Bookmark This #19

Spring is here, and what better way to celebrate this season of rebirth and renewal than to read some books!

If you’d like to contribute a reading recommendation to an upcoming issue of Bookmark This, contact Erin Sapinoso at [email protected].


Jan Munroe is an actor/writer/movement person who has been involved with the creation of new performance work since early studies with Marcel Marceau and Etienne Decroux and a founding member of the Mystic Knights of the Oingo-Boingo in Los Angeles and The Theatah of the Apres-Garde in the Bay Area.

Jan recommends Lanterns on the Levee by William Alexander Percy.

“This memoir of growing up in the Mississippi delta region at the turn of the 20th century is exquisitely written and breathtakingly poetic. Rich in detail of the area’s quotidien life, where French was spoken as much as English, it is an observant and cogent reflection of a long gone world. Pre-Army corps of engineers feeble attempts to tame the Mississippi, the mighty roaring river’s capricious nature informs every page, effecting both black and white, rich and poor. True, the ‘politics’ of it may not be considered correct in today’s milieu, but they are an accurate mirror of the author’s times and life. The least we can ask of a memoir is that it be honest. From there, it’s up to the reader to decide its fate and place in the literary landscape.”


Library Foundation Member Nora Wright moved from Brooklyn, New York, to Los Angeles over 20 ago as a newly minted graduate student without a job and mother of two young sons.  She and her family turned to the Los Angeles Public Library branches to borrow books and recorded items, sign onto free computer terminals, get help with homework, and ask all kinds reference questions of the welcoming library staff and volunteers.

Nora recommends The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World by Lincoln Paine.

“If you’ve ever wanted to read a history that not only gives you fascinating glimpses into far-off times and places but reframes your entire view of the world, Lincoln Paine’s The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World is for you. Paine is a curious and congenial guide to what people have gotten up to at sea for the past five thousand years, and how that’s affected everything else by spreading people and religion, crops and disease, and so much more around the world. His history is impeccably researched, but told by someone who knows that being an authority is only half the battle; you have to be a writer, too. If you really want to know what floats your boat, welcome aboard.”


Judith E. Vida-Spence is a psychoanalyst in private practice in Los Angeles who has written about psychoanalysis and its intersection with the contemporary art that she and her husband Stuart Spence have collected since 1972.

Judy recommends Sally Hemings: A Novel by Barbara Chase-Riboud.

“The 2008 presidential campaign had stirred my interest in the politics of death and slavery, and a circuitous path brought me to this novel. Annette Gordon-Reed describes it as ‘probably… the single greatest influence shaping the public’s attitude about the Jefferson-Hemings story,’ citing Sally Hemings’s portrayal as ‘a person with actual thoughts and conflicts, giving her a depth of character seldom attributed to American slaves or to black people in general.’  Despite a glowing critical reception, it generated a firestorm of protest by white heirs and historians desperate to protect Jefferson from the charge of ‘miscegenation.’ (The interested reader can pursue the compelling story of this aftermath in Annette Gordon-Reed’s books about Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings.)  As for me, in this account of the torturous, knotted, disavowed cords of relationship between slaveowner and enslaved, I met a whole tangle of emotional, historical, and personal feelings that have changed the way I know myself.”


Erin Sapinoso is looking forward to celebrating the literary life of this city at the Book Drop Bash on Saturday, April 12, 2014 with participating authors of the Los Angeles Times Festival Books and Library Foundation Members.

Erin Sapinoso recommends 1,000 Places to See before You Die by Patricia Schultz.

1,000 Places to See before You Die came to me as a gift for my last birthday.  Being a fan of lists (particularly of the bucket kind) and a chronic sufferer of wanderlust (which is often hard for me to treat), I immediately started flipping through this book, marking locations I had already visited, noting places I had never heard of but now would like to go to, highlighting my long-standing must-see places, and making real travel plans.  In all honesty, I have not yet finished reading this book, but I love the feelings of excitement and anticipation that come with imagining what will ignite my senses in those places that are featured on each page – the places I will do all I can to visit before my life ends.”


You can find these books – and more than six million others in print, audio and digital formats – through the Central Library, 72 branches and

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

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