures up memories of another Los Angeles author, Bret Easton Ellis, and his debut novel and ‘80s classic “Less Than Zero,” the story of a disaffected college student who returns home to Los Angeles for a winter break filled with drugs, prostitution, one-night stands with men and women, and disillusionment. But Jacobs’ view and voice are definitely her own, as confirmed by her other work in The Rumpus, The Millions, and the Los Angeles Review of Books.

“Catalina” also marks a fresh new voice in publishing, one of the first ventures for an imprint with SoCal origins of its own. Award-winning literary publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux (Flannery O’Connor, Tom Wolfe, Jack Kerouac) has launched a new imprint called MCD/FSG named for its publisher, FSG’s former vice president and executive editor Sean McDonald. “Catalina” is one of its first books.

A native of Laguna Beach with family ties to Southern California, Sean McDonald is known for his innovative approach to publishing and a track record for discovering and working with great authors, all of which aligns with the MCD/FSG mission of quality, innovation, and new voices, styles, and genres.

McDonald also has a record of looking for those authors in California and Daphne Durham, who he describes as his “editorial partner-in-crime at MCD,” seems to be doing the same. The former editor-in-chief and publisher of Amazon Publishing is MCD/FSG’s executive editor and Jacobs’ editor.

All of this is to say that Catalina screams Southern California — the author, the publisher, the setting, even the acknowledgments section listing several L.A. literary contributors.

Jacobs’ novel has a quiet desperation, compelling and evident even before page one, beginning with that cover image: the stark, staticky SoCal landscape and the hint of a shadow.

Mystery author and friend of the store, Kwei Quartey, has given us a little praise with this wonderful blog article on his website. The full article is below.

Original post can be seen here.


VROMAN’S BOOKSTORE–PASADENA LANDMARK
by Kwei Quartey
From time to time, I blog about an independent bookstore of note, e.g. Marcus Books. A couple of weeks ago on October 14, I had a book signing at Vroman’s Bookstore in my hometown of Pasadena, California for the launch of Death By His GraceInspector Dawson novel #5. As Vroman’s approaches its 123rd birthday, it’s fitting to talk about its historical and cultural importance in Southern California generally and Pasadena in particular.

Vroman's Bookstore entrance

Vroman’s Bookstore rear entrance
(Photo: Kwei Quartey)

Vroman's Bookstore rear courtyard

Vroman’s Bookstore rear courtyard
(Photo: Kwei Quartey)

Launching Death By His Grace at Vroman's Bookstore Oct 14, 2017

Launching Death By His Grace at Vroman’s Bookstore Oct 14, 2017 (Photo: Mike Pashtorian)

A brief history of Vroman’s Bookstore

The oldest and largest independent bookstore in Southern California, Vroman’s is named after Adam Clark Vroman, who founded the store in 1894. The original Vroman’s Book and Photographic Supply store was located at 60 E. Colorado St in Pasadena, California. Now it’s at 695 E. Colorado Blvd.

Wall banner of Vroman's Bookstore c. 1910 (Photo of banner: Kwei Quartey)

Wall banner of Vroman’s Bookstore c. 1910 (Photo of banner: Kwei Quartey)

Mr. Vroman loved books and valued giving back to his community, which remains a core principle of the bookstore till t0day.

Arthur C. Vroman, founder of Vroman's Bookstore, in his office around 1900

 Arthur C. Vroman, consummate gentleman and founder of Vroman’s Bookstore, in his office around 1900
(Photo from Historic Pasadena: An Illustrated History, by Ann Scheid, Ann Scheid Lund)

He was born in 1856 in La Salle Illinois. When he moved to Pasadena in 1892, he was hoping that a change in climate would help preserve the health of his infirm wife, Esther. Regrettably, that wasn’t to be the case, and she died two years later. Vroman wanted to remain in Pasadena and he opened the city’s first bookstore on November 15, 1894 in partnership with stationer J.S. Glassock.  At the time, one hotel, a blacksmith shop and a butcher comprised the business district. Mr. Vroman was also a passionate photographer, specializing in scenes of the American West and his portraits of the Hopi Indians and other cultures of the American Southwest. When Mr. Vroman died in 1916, he had built a solid business with loyal employees in whom he had shown deep interest. His friend and associate George F. Howell, became president of the newly incorporated bookstore when Vroman died. Allan David Sheldon, Vroman’s godson, succeeded Howell in 1920. The Sheldons continued to own and run Vroman’s and the bookstore’s present chairman is Joel Sheldon. 

