Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Recommended Reading List of South Pasadena Authors

I'll bet most people in South Pasadena have no idea that they are living side by side with some pretty amazing authors.  From children's books to political commentary, history to literary fiction, the scope of books penned by South Pasadena writers is vast and wonderful.

From time to time, I will highlight a few of these published works.  Support your local writer! (And when I finally finish my first novel, you can bet I'll be asking you to support me.)

Here are a few of my picks for a well-rounded Fall 2016 reading list:


For a smart, funny take on a classic Homerian epic, look no further than my pal (and fellow South Pas resident) Margaret Finnegan's book The Goddess Lounge.  I was lucky enough to read several early drafts of this novel, and I absolutely love the ridiculously witty heroine.

From the book description:

Penne Armour's bad day just keeps getting worse. First, she has to visit The Goddess Lounge, the notorious LA coffee house/knitting salon/menstrual palace decried by religious conservatives as a “man-hating elevator to hell.” Then, she learns that her “inner goddess” is Venus, the goddess of love, the one goddess—if she believed in goddesses—that divorced-mom Penne would want nothing to do with. But when her ex-husband goes missing and she sets out to find him, maybe Venus is just what Penne needs to face down a one-eyed fashionista, a boar-taming olive-oil rancher, a hypnotic lounge lizard, an ocean of traffic, and her own increasingly irrepressible feelings for a businessman with a dangerous secret. A comic yet thoughtful riff on Homer’s Odyssey, The Goddess Lounge asks the eternal question: Why be a hero when you can be a goddess?

You should also check out my favorite short story by Margaret here.


South Pasadena High School graduate and Edgar Award-winning author Naomi Hirihara's highly acclaimed Mas Arai series is a must-read for mystery lovers.  Mas Arai is unlike any other sleuth in fiction -- complicated, cranky and irresistible.

From Booklist:

What makes this series unique is its flawed and honorable protagonist. . . . A fascinating insight into a complex and admirable man.”

Sayanara Slam is the most recent book.  (It came out in April of this year.)  Here's a synopsis from the book description:

At Dodger Stadium it’s Japan vs. Korea in the World Baseball Classic, but before the first pitch is thrown, Mas Arai finds himself in the middle of a murder. Mysteries layer atop mysteries in this sixth in the award-winning series featuring the most unlikely of sleuths, an aging, widowed, not-exactly-communicative gardener from Altadena, California.

Who is that unusual woman throwing knuckleball pitches to warm up the Japanese team? Who sent thugs to threaten Mas and accuse him of treason? And what were in the deleted files on the murdered sportswriter’s computer—and did they hold secrets that led to his death?

The more mysteries Mas uncovers, the deeper he gets drawn into a situation that soon grows dangerous—including the danger of losing the affection of the woman he might someday admit he loves.

You can find all of the Mas Arai books here.


If you like Brian Greene or Michio Kaku, you'll love theoretical physicist (and screenwriter!) Leonard Mlodinow.  As Steven Hawking said: "Mlodinow never fails to make science accessible and entertaining."

The Drunkard's Walk introduced me to his trippy, mind-expanding world.

From the book description:

With the born storyteller's command of narrative and imaginative approach, Leonard Mlodinow vividly demonstrates how our lives are profoundly informed by chance and randomness and how everything from wine ratings and corporate success to school grades and political polls are less reliable than we believe.

By showing us the true nature of chance and revealing the psychological illusions that cause us to misjudge the world around us, Mlodinow gives us the tools we need to make more informed decisions. From the classroom to the courtroom and from financial markets to supermarkets, Mlodinow's intriguing and illuminating look at how randomness, chance, and probability affect our daily lives will intrigue, awe, and inspire.

Check out all of Leonard Mlodinow's books here.

That ought to fill your reading hours for the next few months.  I'll have more recommendations in the new year.  Happy reading!
Want to leave a comment ... or recommend a South Pasadena author?  Head over to the Glimpses of South Pasadena Community Forum to start a conversation!