2014 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books!

by Rachel on April 8, 2014

USC Campus
Saturday, April 12, 10am-6pm
Sunday, April 13, 10am-5pm

It’s that time of year again!  Everyone here at Vroman’s has been working on Festival of Books-related projects for the past few months, and now the exciting weekend will be here in a few days!

Vroman’s will be at booth #117 this year, and we’re bringing amazing books and gifts, so get ready!  We’re also extremely excited to introduce our Vroman’s Children’s Annex (booth #111).  This way, we’re able to fill a whole booth with wonderful kids’ books and items for all our little readers!  We even have Vroman’s exclusive I read past my bedtime kids shirts and baby onesies, too!

Our sister store, Book Soup, will be at booth #88, and will be showing off an enchanting vintage circus theme, which can be summed up with this image:

Do you need any more reasons to visit them?  Exactly.

There are endless events for everyone at the Festival— kids events like Oliver Jeffers, David Shannon, and the National History Museum of Los Angeles County; events for foodies at the Cooking Stage like Suzanne Goin and Roy Choi; your favorite YA authors like Francesca Lia Block, Ransom Riggs, and Tony DiTerlizzi; poetry readings, musical performances, art shows, and more! You can find the complete schedule of events for both days here.

Representatives from Penguin will be working at the Penguin Book Truck (it’s like a food truck, but with books instead!) to bring you great reading suggestions and the best books Penguin has to offer!  Reps Amy and Tom even brought the truck by the store for a little test drive.  A few of our lovely booksellers will also be working at the Book Truck, so stop by and say hi!  You can  follow the Book Truck on Twitter @PenguinBkTruck.


The Festival of Books is two days of all books, all the time — excellent news for us book folk— but  it can also be a wee bit tricky when it comes to actually getting to the Festival and the USC campus.  But fear not! The Festival website has a great guide to transportation options to and from the USC campus, which you can find here.  For our Pasadena neighbors, we suggest you hop on the Metro Gold Line to Union Station, then take the Festival Shuttle Bus directly to the campus. You can also take the Expo Line from Union Station, and it will drop you right in front of the Festival. Inexpensive, easy, and fast— you can use the time you saved by not driving and parking and spend more time surrounded by all the glorious wonders of the Festival of Books!

We hope you’re as excited as we are for all of the fun things to do this weekend!
Bring your sunscreen, water, bags for all the books you will undoubtedly acquire while at the Festival, and stop by to visit us!

 

 

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A portion of our parking lot and the adjacent buildings will be undergoing some changes soon and we just wanted to keep you in the loop about everything that is going on.  Please stay tuned— we will be sharing more information, maps, and images as we receive them from the developers.

Beginning the week of March 31st, a new Mack Urban development project will begin construction behind the Vroman’s main store on Colorado Blvd.

This will mean a few changes:

•    For years, Vroman’s has leased the parking spaces between the movie theater and the office building in order to provide customers with more parking. But these spaces actually belong to the developer and will be going away. (Unfortunately, it was not possible to buy the spaces.)

•    The El Molino Ave. entrance to the parking lot behind Vroman’s will be closed permanently.

•    Our handicap spots will be relocated.

•    Construction will be going on for the next 18 months.

Unfortunately, this is not a Vroman’s project so we do not have any control over the impact on our business, or you, our customers. But we remain hopeful that you will continue to support us during this critical time. And that in the long run, this multi-use building—apartments, restaurant, and retail, with underground parking—will be a wonderful addition to our community.

Things that won’t change:
•    All of the entrances to our building will continue to stay open.

•    Our other parking lot entrances (Oak Knoll Ave. and Union St.) will of course be open.

•    Our main parking lot of over 200 spaces will still be open. There is still nearby pay parking as well at Trio on El Molino, the city lot at Union St. & El Molino Ave., and across the street behind The Arcade building, off of Green St.

In the meantime, we thank you for your patience.

Love,
Vroman’s

If you have any questions about this project, please feel free to email us at email@vromansbookstore.com or comment on this post. We will also be keeping you updated about the construction here on our blog as we receive more information. Thank you again for all your support!

 

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We’re always very excited for an opportunity to teach people a little bit about the history of Vroman’s, so we’re very proud to present authors Carol Ruth Sheldon Coté & Barbara Sheldon Huggins as they present & sign The Trail of an Extraordinary Man: Allan David Sheldon, A Biography on Thursday, March 20 at 7pm.  With it’s fascinating stories and photographs, you can travel with Allan David Sheldon on his adventures from Nome to Seattle to Nevada, and finally, to Pasadena, where he came to help his godfather, Adam Clark Vroman, run his bookstore.

The Trail of an Extraordinary Man: Allan David Sheldon, A Biography
by Carol Ruth Sheldon Coté & Barbara Sheldon Huggins
Whether you’re interested in American history, Pasadena history, or Vroman’s history, join us for this exciting event!

How did a young boy from Illinois end up caught in an ice floe in the Bering Sea? How did the Alaska Gold rush shape the success and culture of a California bookstore? What was Pasadena like in the early 1900s?

Sheldon family home under snow, Nome, Alaska, 1907
Photograph by Allan Sheldon

Join us for a discussion of all of this and more as the granddaughters of Allan Sheldon (owner of Vroman’s Bookstore from 1920-1950) present and sign their new book, The Trail of an Extraordinary Man: Allan David Sheldon, A Biography. Joining them will be Vroman’s current owner, Joel Vroman Sheldon, to speak about the lasting impacts of Allan’s entrepreneurial spirit, work ethic, integrity, commitment and leadership at Vroman’s.

A sleigh ride party, c. 1906
Photograph by Allan Sheldon

Adam Clark Vroman founded Vroman’s Bookstore in 1894. When he died, he left the store to longtime employees, one of whom was his godson, Allan Sheldon. From the docks of Seattle, to the Alaskan gold rush, to a family business at the heart of the new west, Sheldon’s life is a Vroman’s story, and an American story.

Ice floe piled up on shore at Nome, Alaska.
Unidentified man with one of Allan Sheldon’s dogs.
Photograph by Allan Sheldon

The publishing of The Trail of an Extraordinary Man marks 100 years of management and ownership of A. C. Vroman’s, Inc. under the Sheldon name. Today, Vroman’s continues to thrive and develop under the direction of Allan’s great-nephew, Joel Vroman Sheldon III.

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Today’s blog post comes to you from Wade Rouse, one of our Vroman’s Ed writing workshop instructors.  We’re excited to have Wade back at Vroman’s again this year every Thursday, March 20-April 10, from 6:30-8:30 pm for his new workshop, Facing Your Fear and Finding Your Voice.  

Be Fearless!
How I Went from the Slush Pile to Bestselling Author (and how you can, too)
by Wade Rouse

I’ve come to believe that fear – rather than dreams – rule too many of our lives. Sadly, we tend to be scared of, well, pretty much everything. Over time, that voice in our head that used to drive us, challenge us, excite us is diminished, told to shut up.

That’s what happened to me, both as a person and a writer.
But I didn’t start out that way.

