Bookmark This #16

What better time to give thanks for the Los Angeles Public Library than in November?  As you take a break from trimming the turkey (or tofurkey), mashing potatoes and opening that can of cranberry sauce, consider cracking open one of these recommended books.  In this issue, our contributors take us through life in California, mythical creatures’ discovery of New York, the life of Nelson Mandela, advice for twenty-somethings, and love stories.


Glen Creason is the map librarian for the Los Angeles Public Library, author of Los Angeles in Maps, blogger for Los Angeles Magazine and a native Angeleno, hailing from South Gate, California.

Glen recommends Middle Men: Stories by Jim Gavin.

“This is one of those books that makes you vibrate inside and find parts of yourself on every page. Gavin takes everyday life in SoCal and takes a hard but compassionate look at ordinary people. You will find no heroes here, but you will find those who finish the marathon of working for a living with honor and love in their hearts. You will find people you want to hug and those you want to tell to #@*& off. Very often I knew exactly what the author was trying to say and identified closely with many of the sad situations the young men face in the stories. Possibly the settings around where I grew up added to the resonance of the prose.  I have been to the Luau, and this writer made it so very real. This is a wonderful collection and I haven’t enjoyed such a collection as much since Winesburg Ohio.”


Christa Lorenz is delighted to have joined the Library Foundation of Los Angeles this month! She is a devotee of opera, contemporary classical music, and historical fiction, and is immersed in an ongoing quest to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Christa recommends The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker.

The Golem and the Jinni is one of those books that has you making deals with yourself about how much later you can stay up to read!  An early 1900s fairy tale, the title characters set out on a mutual quest to discover what it’s like to be human and how to maneuver in a foreign world. The novel is a wonderful look into Jewish and Arabic folklore and the immigrant community of New York in the early 20th century. A truly mesmerizing debut from Ms. Wecker – I look forward to reading what’s next!”


Krisztina Quick is a non-profit professional with a passion for effecting positive social change, especially in education and animal welfare. Originally from Hungary, she has been calling L.A. her home (with love) for almost 15 years.  She has a goal to run a half marathon in every state, and the best (and unexpected) part of this goal has been the uninterrupted reading time on planes when traveling to different states.

Krisztina recommends Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela.

“I’m a huge fan of autobiographies, and this book didn’t disappoint. I knew Mr. Mandela as a public figure and freedom fighter but didn’t know much about his personal life. I really enjoyed finding out about him as a man, husband, dad and friend. He writes with vivid details of his surroundings and the people around him. Many times I felt I was there with him in prison/secret meetings/rallies, and I knew the people with whom he shared prison cells/work/life. His love for South Africa is undeniable, and he paints an incredible picture of his country. I cannot wait to visit it. His story includes the good, bad and the ugly. What I really liked is how he admits to his personal challenges and weaknesses with honesty and grace. What I connected with the most in this book were: his appreciation for finding deep and meaningful friendships along his journey and his strong view of the importance of self-discipline. I know you will enjoy this book as much as I did and be inspired by the incredible human being Nelson Mandela is.”


Rita Mai is an accounting intern for the Library Foundation.  Born and raised in Los Angeles, she grew up loving the Library and has fond memories of and appreciates what the library offers – knowledge, inspiration, and imagination.

Rita recommends The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter–And How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay.

“This book offers a great start for those in the young twenties group to plan for adulthood. It offers insight on why decisions in your twenties will affect you beyond your twenties and to make the most of it. At the same time, it offers twenty-year-olds an idea of what they should be accomplishing. This book may provide a good start for young college individuals who have just graduated or those who are trying to figure life out. It will inspire you to want to make the most of your life.”


Devon Moffat is an intern for the ALOUD series.  She grew up in L.A., studied history and American studies at Bard College, and in her free time listens to music and watches movie musicals from the 30s and 40s.

Devon recommends Adverbs by Daniel Handler.

“On the back of the book, Handler writes ‘This novel is about love,’ but what that simple description calls to mind does little to prepare you for the type of love stories he tells in Adverbs. This book invites you into a surreal and muddled world with a large cast of characters while challenging you to make sense of the absurd events that take place. You expect the seemingly unrelated chapters to intersect as the novel progresses, and although it’s undeniable that they do, you’re never sure just exactly how—unclear pronouns, unexpectedly recurring elements, and ambiguous character names are unsettling but give the wonderful sense that the novel is a puzzle waiting to be solved. Like Handler’s Young Adult books, A Series of Unfortunate Events, the mood is playful, but dark. The way these cryptic love stories are woven together in Adverbs is unique and entirely engrossing.”


For more reading options, browse through any of the six million books that are available at the Central Library and 72 branches throughout the city and online at

Happy Thanksgiving, and happy reading!  Stay tuned for next month’s issue of Bookmark This!

Share on