Allison Hill’s new piece on Huffington Post!

by Jessica on October 21, 2014

When she’s not running a successful business she’s writing. Allison Hill has a new piece on Huffington Post! The full article is below but if you’d like to see the original article click  here.


I’ve been trying to write about faith for weeks, well, years really. It’s been on my mind lately because this summer my father had a stroke. And nothing brings this former Baptist back to Jesus faster than praying that my father will be okay. (Which he is, by the way.)

Faith is something I’ve long been fascinated by, since I was six years old and heard our pastor speak in tongues at Sunday service. Then, when I was nine, I met a young woman who had lost both her legs in a tornado but she was still convinced that God was taking care of her. And then there was my childhood babysitter who secretly took me to Jehovah’s Witnesses’ meetings, unbeknownst to my parents, in the hopes of saving my soul. Faith was clearly a powerful force. And I wanted some of it.

But my relationship with the church ended as a teenager when I heard a minister hatefully and ignorantly preach that AIDS was God’s punishment for “gays.” I began looking for another way to find God, or my version anyway.

In college I enrolled in comparative religion classes and ate vegetarian dinners with the Hare Krishnas in Harvard Square. During my 20s I explored “walkabouts,” listened to sermons by a local rabbi, and participated in silent retreats. In my 30s I attended weekly dharma talks and even studied tantric sex.

I tried once to talk to my grandmother about faith. It was a tough time in my life, and a particularly bad day, when I called to ask her how she held onto her faith. Now Grandma Doris was a small-town Texan who didn’t usually talk about such things, choosing instead to discuss weather, and crops, and the ideal conditions for frying chicken. So I shouldn’t have been surprised when she said simply, “I don’t,” and continued talking about the heat, and the pecan harvest, and the ideal conditions for cooking divinity. I got off the phone disheartened, and as I was sitting contemplating all of this I heard a knock at the front door. Keep in mind that I lived in a small house, hidden on the top of a big hill, behind a bigger house; uninvited visitors were unheard of. At first I thought I had imagined it, but then it came again–a strong, unmistakable triple knock. I opened the door to find two Jehovah’s Witnesses standing on my porch. One of them wore a button that said, “You are not alone” and the other wore one that said, “God loves you.”

Lately my spirituality has been guided by PayPal. I recently called their 800 number to ask for help and the representative who answered responded to my problem by reassuring me: “Nothing bad is happening, and I am here to help you.” A surprisingly comforting mantra that I have now adopted as my own.

Which is all to say that regardless of your beliefs, or who your god or guru is, faith is challenging. One of my favorite inspirational writers, Anne Lamott, offers, “I have a lot of faith. But I am also afraid a lot, and have no real certainty about anything.” Generally faith is not a topic most of us talk about at all, even with our closest friends. It’s even a difficult word to define. Though personally I dig Einstein’s definition: “A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty.” At some point I realized that that’s it for me. Ask yourself where you find those things, believe those things, and you’ll stumble upon your faith.

The answer now seems obvious. For me, it’s books. Over the years nothing has made me feel safer, stronger, or more joyful than a good book, a stack of books, a library or bookstore filled with books. I talk about books the way others talk about their gods and religions. They are what connect me with something beyond my small, little world. They are what give me solace and hope. They offer me a way of pulling myself up out of my own dark abyss, and they lead me forward into the light.

In her writer’s bible, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Lamott declares that books help us learn how to live, and how to die. Really, isn’t that what every religion does? And faith is the compass to keep us on that path.

Several years ago on a booksellers’ trip to Beijing, I spent a perfect afternoon at a Buddhist temple with my friend Karl, having lunch, wandering the grounds, and talking about books and our spiritual paths, how the two had become beautifully intertwined for each of us. Karl did me the great honor of sharing about his faith and allowing me to talk about mine. His involved a meaningful mix of Christianity and Buddhism, a soulful light that radiated from him when he talked about his family, and a passion for books that was unsurpassed–a faithful trinity that seemed to serve him well in life, and in his dying just a few years later.

At this stage of my life I know deeply that the journey is the destination, that faith isn’t something you find or finally reach, but a process and a choice every day. Not a certainty at all, in fact, but an openness. One that allows for my father’s stroke, a bad day, a favorite author, and the perfect afternoon, all the same. And though I believe more in a universal spirit than in God (even though he may have sent two Jehovah’s Witnesses to prove himself), I’m still a Sunday school girl at heart; I kind of believe I’ll see Karl again someday in heaven. A place I believe looks a lot like a bookstore.