I know I was fearless when I made the fateful decision to sing Delta Dawn (while holding a faded rose, no less) at my rural middle school talent contest. I warbled my pre-American Idol song choice to a crowd that made the boys from Deliverance look like the Jonas Brothers. I was booed offstage.

I ran, stage left, directly at my mother and began to yell. “How could you let me embarrass myself like that?”

“You were only being true to yourself,” she said. “And no one should ever stand in the way of such honesty, or such fearlessness.”

She then presented me with a little, leather writing journal and a copy of Erma Bombeck’s At Wit’s End and said, “You will need both of these to make sense of your world.”

Writing – and humor – not only helped me make sense of the world but they saved my life. I set out to become a writer, majoring in communications and then earning my master’s in journalism from Northwestern. I secured a job writing for a prestigious publication, and was all set to write my first book in my off-hours.  But fear came calling. In the voice of my father.

 “How much are you making?”
“Do you know how much college cost?”
“Get a real job. No one makes it as a writer.”

I believed him. And for the next two decades I was miserable, culminating in a depression and job I chronicle in my second memoir, Confessions of A Prep School Mommy Handler. I learned that writers – all artists really – are never given the OK to write, or to create, no matter how much it means to their very existence. And, because of that, most artists start scared, defined not by inspiration but by fear.

Roughly eight years ago, I began writing my first memoir, America’s Boy. Check that: I actually started it as a novel, as I was too afraid to tell my own story of growing up in the Ozarks. Luckily, I had a muse, an editor, a critic and a believer in the form of my partner, Gary. After reading what I had written, he said: “This sounds nothing like you.” I was crushed. But it was just what I needed to hear.

And so I started over, eventually visiting my family cabin and writing by long hand what would turn out to be the first chapter of America’s Boy while seated on a stoop with my feet in the creek.

There came a point – finally, a point – that day when I was simply writing. Not thinking, writing. Writing as I had – before fear – when my mom gave me that writing journal. And everything clicked. My voice, my humor, my tone, my narrative flowed from my soul. I wasn’t writing any longer. I was my writing. The transition from Wade the person to Wade the writer was seamless. It came because I finally was able to overcome those fears that had shackled me my whole life:

What would people think?
Did I have the right to tell my story?
Am I good enough?
No one can make it as an author, right? What if I fail?
Who the hell do I think I am, calling myself “a writer”?

For a while, these fears paralyzed me again.

I made the decision – without Gary’s knowledge – to reach out to a number of authors I admired, whose work I loved. I wasn’t asking for a handout, or a connection, I was seeking the simplest of things: A response. A single line. “It’s gonna be OK, kid.” “You can do it, Wade.” They didn’t even have to mean it. I just needed to know that they had once been like me. That there was no “golden key to the kingdom.”

I got zero responses.

And, that’s when I had my second epiphany. Rather than be paralyzed by my fear, I thought – and this is so not literary – “Screw ‘em!” I believed in my dream, I believed in my writing, I believed I could change the world.

I realized that all published writers were once unpublished writers. I realized that writers are like babies taking their first steps: You have to do it by yourself, but it helps a whole lot to have someone helping you along the way. I finished my memoir, and then I did my homework. I spent months writing my query. I spent months researching agents. I spent months believing in myself, even though it seemed no one else – besides Gary and my mom – did.

One week after submitting 15 query letters to agents I admired, I had received seven offers to read my manuscript. Less than a week after that, I had three formal offers of representation.

I believe that if you have a unique voice, discernable talent, an incredible work ethic, amazing professionalism, a heart of equal parts stone, empathy and love, and a feeling that if you aren’t writing, you may just curl up and die – then you can make it as an author. I believe that if you just want to write, without a goal of being published – to write a family history, to diary for yourself, to become a more powerful business writer – that you need a hearty, “YES! Good for you! Go for it!” And that’s why I formed Wade’s Writers, and why I hold writing workshops. I am the guy who was plucked from the slush pile and became a bestseller. I am the guy who decided if he ever had any level of success, he would attempt to help other emerging writers.

My personalized, intensive and transformational writing workshops – which center on overcoming fears in authors’ lives and writing to find their true voice, and provide insider advice on securing a literary agent and finding success as a full-time author – are equal parts inspirational and professional, a mix of a-ha moments and nuts-and-bolts. My workshops focus on you and your writing, and have directly led to multiple authors having their books published (the latest “Wade’s Writer” being Matt Ziselman, whose memoir, Hounded, was recently published by Grand Central). Wade’s Writers rates of publishing success are significantly higher than the estimated rate given by publishers and agents (which range from 1-2 percent of all manuscripts that are accepted for publication). Moreover, “Wade’s Writers” form a lasting bond/friendship, share work and provide support and never let a writer stop what he/she started. My goal is not only to encourage talented writers but also to nurture a new “creative class” in an American culture that doesn’t support artists.

Remember Midnight in Paris?  I truly believe that such support and encouragement has a ripple effect, from me to you to someone else, and that in one year, five years, a decade, there will be a core group of writers who started together and continue to support one another.

I can’t make you write. But I do think I can make you a better writer. More importantly, I can give you tools to succeed. I can give you inspiration and hope. I can help you crush those fears – in life and craft – that are holding you back. Remember, to be successful in life you must turn “FEAR” into “Free Every Artistic Response.” Remember, every published writer was an unpublished writer.

You just have to start.

——————————-
About Wade Rouse:
The work of author and humorist Wade Rouse has been featured multiple times on NBC’s Today Show as well as on Chelsea Lately on E!, People, Salon.com, Forbes.com, Publisher’s Weekly and Writer’s Digest. USA Today calls Wade “a wise, witty and often wicked voice,” and the Chicago Tribune’s Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural critic states that Rouse’s memoirs are filled with “sparkling humor” and that everyone should “read Wade Rouse, especially if you value laughter and wisdom.” Writer’s Digest recently named Rouse the #2 Writer, Dead or Alive, “We’d Love to Have Drinks With” (Wade was just behind Ernest Hemingway, and just ahead of Hunter S. Thompson).

Wade is the author of four memoirs: Confessions of A Prep School Mommy Handler (Harmony/2007), selected as a Breakout Book by Target; At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream (Harmony/2009), an IndieBound bestseller and Today show Must-Read; and It’s All Relative: 2 Families, 3 Dogs, 34 Holidays and 50 Boxes of Wine (Crown/2011), finalist for a 2011 Goodreads Choice Award in Humor (with Betty White, Mindy Kaling and Chelsea Handler). Wade’s first memoir, America’s Boy, originally a Border’s Best Literary Memoir of the Year and Indie Next List “Great Reads” selection, was recently reissued and named to the American Library Association’s “Rainbow List” of the most important LGBT books. Wade created and edited the dog anthology, I’m Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship: Hilarious, Heartwarming Tales about Man’s Best Friend from America’s Favorite Humorists (NAL/2011), a Today show Holiday Books pick and Indie Next List selection. Bitch features essays by nine NYT-bestsellers, a Tony winner and a Foreword by Chelsea Handler’s dog, Chunk; 50% of the book’s royalties benefit the Humane Society of the US.

