Journey with Bookmark This!


Welcome to the second issue of Bookmark This!

Would you like to be featured in an upcoming edition of this new recommended reading program?  Become a member OR upgrade your current membership with the Library Foundation of Los Angeles online by Friday, October 26, 2012 to enter into a raffle to be a contributor for the December issue.  Make sure to type in the code BMTDec12 in the “Why did you choose to give?” box to participate.

Thanks to this edition’s contributors, our book selections transport readers to the natural wonders of the United Kingdom, through transitions into adulthood in San Pedro and New York, moral degradation in Moscow, and along a remarkable military career.  Read on and enjoy the journey!

Paul Elie is the author of a new book, Reinventing Bach.  He will visit ALOUD at Central Library on Wednesday, October 24 to discuss what can happen when high art meets new technology, and this program will include a performance of Bach selections by violinist Ga Hyun Cho.  Elie is a senior fellow with Georgetown University’s Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, and his first book, The Life You Save May Be Your Own, received the PEN/Martha Albrand Prize and was a National Book Critics Circle award finalist in 2003.

Paul recommends The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane:

“A trip from the New York island to the redwood forests via the national parks left me wanting to read about the wilderness, so I wound up following Robert Macfarlane to the ‘wild places’ of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales – places I’d never heard of or knew of only through Brontë novels and Romantic poetry.  Macfarlane explains that there’s a reason the United Kingdom’s wild places are not well known: it is the epitome of the settled-slash-civilized-slash-colonized country, whose forests were cleared in the late Middle Ages, then cleared inadvertently through the violence of the Great War, then cleared again for industrial farming and the developments we call suburbs and they call ‘tract housing.’  But wild places remain.  The Wild Places is one book in a remarkable recent run of what Phillip Lopate calls ‘the literature of walking.’  Macfarlane’s excursions to archetypally chosen places in chapters called Beechwood, Island, Valley, Moore, Summit, Ridge, Saltmarsh, and the like left me yearning to explore the wild places outside our park system, whether the newly re-rugged track beds of the old Erie Canal railways or the mountains off the two-lane roads of Colorado.”


Giovanna Mannino is Acting Director of Central Library Services for the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL), and has worked for the LAPL for 38 years.  She loves reading, movies, humor, art and all types of music.  She has a serious cookbook obsession.

Giovanna’s recommendation: Edgewater Angels by Sandro Meallet

“This book has a special place in my heart. Told in a unique voice with a distinctive literary style that I found captivating, Edgewater Angels is a semi-autobiographical coming of age story set in San Pedro, my hometown.   In a series of engaging vignettes, Sonny Toomer tells the story of growing up in a very tough neighborhood, Rancho San Pedro Housing Project, where life can be both harsh and violent. Without a father or any male role models, Sonny, along with a cast of memorable characters, navigate through rites-of-passage and misadventures, both hilarious and poignant. Through it all, he retains his basic sense of decency and a genuine affection for the community he calls ‘the Ranch.’”


Bob Alvarado is a member of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles’ board of directors, a position he assumed last year.  He is the Chief Executive Officer, of CourtCall, LLC, a company that allows lawyers to make telephonic or video appearances at no cost to the Court.

Bob recommends My American Journey by Colin Powell:

“Where do you think Colin Powell went to school?  I would have thought he attended West Point or one of the other military academies, but no, he went to the City University of New York and started his military career by participating in ROTC.  He shares behind-the-scenes stories about national and international leaders (to the extent that he can), and he even describes the buildup leading to the Iraq War.  It is a very engaging memoir.”


Libby McCarthy is the Special Projects Coordinator and Assistant to the President for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles.  She has worked for the Foundation for five years and oversees the organization’s internship program.  In addition to being a voracious reader, she has recently taken up quilt-making.

Libby’s choice: Anthropology of An American Girl by Hilary Thayer Hamann

I came across this book by chance.  I was browsing at a bookstore almost a decade ago, and the book was just sitting there—at eye level, the only copy there, this great title jumping out at me. I had never heard of it, but read the first page and was sold. Briefly, the book is about a girl named Eveline as she comes of age in ‘70s and ‘80s era New York. This is perhaps not a plot that immediately resonates with everyone—first love, friendship, betrayal, and all of that. But what is really special about this book is the quality of writing.  It’s a big, dense book, but there are no extra words, no filler sentences. Hamann documents Evie’s thoughts and actions in almost obsessive detail, but somehow every one of those details reveals something about, I’ll say it, the human condition.”


Diana Rosen is a Library Foundation member and docent for the Central Library.  She has led tours on the art, architecture and gardens of this beautiful space for more than three years and is currently the group’s newsletter editor.  Diana is a freelance writer and editor, poet and the author of 13 non-fiction books (six of which are about her passion for tea which she sips while reading contemporary fiction and biographies).

Diana’s recommendation is Snowdrops by A.D. Miller:

“From the moment our male narrator meets two young Russian women, and listens to their story, we know what will happen. So does he, yet he goes with them, submerges himself in their modern day Moscow life of complicity and corruption. We are chilled not only by what does and does not happen but also by the character of the weather, particularly the over long, biting winter, pure-looking despite what may lurk underneath. The weather, the scorching summer but more powerfully, the endless winter, pierces through the landscape to reveal a fork in the path, one sustaining the crimes of yesterday and one offering something not much better for today: distrust enveloped in numbing indifference. Unlike the spring of poets, fresh with hope and renewal, the Moscow season brings only dark slush exposing buried corpses, the snow drops of the book’s title.”

We’re proud that these books – and more than 6 million others – are available through the Central Library, 72 branches and and include print, audio and digital formats.

In honor of the 30th anniversary of the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week (September 30 – October 6, 2012), we encourage you to join in the celebration of our freedom to read.  If you’re interested in something other than the books listed above, check out the 10 most challenged titles of 2011.

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

–Posted by Erin Sapinoso

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