Mr. Vroman’s legacy of philanthropy has continued. The store has supported causes through food drives, holiday gift drives, free HIV testing, bone marrow donor match drives, pet adoption days, and the Vroman’s Gives Back program. Vroman’s Gives Back is a charity program that donates a portion of customers’ purchases to local nonprofits, including public radio stations, arts centers, family services, and programs supporting literacy.

Vroman's Bookstore food drive (Photo: Kwei Quartey)

Vroman’s Bookstore food drive
(Photo: Kwei Quartey)

Vroman’s Bookstore author events

Like other bookstores, Vroman’s holds book discussions and signings, but most bookstores don’t have the luxury of space that Vroman’s has on its second floor for author events.

Vroman's Bookstore event space

Vroman’s Bookstore event space
(Photo: Kwei Quartey)

Children's Institute attendees attending a panel at Vroman's Bookstore in 2015

Packed Children’s Institute attendees attending a panel at Vroman’s Bookstore in 2015
(Photo: American Booksellers Association)

I’ve signed with Vroman’s for every novel in the Inspector Darko Dawson series, starting with Wife Of The Gods up till the present Death By His Grace.

Reading at Vroman's Bookstore

Reading at Vroman’s Bookstore Oct 14, 2017

Every week the Vroman’s bestsellers are displayed. During the week after an author’s book signing, it’s common for his or her book to hold a high placing on the list, even if short-lived.

Vroman's Bookstore bestsellers (photo: Kwei Quartey)

Vroman’s Bookstore bestsellers
(Photo: Kwei Quartey)

The other bestseller display in the store derives from the Los Angeles Times bestseller list.

Los Angeles Times Bestsellers at Vroman's Bookstore (Photo: Kwei Quartey)

Los Angeles Times Bestsellers at Vroman’s Bookstore
(Photo: Kwei Quartey)

Vroman’s treats its local authors very well, but national and international powerhouse writers have flocked to the bookstore too, including Louise Penny (Canada), Jo Nesbø [pronounced “You Nes-buh”](Norway), President Bill Clinton, President Jimmy Carter, Irving Stone, Upton Sinclair, Ray Bradbury, David Sedaris, Salman Rushdie, Walter Mosely, Joan Didion, Barbara Walters, Anne Rice, Neil Gaiman, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Happily for me, a mystery writer, the Mystery section of the store is one of the largest.

Mystery section at Vroman's Bookstore (Photo: Kwei Quartey)

Mystery section at Vroman’s Bookstore (Photo: Kwei Quartey)

Diversification

I’m no financial wizard, but adding diverse merchandise besides books to a bookstore is a smart move, particularly during times in which the paper book is “under attack,” such as when the Kindle e-reader arrived in 2007 and doomsayers predicted the imminent death of the paper book. Clearly, the prediction has proved wrong, thank goodness, but it doesn’t hurt to stock “supportive” merchandise.

Vroman's Bookstore Pens & Stationary

Vroman’s Bookstore Pens & Stationary
(Photo: Kwei Quartey)

Part-time Vroman's Bookstore employee and actor/producer Michael "Dean" Porter in the gift shop

Part-time Vroman’s Bookstore employee and actor/producer Michael “Dean” Porter in the gift shop
(Photo: Kwei Quartey)

Vroman’s Bookstore and children

Vroman’s has recognized the importance of investing in children, and it has a large kids’ section.