Local Author Day! THIS Sunday, October 19!

by Jessica on October 16, 2014

This weekend is our October Local Authors Day! I wanted to take a second and highlight who we have coming up.

We’re kicking off the day at 12:30pm with our Children’s Book Edition!

Robert Black presents and signs Night of the Paranormal Patterns
Things were bad enough when Lennie Miller had to leave her home and her friends and move with her parents to the little town of Bailey, Indiana. But Bailey has a secret – a Mystical Realm few people can see, full of ghosts, wizards and monsters. And worst of all, these creatures have decided that Lennie is their “Pattern Finder,” the person they all turn to for help with their math problems!



He will also be discussing Unswept Graves
A story that starts in the present day in a small town about to celebrate Founders’ Day. The founders were said to include young Jasmine’s Wu’s great-great-grandparents, Charlie and Hannah Fong. Jasmine and her friend ‘Oz’ get to find out the Fongs’ story when they are suddenly and magically transported by her ancestors’ mysterious pendant back in time to the Chinatown of San Francisco in the late 1890s. They find out that it was a dangerous, brutal time to be Chinese, especially for young girls. Jasmine is kidnapped and sold into slavery. Oz has to dress as a boy to rescue her and get her to the shelter of the Mission House. They meet Charlie Fong and somehow they have to make sure that the future happens. In the end, the founders and ancestors are honored as they should be and Jasmine discovers her heritage. Black’s research into the life of Chinese immigrants revealed shocking anti-Chinese prejudice in the US at the time.

Then at 4pm, we’ll be continuing with our Local Authors David Mark and Chanel Brenner!

David Mark presents and signs Dog Whistles, Walk-Backs, and Washington Handshakes Decoding the Jargon, Slang, and Bluster of American Political Speech
In Dog Whistle, two seasoned political journalists define, in a funny-yet-informative way, what politicians really mean when they use odd-sounding, insider-ish phrases. Jeff Greenfield, the Emmy Award-winning television journalist and acclaimed author, wrote the forward to Dog Whistles. It will make for useful reading during the heat of election season.

Chanel Brenner presents and signs Vanilla Milk, A Memoir Told in Poems
Vanilla Milk, a memoir told in poems, focuses on a mother’s and family response to the sudden death of the author’s six-year-old son. These elegies might be read as written snapshots forming an elegiac album, depicting how a traumatic loss alters relationships, love, and parenting, and perceptions of danger, time, and life. Characterized by unsparing honesty, clarity, and restraint, the poems explore the limits inherent in “recovering” from the grief of losing a child, and the need to continue experiencing joy. Includes a 20-page album of family photographs.

Hope to see everyone on Sunday!

– Jess


Author Interview: Sarah Anne Johnson

by Jessica on October 7, 2014

Author, Sarah Anne Johnson, has just released her debut novel,
The Lightkeeper’s Wife!
She will be here to discuss & sign on Thursday, October 9th at 7pm but we were able to ask her a few questions beforehand.
Enjoy! See you on the 9th!

For more information on Sarah click here.


The Lightkeeper’s Wife is your debut novel! Congrats! How does it feel to have it out in the world where people can physically pick it up?
It’s astonishing really, to think that anyone can pick up the book and read it. I’m happy to be able to share the story after many years of writing. I’ve been Skyping with book clubs and engaging with readers who are excited about the book and have tons of questions, so it’s been a pleasure to connect with readers this way.

You’re an accomplished writer and have a few books under your belt already. Was there anything with a novel that was different from the non-fiction you’ve written? Is there anything you learned this time around?
The nonfiction books were interviews with authors, and they provided me with a solid education in writing. For each author, I read all of their books and anything written by or about them, so I really studied the author’s creative life. Then I had the opportunity to ask anything I wanted to about their writing techniques and their creative lives. What an opportunity! After conducting so many interviews I felt that my writer’s toolbox was brimming with good advice and information. I turned to my fiction with a keener eye and a lot of inspiration from the writers who were generous enough to share their time with me.