Wade is a celebrity writer for People.com, and an essayist for Coastal Living magazine, Metrosource magazine and Michigan Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.”

For more information about Wade, visit his website or follow him on Twitter @waderouse.

For more information about the workshop, click here.

To sign up for the workshop, please call 626-449-5320.

 

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Len Vlahos discusses & signs The Scar Boys

by Rachel on February 21, 2014

We are incredibly excited to host author Len Vlahos when he discusses & signs his first book, The Scar Boys on Monday, February 24 at 6:30pm.   The event will also feature musical performances by Len, as well as his opening act, Friday Jams, a band featuring students from nearby Monrovia High School.  We think it’ll be a pretty fun evening!

Len is a great friend of the book world and we are thrilled to be a stop on his busy book tour!  If you’re looking for a compelling story with strong characters, complete with 80s rock and that coming-of-age relevance (or nostalgia), take a look at The Scar Boys.

The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos (YA fiction, ages 12 & up, Egmont USA)
Told as a longer-than-required college application essay, The Scar Boys chronicles the tumultuous life of Harbinger (Harry) Jones.  Harry recounts how, at 8 years old, he was badly burned when neighborhood bullies tied him to a tree during a storm, and the tree caught on fire after it was struck by lightning.  Years later, when Harry is in 8th grade, he is rescued from bullies by his well-liked classmate, Johnny, who later suggests that they start a band together.  Discovering music changes his life and provides an escape, but also prompts people to see him for who he is on the inside and not just for his scars.  In this coming-of-age story, Harry learns about who he is, what he loves, and the true meaning of friendship.

Every so often, a book comes along that just absolutely steals the hearts of employees here at Vroman’s, and The Scar Boys  is definitely one of those books.  Here’s what some of them had to say:

“When Harry is involved in an awful lightning incident, at the age of 8, his life is turned upside down as he is forced to live with the hideous scars for the rest of his life.  Upon his return to school he makes a friend, Johnny, who takes him under his wing.  When Harry is rejected by a girl and feeling down, Johnny suggests that they start a band.  And thus, The Scar Boys are born!  Taking place in the early 1980s, The Scar Boys forge a punk rock sound that earns them a good reputation around town, and eventually they decide on a summer tour.  They hop in an old van and embark on a wild and tumultuous journey that threatens the fate of the band and Harry’s relationship with Johnny and the other members.  [In The Scar Boys] Vlahos weaves a wonderfully introspective story of growth, friendships, and self-acceptance.  It is a truly inspiring story the whole way through.”
- Nolan, Children’s Department bookseller

“I love, love, love this book!  Harbinger seemed doomed in the beginning, but then friendship, punk rock, and a girl change everything.  This is a great coming of age story.”
- Leticia, Vroman’s Children’s Department bookseller

“Author Len Vlahos is one of the good guys. He is not only my dear friend, but a friend to indie booksellers everywhere, having formerly acted as the COO for the American Booksellers Association. And isn’t it great when the good guys win? Len has done just that with his debut young adult (14-adult) novel, The Scar Boys—described by The New York Times Book Review as “(a) wry, stylish tale.” Publisher’s Weekly called it “a coming-of-age/rock-and-roll mashup,” and that pretty much sums it up. It’s a great read for fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, aficionados of 80s rock, young adult readers looking for a great male protagonist, and aspiring writers looking for inspiration—Len got up early every day to write before work, and ended up writing an awesome book.”
- Allison Hill, President/CEO, Vroman’s Bookstore

There’s even an audiobook version, complete with tracks recorded by the artist himself!

About the Author
Len Vlahos dropped out of NYU film school at age 19 to go on the road with a touring punk/pop band called the Woofing Cookies, which eventually became the backdrop for The Scar Boys.  He now works in the book industry and lives with his wife and two children in Connecticut.

Connect with the Author
A quick stop to his website teaches you a lot about Len Vlahos as a writer and artist— he’s quite prolific in his posts, and he wants his readers to join him in discussions about a variety of topics, so take a look!

You can follow him on Twitter @LenVlahos.

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I know there are a lot of people out there who are scrambling to pull together a little Valentine’s Day gift for their beloved.  I know this, because I am one of these people.  (Oops.)  I will acknowledge the fact that, not only am I still in need of a gift, I am also finally managing to write this blog post the day before Valentine’s Day.  Clearly, I am exactly the person you should go to for advice.

Anyway, I had the best intentions, but the days got away from me and now it’s almost Friday.  I’d like to present to you a few Valentine’s Day gift ideas, as well as some variations on the traditional approach to the jewelry and candy gift-giving.  Not into the Valentine’s Day thing?  Go ahead and pick up a little something for yourself— you deserve it!

For all your little Valentines!
The Bookstore Valentine
by Barbara Maitland, illustrated by David LaRochelle
Valentine’s Day is coming, and Mr. Brown’s bookstore is so busy that he decides to hire someone to help out. Miss Button is perfect for the job. She loves books, she loves cats, and she even understands the special ghost in Mr. Brown’s bookstore. There’s only one problem. Mr. Brown and Miss Button like one another, but they’re both too shy to say so! (Penguin Young Readers)

A touching lesson on love and life.
Fill in Love for Life by Barbara “Cutie” Cooper with Kim Cooper & Chinta Cooper

In a world of 72-day celebrity marriages, a 73-year marriage is nearly unimaginable. Against all odds, Cutie and Harry Cooper persevered through seven decades of marriage, enjoying triumphant milestones and enduring devastating losses, all while keeping their sense of humor and connection intact. Here, Cutie chronicles their story and extracts time-tested advice on how to know if you’ve met “the one,” the art of fighting fair, and everything else that goes into staying blissfully bonded. With vintage photos charting their relationship from newlyweds to nonagenarians, this nostalgic and romantic gift book is a practical resource for anyone who dreams of falling in love for life. (Chronicle Books)

Historical fiction + artists + Paris= perfect.
I Always Loved You by Robin Oliveira

The young Mary Cassatt never thought moving to Paris after the Civil War to be an artist was going to be easy, but when, after a decade of work, her submission to the Paris Salon is rejected, Mary’s fierce determination wavers. Her father is begging her to return to Philadelphia to find a husband before it is too late, her sister Lydia is falling mysteriously ill, and worse, Mary is beginning to doubt herself. Then one evening a friend introduces her to Edgar Degas and her life changes forever. Years later she will learn that he had begged for the introduction, but in that moment their meeting seems a miracle. So begins the defining period of her life and the most tempestuous of relationships.  (Viking)

Deciphering love:
Love Illuminated: Exploring Life’s Most Mystifying Subject (with the Help of 50,000 Strangers)
by Daniel Jones

Love is unrivaled in its power to thrill, crush, and sustain. No subject in human history has been more thoroughly examined. And yet, as desperately as we have tried to unlock love’s mysteries–to “decode” it through scientific experimentation, philosophical inquiry, and even mathematical algorithms–do we really understand love any better today than Shakespeare did nearly five hundred years ago?