Kids section at Vroman's Bookstore (Photo: Kwei Quartey)

Kids section at Vroman’s Bookstore (Photo: Kwei Quartey)

Every Wednesday and Saturday at 10 AM, the bookstore’s own Mr. Steve holds a children’s storytime. The smaller Hastings Ranch store also has a kids’ storytime on Tuesday mornings.

Vroman's Bookstore Mr Steve reading to kids on a Wednesday morning (Photo: Kwei Quartey)

Vroman’s Bookstore Mr. Steve reading to kids on a Wednesday morning
(Photo: Kwei Quartey)

Getting children into reading early is a way to ensure that generations to come will continue to read, which means Vroman’s Bookstore will continue for another 120 years, and 120 after that, which is good news for authors and readers alike.

New Fall Cookbooks for 2017!

by Jessica on November 6, 2017

Pumpkins aren’t the only thing we’re harvesting in the Fall!
It also just so happens to be THE BEST time to seek out a new cookbook…or twelve.
Here’s what’s hitting the kitchen this Fall. Perfect for yourself or that aspiring chef in your life.
We’re so excited to try these!

 

Smitten Kitchen Everyday
by Deb Perelman
$35.00
Catch Deb signing this book at the Main Store on 11/19 at 2pm!!

This is the follow up to Deb’s super popular The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. The recipes in this new book are easy to make but have a fabulous result. Try not to mark every single recipe in this book!

Half-Baked Harvest
by Teighan Gerard
$29.99

Tieghan Gerard grew up in the Colorado mountains as one of seven children. When her dad took too long to make dinner every night, she started doing the cooking–at age 15. Ever-determined to reign in the chaos of her big family, Tieghan found her place in the kitchen. She had a knack for creating unique dishes, which led her to launch her blog, Half Baked Harvest. Since then, millions of people have fallen in love with her fresh take on comfort food, stunning photography, and charming life in the mountains.While it might be a trek to get to Tieghan’s barn-turned-test kitchen, her creativity shines here: dress up that cheese board with a real honey comb; decorate a standard salad with spicy, crispy sweet potato fries; serve stir fry over forbidden black rice; give French Onion Soup an Irish kick with Guinness and soda bread; bake a secret ingredient into your apple pie (hint: it’s molasses).

A Beautiful Mess Weekday Weekend 
by Emma Chapman, Elsie Larson
$24.95

A Beautiful Mess is one of the most popular DIY style blogs in the world, with more than 1 million readers. Co-creators (and sisters) Emma Chapman and Elsie Larson share their unique and approachable diet with fans and healthy eaters in this, their first cookbook. Their philosophy involves eating responsibly during the week–avoiding refined flours, sugars, alcohol, and dairy–and indulging on weekends. Vetted by nutritionists and divided into four parts (breakfast, meals, snacks and sweets, and drinks), each containing a weekday and weekend chapter.

Martha Stewart’s Slow Cooker
by Editors of Martha Stewart Living
$26.00

Leave it to the experts at Martha Stewart to figure out the best ways to use this favorite appliance. The 110 recipes in this book make the most of the slow cooker’s assets (low heat, hands-off cooking), while also uncovering its hidden potential. Readers will find that they can not only braise cuts of meat until meltingly tender and let soups and stews simmer away untended, but also gently poach fish, cook up creamy scalloped potatoes, and bake a perfect cheesecake.

Guerilla Tacos
by Wesley Avila
$30.00

In a town overrun with taco trucks, Wes Avila’s Guerrilla Tacos has managed to win almost every accolade there is, from being crowned Best Taco Truck by LA Weekly to being called one of the best things to eat in Los Angeles by living legend Jonathan Gold. Avila’s approach stands out in a crowded field because it’s unique; the 50 base recipes in this book are grounded in authenticity but never tied down to tradition. Wes uses ingredients like kurobata sausage and sea urchin, but his bestselling taco is made from the humble sweet potato. From basic building blocks to how to balance flavor and texture, with comic-inspired illustrations and stories throughout, Guerrilla Tacos is the final word on tacos from the streets of L.A.