Has there ever been a time, when writing, that you got so stuck you were just beside yourself? How did you overcome that?
I just start deleting things that I know aren’t working, smothering my darlings, as the saying goes. This clears the way for what truly belongs. Also, the best piece of writing advice I’ve heard is from Ron Carlson. If you get stuck, don’t get up to get a cup of coffee or check the mail. Sit with the work for twenty minutes. You are sure to find your way in those twenty minutes. This is a discipline I enforce with myself and it really works.

Where did the idea for The Lightkeeper’s Wife come from?
The Lightkeeper’s Wife was inspired by a print I saw in the Highland House Museum in Truro, MA. Grace Darling was rowing into stormy seas to save a shipwrecked sailor, with her dress billowing in the wind and her hair whipping around her face. As a girl growing up on Cape Cod, I sailed with the boys, but we had no women heroes. In creating Hannah, I created my own hero.  When I started researching women’s maritime history, I came across women pirates. It intrigued me to know what would drive a woman to kill and survive on a pirate ship, and so Blue was born. From there it was a matter of exploring the lives of these two women and learning how they were connected.

Is this time period, 19th century Cape Cod, something that you’ve always wanted to explore?
I grew up in a family that was fascinated with early American art and antiquities, especially maritime antiquities, as we were a big boating family. When I visited the Highland House Museum, I felt like I was home. So many of the artifacts I knew from my childhood—shipwrecks and lifesaving gear and model boats–and I realized that this was my terrain. This was what I knew, and I loved the simplicity of that time as a setting.

How long did it take you to write The Lightkeeper’s Wife?
I wrote the book over the course of ten years, while I was doing the three interview books. Then I worked on it for two years with my agent. It’s been along process!

You’ve been involved with the Bennington College Writing Seminars MFA Program as well as Leseley University’s MFA Program.  What’s some advice you regularly give to writers?  
Read everything you can get your hands on that will inform your literary life. You are what you read, so chose wisely. Also, sit in your chair at your desk with your work. Inspiration happens when you’re writing, so set your writing time and stick to it.

How has being involved with those programs helped you as a writer?
It’s invaluable to be part of a creative community. One thing I learn when I’m at these programs is how much I don’t know, and this propels me deeper into the work and into my learning. I also met many wonderful writers who I interviewed in my books, and learned the most important thing that I know about writing. A writing life consists of not only writing but also of reading voraciously with your writer’s eye. Learning to understand what other writers are doing can help you better handle your own material and accomplish things that were previously beyond your grasp.

Who are some creative people that inspire you?
So many. I love the work of Louise Erdrich, Anthony Doerr, Emile Zola, Elena Ferrante, and so many others. I also find inspiration in looking at art and exploring the layers of meaning in a piece of work. I feel the creative energy when I’m walking in a gallery or museum and that energy inspires me.

Finally, what’s next? Are you working on anything right now?  
I’m working on a novel that’s due any day now.


The 9th Annual Pasadena Art Walk is coming up on Saturday October 11 from 11:00am-5:00pm. ARTWalk is free and all-ages are welcome.

The Pasadena ARTWalk is Pasadena’s largest urban art fair with over 5,000 people attending yearly. The event highlights some of the best Southern Californian visual artists showcasing their work in painting, sculpture, watercolor, photography, mixed media, ceramics, jewelry, drawings, and printmaking.

We are joining in on the festivities and will be hosting a Meet the Artist Reception at 1pm downstairs in Pen & Stationery with our new Artist on the Stairwell, Debbi K. Swanson Patrick!

For a full list of artists and goings-on for the ArtWalk click here.


We have a fabulous new Artist on the Stairwell to introduce to you! We will be hosting a Meet the Artist reception on October 11th at 1pm downstairs in the Pen & Stationery Department. The Pasadena Art Walk is also happening on October 11th!

Debbi K. Swanson Patrick

About the Artist:

A 19-year Altadena resident, Debbi Swanson Patrick has evolved from writer/journalist to telling stories as an artist.

Nominated in 2011 as a Jewel of Pasadena, Woman of Distinction, Debbi has worked in entertainment public relations, advertising, fundraising, marketing, and as a theatre reviewer and entertainment/feature writer. After some major life challenges, Debbi returned to her first love—creating art. A longtime photographer, she now creates digital “photographs”—without a camera. Debbi captures remarkable detail of natural and man-made items in her high-resolution images using a desktop scanner.