As the editor of a column about love in the New York Times, Daniel Jones has been privy to the deepest personal revelations of tens of thousands of strangers. Deluged with stories of scheming cheaters, hopeless romantics, racy texts, and fierce devotion, he has spent much of the past decade wading through love’s muck and majesty–and has taken plenty of notes along the way. In Love Illuminated, he uses his unique perspective to tease apart life’s most mystifying subject.

Drawing from the 50,000 tales of love that have crossed his desk, Jones traces the arc of human relationships through ten phases, starting with the pursuit, destiny, vulnerability, connection, and trust of new love, and then turning to the practicality, monotony, infidelity, loyalty, and wisdom of love matured. With empathy and wry humor, he takes readers on an enlightening journey through the highs, lows, and enduring unknowns of this universal experience that rattles the head and stirs the heart.  (William Morrow & Company)


A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

A Washington Post Top Ten Book of the Year *A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

In a small rural village in Chechnya, eight-year-old Havaa watches from the woods as Russian soldiers abduct her father in the middle of the night and then set fire to her home. When their lifelong neighbor Akhmed finds Havaa hiding in the forest with a strange blue suitcase, he makes a decision that will forever change their lives. He will seek refuge at the abandoned hospital where the sole remaining doctor, Sonja Rabina, treats the wounded.

For Sonja, the arrival of Akhmed and Havaa is an unwelcome surprise. Weary and overburdened, she has no desire to take on additional risk and responsibility. But over the course of five extraordinary days, Sonja’s world will shift on its axis and reveal the intricate pattern of connections that weaves together the pasts of these three unlikely companions and unexpectedly decides their fate. A story of the transcendent power of love in wartime, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is a work of sweeping breadth, profound compassion, and lasting significance.  (Hogarth/ Random House)
*Don’t miss Anthony Marra’s event on 2/26 at 7pm! 

Books and more books!  Any title makes a great gift and we have a lot of wonderful new books in stock.

You’re a Sweetie postcards, $1.95

Literary Love: Great Writers on Love and Romance by Isobel Carlson
A collection of quips and quotes from some of the greatest writers ever, on the subject that has inspired so much of their work— love.
All around the world, every second of the day, people are falling in love. It has been the subject of books and songs for centuries, with many great writers, past and present, having something to say on the matter–from Aristotle (“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies”) to Stefan Zweig (“I am sure that no one else has ever loved you so lavishly, with such doglike fidelity, with such devotion, as I did and do”). This collection of heartfelt quotations from diaries, letters, poems and prose is perfect for anyone feeling the heady rush of romance, whether it’s an old flame still burning bright or a new one just beginning to spark.  (Skyhorse Publishing)

Crabtree & Evelyn’s new men’s fragrance, West Indian Lime, is divine!
West Indian Lime products, $8.50- $49.95

Apothecary candles by Paddywax, $19.95 each

LOVE box, $11.50

Braided & beaded bracelets, assorted colors, $9.95 each

Sea Salt Caramels by Little Flower Candy Co. = the most spectacular confection you could ever give your Valentine.  Ever. $8.95 per bag.

Love and Kisses glass tray, $63.95

Glass tray, $83.95
Love coupons (Breakfast in Bed, Weekend Away, and Champagne & Chocolates), $3.50 each

Write a sweet love letter on some darling stationery.
Assorted boxed notes and cards, $14.50- $15.00 each set

Or write a tiny message in a bottle!
Message in a Bottle, $6.95 each

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

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Here’s an exciting new book for all you lovers of science fiction and dystopian fantasies! A few weeks ago, one of our Random House reps, Wade, brought author Pierce Brown by the store to introduce him to different departments and talk about his new book, Red Rising.  It was wonderful to meet him, and Pierce was kind enough to agree to an interview about the world of Red Rising and his writing process. It is fast-paced and compelling— perfect for readers who regularly read this genre, but still very accessible to those who are less familiar with science fiction (like me!).

Read on for more information on the book and an intriguing interview with the author.

Red Rising
by Pierce Brown (released January 28, 2014)
Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power.  He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies . . . even if it means he has to become one of them to do so. —Del Rey Books

Pierce Brown on Red Rising

1.       It appears that you have a very interesting and varied background. Could you tell us a little about yourself and how you became interested in writing, and more specifically, writing science fiction?

I grew up in seven different states. That sort of transience makes you cling to the immutable things. For me, those were always family and stories, books in particular. My parents were wonderful about allowing me to cultivate this inner sense of self. So, while I got on fine with others, I mostly preferred the solitude of the woods—building forts, digging for musket balls, and pretending like I was in Star Wars or Indian in the Cupboard.

That is where the drive to tell stories came from. For years, ideas would rattle around in my head, and I’d spew them out at my parents and sister. Sometimes I’d talk so fast I’d fall asleep or nearly pass out. There is video evidence of this.

Writing was simply the natural progression of this constant inner-monologue. Writing has and always will be my catharsis.

As for science fiction, I grew up thinking lasers looked cool. I remember seeing Star Wars on the big screen when I was maybe 6, and it transformed my world. Now, I know science fiction is one of the best avenues of social commentary available to us. Re-reading Heinlein or Asimov is just simply the most fun anyone can have. For me, it’s like Voltaire in space.

2.      Which authors have served as inspiration for your writing, Red Rising or otherwise? 

Gene Wolfe, first and foremost. Without Severian the Torturer, the protagonist of Shadow and Claw, Darrow (the main character of Red Rising) would not exist. Wolfe was the first author I read who used an unreliable first person narrator. Also, Severian was this tortured, beautiful soul in the body of a killer. It touched me. Damn. I just got chills thinking about him and his journey.

Heinlein, Asimov, Niven, Bernard Cornwell, Steven Pressfield, JK Rowling, JRR Tolkein, George R. R. Martin, Sophocles, Homer, Orson Scott Card, and a host of others were also influences.

3.      What did you most enjoy about creating the world in which Red Rising takes place?  What was the most challenging aspect?

The most challenging aspect was making sure the world building didn’t interfere with the story. I wanted a lean beast. A razor sharp story that cuts to the point in dangerous fashion. But I accidentally created a world that enthralls me.  At the slightest provocation, I’ll dive down the rabbit hole and start talking about obtuse political theories and three-hundred year old historical events. My editor and agent (who also edits my work) pull me back out.

I really enjoy finding the political/economic justifications for policies. I’m a political wonk, so if I write that a singing a particular song is illegal for a particular sect of people, there has to be a reason. A reason not just in their history, but a reason for the law. The Golds are not stupid or capricious. They don’t provoke the lower classes just for shits and giggles. Laws aren’t made to piss people off. They are made to control. So how does a law that seems so vastly silly and unfair and likely to piss people off actually benefit Golds?

4.      Which book or books have you read recently that you just couldn’t put down?

I just read WOOL [by Hugh Howey]. Loved it. And Brian Stavely’s new epic, The Emperor’s Blades.

5.      At the beginning of the book, you introduce many terms, like “clawDrill,” “frysuit,” “Helldiver,” and others that are native to the world in which Darrow lives.  It sounds pretty fun to invent these things— how did you come up with them?