David Tanis Market Cooking
by David Tanis
$40.00

A masterwork of recipes, approach, technique, and philosophy, David Tanis Market Cooking is as inspiring as it is essential. This is how to become a more intuitive and spontaneous cook. This is how to be more discerning in the market and freer in the kitchen. This is how to transform the freshest ingredients into one perfectly delicious dish after another, guided by the core beliefs that have shaped David Tanis’s incomparable career: Food doesn’t have to be fussy to be satisfying. Seasonal vegetables should be central to a meal. Working with food is a joy, not a chore.

The Home Cook
by Alex Guarnaschelli
$35.00

For Alex Guarnaschelli–whose mother edited the seminal 1997 edition of The Joy of Cooking, which defined the food of the late twentieth century–a life in food and cookbooks was almost predestined. Now an accomplished chef and author in her own right (and mom to a young daughter), Alex pens a cookbook for the way we eat today. For generations raised on vibrant, international flavors and supermarkets stocked with miso paste, harissa, and other bold condiments and ingredients, here are 300 recipes to replace their parents’ Chicken Marbella, including Glazed Five-Spice Ribs, Roasted Eggplant Dip with Garlic Butter Naan, Roasted Beef Brisket with Pastrami Rub, Fennel and Orange Salad with Walnut Pesto, Quinoa Allspice Oatmeal Cookies, and Dark Chocolate Rum Pie.

Halloween Happenings Around Pasadena!

by Jessica on October 27, 2017

Spooky haunts and special treats all around Pasadena!
Bring the kiddos for some Halloween fun!

Tuesday, October 31
4pm – 6pm
Celebrate Halloween in the Playhouse District!

Vroman’s Bookstore and a bunch of our neighbors will be celebrating this Halloween with
activities, games and lots of candy!

Trick-or-Treat at the following participating business:
Vroman’s Bookstore
VP Salon Organic
KidsArt Pasadena
The Stand
Blaze Pizza
Southern California Children’s Museum
Zona Rosa Caffe
Pasadena Playhouse
Galerie Gabrie
Basecamp Fitness

Come to Vroman’s for Halloween themed crafts, activities, storytelling and a costume contest outside near the Vroman’s stage!

In addition, KidsArt Pasadena (20 S. Oakland) will be hosting a Halloween themed drawing activity at their studio and the Southern California Children’s Museum (459 E. Colorado Blvd.) will be hosting a Halloween party with arts & crafts, a food craft, and games.

Best Thrillers to Be Reading Right Now!

by Jessica on October 23, 2017

If your favorite books involve unpredictable twists, make you jump story lines and characters
you love to hate then you’re probably a thriller fan.
Here’s a small roundup of the best of the best that are hitting the shelves this Fall. Some of these are coming from our favorite authors, too!


A Legacy of Spies
John le Carre
On Our Shelves Now

Classic le Carre here with his first George Smiley novel in over 25 years!

Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, is living out his old age on the family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany when a letter from his old Service summons him to London. The reason? His Cold War past has come back to claim him. Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London, and involved such characters as Alec Leamas, Jim Prideaux, George Smiley and Peter Guillam himself, are to be scrutinized by a generation with no memory of the Cold War and no patience with its justifications. In a story resonating with tension, humor and moral ambivalence, le Carré and his narrator Peter Guillam present the reader with a legacy of unforgettable characters old and new.


The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye
David Lagercrantz
On Our Shelves Now

The series that began with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo continues as brilliant hacker Lisbeth Salander teams up with journalist Mikael Blomkvist to uncover the secrets of her childhood and to take revenge. Lisbeth Salander–obstinate outsider, volatile seeker of justice for herself and others–seizes on a chance to unearth her mysterious past once and for all. And she will let nothing stop her–not the Islamists she enrages by rescuing a young woman from their brutality; not the prison gang leader who passes a death sentence on her; not the deadly reach of her long-lost twin sister, Camilla; and not the people who will do anything to keep buried knowledge of a sinister pseudoscientific experiment known only as The Registry. Once again, Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist are the fierce heart of a thrilling full-tilt novel that takes on some of the world’s most insidious problems.


