Make Plans to Stay Home and Read a Book!

The Stay Home and Read a Book Ball is this Sunday, March 1! Angelenos all over the city will escape into the pages of a good book to support the Los Angeles Public Library. Either poolside or fireside, day or night, with loved ones or in solitary bliss, everyone is invited to join the festivities. To help you get inspired for a lovely respite of reading at home, see what other participants–and their pets–have queued up.

Catherine Gordon’s parrot Coconut, plans to read Flaubert’s Parrot.

Margaret L. Bach plans to read Anthony Doerr’s All the Light You Cannot See.

Eric Roberts plans to read Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn.

Marjorie L. Jennings plans to read Sonia Sotomayor’s My Beloved World.

John E. Peer plans to read Ben Lerner’s 10:04.

Coralie R. Goldsmith plans to read Marilynne Robinson’s Lila.

Anthony Cobbs plans to read Karen Russell’s Vampires in the Lemon Grove.

Valerie Tracy Zografos plans to read Blair Worden’s The English Civil Wars.

If you haven’t already made a reservation for the ball, learn more about how you can stay home, read a book, and give back to the educational and cultural programs of the Los Angeles Public Library.

What are you planning to read? Let us know how you’re celebrating:
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Have a Ball with Junot Díaz, Carlos Santana, Patton Oswalt, and More

“Our libraries, in their promotion and practice of literacy, in their providing free access of information to all, in their diverse educational and artistic programs, in their astounding egalitarianism, represent what is best about our society.  And what is best about us,” writes Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz, and this year’s Stay Home and Read a Book Ball Chair.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to support the incredible work of the Los Angeles Public Library,” Díaz says of the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball, which invites participants to come together on March 1 by staying at home and reading a book. “Saving lives and saving the future by the simple act of reading—I ask you: what could be more heavenly than that?”  We agree—nothing could be better! Please join us for this special event, now in its 27th year, that benefits the cultural and educational programs of the Los Angeles Public Library. Read below why others are staying home and supporting the Library, and why you should join in too!

“I invite you, wholeheartedly, to read books that remind you of your highest self and emancipate you from mental slavery or false beliefs and illusions.  The more you invest in attracting books that resonate with the frequency of your true self, the more light you will bring to the world.” –Carlos Santana

“Tonight I’m going to have a conversation that is interesting and fun and unstoppable.  I might get emotional.  I might cry.  I might break up laughing.  But I know I won’t be bored. That’s how it is whenever I open a book.” –Ceci Bastida

“You’re grounded!!!!  You can’t go out and prowl the L.A. streets.  You’ve got to do something more edifying, emboldening and altogether more groovy.  You gots to stay home tonite and read a good book!!!!!!!!!!” –James Ellroy

“L.A.’s public libraries served as refuge from the violence and suicide-inducing emptiness of my barrio existence.  Whether as a stammering Spanish-only child trying with great effort to absorb the English words in books like Charlotte’s Web.  Or as a teenaged gang member, turning tattered pages in juvenile hall or homeless inside an abandoned car. Books called me to life, to destiny, to imagination. To stay home and read a book—a luxury, a miracle, true magic.” –Luis J. Rodriguez

“Whether it’s Benito Cereno or Billy Budd or Jane Eyre or Tess, a Confidence Man, a Secret Agent, or even Two Serious Ladies instead of one – I’m guaranteed the rare satisfaction of life, in all its hues, when I skip the forgettable, the social world, and select my evening date from the pages of a book.” –Rachel Kushner

“All I’ve ever wanted was to stay inside and read a book.  Thanks to the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, that dream will come true.” –Patton Oswalt

Make your dream come true too! Learn more about attending the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball on March 1st and supporting the Los Angeles Public Library.






12 Months of the Los Angeles Public Library

Every year thousands of Angelenos take part in the many educational and cultural programs, resources, and services at the Los Angeles Public Library. Before we look ahead to what will be an exciting new year at the Library, here’s a look back at some of the diverse activities supported by the Library Foundation in 2014. Thanks to all of our Members for joining us throughout the year and for making these invaluable experiences free and available to all.