Mostly off the top of my head. People reading this will understand that after reading a thousand science fiction novels, you have a vast compendium of weird and bizarre knowledge to draw from. But I’m only 26, so I’ve got a lot of new weird stuff to learn.

6.      What space/ Mars/ scientific research did you do for the book, or is “Darrow’s” Mars based mostly in fiction?

The broad strokes are based mostly on fiction, yes. That said, I did extensive research on terraforming, moon orbits, gravity, etc. At its core though, Red Rising is more thematically science fiction than hard science fiction. So if I start describing, in lucid detail, the ins and outs of terraforming or RR’s technology, the story and pacing can quickly become compromised. That said, it’s hard to back off some of those details, because I find them so fascinating.

7.      Darrow discovers that he and his clan have been betrayed and that they are essentially slaves to the privileged and affluent ruling class.  Is Darrow’s struggle in the book inspired by any real life events?

I’ve been asked this quite a bit. Despite the current injustices that may burden our culture, Red Rising not meant to parallel our current situation or political climate. It’s intended to reflect the patterns of history. Think macro economics instead of micro.

I believe some humans will always seek to control humanity. But I also believe that humans have an innate spark in them than longs for freedom. It’s like a tide—in, out, in out. The cycle continues. Someone will rise to power, solidify control, and choke liberties till finally a breaking point is reached. Rebellion or revolution will follow. If it fails, another one will come along in time. If it succeeds, the cycle will eventually repeat.

8.      There is a sense of innocence and young love in the relationship Darrow shares with his wife, Eo, but at the same time, it’s difficult to think of them as 16-year-olds, given all they have gone through. Can you speak to the dichotomy between Darrow and Eo’s young age and the enormous responsibility placed on them as workers and members of this society?

This is one of my favorite elements of Red Rising. Darrow and Eo are sixteen, but they’re old in so many ways. Sure, they’ve had to work. That gives them responsibility. But that’s not what ages them. They’ve seen friends die in the mines, relatives sway from a noose, neighbors die in childbirth. They know most Reds die before thirty five. They must live fast.

What touches me most is what you mentioned, their innocence. Their love for each other is so fresh, so untouched by the hideous world around them because they are allowed to be sixteen with one another. That preserves their innocence. It fortifies their hearts. So when that is broken, how can the pieces ever be picked up?

9.      What advice might you offer to aspiring writers, in the science fiction genre, but also in general?

Keep writing. I may be young, but it took me seven books, 120 rejection letters, and lots of tears. Keep writing and take advice, but only from people you trust.

10.   Is there anything else you’d like to tell your readers about Red Rising?

Red Rising is the story of how a boy’s love can break an Empire, and how a girl’s dream can inspire a people. It is science fiction for people who may not ever plunge into Heinlein or Zelazny. I hope you like it, and if you do, there are two more coming.

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Read your way across the USA!

by Rachel on January 23, 2014


I’ve been sharing a few photos of our new display, Read your way across the USA, on Facebook and Instagram, and there has been such an outpouring of interest, I thought I would expand upon the idea and include some more detailed photos and a list of books that are currently featured.  The display was created by our Visual Merchandising Manager, Anne, after a lot of meticulous research.   Each book on display is set in a specific state, so while there have obviously been a lot of books that take place in a lot of states, Anne had to find the ones that were still in print so we could carry them in our store and she could use them on display.  This display is up indefinitely, and we hope that it will create conversation that helps it to evolve over time.  If you know of any more books that take place in Delaware, North Dakota, or any other state, comment on this post and let us know.  There’s room to expand the display, so maybe this can become a team effort!

For those of you who plan on stopping by the store, you can find the display in the event space on the 2nd floor of our main store.

For all inquiring minds, here is the complete list of books currently on display:

Alabama
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Boy’s Life – Robert McCammon

Alaska
Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer
The Yiddish Policeman’s Union – Michael Chabon

Arizona   
The Andromeda Strain – Michael Crichton
The Blessing Way – Tony Hillerman

Arkansas
A Painted House – John Grisham
True Grit – Charles Portis

California
The Big Sleep- Raymond Chandler
Cannery Row- John Steinbeck
East of Eden – John Steinbeck
Daughter of Fortune- Isabelle Allende
Get Shorty- Elmore Leonard
House of Leaves- Mark Danielewski
If He Hollers Let Him Go- Chester Himes
The Joy Luck Club- Amy Tan
A Visit from the Goon Squad- Jennifer Egan

Colorado
The Shining – Stephen King
Angle of Repose – Wallace Stegner

Connecticut
Revolutionary Road – Richard Yates
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House – Eric Hodgins

Delaware
Hawkes Harbor – S.E. Hinton
Patient Zero – Maberry

Florida
To Have & Have Not – Ernest Hemingway
Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston

Georgia
Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers

Hawaii
Hawaii – James A. Michener
Molokai – Brennert

Idaho
Housekeeping – Robinson
Lullaby – Palahniuk

Illinois
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
The Jungle – Upton Sinclair
Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury

Indiana
The Magnificent Ambersons – Booth Tarkington
The Stone Diaries – Shields

Iowa
A Thousand Acres – Jane Smiley
The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid – Bill Bryson

Kansas
The Wizard of Oz – Baum
In Cold Blood – Truman Capote

Kentucky
Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher Stowe
Icy Sparks – Gwyn Hyman Rubio

Louisiana
Interview with the Vampire – Anne Rice
Love in the Ruins –Walker Percy

Maine
Carrie – Stephen King
The Cider House Rules – JohnIrving

Maryland
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant – Anne Tyler
Kindred – Octavia Butler

Massachusetts
Walden – Henry David Thoreau
The Wapshot Chronicle – John Cheever

Michigan
The Virgin Suicides – JeffreyEugenides

Minnesota
Main Street – Sinclair Lewis
In the Lake of the Woods – Tim O’Brien

Mississippi
The Sound & the Fury – William Faulkner
The Robber Bridegroom – Eudora Welty

Missouri
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer –  Mark Twain
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

Montana
A River Runs Through It – Norman Maclean
Fools Crow – James Welch

Nebraska
My Antonia – Willa Cather
Worth Dying For – Child

Nevada
Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas – Thompson
Trunk Music – Connelly

New Hampshire
The Hotel New Hampshire – John Irving
The Last Policeman – Ben H. Winters

New Jersey
Drown – Junot Diaz
The Sportswriter – Richard Ford

New Mexico
Red Sky at Morning – Richard Bradford
Bless Me, Ultima – Rudolfo Anaya

New York
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Motherless Brooklyn – Jonathan Lethem

North Carolina
The Lacuna – Barbara Kingsolver
A Walk to Remember –  Nicolas Sparks

North Dakota
The Round House – Lousie Erdrich
Love Medicine – Louise Erdrich

Ohio
Walk Two Moons – Sharon Creech
Middle C – William H. Gass

Oklahoma
Paradise – Toni Morrison
The Outsiders – Hinton

Oregon
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
Wildwood – Colin Meloy

Pennsylvania
The Lovely Bones – Sebold
Rabbit, Run – Updike

Rhode Island
My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult
The Lowland – Jhumpa Lahiri