Lie To Me
J.T. Ellison
On Our Shelves Now

Sutton and Ethan Montclair’s idyllic life is not as it appears. They seem made for each other, but the truth is ugly. Consumed by professional and personal betrayals and financial woes, the two both love and hate each other. As tensions mount, Sutton disappears, leaving behind a note saying not to look for her. Ethan finds himself the target of vicious gossip as friends, family and the media speculate on what really happened to Sutton Montclair. As the police investigate, the lies the couple have been spinning for years quickly unravel. Is Ethan a killer? Is he being set up? Did Sutton hate him enough to kill the child she never wanted and then herself?


The Cuban Affair
Nelson DeMille
On Our Shelves Now

Daniel Graham MacCormick–Mac for short–seems to have a pretty good life. At age thirty-five he’s living in Key West, owner of a forty-two-foot charter fishing boat, The Maine. Mac served five years in the Army as an infantry officer with two tours in Afghanistan. He returned with the Silver Star, two Purple Hearts, scars that don’t tan, and a boat with a big bank loan. Truth be told, Mac’s finances are more than a little shaky.One day, Mac is sitting in the famous Green Parrot Bar in Key West, contemplating his life, and waiting for Carlos, a hotshot Miami lawyer heavily involved with anti-Castro groups. Carlos wants to hire Mac and The Maine for a ten-day fishing tournament to Cuba at the standard rate, but Mac suspects there is more to this and turns it down. The price then goes up to two million dollars, and Mac agrees to hear the deal, and meet Carlos’s clients–a beautiful Cuban-American woman named Sara Ortega, and a mysterious older Cuban exile, Eduardo Valazquez.What Mac learns is that there is sixty million American dollars hidden in Cuba by Sara’s grandfather when he fled Castro’s revolution. With the “Cuban Thaw” underway between Havana and Washington, Carlos, Eduardo, and Sara know it’s only a matter of time before someone finds the stash–by accident or on purpose. And Mac knows if he accepts this job, he’ll walk away rich…or not at all.


Keep Her Safe
Sophie Hannah
On Our Shelves Now

Pushed to the breaking point, Cara Burrows flees her home and family and escapes to a five-star spa resort she can’t afford. Late at night, exhausted and desperate, she lets herself into her hotel room and is shocked to find it already occupied — by a man and a teenage girl.

A simple mistake at the front desk… but soon Cara realizes that the girl she saw alive and well in the hotel room is someone she can’t possibly have seen: the most famous murder victim in the country, Melody Chapa, whose parents are serving natural life sentences for her murder.

Cara doesn’t know what to trust — everything she’s read and heard about the case, or the evidence of her own eyes. Did she really see Melody? And is she prepared to ask herself that question and answer it honestly if it means risking her own life?


Don’t Let Go
Harlan Corben
On Our Shelves Now

Suburban New Jersey Detective Napoleon “Nap” Dumas hasn’t been the same since senior year of high school, when his twin brother Leo and Leo’s girlfriend Diana were found dead on the railroad tracks–and Maura, the girl Nap considered the love of his life, broke up with him and disappeared without explanation. For fifteen years, Nap has been searching, both for Maura and for the real reason behind his brother’s death. And now, it looks as though he may finally find what he’s been looking for.When Maura’s fingerprints turn up in the rental car of a suspected murderer, Nap embarks on a quest for answers that only leads to more questions–about the woman he loved, about the childhood friends he thought he knew, about the abandoned military base near where he grew up, and mostly about Leo and Diana–whose deaths are darker and far more sinister than Nap ever dared imagine.