ALOUD kicked-off a new year of eclectic programming unique to L.A. and the Library. In January, ALOUD paid tribute to Los Angeles’ unofficial poet laureate, Wanda Coleman, to honor what she did for poetry and who she was in Los Angeles: ­a larger-than-life figure who for decades reminded us how to be our own most authentic selves.

The Library Foundation’s coziest fundraiser of the year, The Stay Home and Read a Book Ball, took place, inviting Angelenos to support the Los Angeles Public Library without leaving their homes. Last year, folks stayed home in record numbers–raising the most funds ever in the long history of this favorite event! Save the date for the 2015 ball on March 1st.

Young Literati Members gathered with L.A.’s best and brightest for the Sixth Annual Young Literati Toast to raise funds for the Los Angeles Public Library’s “Summer Reading Clubs.”  The evening featured Young Literati Chair Amanda Fairey, emcee Busy Philipps, and music by Moby and Jenny Lewis, along with readings and comedic interludes from Nick Kroll, Lizzy Caplan, and Tig Notaro.

After flocks of authors and booklovers strolled the lawns of USC for the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books last April, participating authors and Library Foundation Members continued celebrating the literary life of this city late into the night at the Third Annual “Book Drop Bash” with more than 400 people gathering at the downtown Central Library.

A new exhibit marking the 75th anniversary of Union Station opened at the Central Library. No Further West: The Story of Los Angeles Union Station was the first exhibition to examine the significance of the architectural design and cultural politics of the historic station, and included a series of related events like ALOUD panels and a changing display of model trains by various train clubs throughout Southern California.

The “Summer Reading Club” kicked off to foster literacy and learning while students were out of school last summer. Los Angeles Public Library’s longest running program motivated over 30,000 kids to crack the books and engage in innovative ways with storytelling.

The Library Foundation welcomed Ellen Lipson in her new role as President of The Council. Throughout the year, The Council hosted many special programs and fundraising events to benefit and raise awareness for the Los Angeles Public Library like a special evening and book signing with Norman Lear.

The Young Literati gathered in Santa Monica for a proper send-off to the season of long sunsets and frosty cocktails. The Summer Social offered Members the chance to raise their glasses to this past year of incredible support for the Los Angeles Public Library, and also get a sneak peek of what’s on the horizon for this dedicated group of engaged and informed Angelenos.

Supporters of the Library Foundation gathered at the historic California Club to celebrate the Foundation’s 22nd anniversary with a gala to benefit the great Los Angeles Public Library. This year’s benefit honored Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Junot Díaz with the Los Angeles Public Library Literary Award and bestselling author Judith Krantz with the Foundation’s Light of Learning Award for her devoted advocacy for the Los Angeles Public Library.

Throughout the month, Angelenos joined the Library Foundation and the Los Angeles Public Library for an epic quest to reinterpret Homer’s The Odyssey through a Southern California lens. With over 70 Odyssey-themed activities at the branch libraries for children, teens, and adults, including bike riding with the Cyclops and pop-up appearances by a commemorative Homer Simpson poster, the Odyssey Project culminated with a marathon reading of the epic poem at the Central Library.

ALOUD’s award-winning series journeyed to the west side as critically acclaimed Irish novelist Colm Tóibín was interviewed by New York Times bestselling L.A. local Rachel Kushner. The pair took the stage at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills for a conversation about Tóibín’s new novel, Nora Webster, while also discussing their shared passion for some of literature’s most memorable characters.

The Library Store got their motors running for the holiday season and sent The Library Store On Wheels to sites across the city to offer unique gifts from our carefully curated collection that gives back to the Los Angeles Public Library.

Happy New Year from the Library Foundation!

Look back at other great photos from the year here.

If you are not a Member already, please consider becoming a Library Foundation Member today to take part in these special events.

Who’s Reading What for the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball

Still figuring out your plans for Friday night?  How about staying home and reading a book?  So many of us are doing it.  Perhaps you’d like to join in the fun, too.  (You can check out these titles in the Library’s catalog.)