Debbi is a member of the Professional Photographers of California and Los Angeles, Angeles Crest Art Guild, Pasadena Arts Council, Los Angeles Center of Photography, Pas Robles Art Association, Virgin Valley Art Assn., Nevada. She is currently in the process of becoming a Certified Professional Photographer.

These unique images have won many awards, notably a Merit Award from the Professional Photographers of California, Los Angeles; grand, first, and second prizes in the annual Caltech art show, and awards from various shows in Paso Robles and Nevada.

For more information visit Debbi’s website.

This Pinney House image (above) was created for the owners who restored the Pinney House in Sierra Madre, the former Sierra Madre Hotel built in 1887. The image contains items found on the premises during its restoration including letters, wallpaper, a bay’s shoe, keys, and medicine bottles.


New HOTB on the Tumblr!

by Jessica on September 29, 2014

It’s Monday morning, everyone. We’re all a little sleepy from our weekend and you probably are too.

There’s a new #HOTB on the Tumblr to soothe your Monday Morning blues.

Mike the Poet has been around Vroman’s and L.A. for quite some time. He’s got a great soul and it just an all around good guy. He was here for Bill Bradley’s event because he has a poem in the beginning of Tracks to the Future!

Check it out on the Tumblr.


October Events!

by Jessica on September 29, 2014

Um…where did September go? Whoa. That went by fast. We’re gearing up for even more fall events. Our October is pretty packed to the gills. Take a gander at the list below and see what interests you! Hope to see you around the event space.

Thursday, October 2, 7pm
Chris Guillebeau discusses and signs The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life

Chris Guillebeau’s had one very big personal goal: to visit all of the countries in the world by the time he was 35 years old. As he traveled, Chris realized that he was not the only one pursuing a very big dream. He met people of all ages doing many different things: pursuing personal excellence, battling threats to others and the environment, breaking world records. It was only after speaking to these other “questers,” and “questing” himself, that Chris began to understand the correlation between pursuing a dream and long-term happiness, and how determination to reach a goal helps us grow as individuals.

Friday, October 3, 11am
Molly Idle presents & signs Flora and the Penguin
In this adorable sequel to Flora and the Flamingo, Flora returns this time on ice, forming an unexpected friendship with a penguin. Spinning, leaping and gliding the pair pirouettes together on ice. When Flora gives the penguin the silent treatment, the two must figure out a way to work together. Artist Molly Idle creates a spectacular, wordless picture book with small double-sided flaps on some of the pages to show Flora and the penguin coming together, spiraling apart, and coming back together as true friends do.



Friday, October 3, 7pm
Lauren Oliver discusses and signs Rooms

When Richard Walker dies, his estranged family convenes at the dilapidated country house he left behind. However, the Walker family is not alone in the home: Alice and Sandra, the resident ghosts, are forever tied to this home. They share their past experiences and remember the time when they, too, were living, although the human inhabitants cannot hear them. When a new ghost appears, Trenton, Richard Walker’s teenage son, begins speaking to her, and earthly and supernatural words collide with unexpected results.

Saturday, October 4, 10:30am
Vroman’s hosts a SPECIAL storytime with a special appearance by Ed Oxenbould, the title character of soon to be released movie of the same name! 

*Regular storytime is moved to 10:30am, just for today. 
At 10:30, Mr. Steve will be reading Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day!
and the newly released Alexander, Who’s Trying His Best to Be the Best Boy Ever
Followed by a showing of the trailer with popcorn!
Q & A with Ed Oxenbould. And a photo opportunity with Ed.

Saturday, October 4, 4pm
Chloe Coscarelli presents and signs Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen: 150 Pizzas, Pastas, Pestos, Risottos, & Lots of Creamy Italian Classics

“Popular vegan chef and winner of the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, Chloe Coscarelli digs into her Italian roots to create more than 150 recipes inspired by the most popular cuisine in the world. If you think a healthy vegan diet means giving up pasta in creamy sauce, cheesy pizza, and luscious tiramisu, think again! Following her hit cookbooks Chloe’s Kitchen and Chloe’s Vegan Desserts, Chef Chloe goes to her family’s homeland to veganize its time-honored delicacies–and add some distinctively delicious twists. Chloe also includes directions for making her recipes allergy- and gluten-free so that you can feast on all your favorite foods, no matter your diet.” (Atria Books)