South Carolina
The Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kidd
Bastard Out of Carolina – Dorothy Allison

South Dakota
A Long Way from Home – Tom Brokaw
Yonnondio – Tillie Olsen

Tennessee
The Firm – John Grisham
A Death in the Family – James Agee

Texas
No Country for Old Men – Cormac McCarthy
The Killer Inside Me – Jim Thompson

Utah
The 19th Wife – David Ebershoff
Riders of the Purple Sage – Zane Grey

Vermont
Pollyanna – Porter
Midwives – Chris Bohjalian

Virginia
Bridge to Terabithia – Katherine Paterson
Lie Down in Darkness – William Styron

Washington
Twilight – Stephanie Meyer
Snow Falling on Cedars – David Guterson

Washington, D.C.
The Lost Symbol – Dan Brown
Term Limits – Vince Flynn

West Virginia
Shiloh – Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Night of the Hunter – Davis Grubb

Wisconsin
Little House in the Big Woods – Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle – David Wroblewski

Wyoming
The Laramie Project – Moises Kaufman
Shane – Jack Schaefer

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Tuesday, January 14, 7pm
in the All Saints Church Forum
Ishmael Beah
discusses & signs
Radiance of Tomorrow

Next week, we will have the pleasure of hosting Ishmael Beah, author of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Solidier for his debut novel, Radiance of Tomorrow.   A Long Way Gone recounts the horrific experiences of child soldiers during Sierra Leone’s civil war, and how, at just 13 years old, Beah had been taken by the government army and forced to perform unspeakable acts as a child soldier himself. In his first novel, Radiance of Tomorrow, Beah presents a telling and heartbreaking view of post-war life in Sierra Leone through the eyes of Benjamin and Bockerie, friends who return to their hometown in the aftermath of the war.  As they attempt to reassemble their war-torn city and recover a sense of community, the two must face terrible obstacles and question both their past and future.

“I really admire the uncompromising bravery of this book. Ishmael Beah has written a novel that moves between forms— part fable, part family epic, part poem. He doesn’t shy away from the horror, nor does he forget that the true function of storytelling is its ability to break our hearts. Reminiscent of Ben Okri and Chinua Achebe, Beah manages to lift the curtain on a world we cannot afford to flinch from.”— Colum McCann, National Book Award-winning author of TransAtlantic and Let the Great World Spin

Event Details:
- This event will be held in the All Saints Church Forum, 132 N Euclid Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101 (right down the street from Vroman’s!)  Get directions.

- This event is free & open to the public— no ticket necessary.

- Books by the author will be available for purchase at the event.

About the Author
Ishmael Beah was born in Sierra Leone in 1980 and is the author of Radiance of Tomorrow and the bestselling A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. He came to the United States when he was seventeen and graduated from Oberlin College in 2004. He is a UNICEF Ambassador and Advocate for Children Affected by War; a member of the Human Rights Watch Children’s Rights Advisory Committee; a visiting scholar at the Center for International Conflict Resolution at Columbia University; a cofounder of the Network of Young People Affected by War (NYPAW); and the president of the Ishmael Beah Foundation. He has spoken before the United Nations, the Council on Foreign Relations, and many panels on the effects of war on children. He lives in New York. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

The Ishmael Beah Foundation
Ishmael Beah is the president of the Ishmael Beah Foundation (IBF), “a private, independent institution dedicated to helping children and youth affected by war reintegrate into society and improve their lives. The Foundation aims at creating and financing educational and vocational opportunities for children and youth who have been affected by war, so that they can be empowered to choose a life free of conflict.” (The Ishmael Beah Foundation)

For more information on the author & his books, please visit his site.

Listen to an interview with Ishmael Beah and NPR’s Renee Montagne.

 

 

 

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Upcoming January Events!

by Rachel on January 3, 2014

After a little break from events during the holidays, our January author events are headed your way!  If you’re unable to attend an event,  but you’d still like a signed copy, you can always call our Will Call Department at (626)449-5320 and we’ll do our best to get you one!

Those wishing to get books signed will be asked to purchase at least one copy of the author’s most recent title from Vroman’s. For each purchased copy of the newest title, customers may bring up to three copies from home to be signed.
This policy applies to all Vroman’s Bookstore events unless otherwise noted.
Save your Vroman’s receipt; it will be checked when you enter the signing line.

January Events

Sunday, January 5, 4pm
Kim Gruenfelder discusses & signs Keep Calm and Carry a Big Drink (There’s Cake in My Future #2)

In Kim Gruenenfelder’s follow-up to There’s Cake in My Future, all your favorite characters are back and trying to get used to their new lives and new loves. After pulling magical charms from the cake at Nic’s bridal shower, it seems that most of their wishes have come true. Except for Mel, who feels a bit lost and doesn’t know what she’s doing with her life. So, Nic decides that Mel needs new luck in her life and organizes the cake pull again. But after Mel pulls a charm from the cake that she feels doesn’t fit who she is, she realizes that she is the only one who can make a difference in her life. While Mel travels the world and has many amazing and unexpected experiences, she begins to realize that perhaps the cake isn’t wrong after.

Wednesday, January 8, 7pm
Vroman’s Bookstore introduces UNTUCKED Magazine

UNTUCKED is a brand new magazine based in Pasadena that focuses on showcasing up-and-coming, and occasionally established, writers, artists, and musicians. The inaugural issue features writers Regina O’Melveny, Elana K. Arnold, and Alok Vaid-Menon, as well as Artist-in-Residence Emily Stewart and an interview with alternative-rock band American Authors. With several other contributors, including many Pasadena locals, UNTUCKED aims to place in your hand an actual, printed magazine; something they’re proud of and you can be, too.

Please join the UNTUCKED staff and several of their more local contributors as they celebrate the debut of their magazine. Drinks and desserts will be provided, as well as the opportunity to peruse and purchase UNTUCKED Volume I, Issue I.

For more information on the magazine, visit the UNTUCKED website.

Thursday, January 9, 7pm
Tom Clavin discusses & signs The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold story of Red Cloud, An American Legend
The great Sioux warrior-statesman Red Cloud was the only American Indian in history to defeat the United States Army in a war, forcing the government to sue for peace on his terms. But the fog of history has left Red Cloud strangely obscured. Now, thanks to the rediscovery of a lost autobiography and painstaking research by two award-winning authors, the story of our nation’s most powerful and successful Indian warrior can finally be told.

Friday, January 10, 7pm
Robert Evans presents & signs The Fat Lady Sang

Robert Evans was the chief of Paramount Studios in the 1960s and 1970s, and produced many of the most acclaimed and successful films of all time, including The Godfather and Chinatown. In 1998, at the age of 68, he suffered three strokes in rapid succession This sequel to his autobiography, The Kid Stays in the Picture, begins with that crisis and moves back and forth in time as Evans recalls his eventful life as actor, head of Paramount, independent producer, and, lately, comedian and voice-over talent. A long-awaited second work with all the elements of a star-studded blockbuster: glamour and conflict, struggle and perseverance, tragedy and triumph.

Event Details: (updated1/2/14)
- Mr. Evans will only be signing books, he will not be signing memorabilia. No posed pictures, please.