Who’s Reading                  What (or Who)

Karen Aguilar                       The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Mary Ambrose                      The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Catherine Arnold                  Julia’s Cats by Patricia Barey and Therese Burson
Sherry Bardack                    The Gardens of Evening Mist by Ronald H. Balson
Arnold Becker                      The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Marjorie Blatt                        The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Bonnie Brae                         The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt
Douglas Buck                       Out by Natsuo Kirino?
Jack Carlyle                          Lots of books all the time!
Charles Duffy                       The Guts by Roddy Doyle
David Fein                            Toriko V. 20 by M. Shimabukuro & 1Q84 by H. Murakami
Rachel Finegood                  The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Caroline Gill                          Young Adult books for school
Eric Goldman                        Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly
Donn Gorsline                      The Roberts Court by Marcia Coyle
Verlohn Guy                         A Week In Winter by Maeve Binchy
Lawrence Halperin               Flame Throwers by Rachel Kushner
Annette Hartunian                Montserrat Fontes
Barbara Heitz                       The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan
Marc Hertz                            You Before Me by Jojo Moyes
Margaret Hudson                 The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Florence Irving                     Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Victoria Jenkins                    Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
Deanne Kass                       The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Paula Kleihauer                    Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
Claudia Kreis                        The Rebellious Life of Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis
Rachel Lamothe                   Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
Anne Laskey                        Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
Eileen Lau                            Book of Ages by Jill Lepore
Weldena L. Lightner             Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Kathryn Madara                   Wolf Empire by Scott Ian Barry
Silvia Mariscal                      I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
Phoebe Marrall                    Winnicott: His Life and Work by F. Robert Rodman
Richard Martin                     Aviators by Winston Groom
Sandra Martin                      El Tercer Reich by Roberto Bolaño
Shelley Meena                     Proust
Niki Merrigan                        The Iliad by Homer
Elone Miller                          Someone by Alice McDermott
Susan Oka                           As You Like It by William Shakespeare
Madere Olivar                      On a Following Sea by Chang Rae Lee
Patricia Olson                      Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafiisi
Patton Oswalt                       Slayground by Richard Stark
Ilbert Phillips                         The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
Jane Rieger                          Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Marna Schnabel                   Duty by Robert Gates
Julia Silverman                     Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
Barbara Simon                     Dissident Gardens by Jonathan Lethem
Caroline Stevens                  Duplex by Kathryn Davis
Madeline Stuart                    Appointment in Samara by John O’Hara
Janis Terada                         A good mystery
Irving Tessler                        The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Vida Vida                              Man in the Universe by Aristotle
Mary Webster                       Rabble in Arms by Kenneth Roberts
Sallie Williams-Neubauer      Kent Haruf
Valerie Tracy Zografos          Lawrence in Arabia by Scott Anderson

Let us know how you’re celebrating the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball this Friday.  You can leave a comment on this blog, tweet (#LFLAStayHome) or post a message to us on Facebook.  Photos are welcome!

Guests of the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball

Preliminary results are in!

Dorothy Parker is going to be a busy lady on Friday, February 28, 2014.  So far, the majority of Stay Home and Read a Book Ball celebrants have selected this witty wisecracker as their desired guest for this most highly anticipated “non-event”.  Runner ups are Edgar Allan Poe, Langston Hughes, Homer, and Phillis Wheatley.

We have also received a number of write-in Ball guests including: Jason Aaron, MK Asante, Jane Austen, Maeve Binchy, Jesus Christ, Charles De Lint, Roddy Doyle, Jane Gardam, Natsuo Kirino, Doris Lessing, Penelope Lively, China Mieville, Margaret Mitchell, Haruki Murakami, Kenneth Roberts, Grace Schulman, Donna Tartt, and Mark Twain.

Even Anjelica Huston let us know she’s got a sizzling escort for the Ball: “I am very excited because I have a hot date tonight with an extremely handsome companion.  We are going to share a bubble bath.  Although we have known about each other for a while, this will be a chance to get to know him better; after all, you can’t tell a book by his cover…”

Let us know who you’re staying home with!  #LFLAStayHome

A Message from the Chair of the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball

Dear Reader:

I’m excited to officially invite you to celebrate the 2014 Stay Home and Read a Book Ball with me. Here’s an opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint and simultaneously keep alive the mission of the Los Angeles Public Library to “Provide free access to ideas and information.” By deciding not to get dressed up, not to drive across town, and not to valet park at some glittery ballroom, you’re playing a vital role in making available free cultural and educational programs for Angelenos throughout the city. Presto-digito!