Monday, October 6, 7pm
Joshilyn Jackson discusses and signs Someone Else’s Love Story

“I fell in love with William Ashe at gunpoint, in a Circle K.” Shandi Pierce has a lot going on in her busy life. She’s a single mom who is raising her brilliant son, Nathan, and finishing college. She’s also tasked with trying to mediate the constant fighting between her divorced parents. So when Shandi finds herself in the middle of a convenience store robbery, she already has enough to deal with. But then William Ashe steps in, shielding Shandi and her child from the armed robber, and she falls in love. William Ashe has his own issues; as he was confronted at gun point, he believed it to be his destiny. William is a talented geneticist who believes in science and numbers, but to him, destiny is about choice. Now, William and Shandi will navigate their destinies, making important choices that will change the course of their lives.

Tuesday, October 7, 7pm
Naomi Munaweera discusses & signs Island of a Thousand Mirrors
“Before violence tore apart the tapestry of Sri Lanka and turned its pristine beaches red, there were two families. Yasodhara tells the story of her own Sinhala family, rich in love, with everything they could ask for. As a child in idyllic Colombo, Yasodhara’s and her siblings’ lives are shaped by social hierarchies, their parents’ ambitions, teenage love and, subtly, the differences between Tamil and Sinhala people; but the peace is shattered by the tragedies of war. Yasodhara’s family escapes to Los Angeles. But Yasodhara’s life has already become intertwined with a young Tamil girl’s.  Saraswathie is living in the active war zone of Sri Lanka, and hopes to become a teacher. But her dreams for the future are abruptly stamped out when she is arrested by a group of Sinhala soldiers and pulled into the very heart of the conflict that she has tried so hard to avoid – a conflict that, eventually, will connect her and Yasodhara in unexpected ways.  Nayomi Munaweera’s Island of a Thousand Mirrors is an emotionally resonant saga of cultural heritage, heartbreaking conflict and deep family bonds. Narrated in two unforgettably authentic voices and spanning the entirety of the decades-long civil war, it offers an unparalleled portrait of a beautiful land during its most difficult moment by a spellbinding new literary talent who promises tremendous things to come.” (St Martin’s Press)

Thursday, October 9, 7pm
Sarah Anne Johnson discusses and signs The Lightkeeper’s Wife

Hannah Snow and her husband, John, manage the lighthouse at Dangerfield, making sure that ships clear the treacherous Dangerfield coastline. One day, when John is out buying supplies, Hannah witnesses the Cynthia Rose crash into the craggy rocks, and she rushes out into the cold water. She is only able to save one sailor, Billy. Hannah soon learns that John will not be returning to her at the lighthouse and she falls into a deep depression, overcome with grief. Billy helps her maintain the lighthouse and continue to guard ships from the dangerous coast, but Hannah soon realizes that Billy is not who she thinks he is.

Friday, October 10, 7pm
Richard Riordan discusses and signs The Mayor: How I Turned Around Los Angeles After Riots, an Earthquake and the O.J. Simpson Murder Trial

Between 1993 and 2001, Mayor Richard J. Riordan, a maverick multi-millionaire who championed pragmatism over divisive politics, pulled Los Angeles from the brink of collapse and turned around one of the world’s most famous cities. Wildly popular today among Angelenos of all stripes, Riordan continues to be a major force in the political and civic worlds of L.A.   Riordan, a non-ideological Republican who was pro-choice, pro-gay rights, and pro-immigration, was elected to office in the aftermath of the infamous Rodney King beating and subsequent 1992 L.A. Riots, which caused nearly $1 billion in property damage and took the lives of over 50 people. With ineffectual political leadership at City Hall, racial tensions were running high, the economy was in the tank, and the city s crime and homicide rates grew out of control during the crack cocaine epidemic. And only a few months into Riordan’s young mayoralty, L.A. appeared to be most definitely doomed after the devastating 1994 Northridge earthquake rocked the city to its core.   But unlike his combative counterpart in New York City, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Riordan was a healing, compassionate figure that recreated L.A. into a thriving, world-class metropolis and he’s still a key problem solver in the nation’s second largest city.

