Bookmark This! #10

Summer’s nearly here, and we’ve got some must-reads to add to your book list.  From history and literature comics to an English romance to the-new-kid-in-school experience to Los Angeles noir to the Museum of Jurassic Technology, here are some sizzling hot reading recommendations!


Mary McCoy is the Senior Librarian of Teen’Scape at the Central Library and has a side hustle as a young adult author.  Her debut novel, Dead to Me, a young adult mystery set in 1940s Hollywood, will be published by Disney-Hyperion in 2014.  She loves Mad Men”, old cookbooks, and new dresses.

Mary recommends Hark! A Vagrant.

“This seriously nerdy comics compendium, drawn from the popular web comic of the same name, is a must-read for all humanities majors, library nerds, and eggheads.  Kate Beaton writes about everything from the French Revolution and Robert Peary to The Great Gatsby and Kierkegaard with a flair for the absurd. Whether she’s imagining a sibling rivalry between the Bronte sisters or riffing on the book cover designs of Edward Gorey, Beaton’s skewed, brainy humor never fails to delight.  Don’t miss this one – you might learn something new, and besides, when was the last time you read a comic book that came with its own index?”


Ela Jhaveri is a long-standing supporter of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles and Member of The Council.

Ela recommends Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

“I just read this book. The author is from England, and the book shows how England is so much a class-defined society, still today.  It depicts the lives of two families – one working-class family struggling in the terrible economy of the last few years and one upper-class family.  The two main characters come from each of the two different classes, and it was beautiful to read how their relationship developed as they got to know each other.  The two families love their children so much, and each has such a different way of showing it.”


Joanna Fabicon is a Children’s Librarian in the Children’s Literature Department.

Joanna recommends Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

Wonder is a satisfying read for everyone (seriously, everyone should read this), particularly those looking for stories about family relationships, overcoming obstacles, middle school social dynamics, looking past differences, or dealing with bullies. Be moved by August Pullman’s story and become part of the movement to ‘Choose Kind’ (”


Katie Dunham is Communications Director for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles.  Originally from Tennessee, she loves dachshunds, loud music, and USC.

Katie recommends Los Angeles Noir published by Akashic Books.

“Celebrating my twelfth year in L.A. this coming August, I’ve been on a tear lately trying to catch up on all the L.A. books I haven’t yet read. Living Downtown, I’m practically neighbors with the ghosts of Chandler, Fante, and Bukowski, so it makes sense that my favorite genre of anything at the moment is Noir.  It was kismet then when I heard Akashic Books Publisher Johnny Temple speak at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books last month and discovered the company’s fantastic Noir series.  Each book in the series features all-new short stories, each set within a distinct neighborhood of the featured city, creating a sort of macabre multicultural travelogue.  As the birthplace of Noir, the stories in Los Angeles Noir are real hum-dingers from a host of beloved Angelenos. From Susan Straight’s award-winning tale of Downtown barflies to Hector Tobar’s sad account of handguns and teenagers in East Hollywood and Naomi Hirahara’s story of obsession in a Koreatown spa, these stories precisely describe the Los Angeles I love: a gritty and glamorous city of secrets, revealing a different face to each of its inhabitants. I can’t wait to dive in to volume 2: the classics.”


Abbie Mendoza is a fourth year English major and a History of Science minor at UCLA, as well as a former intern for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to Taylor Davis’s violin rendition of “My Heart Will Go On,” watching slightly off-kilter television shows such as “The X-Files,” “Warehouse 13,” and too many others to write here, and, oh, yes: writing.

Abbie recommends Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder: Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast, and Other Marvels of Jurassic Technology, by Lawrence Weschler.

“Picture in your mind a museum that displays the following: a bat known as the Myotis lucifugus, which releases ultraviolet rays instead of sound waves to navigate in the dark; a human horn removed from a seventy-year-old woman’s skull; and the microminiature sculptures of Little Red Riding Hood and Donald Duck, among others, which are as small as the eye of a needle – so small, in fact, that the sculptor timed the movements of his hands between heartbeats so as not to interrupt his steady and precise carvings. Yes, such a place actually exists. Located in Culver City, the Museum of Jurassic Technology was founded by MacArthur Foundation genius grant recipient David Wilson and serves as the subject of Lawrence Weschler’s book, Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder: Pronged Ants, Human Horns, and Other Marvels of Jurassic Technology. Given the peculiarity of his exhibits, Wilson has been dismissed as merely parodying modern-day museums and being preoccupied only with the strange, if not the unreal. At the same time, however, he seriously hopes to show that the bizarre, or what he more euphemistically suggests as wonders, are in fact the very essence of nature.  After all, “Nature,” he told the author, “is more incredible than anything one can imagine.”


We’d love to know what you’re reading!  Contact Membership Director Erin Sapinoso at [email protected] to recommend a book for an upcoming issue.

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

–          Posted by Erin Sapinoso

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