Just think, when you contribute to the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball, you encourage public discourse through programs like ALOUD, which presents more than 70 free author talks and conversations every year with internationally acclaimed novelists like Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood; human rights legends like Judge Albie Sachs and Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee; master short story writers like George Saunders and Lorrie Moore; and, great chefs like L.A.’s own Roy Choi.

For my own evening as Official Stay-At-Home Philanthropist, I’ve plotted a few scenarios. Take one: Brocade dressing gown. Apricot silk mules.  Seated at dressing table. Dostoevsky.  Or maybe Patricia Highsmith. Cigarette holder. Bushmills with one rock. Take two (more likely):  Old sweatpants. Curled up on couch under red wool blanket. Fat grey cat staring into my eyes. Rereading Charlotte’s Web. Mug of hot masala chai.

Remember, you are the key to making possible cultural and educational programs like ALOUD for the people of Los Angeles. So, just before you take the first sip or turn the first page, whip out your checkbook (or credit card) and please… give generously.  Then, turn out the porch lights. Put your feet up. You’re not expecting anyone – just a rendezvous with those clever, persnickety, angst-ridden characters in your favorite book.  Have a ball!


Louise Steinman, Chair

This Year’s Highlights of Membership

Members of the Library Foundation are a dedicated group of people who share a deep commitment to helping the Library provide all Angelenos with access to ideas, information, and lifelong learning. We are so grateful for their support, and in return, have spent 2013 hosting a range of events to celebrate their love for the Los Angeles Public Library. Before we look ahead to 2014 and invite Members to join us for a new slate of special events, here’s a look back at some highlights from this truly remarkable year. If you are not a Member already, please consider becoming a Library Foundation Member today to take part in these special events.

2013 marked the debut of “The Writer’s Cut.” This new program brings today’s most well known television writers and showrunners to the Central Library to discuss storytelling for the small screen. Members heard behind-the-scenes tales from Dan O’Shannon (“Modern Family”), Glen Mazzara (“The Walking Dead”), and, pictured above, Vince Gilligan (“Breaking Bad”).

After the coziest of all fundraisers, the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball, took place last year, writer Mark Salzman, chair of the event, invited Members to participate in a private writing workshop.

Members were also invited to many other exclusive events with celebrated authors including these Leadership Circle receptions and private events:
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Sharon Rising, Marlene Billington and Patt Morrison gather for a reception with Gavin Newsom, Lieutenant Governor of California.

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As part of What Ever Happened to Moby Dick?, D. Graham Burnett with Douglas Murray, Bernadette Glenn, and Ken Brecher.

Songs in the Key of LA performance with Van Dyke Parks and special guests.

Membership also comes with some special savings benefits. This year, Members received early access to the Summer Sale at the award-winning Library Store and discounts at other Los Angeles organizations as part of May and November’s Member Appreciation Days.

As always, Members received priority notice of the ALOUD lineups throughout the year, and this past September Members also received priority notice to the launch of “Lost & Found at the Movies,” a new series celebrating the art of cinema and the vitality of film culture. Curated by John Nein, senior programmer for the Sundance Film Festival, the program kicked off with Los Angeles Times and NPR Film Critic Kenneth Turan talking about how and where we watch films in L.A. (pictured above.)
The Young Literati’s annual Annenberg Beach House party was the perfect kick off to “Whatever Happened to Moby Dick?”. Members were treated to readings by Moby, Mark Z. Danielewski, Colin Hanks, and Attica Locke; a DJ set by Shepard Fairey; and a special acoustic performance by thenewno2.

