Thursday, September 28, 2017

Great Reads by South Pasadena Authors

Intense reader.  Happy Dog.
It's time for another round of Let's Read Books by South Pasadena Authors!  From children's books to political commentary, history to literary fiction (and even cookbooks!) the list of books written by South Pas writers is long and varied.  Here are my reader picks for Fall 2017:


I've already raved about South Pasadena High school graduate and Edgar Award-winning author Naomi Hirihara's highly acclaimed Mas Arai series. If you are unfamiliar, then dive into Summer of the Big Bachithe novel that started it all.

From the trade paperback edition:

In the foothills of Pasadena, Mas Arai is just another Japanese-American gardener, his lawnmower blades clean and sharp, his truck carefully tuned.  But while Mas keeps lawns neatly trimmed, his own life has gone to seed.  His wife is dead.  And his livelihood is falling into the hands of the men he once hired by the day.  For Mas, a life of sin is catching up to him.  And now bachi -- the spirit of retribution -- is knocking at his door


Jim Krusoe, a creative writing instructor at Santa Monica College, is the founder of the Santa Monica Review, a literary arts journal sponsored by the college.  He is the author of numerous books of poetry, short stories and literary fiction.  He is also the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Fund.  

His latest novel The Sleep Garden is a trippy, surreal vision that, as the Chicago Tribune pointed out, "leaves no stone of popular culture untouched."  Here's what Kirkus said about it in a starred review:

From one of our greatest deadpan absurdists -- a new member of the club to which George Saunders, Robert Coover and Stanley Elkin belong -- comes a book of unearthly delights that will have you, too, wondering nervously what that incessant grinding sound is.

Just read it.

Local History

If you want to submerge yourself in photos and anecdotes from the last century in South Pasadena and surrounding areas, you can't beat Rick Thomas.  He's a South Pasadena historian, and the author of many books on the region.  I love them all, but my favorite is South Pasadena's Raymond Hotel

I've covered the Raymond at length, and I never tire of imagining what it must have been like to stay there.  

Happy reading, South Pas peeps!

Want to leave a comment -- or recommend a local author?  Head over to the Glimpses of South Pasadena Community Forum to start a conversation!  (You can always access it from the Community tab at the top of the blog!)