As the result of Riordan s efforts, Los Angeles is now a cultural and event destination.  Readers will also learn about the numerous tragedies Riordan faced and how each event shaped him as a person and as mayor. From the deaths of Riordan’s two young children to the passing of his mother on the eve of his first mayoral election, Riordan’s courage and compassion in the face personal heartbreak illustrates why he is so beloved. He is also a cutting-edge philanthropist who helped dramatically improve literacy rates in such places as Mississippi and has personally donated over $100 million to improve the education of poor children. For years, he has donated half his income to charities.” (Post Hill Press)

Saturday, October 11, 4pm
Aarti Suqueira presents and signs Aarti Paarti: An American Kitchen with an Indian Soul
In this collection of 101 recipes and memories, Next Food Network Star winner Aarti Suqueira shares her secrets of making Indian flavors more accessible to the US market.  Learn how to cook Cornflake and Kaya French Toast, Bombay Sloppy Joes, Indian Street Corn, and many other delicious and memorable dishes.  Readers will also be treated to Suqueira’s personal story as she explains how she was an outsider experiencing many cultures and cuisines: an Indian in Dubai, going to a British school; and an international student attending Northwestern University. She finds that food always saves her and encourages us all to find the warmth in cooking.

Monday, October 13, 7pm
Seth Casteel discusses and signs Underwater Puppies

“The world fell in love with swimming canines in Seth Casteel’s first book, Underwater Dogs. Now, in more than 80 previously unpublished portraits of underwater puppies, we see man’s best friends at their most playful and exuberant. Each vibrant and colorful underwater image shows off the wild and sublime range of emotions of puppies, cute and irresistible to the very last.” (Little, Brown and Company)


Tuesday, October 14, 7pm
Chris Taylor discusses and signs How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise

“In 1973, a young filmmaker named George Lucas scribbled some notes for a far-fetched space-fantasy epic. Some forty years and $37 billion later, Star Wars -related products outnumber human beings, a growing stormtrooper army spans the globe, and “Jediism” has become a religion in its own right. Lucas’s creation has grown into far more than a cinematic classic; it is, quite simply, one of the most lucrative, influential, and interactive franchises of all time. Yet incredibly, until now the complete history of Star Wars – its influences and impact, the controversies it has spawned, its financial growth and long-term prospects – has never been told. In How Star Wars Conquered the Universe, veteran journalist Chris Taylor traces the series from the difficult birth of the original film through its sequels, the franchise’s death and rebirth, the prequels, and the preparations for a new trilogy.”(Basic Books)

Thursday, October 16, 7pm
Jason Sexton and Monica Ganas discuss and sign Theology and California: Theological Refractions on California’s Culture
Exploring California as a theological place, this book renders critical engagement with significant Californian religious and theological phenomena and the inherent theological impulses within major Californian cultural icons. Harnessing conceptual tools inherent to theology, through theological reflection, assessment, and critique, the chapters in this volume begin to ascertain the significance of various empirical data and that no other qualitative methodological Californian study has done. Many universities are picking up on California literature as a theme that highlights a place of hope, wonder, and cultural innovation, but have neglected the significance of theological instincts flowing through the Californian dynamic. Californians Fred Sanders and Jason Sexton assemble leading voices and specialists both from within and without California for engagement with California’s influential culture: including leading theologians and cultural critics such as Richard J. Mouw, Paul Louis Metzger, and Fred Sanders, alongside leading specialists in Film studies and cultural critique, theological anthropology, missiology, sociology, and history. (Ashgate Publishing)

Friday, October 17, 7pm
Vroman’s Bookstore presents Walter Isaacson presenting and signing Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
Following his blockbuster biography of Steve Jobs, The Innovators is Walter Isaacson’s revealing story of the people who created the computer and the Internet. It is destined to be the standard history of the digital revolution and an indispensable guide to how innovation really happens.
What were the talents that allowed certain inventors and entrepreneurs to turn their visionary ideas into disruptive realities? What led to their creative leaps? Why did some succeed and others fail?
In his masterly saga, Isaacson begins with Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, who pioneered computer programming in the 1840s. He explores the fascinating personalities that created our current digital revolution, such as Vannevar Bush, Alan Turing, John von Neumann, J.C.R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Robert Noyce, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Tim Berners-Lee, and Larry Page.  This is the story of how their minds worked and what made them so inventive. It’s also a narrative of how their ability to collaborate and master the art of teamwork made them even more creative.  For an era that seeks to foster innovation, creativity, and teamwork, The Innovators shows how they happen. (Simon and Schuster)
This is a ticketed event.
Location: Pasadena Civic Center, 300 E. Green Street, Pasadena 91101
Tickets are $40.00 + tax and include one ticket and one copy of Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, And Geeks Created the Digital Revolution.