Young Literati also enjoyed cocktails with Roy Choi after a particularly mouthwatering edition of ALOUD. During the evening, Roy Choi discussed his fascinating journey, which has culminated in his critically-acclaimed Kogi BBQ Trucks and several much-loved restaurants. He then joined Young Literati Members in the courtyard for a private reception featuring tacos and beer!
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And the Young Literati’s Private Party at Subliminal Projects was an evening of literary inspiration at Amanda and Shepard Fairey’s Echo Park gallery space. Kai and Sunny’s literature-inspired artwork provided a beautiful backdrop for Young Literati to mingle and enjoy special cocktails from The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

Thank you to all of our Members for spending the year with us! If you are looking for some last minute holiday gifts, Membership is the gift that keeps on giving. For a limited time this December and January, a generous Member of our Board of Directors will match your gift dollar for dollar when you join the Library Foundation.

For more information about Membership contact Erin Sapinoso at Or for more information about the Young Literati, contact Jennnifer Kondo at


There’s More than One Night to Stay Home and Read a Book

For 25 years strong, Angelenos have teamed up with the Library Foundation of Los Angeles to celebrate the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball and support the Los Angeles Public Library.  Thanks to 260 Library lovers, this year’s Ball brought in $54,000 – a 23% increase from last year’s proceeds!

Participants of the Ball experience the inherent pleasure of championing what the Library represents: free access to ideas and information, lifelong learning, and democracy at its finest – but in the comfort of their own homes with permission to retire early, put on jammies and curl up with a good book. Sounds like heaven, right?

Here’s just a few examples of how people observed this novel “non-event.”

Patton Oswalt had H. P. Lovecraft at his table and read Tenth of December by George Saunders.

Peg Yorkin celebrated with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and read My Beloved World by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Mary Bergman-Rallis read Lamb by Christopher Moore.

Natalie Seaman read anything she could get her hands on.

Jane Lopatt read The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult.

Charity Tran enjoyed Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

Rachel Small read Citizenville by Gavin Newsom and Life of Pi by Yann Martel.

Andrew Bogen read The Observant Owl by Kālīprasanna Siṃha.

Miles Corwin read Defender of the Realm by William Manchester and Paul Reid.

Sharon Rising read Jack Kennedy by Chris Matthews.

Library Foundation staff participated in the Second Annual Dr. Seuss Read-a-thon in the Children’s Literature Department.

Although the Ball took place on March 1, no one turned into a pumpkin after the clock struck midnight. The spirit of the occasion is ongoing as Los Angeles Times journalist and award-winning author Hector Tobar writes, “Yes, every day is a ball, a journey or a miracle when you have a library card.” Every day is a good day to give back to the Library, and there’s no expiration on taking part in the Ball.

So, if you have plans to stay home with a book in hand and the Los Angeles Public Library in heart, make a reservation for the Ball any time by donating at Share your festivities on Facebook and Twitter @LibraryFoundLA #LFLAStayHome.

Thank you to all who have stayed home over the years to support the Library!

Everyone’s Staying Home to Support the Los Angeles Public Library!

The Stay Home and Read a Book Ball on Friday, March 1, 2013 is fast approaching, and in anticipation, Library lovers are eagerly sharing their support for knowledge, reading, and books.

Howard A. Rodman, Professor at the University of Southern California and Vice President of the Writers Guild of America West, writes:

“I grew up in an atheist household in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. My parents told me there was no religion. But they lied. When I’d visit my doctor, he’d ask not, what’s wrong, or even, how’s school. He’d say, ‘What have you read?’ When I’d ask my grandmother a question she’d say, ‘You have a question? Look it up in a book.’ Then she would whisper, ‘A library is a place with a lot of books.’