Saturday, January 11, 1:30pm
Filofax Extravaganza!
Vroman’s Bookstore will be working with Jennifer Reyes, known in the social media world for her blog, Twitter, and Facebook of My Purpley Life, where she demonstrates how to utilize the Filofax planners to their greatest potential and have fun doing it! Jennifer Reyes will be joined with 2-3 other Filofax users to demonstrate different Filofax techniques and share their experiences. We will have our Filofax collection present for you to shop through and explore, as well as spotlight the new styles that have gained tremendous interest with their recent release in 2013.
The event is free but space is limited– we still have a few spots available. Kindly RSVP (626-449-5320) as to how many guests will be joining us for this fun filled afternoon!

Sunday, January 12, 3pm
Tom Zimmerman discusses & signs El Camino Real & the Route of the Daylight

Following the treks of the Padres that established the California Missions of the eighteenth century, the story of El Camino Real has become one of the most dramatic of California history. These missions are timeless monuments that offer windows into the fabled history of Southern California and the Great Southwest.

Monday, January 13, 7pm
Lew Irwin discusses & signs Deadly Times: The 1910 Bombing of the Los Angeles Times & America’s Forgotten Decade of Terror

Between 1907 and 1911, the United States was hit by the longest period of sustained terrorism in its history. Of more than 200 bombings that were carried out during this period, the most shocking was the dynamiting of the Los Angeles Times building on the morning of October 1, 1910, which killed at least twenty people.  Deadly Times tells the fascinating story of the bombing,  the search to apprehend the bombers, the issues that polarized the nation, and the dramatic trials that ensued.

Tuesday, January 14, 7pm
Ishmael Beah discusses and signs  Radiance of Tomorrow

Longtime friends Benjamin and Bockarie return to their hometown, Imperi, after the civil war to try to forge a new community by taking up their former posts as teachers. The village is in ruins, the ground covered in bones, and they’re beset by obstacles: a scarcity of food, a rash of murders, thievery, rape, and retaliation. As Benjamin and Bockarie search for a way to restore order, they’re forced to reckon with the uncertainty of their past and future alike.

Wednesday, January 15, 7pm
Gregory Orfalea discusses and signs Journey to the Sun: Junipero Serra’s Dream and the Founding of California

In the year 1749, at the age of thirty-six, Junípero Serra left his position as a highly regarded priest in Spain for the turbulent and dangerous New World, knowing he would never return.  Serra’s mission: to spread Christianity in this unknown world by building churches wherever possible and by converting the native peoples to the Word of God. It was an undertaking that seemed impossible, given the vast distances, the challenges of the unforgiving landscape, and the danger posed by resistant native tribes.  Combining biography, European history, knowledge of Catholic doctrine, and anthropology, Journey to the Sun brings original research and perspective to America’s creation story.

Thursday, January 16, 7pm
John Rizzo discusses and signs Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA

In Company Man, John Rizzo charts the CIA’s evolution from shadowy entity to an organization exposed to new laws, rules, and a seemingly neverending string of public controversies. Rizzo offers a direct window into the CIA in the years after the 9/11 attacks, when he served as the agency’s top lawyer, with oversight of actions that remain the subject of intense debate today.  Spanning more than three decades, Company Man is the most authoritative insider account of the CIA ever written—a groundbreaking, timely, and remarkably candid history of American intelligence.

Friday, January 17, 7pm
Luis Reyes discusses and signs The Hawaii Movie and Television Book: Celebrating 100 Years of Film Production Throughout the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii played a huge role in the formative years of Hollywood. It shares a legacy that began a hundred years ago with the consolidating of the U.S. film industry on the West Coast at the beginning of the twentieth century and continues to this day.  The Hawaii Movie and Television Book documents, with production information and critical commentary, the Hollywood films and television shows made in Hawaii since 1995 to the present while spotlighting significant film achievements of the past. In addition, the book includes an Island film location guide to sites accessible to the general public and a history of the present-day Hawaii film industry.

Saturday, January 18, 4pm
Cameron Diaz discusses & signs The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body
Throughout her career, Cameron Diaz has been a role model for millions of women. By her own candid admission, though, this fit, glamorous, but down-to-earth star was not always health-conscious. Learning about the inseparable link between nutrition and the body was just one of the life-changing lessons that has fed Cameron’s hunger to educate herself about the best ways to feed, move, and care for her body. In The Body Book, she shares her formula for becoming happier, healthier, and stronger in this positive, essential guide that is grounded in science and inspired by personal experience.

Event Details:
- Ms. Diaz will only be signing books, no memorabilila.
- No posed photos.

Tuesday, January 21, 7pm
Eileen Cronin discusses & signs Mermaid: A Memoir of Resilience
At the age of three, Eileen Cronin first realized that only she did not have legs. Her boisterous Catholic family accepted her situation as “God’s will,” treating her no differently than her ten siblings.  But starting school, even wearing prosthetics, Cronin had to brave bullying and embarrassing questions.  She felt most comfortable and happiest relaxing with her girlfriends, imagining herself “an elusive mermaid.” The cause of her disability remained taboo, however, even as she looked toward the future and the possibility of her own family.  Reflecting with humor and grace on her youth, search for love, and quest for answers, Cronin spins a shimmering story of self-discovery and transformation.

Thursday, January 23, 7pm
Brian Payton discusses & signs The Wind is Not a River
Following the death of his younger brother in Europe, journalist John Easley is determined to find meaning in his loss and heads north to investigate the Japanese invasion of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, a story censored by the U.S. government.  While John is accompanying a crew on a bombing run, his plane is shot down over the island of Attu. He survives only to find himself exposed to a harsh and unforgiving wilderness. There, John must battle the elements, starvation, and his own remorse while evading discovery by the Japanese.

Friday, January 24, 7pm
Breaking Into Hollywood as a Screenwriter

While it’s said that everyone in Hollywood is working on a screenplay, the reality is that only a small fraction of aspiring writers ever break into the business.  How can you increase the odds that you’ll be one of them?  Join four professional writers who teach for the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program as they talk about their own journeys from aspiring writer to WGA member.  They’ll share their insights, advice, and tips for getting one step closer to Hollywood, and talk about their contributions to Cut to the Chase and Inside the Room, two new books on feature film writing and TV writing that belong on every serious writer’s desk.

Participants include:
Jon Bernstein – Screenwriter, WGA member who wrote Meet the Robinsons, which won a Heartland Film Award. Mr. Bernstein also wrote the screenplays Ringmaster and Beautiful, starring Minnie Driver, and is a contributing writer to Universal’s The Little Engine That Could (2011). His plays include Blunders and Showcase!(LA Weekly Pick of the Week).

Alison Lea Bingeman – Screenwriter; WGA member who recently wrote the independent feature film thriller Hurt. Ms. Bingeman’s numerous television credits include CSI: Miami, NCIS, Relic Hunter, and The New Outer Limits. Spanning all genres, her work has appeared on CBS, HBO, Lifetime, USA, Nickelodeon, and Showtime.