Sleeping Beauties
Stephen King & Owen King
On Our Shelves Now

In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep: they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent. And while they sleep they go to another place, a better place, where harmony prevails and conflict is rare.One woman, the mysterious “Eve Black,” is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Eve a medical anomaly to be studied? Or is she a demon who must be slain? Abandoned, left to their increasingly primal urges, the men divide into warring factions, some wanting to kill Eve, some to save her. Others exploit the chaos to wreak their own vengeance on new enemies. All turn to violence in a suddenly all-male world.


Origin
Dan Brown
On Our Shelves Now

Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend a major announcement–the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough…one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence. As the event begins, Langdon and several hundred guests find themselves captivated by an utterly original presentation, which Langdon realizes will be far more controversial than he ever imagined. But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Reeling and facing an imminent threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape Bilbao. With him is Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who worked with Kirsch to stage the provocative event. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret. Navigating the dark corridors of hidden history and extreme religion, Langdon and Vidal must evade a tormented enemy whose all-knowing power seems to emanate from Spain’s Royal Palace itself…and who will stop at nothing to silence Edmond Kirsch. On a trail marked by modern art and enigmatic symbols, Langdon and Vidal uncover clues that ultimately bring them face-to-face with Kirsch’s shocking discovery…and the breathtaking truth that has long eluded us.


Odd Child Out
Gilly MacMillian
On Our Shelves Now

Best friends Noah Sadler and Abdi Mahad have always been inseparable. But when Noah is found floating unconscious in Bristol’s Feeder Canal, Abdi can’t–or won’t–tell anyone what happened.

Just back from a mandatory leave following his last case, Detective Jim Clemo is now assigned to look into this unfortunate accident. But tragedy strikes and what looked like the simple case of a prank gone wrong soon ignites into a public battle. Noah is British. Abdi is a Somali refugee. And social tensions have been rising rapidly in Bristol. Against this background of fear and fury two families fight for their sons and for the truth. Neither of them know how far they will have to go, what demons they will have to face, what pain they will have to suffer.

Because the truth hurts.


Two Kinds of Truth
Michael Connelly
October 31st

Harry Bosch is back as a volunteer working cold cases for the San Fernando Police Department and is called out to a local drug store where a young pharmacist has been murdered. Bosch and the town’s 3-person detective squad sift through the clues, which lead into the dangerous, big business world of pill mills and prescription drug abuse.Meanwhile, an old case from Bosch’s LAPD days comes back to haunt him when a long-imprisoned killer claims Harry framed him, and seems to have new evidence to prove it. Bosch left the LAPD on bad terms, so his former colleagues aren’t keen to protect his reputation. He must fend for himself in clearing his name and keeping a clever killer in prison.The two unrelated cases wind around each other like strands of barbed wire. Along the way Bosch discovers that there are two kinds of truth: the kind that sets you free and the kind that leaves you buried in darkness.


The Midnight Line
Lee Child
November 7

Reacher takes a stroll through a small Wisconsin town and sees a class ring in a pawn shop window: West Point 2005. A tough year to graduate: Iraq, then Afghanistan. The ring is tiny, for a woman, and it has her initials engraved on the inside. Reacher wonders what unlucky circumstance made her give up something she earned over four hard years. He decides to find out. And find the woman. And return her ring. Why not?So begins a harrowing journey that takes Reacher through the upper Midwest, from a lowlife bar on the sad side of small town to a dirt-blown crossroads in the middle of nowhere, encountering bikers, cops, crooks, muscle, and a missing persons PI who wears a suit and a tie in the Wyoming wilderness.The deeper Reacher digs, and the more he learns, the more dangerous the terrain becomes. Turns out the ring was just a small link in a far darker chain. Powerful forces are guarding a vast criminal enterprise. Some lines should never be crossed. But then, neither should Reacher.