Where others would have a hearth or a breviary niche, we had The Wonder Book of Knowledge. All the world’s knowledge, and all the world’s wonder, in twelve volumes: A to BAL, BAL to BYZ, CAB to CLI, CLI to DEN, DEN to FIF, FIF to GRE, GRE to JES, JES to MIN, MIN to PEA, PEA to SAN, SAN to TID, and TIE to ZWY. When my parents would fight I’d hide under the piano, inhaling the faraway fragrant scent of the waxed wood sounding board, the raised lid become a giant sail, and I would stare at the Wonder Book of Knowledge, a cyclopedia of destinations – of places I would rather be. A-BAL, BAL-BYZ, sailing to Byzantium, CAB to CLI, CLI to DEN, ‘round the North Sea to Denmark, DEN-FIF, FIF to GRE, down the Aegean to Greece, GRE-JES, JES-MIN, aboard the U.S. Minnesota, MIN to PEA, PEA to SAN, San Francisco! Shore leave in North Beach!, SAN to TID, and TIE to ZWY. The island of Zwyzwyzwantia, where iridescent spider monkeys climb from volcanoes, where telekinetic pandas control the weather, and where perfumed pheasants roost all day in sun-dappled trees, singing to each other, and to us. And that – curled up under the piano, hiding from my parents, gazing out at a cut-rate encyclopedia, in the heart of godless Brooklyn – was how I became a writer. And I would venture that most every writer I know became a writer in similar fashion: staring at books, reading our way through the Universe. The Universe, as Borges says: which others call The Library.

And so as a writer and, most proudly, as a reader: it’s truly gratifying to bring attention to the libraries’ essential role in the creative life of our community.

(With a h/t to Tom McGuane for the idea of a piano lid as ship’s sail, to John August for the weather-controlling pandas, to Thomas Pynchon for the iridescent spider monkeys…)”


New York Times bestselling author Anne Lamott‘s plans for March 1, 2013:

“I have gotten both dogs whipped up in anticipation of the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball. Heaven: we’ll share the couch, and some cheese, but we’ll each have our own book, as neither of them reads English very well.”


Los Angeles-based author and journalist Hector Tobar‘s call for action:

“Down at the bottom of Bunker Hill, there’s a big building with a pyramid on top. It’s filled with thousands of magical devices, each the shape of a box. I go there, pick one up and take it home. I open it. Suddenly there are ancient Romans in my living room, a Spanish knight in my kitchen, a boy and a runaway slave on a raft floating down the hallway. Yes, every day is a ball, a journey or a miracle when you have a library card. Let’s celebrate the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball together.”


Author Terry Tempest Williams shares her thoughts on the Ball:

“I open the door, walk outside and turn another page.”


Los Angeles’ first Poet Laureate Eloise Klein Healy describes her clothing for the occasion:

“My usual reading attire at home is a comfortable outfit of plaid flannel shirt and pajama bottoms of a different plaid.  Since the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball is a formal affair, I plan to up the ante and read my book while clad in at least three plaids.”


There’s still time to RSVP!  Also, make sure to let us know how you’re celebrating by emailing Erin Sapinoso at, tweeting us at @LibraryFoundLA with the hashtag #LFLAStayHome, and leaving comments on our Facebook page.

Bookmark This! #7

Friday, March 1, 2013 marks the 25th Edition of the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball!  Support the Los Angeles Public Library by picking up a book wherever you might be and whenever you feel like doing so.  Make reservations to the most popular “non-event” of the year by donating at and share how you’re celebrating on Twitter (@LibraryFoundLA #LFLAStayHome) and Facebook (Library Foundation of Los Angeles).

If you’re still figuring out what to read in honor of this special occasion, this month’s issue of Bookmark This! gives suggestions of books that range in topics from arts and walks in Los Angeles to a New England family’s story; and a woman’s experience living through Argentina’s Dirty War to a chronicle of a post-apocalyptic future.


John Szabo is the City Librarian of the Los Angeles Public Library.  He moved from Atlanta to Los Angeles last summer, has jumped out of an airplane and has twice competed in the national adult spelling bee.

John recommends Rebels in Paradise: The Los Angeles Art Scene and the 1960s by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp.

“As a newcomer to this amazing city (and someone who can’t get enough of all things L.A.), this book and the stories it tells of the Los Angeles arts landscape of the 60s just seems to perfectly exemplify this City as a place of opportunity and where great ideas find fertile soil and are made even better.  I loved reading about the Ferus Gallery, the important role L.A. played in the conceptual and pop art movements, and the vibrant and experimental nature of visual arts in the city.  Reading this book made me love L.A. even more!”


Ken Brecher is President of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, celebrating his three year anniversary this February.  He studied anthropology at Oxford University, has lectured and published widely, and has the more extensive and interesting collection of socks of anyone at the Central Library.

