Bookmark This! #4

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  If you happen to still feel full from the delicious food you ate over the holiday or the leftovers that you’re attempting to finish, how about whetting your literary appetites with these new recommendations?

This edition’s contributions take us to a fateful day in 1953 at a carnival in Ohio; into an investigation of murder in Los Angeles; through children’s development of human relationships; into stories of crime, exile, and sexual depravity; and, through personal essays on becoming a writer. Read on and enjoy!

Our first recommendation comes from Nick Flynn, the author of three memoirs, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, The Ticking is the Bomb, and most recently, The Reenactments.  His film credits include work as field poet and artistic collaborator on Darwin’s Nightmare, which was nominated for an Academy Award, and executive producer/collaborator on Being Flynn.  He will visit ALOUD at Central Library on Thursday, January 24 to discuss the process of adapting his memoir into a film.

Nick recommends The End by Salvatore Scibona.

“At the moment I’m reading Salvatore Scibona’s The End, and I’m completely crazy about it. It charts the inner life of its hero with nuance and precision and wildness, while at the same time it travels through an American landscape which is rendered as if seen through the eyes of one who has just woken from a long strange dream. Just as the hero has been baking bread his whole life, just as he is utterly committed to this beautiful project, one feels Scibona is equally committed to his use of language. It is an utter joy to be immersed in it, page by page.”

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Brenda J. Breaux has worked as Public Relations Specialist II for the Los Angeles Public Library for nearly 14 years. Before coming to the Library, she worked as a journalist for 12 years writing for newspapers in Texas and Ohio.

Brenda recommends Los Angeles Requiem by Robert Crais.

“I was seduced into the world of mystery noir and hard-boiled detectives at a young age by the greats – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Ross Macdonald. I’ve read everything they’ve written.  Now, I measure all current hard-edged gumshoe mysteries by these standards.  Looking for a new mystery author at the Library, I was pleasantly surprised when I found and read L.A. Requiem, featuring detective Elvis Cole and his partner Joe Pike. It is a special treat that all the stories are set in Los Angeles with references to the city’s shady history, gritty nuances and unpredictability. It is a city I’ve come to love almost as much as the author.”

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Imani Harris is, among other things, also known as the Assistant Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles.  He joined the Library Foundation just over one year ago and is excited to be part of a team that expands the reach and resources of the Los Angeles Public Library so that it can better serve all who want to grow.  Imani also enjoys music, his family, ideas, and good food (with good company).

Imani Harris is reading The Art of Personality by Hazrat Inayat Khan.

“The owner of my son’s daycare loaned me this book, which is another affirmation that we made a good choice sending him there!  I know little of Sufi philosophy and was not familiar with the author.  However, to me, this book is thoughtful, practical, wonderfully unpretentious, and it resonates.  The author shares wisdom on the education of the child starting from birth onwards and there’s another section called the Rasa Shastra, the science of life’s creative forces.  Highly recommended for those who believe in something other than themselves.  Everything you’re looking for has always been right there – right!”

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Maureen Moore is the Associate Director of ALOUD and an avid cultural enthusiast. If her job permitted, she’d spend her time traveling the world collecting stories, snapping photos, sipping coffee, and contributing the occasional post to her ‘cultural musings’ blog.   Maureen loves experimenting with vegan cuisine and looking for ways to practice her foreign languages.

Maureen recommends The Return by Roberto Bolaño (translated by Chris Andrews).

“Opting for a book of short stories by the late Chilean writer as my first introduction to his work, The Return, with its dark and bizarre narratives, bodes well with the change of seasons as we step both into shorter days and into ourselves with the onset of winter.  Disturbing and erratic character behavior, eerie environments, and unsettled endings mark these stories, and yet while the language is uncomplicated and accessible, the stories haunt the reader while revealing the brilliantly complicated and twisted mind of the author.  Not a choice for an every day read, but certainly an intriguing dive into Bolaño’s noir.  He chose well when writing these perverse characters and ghostly tales into the short form, for anything more might have been simply too disturbing to entertain.  Next up: 2666 and The Savage Detectives.

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Ruth Simon is a long-time stalwart member of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles and the Bibliophiles, a donor society that recognizes the generosity of individuals who, during their lifetimes, include the Library Foundation in their estate plans.  An avid reader and book collector, she reserves a very special place in her heart for libraries.

Ruth recommends The Disappointment Artist by Jonathan Lethem.

“Jonathan Lethem, a master of the essay, last year published a large compilation of “nonfiction, etc.,” The Ecstasy of Influence.  I hope you have had a chance to hear him speak at ALOUD.  I stumbled on this far smaller collection in a used bookstore and was enchanted.  Quite a bit younger than I am and thus with many different influences, Jonathan Lethem’s essays are so lively and intelligent that I will read almost every one of them—he sometimes loses me when writing about rock—with delighted interest.  These essays, often reflecting his particular passions and interests, illuminate the underpinnings of his fiction.  Not to review more than one book in this little recommendation, I’ll just say that, if you haven’t read Motherless Brooklyn, my favorite Lethem fiction, you should.”

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More than 6 million books are available through the Central Library, 72 branches and www.lapl.org and include print, audio and digital formats.  Browse through the catalog and bookmark your own must-reads!

Happy reading, and stay tuned for next month’s issue of Bookmark This!

-     Posted by Erin Sapinoso

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