Richard Hatem – Screenwriter; WGA member who created the ABC/Touchstone television series Miracles and has written/produced episodes of Tru Calling, The Inside, Supernatural, The Secret Circle, and The Dead Zone.  Mr. Hatem currently serves as a consulting producer on NBC’s Grimm and serves as consulting producer on ABC’s Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.  He is a contributing author to Inside the Room (Gotham Books/Penguin).

Laurence Rosenthal – Independent producer and development executive; WGA member who, as an executive at Woods Entertainment, supervised the development of Scream, Beautiful Girls, Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, Copland, and Citizen Ruth. Mr. Rosenthal is a recipient of the UCLA Extension Outstanding Instructor Award in Screenwriting and a contributing author to Cut to the Chase (Gotham Books/Penguin).

Saturday, January 25, 4pm
UC Irvine’s MFA Program in Creative Writing Group Reading
Vroman’s is happy to welcome the MFA Program in Creative Writing of UC Irvine for their first off-campus reading of 2014! They will be showcasing the unique voices of some of the program’s up and coming writers. The reading will feature work by fiction writers Joseph Modugno and Julian Smith-Newman and poets Amy Cannon and Walker Pfost.

Sunday, January 26, 4pm
Local Author Day: Vroman’s introduces Layne Wong, Mark Bennett, and Cheverro Ananse Savage
Layne Wong discusses & signs Shanghai Love: A Novel
Shanghai Love is a gripping novel about the unlikely love story that develops between Peilin, a Chinese herbalist, and Henri, a Jewish refugee, in Shanghai during World War II. It’s a classic story of love’s triumph of adversity.

Mark Bennett discusses & signs The Big Show: A True Story About a Newcomer & a Hollywood Legend
Mark takes you along as his unlikely partnership with legendary television producer Fred de Cordova has them navigating the maze that is Hollywood on a quest to sell a series of Variety Concept Specials. From the then NBC Productions to ABC Entertainment, this newcomer opens closed doors and leads you on a backstage tour through the murky waters of the television industry. Mark gives readers first hand “How to’s” from the legend, Fred de Cordova (“How to’s” that apply to life outside the entertainment world as well).

Cheverro Ananse Savage discusses & signs Ananse presents: An Emotional Journey Through Love and Lust
A beautiful collection of love poems with a mix of erotic flavor which will satisfy your palate leaving you fulfilled with a range of emotions. Immerse yourself within the words and allow your imagination to become one with each story.

 

Thursday, January 30, 7pm
Sue Monk Kidd discusses & signs The Invention of Wings
 at the All Saints Church Forum
Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. On young Sarah Grimke’s eleventh birthday, she is given ownership of ten-year-old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty-five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.

Event Details:
- This is a ticketed event and will be held at All Saints Church, located at 132 N. Euclid Ave., Pasadena.
- Admission is $27.95 + tax (includes one copy of The Invention of Wings and one ticket). Tickets will be available the day of the book’s release, 1/7/13.
- Please call 626-449-5320 if you have any questions.

Friday, January 31, 7pm
Jessica Alexander discusses & signs Chasing Chaos: My Decade In and Out of Humanitarian Aid

In this honest and irreverent memoir, Jessica Alexander introduces readers to the realities of life as an aid worker. We watch as she manages a 24,000-person camp in Darfur, collects evidence for the Charles Taylor trial in Sierra Leone, and contributes to the massive aid effort to clean up a shattered Haiti.  Tracing her personal journey from wide-eyed and naïve newcomer to hardened cynic and, ultimately, to hopeful but critical realist, Alexander transports readers to some of the most troubled locations around the world and shows us not only the seemingly impossible challenges, but also the moments of resilience and recovery.

Vroman’s Education | Writing Class

Thursdays, January 23- February 27, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Memoir Into Fiction

Instructor: Leslie Schwartz
Fee: $250.00 per student

Do you have a personal, true story you want to write but are afraid to write it? Afraid to expose your privacy or the privacy of your loved ones, yet you still feel compelled to write it? Then Memoir into Fiction is the class for you. In this class you will learn not only fictional techniques like structure, character development, and dialogue, but also how to turn your own personal story into fiction. Fun, in-class exercises will help you begin the process of fictionalizing your true story. Expect short discussions on technique and optional in-class readings in a safe and supportive environment.

Leslie Schwartz is the author of two literary novels, Jumping the Green (Simon & Schuster, 1999) and Angels Crest (Doubleday, 2004.) Jumping the Green won the James Jones Literary Society Award for Best First Novel and was published in three languages. Angels Crest was a Book Sense 76 pick and was published in nine languages. The film version of the book debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival and the Edinburgh Film Festival in April and June of 2011. It was released and distributed nationally by Magnolia Pictures in January 2012. Recently Schwartz was named Kalliope Magazine’s Woman Writer of the Year. In addition to her novels, Schwartz has published short stories, articles, essays, and book reviews in various newspapers, magazines, and literary journals. Some of these venues include Poets & Writers, Teachers & Writers, Los Angeles Times and Sonora Review.

Events at Vroman’s Hastings Ranch

Join us every Sunday at 4pm at Vroman’s Hastings Ranch for storytime with Bridget!

PostSecret
January though February
We’ve been inspired by the very popular and intriguing PostSecret by Frank Warren. Help us add to our window display at Vroman’s Hastings Ranch throughout the months of January & February by discreetly submitting your deepest/ darkest secrets with us on a postcard. Periodically drop by & watch our display develop over the next two months!

Events for Kids & Teens

Join us every Wednesday & Saturday at 10am for storytime with Mr. Steve!

Tuesday, January 7, 7pm
Lissa Price discusses and signs Enders
In the riveting conclusion to the sci-fi thriller Starters, no one is ever who they appear to be. Someone is after Starters like Callie and Michael—teens with chips in their brains. They want to experiment on anyone left over from Prime Destinations—Starters who can be controlled and manipulated. Having the chip removed could save Callie’s life—but it could also silence the voice in her head that might belong to her father. Determined to find out who he really is and grasping at the hope of a normal life for herself and her younger brother, Callie is ready to fight for the truth. Even if it kills her. (Ages 12 & up)

Saturday, January 11, 10:30am
Craft Time with Jen! Pencil Holders!
Come and make some artistic pencil holders for your loved ones! Whether it is a place for your mom’s pens, your dad’s pencils, or your crayons, these pencil holders will get the job done!

 

Saturday, January 18, 10:30am
Salina Yoon presents and signs Penguin in Love
When Penguin finds a lost mitten on the ice one day, he wonders who it belongs to—after all, every mitten has a mate! Prolific author/illustrator Salina Yoon’s spare text and bright, energetic illustrations bring to life this endearing story celebrating love in its many forms, reminding us that the greatest adventure begins when you find
your other half. (Ages 3-6)

Tuesday, January 28, 6:30pm
Twisted Things Group Event

Featuring Nina Berry, Gretchen McNeil, Elisa Nader, Kim Askew & Amy Helmes and their latest releases, respectively, Othersphere, 3:59, Escape from Eden, and Anyone But You: The Third in the Twisted Lit Series. (Ages 13 & up)

 

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