The Whispering Room
Dean Koontz
November 21

“No time to delay. Do what you were born to do. Fame will be yours when you do this.”These are the words that ring in the mind of mild-mannered, beloved schoolteacher Cora Gundersun–just before she takes her own life, and many others’, in a shocking act of carnage. When the disturbing contents of her secret journal are discovered, it seems certain that she must have been insane. But Jane Hawk knows better.In the wake of her husband’s inexplicable suicide–and the equally mysterious deaths of scores of other exemplary individuals–Jane picks up the trail of a secret cabal of powerful players who think themselves above the law and beyond punishment. But the ruthless people bent on hijacking America’s future for their own monstrous ends never banked on a highly trained FBI agent willing to go rogue–and become the nation’s most wanted fugitive–in order to derail their insidious plans to gain absolute power with a terrifying technological breakthrough. Driven by love for her lost husband and by fear for the five-year-old son she has sent into hiding, Jane Hawk has become an unstoppable predator. Those she is hunting will have nowhere to run when her shadow falls across them.

 

Literary Themed Halloween Costumes!

by Jessica on October 16, 2017

Haven’t even started thinking about a Halloween costume yet?
Here are a few literary themed numbers that are sure to ignite your DIY spark and get everyone talking!

Group Costumes 

Willy Wonka
You’re sure to win the Golden Ticket of Halloween when you grab some friends and take on the wonderful world of characters from Willy Wonka!

Wizard of Oz
Pick a Dorothy, a Cowardly Lion, A TinMan,
a few witches and you got yourself a great group costume!

Charlotte’s Web
Don’t settle for just any old pig for Halloween be
SOME PIG with a group for Charlotte’s Web! So cute!

Winnie the Pooh (& Tigger, Too!)
What a fun and easy group costume! Decorate some over-sized t-shirts,
don some headbands with silly ears and you’re good to go! Easy as pie.

Flying Solo? 

Max from Where the Wild Things Are
I’ll Eat You Up I Love You So…perfect easy costume for adults or kids alike.

Rainbow Fish
Spend your weekend putting together this awesome number!
Not only fun and creative but a little out of the norm of literary costumes, too!

For The Kiddos 

Dobby Elf
I can’t even with this one. So adorable!
So perfect for parents who are die-hard Potter fans and want to make their kids dress up like it!

Madeline
Little girls everywhere always want to be Madeline and who can blame them.
An easy costume to achieve, too!

Thing 1, Thing 2
Not only is this a fun costume for adults or kids it can be used for your pups too!

What else can we add? What are your ideas for fun literary Halloween costumes?

 

 

Spooky Stephen King Film Adaptations!

by Jessica on October 13, 2017

We’re coasting along towards Halloween so why not blog about the spookmaster himself, Stephen King! It’s kind of surprising just how many of his titles have been turned into movies. This is by no means an exhaustive list but dare we say these are the spooookiest of his adaptations?

Carrie
1976
Carrie White starts to use her telekinetic powers on her classmates after they humiliate her.
Moral of this story? Just be nice. Be nice to everyone, please.

The Shining
1980

Creepy hotel, that maze at the end…goodness! 

Cujo
1983
About a rabid dog that goes haywire on a small town. Yup…totally cool. 

Christine 
1983

A car with a mind of its own. I mean it’s not that far from reality.
Watch who you’re buying from, friends! 

Children of the Corn
1984

Right off the bat, this title? Not something I’m particularly fond of.
But then it’s a cult of small children that think everyone over 18 needs to be killed? Ugh…

Firestarter
1984

No big, it’s just about a sweet little girl that can start fires with her mind. 

Pet Sematary
1989
I can’t even with this one. 100% nightmare fuel. All of it. Done. 

Misery
1990
Yeah, thanks for saving me from the car crash but I’m out. Ugh. Ankles. Seriously, just no. 

The Green Mile
1999Thanks Tom Hanks for being everything you are. 

IT
1990 (Miniseries) 2017 (Feature Film)

So much in this one. Too much I’d say. A demon posing as a clown in small town America. Enough, okay?
I watched the mini series a few too many times as a child and am now resisting watching this new one.

Which of these keep you up at night?
Tell us in the comments!

— J