October Book Picks

Alta’s partners at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena recommend books by California authors and on California subjects, with reviews by Roman's (well-read) staff members.

"There There" by Tommy Orange, 278 pages, Knopf, $25.95.
"There There" by Tommy Orange, 278 pages, Knopf, $25.95.

There There by Tommy Orange

Orange gives readers a glimpse into an often overlooked part of American culture in an explosive story that is both entertaining and heartbreaking. This California author explores family ties in the Indian community; how tragically they can be torn apart, and how mysteriously they can collide through unexpected connections. A debut masterpiece. 
-Nancy Hamel

"In Pieces" by Sally Field, 416 pages, Grand Central Publishing, $29.
"In Pieces" by Sally Field, 416 pages, Grand Central Publishing, $29.

In Pieces by Sally Field           

This surprising memoir by Academy award –winning actress Sally Field transcends the ghostwritten Hollywood-memoir genre. Her lyrical writing, rumored to be seven years in the works, digs deep, exploring not just the “Sally Field” readers know from the movies and television, but “Sally Field,” a 71-year-old every woman examining her life and deconstructing the complex relationships therein, including those with her mother and with herself. 

-Allison K Hill

"The Winter Soldier" by Daniel Mason, 336 pages, Little, Brown and Company, $28.
"The Winter Soldier" by Daniel Mason, 336 pages, Little, Brown and Company, $28.

The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason

This breathtaking, epic novel set in Vienna during World War I is luscious in its sense of place and history and rich with compelling characters—Lucius, a twenty-two-year old medical student dispatched to a remote outpost ravaged by typhus; Sister Margarete, the mysterious nurse practicing make do medicine there, and the winter soldier who arrives clouded in mystery to change their lives. Part mystery, part romance, part historical fiction, Palo Alto native Mason has created a remarkable world and a gripping novel.

-Allison K Hill

"Home After Dark" by David Small, 416 pages, Liveright, $27.95.
"Home After Dark" by David Small, 416 pages, Liveright, $27.95.

Home After Dark by David Small

Set in small town California this graphic novel, illustrated in sparse pen, ink, and washes, sheds light on the dark adolescent life of 13-year-old Russell with echoes of Lord of the Flies. Using very few words National Book Award finalist and Caldecott Medal winner Small (Stitches)has created a cinematic and powerful coming-of-age story.

-Allison K Hill

"Time's Convert" by Deborah Harkness, 448 pages, Viking, $29.
"Time’s Convert" by Deborah Harkness, 448 pages, Viking, $29.

Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness

Bestselling author and USC professor Deborah Harkness’ All Souls series centers around the stories of Diana and Matthew, the witch historian and vampire scientist who are trying to unravel the origins of their shared heritage with daemons and humans. In past novels, they traveled to the past, battled enemies on all sides, and dealt with centuries of difficult family secrets. In Time’s Convert, readers delve into the past of several of favorite characters, seeing pivotal historical events through the eyes of vampires who lived through them, and learning what the future might contain when one consents to make the ultimate transformation–becoming a newborn vampire.

-Erin Whitney

Keep reading: Alta’s partners at Book Passage in the Bay Area recommend August releases by California authors and on California subjects, with reviews by Book Passage staff members.

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