Ken recommends See Now Then by Jamaica Kincaid.

“I was enthralled by the new novel by Jamaica Kincaid, See Now Then and knew from the first page that I was in the presence of not only a daring but truly original writer. When I finished this short but unforgettable novel, I was aware of something else. The reading of this story of a family’s deeply personal history and eventual dissolution put me in mind of the tribal myths that I had studied and written about as a cultural anthropologist.

A collection of myths from the tribes of the central Amazon forest in Brazil which I edited (Xingu: The Indians, Their Myths, Farrar Straus), is an expression of the profound understanding that indigenous storytellers have of the human condition. Kincaid’s latest novel, her first in ten years (she is best known for her much-praised early novels Annie John and A Small Place) calls out to be read aloud. She uses repetition to build a rhythm of revelations, subtle but very powerful. The book describes the end of a marriage and the inner thoughts of a wife and two children trying to make sense of parents whose unhappiness obstructs and destroys the world as they knew and understood it.

Kincaid participated in the Library Foundation’s ALOUD authors series in 2011. At that time she generously read a section from the manuscript of See Now Then but commented that she was not interested in having the audience’s reaction. We can now understand that it is profoundly personal and revelatory. As readers, we are the beneficiaries of her courage and great talent.”


Jacqueline Welsh is a Resident of the Innovation Leadership Program.  She is a recent graduate of the University of Arizona’s School of Information Resources & Library Science, loves road trips and can make newspaper hats in seconds flat.

Jacquie recommends Perla by Carolina De Robertis.

“Generally, novels with ‘coming of age’ as a descriptor or in the subject heading leave me a bit wary that I may be embarking upon pages of ‘angsty’ narrative. But, in De Robertis’ Perla, it is quite the opposite. Perla, the daughter of an Argentinian naval officer, often struggled with her family’s role in the country’s recent and bloody past. However, the appearance of a stranger forces her to examine her life’s origin and events through a much more haunting context, and presents an outcome that could fundamentally change who she is or may become. De Robertis tells the story of Perla’s life and that of her guest with prose that is both haunting and beautiful. And, perhaps more importantly, the book brings a voice to the mainstream for the ‘desaparecidos’, and those who remained, in more recent Latin American narratives and history.”


Mary Abler is also a Resident of the Innovation Leadership Program.  Besides libraries, she is interested in baking, cooking with fresh, local ingredients, crafting and exploring Los Angeles, on foot and by bike.

Mary recommends Stairway Walks in Los Angeles by Adah Bakalinsky.

“Being a recent transplant to Los Angeles from San Francisco, I was apprehensive about moving to a city with such a ‘car-centric’ reputation. Fortunately, my aunt and uncle, longtime residents of Silver Lake, let me borrow their copy of Stairway Walks in Los Angeles, a book that proves that at least some people walk in L.A. I have tried both of the Silver Lake walks and I found the guides in the book to be easy to follow and full of interesting historic tidbits. Rather than simply mapping out the walks for us, Bakalinsky and Gordon draw our attention to interesting sights along the way and how these stairways fit in with the fabric of life in Los Angeles, both now and back when they were first built. This book will help new residents to explore the hidden aspects of L.A. and longtime Angelenos to rediscover the neighborhoods they call home.”


John Martin is an intern with the Library Foundation.  Originally from Encinitas, he is currently a sophomore at the University of Southern California studying Theatre and Philosophy, Politics, and Law.  He drinks a lot of coffee and likes to write plays.

John recommends A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.

“I’ve read A Canticle for Leibowitz twice now, and I know that I will read it a third time. It’s three separate stories, each taking place at different stages of rebuilding civilization after a nuclear war. The three anecdotes, different in their time, share a common place: a catholic monastery. Running throughout the novel is a river of social critique, rendered all the more powerful for being in the fantastical light of re-civilizing a radioactive planet. Leaving aside the plot, the characters are interesting and always morally struggling with something.”


Check out these or another of the more than six million books that are available through the Los Angele Public Library and celebrate the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball with us this Friday.

Happy reading and stay tuned for the next issue of Bookmark This!

-   Posted by Erin Sapinoso