Bookmark This #18

Bookmark This #18

February is the month of love, and we love sharing reading recommendations with you, especially as the 26th Annual Stay Home and Read a Book Ball is just around the corner.  What a fun way to love and celebrate the Los Angeles Public Library by lounging around the house and reading a good book!


Louise Steinman is the Chair of this year’s Stay Home and Read a Book Ball.  The founder and curator of the award-winning ALOUD series at Central Library, she is also the author of three books, most recently The Crooked Mirror: A Memoir of Polish-Jewish Reconciliation.

Louise recommends Women Without Men,’by Shahrnush Parsipur.

“When the artist Shirin Neshat spoke at ALOUD last December, she mentioned her first film was based on the novella ‘Women Without Men’ by Shahrnush Parsipur. Both Neshat and Parispur are Iranian-born, and both live in exile in the U.S.  Parsipur spent years in Iranian prison, under the Shah as well as under the rule of the mullahs– who banned her novels.  Women Without Men follows the interwoven destinies of five women—among them a schoolteacher, a wealthy housewife, and a prostitute—who by various means find their way to a lush magical garden outside Tehran.  Parsipur weaves together recent Iranian history with age-old Dervish tales. One woman returns from the dead as a clairvoyant ghost. Another plants herself as a tree in the garden where the others nourish her with human breast milk. Women Without Men is a provocative and poetic portal into women’s lives in a tradition-bound society.”


Marsha Hirano-Nakanishi is a past president of the Los Angeles Public Library Board of Commissioners.  She recently spent a weekend in San Francisco with book lovers stalking Sam Spade, Dashiell Hammett, and Maltese Falcon locations.

Marsha recommends Lillian & Dash by Sam Toperoff.

“After rereading the Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man, and Joe Gores’ Maltese Falcon prequel Spade and Archer, I plunged into Toperoff’s reimagining of the on-again, off-again love affair of Dashiell Hammett and playwright Lillian Hellman from their meeting during Depression-era moviemaking in Hollywood through the Spanish Civil War, Hellman’s successes and failures on Broadway, World War II, HUAC, through to Hammett’s burial in Arlington National Cemetery in 1961. Using the voices of Dash and Lillian to illuminate their contrasting remembrances, criticism, encouragement, and caring, the third person narrator stitches the part-gossip, part-factual, part-imagined 30-year journey together.”


When Roz Bonerz was eight years old, she won her first “Bookworm” pin from the local library.  She had to read 12 books over the summer vacation to become an official “Bookworm,” and she has been a “Bookworm” ever since.

Roz recommends The Road Home by Rose Tremain.

“In Rose Tremain’s The Road Home, you travel with Lev- a Russian immigrant, from the small town of Baryn to London on a bus.  Lev is looking for work.  He goes from distributing flyers to dishwashing to prepping vegetables to being a chef as we follow his life in London.  We’re with him through all his trials and adventures, two steps forward, three steps back.  Lev is easy to like; he’s kind, hard-working, but prone to trouble.  I stayed with him through it all with a sense of wonder and wow.  In the end, it’s all about the writing- the beautiful writing of Rose Tremain.”


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 recommends LA Son: My Life, My City, My Food  by Roy Choi.

“LA Son: My Life, My City, My Food is a chance to ride shotgun with Roy Choi.  The narrative takes you on an odyssey through our state, from the early days of his family’s culinary outings when they trekked up to Santa Barbara for abalone or to Indio for bean sprouts for his mom’s bi bim bap to his first time eating a banh mi in the O.C.  Food has colored Choi’s world from the moment he entered it, and LA Son blends those stories with the rhythm of his bad boy street slang, keeping things picante, just like the salsa roja of LA’s most flavorful taco from the famous Kogi BBQ truck.  When I first learned of the title of the book, I thought he’d called it, ‘LA SoHn’ …Son…as in the musical rhythm, the backbone of Latin music – the one you hear driving down Whittier Blvd. or cruising through MacArthur Park.   It’s that rhythm and soul that he puts into his food and everything he does.  The beat on the page keeps up.  Choi-isms are sprinkled throughout like little pieces of advice next to his recipes: drink, burp, smile.  Choi’s voice is practically in your ear, and the promise of his culinary creations meeting your palate is just a few bites away.”


Noel Ople is a new intern for the Library Foundation.  He loves yoga.  Practicing for more than two years, he finds it absolutely amazing both physically and mentally and plans to obtain yoga teacher training certification this summer.

Noel recommends Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.

“One of my favorite books is Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. I don’t think I’ll be doing any traveling into the wild any time soon, but the idea of leaving everything behind and going on a journey of self-discovery was really inspiring, especially to a younger, more rebellious version of myself.”


More than 6 million books are available through the Central Library, 72 branches and and include print, audio and digital formats.  Browse through the catalog and bookmark your own must-reads for the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball!

If you want to share what you’re reading, contact Membership Director Erin Sapinoso at [email protected] to recommend a book for an upcoming post.

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


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