Thursday, July 31, 2014


Once in a while, sometimes in a book group or at the insistence of a friend, you read a book that is totally outside of your realm or range of tastes. This happened recently when a fantasy called The Golem and Jinni, a terrific novel by Helene Wecker, appeared on the shelves at the Monrovia Public Library. Negative expectations were turned on their head when the fantasy mixed with historical fiction turned out to be a marvelous page-turner.
This story mixed two fantastic characters—a golem (from Jewish folklore a creature who magically comes to life) and a jinni (from Mid-Eastern culture a flaming spirit who can choose to be seen)—who, through fascinating circumstances, both come to New York City at the turn-of-the-20th-century. Posing as humans, the two interact with the multicultural groups of people who populate the tenements and businesses of the time and then meet. Strangers in a strange land, the female golem Chava and the male djinni Ahmad both feel the tug of wanting to be human and the comfort and familiarity of being magical creatures. Mercurial and flawed, the two characters also strive to take on the characteristics of real people.

The Golem and the Jinni is incredibly original and took seven years to write. Starting out as a children’s story for a class at Columbia University, the author kept rewriting it and realized that it would work best as an adult novel. The layers of secondary characters that the author created are equally entertaining. And, when the book ends the reader continues to think about Chava and Ahmad and what their future holds.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Path Towards Opening Day...

Along with the opening of the Metro Gold Line in 2016, the completion of the Station Square Transit Village will be a defining moment for Monrovia, as transit reinvents the area around the new Monrovia Gold Line Station. 

Station Square is the largest Public Works project in the city’s history.  It is a community-driven project that fulfills a long and involved planning process to deliver a unique vision.
Monrovia is utilizing $25 million in federal funds, state grants, Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority money and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO) funds for the project and surrounding street and infrastructure improvements to benefit the community and complement the opening of the Gold Line Station.
Construction on the project is expected to begin in September 2014.
We are committed to providing you with up-to-date information on the project, the construction and upcoming events as we head towards opening day.  Make sure you, your family, neighbors and friends stay updated by clicking here to sign up for future Station Square emails.
Text STATIONNEWS to 888777 to receive text alerts on the project.

Monday, July 28, 2014


Although most known for his western-themed novels, Larry McMurtry has written an astonishing number of books in a variety of genres. His works can be found in the Western, Fiction, Biography, History and CD sections at the Monrovia Public Library. And, one of his titles can be found in the DVD section as McMurtry co-wrote the Academy Award winning screenplay for the film Brokeback Mountain.
McMurtry always found inspiration from where he was born and raised in Texas and many of his books are set in that hardscrabble world. He continues to live there and once owned a book store in his home town. His breakout book was The Last Picture Show, a coming of age story about a group of young people growing up in a small town. The natural dialogue and realistic characters, also later found in Texasville, make them honest and appealing.

Lonesome Dove is considered McMurtry’s masterpiece and won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. This epic story of a cattle drive from Texas to Montana is an adventure, love story and character study. McMurtry is such a deft writer that readers experience the sounds, tastes and changing temperatures of the trail. The author’s most recent, and beautifully reviewed, novel returns to the old west with The Last Kind Words Saloon is about Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.
McMurtry’s biographies focus on some of the west’s most famous personalities and include The Colonel and the Missie: Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley and the Beginnings of Superstardom in America and Custer. The author takes an autobiographical look at his own life in Hollywood, about the 40 years he spent writing and making movies. One highlight is reading about how boring it is to attend award ceremonies. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Tom Perrotta’s America takes place mostly in the suburbs and is populated with fairly ordinary people who are not completely aware of themselves. Additionally, there always seems to be something quite quirky about his characters and there are always moments of ridiculously and darkly humorous prose. Perrota’s works can be found on the shelves at the Monrovia Public Library.
One of Perrotta’s first books was Election. He was a new, unknown writer in 1998 when the novel debuted and it was not the book that attracted attention, but the film of the book that immediately followed. The offbeat story is about a high school election and an uppity and unlikable student named Tracy Flick who is running for student body president. One of the teachers takes a dislike to her and ruins his own career by trying to sabotage the election so Tracy doesn't win. Whether you check out the book or the DVD of the film, you will laugh with embarrassment as the student and teacher go head-to-head.

Published in 2004, Little Children can be found in the Fiction and Books-on-CD sections. If you have never listened to a book, this might be a good time to begin. This story of a pair of married friends who are caught up in parenthood, their own yearning for freer lives and the pressures of family and work is both satirical and touching.  

Stephen King compared Perrotta’s latest novel The Leftovers to an episode of the Twilight Zone. A small town experiences something called the Sudden Departure in which many townspeople simply disappear. With so many family members and friends gone, the remaining people try to adjust without those who simply vanished. Fantasy and reality mix in this very original title.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


"In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines. The smallest one was Madeline.” The words spark warm feelings in those of us who, years ago, haunted the library shelves looking for any copies of the classic Madeline books by Ludwig Bemelmans (1898-1962).  The books remain just as popular with the current picture book set.  Look for them at the Monrovia Public Library.

Madeline was published in 1939 and this year the book celebrates its 75th anniversary. The Austrian-born author moved to America after WWI and his first children’s book debuted in 1934. His publisher made an incredible error when he rejected Madeline and it was soon chosen by another publisher. Bemelmans eventually wrote and illustrated 5 titles starring the intrepid French school girl and his books have sold millions. The author, who served in the U.S. Army, is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Written in rhyme, all of these stories are about a Parisian boarding school supervised by nuns who encourage order. Madeline, of course, is the one spunky girl continually stepping out of line to embrace new adventures.  Who cannot forget when she confronted a jungle beast?  “And to the tiger in the zoo Madeline just said pooh pooh.” Adults can check out Madeline, Madeline’s Rescue, Madeline and the Bad Hat, Madeline and the Gypsies, Madeline in London, read them, and then have the pleasure of sharing them with a new generation of fans.