We are now accepting paid reservations. You may purchase your tickets online at or by calling the store at 626-449-5320.

Tickets and books will be available for pick-up from the store location beginning the date of the book’s release, Tuesday, October 7.

Reserved tickets and books may also be picked up at the Will Call tables at the venue the evening of the event.

Tickets and books may be available for purchase at the venue before the event begins, while supplies last.

Saturday, October 18, 2pm
Ellen Feldman discusses and signs The Unwitting

“On a bright November day in 1963, President Kennedy is shot. That same day, Nell Benjamin receives a phone call with news about her husband, the influential young editor of a literary magazine. As the nation mourns its public loss, Nell has her private grief to reckon with, as well as a revelation about Charlie that turns her understanding of her marriage on its head, along with the world she thought she knew. With the Cold War looming ominously over the lives of American citizens in a battle of the Free World against the Communist powers, the blurry lines between what is true, what is good, and what is right tangle with issues of loyalty and love. As the truths Nell discovers about her beloved husband upend the narrative of her life, she must question her own allegiance: to her career as a journalist, to her country, but most of all to the people she loves.” (Spiegel & Grau)


Sunday, October 19, 12:30pm
Robert Black presents and signs Night of the Paranormal Patterns
Things were bad enough when Lennie Miller had to leave her home and her friends and move with her parents to the little town of Bailey, Indiana. But Bailey has a secret – a Mystical Realm few people can see, full of ghosts, wizards and monsters. And worst of all, these creatures have decided that Lennie is their “Pattern Finder,” the person they all turn to for help with their math problems!


Wednesday, October 22, 7pm
Héctor Tobar discusses and signs Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free

“When the San José mine collapsed outside of Copiapó, Chile, in August 2010, it trapped thirty-three miners beneath thousands of feet of rock for a record-breaking sixty-nine days. Across the globe, we sat riveted to television and computer screens as journalists flocked to the Atacama desert. While we saw what transpired above ground during the grueling and protracted rescue, the story of the miners’ experiences below the earth’s surface—and the lives that led them there—hasn’t been heard until now. In Deep Down Dark, a master work by a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, Héctor Tobar gains exclusive access to the miners and their stories. The result is a miraculous and emotionally textured account of the thirty-three men who came to think of the San José mine as a kind of coffin, as a “cave” inflicting constant and thundering aural torment, and as a church where they sought redemption through prayer while the world watched from above. It offers an understanding of the families and personal histories that brought “los 33” to the mine, and the mystical and spiritual elements that surrounded working in such a dangerous place.” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Friday, October 24, 7pm
Hank Phillippi Ryan discusses and signs Truth Be Told

The Jane Ryland and Jake Brogan series is back with Truth Be Told. A middle class family is evicted from their home and while Ryland is investigating the story and others like it, she discovers a darker world where scheming criminals will do anything, including murder, to hide their actions. Meanwhile, Brogan is dealing with a liar; a man has confessed to a 20-year-old murder, but while the other police believe him, Brogan finds it suspicious.

Saturday, October 25, 1pm
B.J. Novak presents & signs The Book With No Pictures
Award-winning comedian and author, BJ Novak, will turn anyone into a comedian with his new book.  A book without pictures doesn’t sound very exciting, but when the reader has to read every word on every page out loud, you might think twice!  Especially when some of the words are “BLORK” or “Glibbity Globbity.”  Who needs pictures when you can have just as much fun reciting the pages of this book.  Cleverly silly, and laugh out loud hilarious, children will beg their parents to read it to them again and again!

Monday, October 27, 7pm
Fabio Viviani presents and signs Fabio’s American Home Kitchen: More Than 125 Recipes with an Italian Accent

In Fabio’s American Home Kitchen, chef, restaurateur, and TV personality Fabio Viviani shares recipes for beloved American dishes with an Italian flair. Fabio’s American Home Kitchen includes over 100 accessible recipes for any occasion with easy-to-find ingredients.

Tuesday, October 28, 7pm
Jane Smiley discusses and signs Some Luck

Follow the Langdon family of Denby, Iowa over the course of 30 transformative years in American history. Each chapter in Some Luck depicts a single year, beginning in 1920 with Walter Langdon’s return from WWI, through the early 1950’s when the United States faces great social and economic change. Following the Langdons, the reader begins to know them as a real family, feel for their ups and downs, and experience the changing American landscape with them. Some Luck is the first book in a trilogy that will span an entire century of American history.

Wednesday, October 29, 7pm
Kent Woodyard discusses and signs Non-Essential Mnemonics: An Unnecessary Journey Into Senseless Knowledge
“From the popular McSweeney’s column, a witty look at mnemonics for everything you never wanted to remember.” (Prospect Park Books)


Thursday, October 30, 7pm
Rob & Kristen Bell discuss and sign The Zimzum of Love: A New Way to Understand Marriage

“As he revolutionized traditional teaching on hell in the phenomenal New York Times bestseller Love Wins, Rob Bell now transforms how we understand and practice marriage in The Zimzum of Love, co-written with his wife, Kristen. Despite the divorce statistics, people are still committing to each other, instinctively believing and hoping that theirs is a sacred union that will last forever. Yet when these couples encounter problems, they often lack the resources that keep them connected to this greater mystery surrounding marriage. In The Zimzum of Love, Rob and Kristin Bell introduce a startling new way of looking at marriage. Zimzum is a Hebrew term where God, in order to have a relationship with the world, contracts, creating space for the creation to exist. In marriage, zimzum is the dynamic energy field between two partners, in which each person contracts to allow the other to flourish. With their down-to-earth charm, a dose of whimsy, and memorable stories, Rob and his wife Kristen change how we consider marriage, providing insight that can help all of us create satisfying and sacred unions of our own.” (HarperOne)



We’re so excited to announce that we won LA Parent’s Best of 2014 for Best Bookstore!!

There will be a full write-up featuring all the winners in LA Parent’s December issue so please make sure to keep an eye out of that!

Thanks everyone!


New Humans of the Bookstore on the Tumblr!

by Jessica on September 24, 2014


Happy Hump Day! We’re getting closer to the weekend!

We’ve added a short interview with author Bill Bradley to our Humans of the Bookstore project. Head over the Tumblr to check it out!


Banned Books Week!

by Jessica on September 23, 2014


Here’s a little refresher on what  Banned Books Week is all about.

Banned Books Week is the national book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events.

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association. There were 307 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2013, and many more go unreported.

The Banned Books website is the place to go for all things Banned Books of course but I’ve picked a few highlights to talk about below!


Graphic Novel Emphasis: In June, the Banned Books planning committee announced that there would be an emphasis on comics and graphic novels this year. During this years Banned Books Week they aim to shine light on this still misunderstood form of storytelling. They will celebrate the value of graphic novels to readers from all walks of life.

“This year we spotlight graphic novels because, despite their serious literary merit and popularity as a genre, they are often subject to censorship,” said Judith Platt, chair of the Banned Books Week National Committee.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) is a great resource. Check out their website here.


Virtual Read-Out: Since the beginning, Banned Books Week has staged these local read-outs. They are a continuous reading of banned/challenged books. In 2010, Banned Books Week started the Virtual Read-out so that readers from all around the world could participate in the Read-Out. Tons of people have created videos proclaiming the virtues of the freedom to read. There is a dedicated YouTube channel. You can also check a few out on the website here.

Celebrity Videos: On the Banned Books site there is a section with mini interviews with celebrities talking about Banned books and some talking about what banned books they’re reading. You can see the likes of Judy Blume, Whoopi Goldberg and Khaled Hosseini among many more.  Check them out here!

Every year at Vroman’s we celebrate Banned Books Week by putting up displays full of Banned Books and celebrating the freedom to read.

Here are a few photos of all our displays for you to peruse. Stop in the store and check out the displays in person and let us know how you are celebrating your freedom to read!

Giant Banned Books Display in our Children’s Section!

The Giving Tree challenged as Sexist?

Banned Books Downstairs!

Banned Comics!

For more information on Banned Books Week check out the official website here!