It’s that time of the year again, when the kids are back in school and our own thirst for knowledge through literature is slaked, thanks largely to Pasadena’s very own independent bookseller, world famous Vroman’s Bookstore.
Here, and at the store’s East Pasadena outlet in Hastings Ranch, one just never knows who they might bump into while roaming aisles filled with treasured tomes, lighthearted tales and everything in-between.
Nearly every night of the week over the next few months, the Colorado Boulevard branch of the two-store chain hosts an author event, ranging from monthly local author nights to large events that require locations away from the store to accommodate the expected crush of fans.
Vroman’s kicks the fall season into top gear straight out of the gate at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4, with New York Times bestselling author Margaret Coel. She’ll be discussing her latest work, “The Man Who Fell From the Sky,” which follows the sleuthing of Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden and Father John O’Malley as they investigate a lethal link between legendary outlaw Butch Cassidy and a present-day murder.
Another blockbuster event is on Sept. 9, with filmmaker/actress/writer Miranda July discussing and signing “The First Bad Man.” The novel — her first — addresses the universal need for love, and has already received high praise by Vanity Fair and The New York Times.
For those with a love for technology, Vroman’s will be buzzing with talk about robots and humans on Sept. 10 when New York Times journalist, John Markoff (the first reporter to cover the World Wide Web), discusses and signs his new book, “Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots.”
Vroman’s Art on the Stairwell series on Sept. 12 presents photographer Byron Motley’s newest hardback book, “Embracing Cuba,” a look at the island nation through Motley’s lens. Motley’s photographs have also been featured in Vanity Fair, USA Today, and by the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Internationally acclaimed, multi-award-winning Irish novelist Colm Toibin is headed to Vromans’ on Sept. 16 to discuss and sign his latest novel, “Nora Webster,” a tale of love, loss and renewal.
Erica Jong, author of the worldwide bestseller “Fear of Flying” will deliver her newest novel, “Fear of Dying,” at Vroman’s on Sept. 21.
Legendary writer, Joy Williams, in conversation with Darcy Cospar, will discuss and sign her first collection in more than 10 years, “Visiting Privilege: New and Collected Stories,” at Vroman’s on Sept. 23. The book features 33 stories drawn from three much-lauded collections, and another 13 appearing for the first time ever in book form. A favorite American writer of many, Williams’ stories resonate with readers of all ages.
Also on Sept. 23, the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is set to host Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer discussing his new book “The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities.”
On Sept. 30, Vroman’s will be hosting acclaimed actor and producer Wendell Pierce, whose book, “The Wind in the Reeds: A Storm, a Play, and the City That Would Not Be Broken,” offers an insightful and poignant portrait of family, New Orleans and the transforming power of art in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Then, on Oct. 2 bestselling writer Elizabeth Gilbert (author of the wildly successful “Eat, Pray, Love”) visits town, with an appearance at the Hilton Pasadena (168 S Los Robles Ave, Pasadena; 626/577-1000, hilton.com/Los_Angeles).
Chelsea Clinton has been busy since her eight years as First Daughter. Now all grown up and with a quiver-full of impressive academic credentials and international work experience, the recent mother will share “It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going!,” stories about children and teens who have made real changes big and small in their families, their communities, and around the world. On Oct. 7, she’ll be reminding everyone — just like her mom did — that it takes one person at a time to make a difference.
Finally, for those seeking a bit of star power and alt-pop culture, on Nov. 3 Vroman’s presents actress/musician/producer/writer Carrie Brownstein at Pasadena Presbyterian Church (585 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena; (626) 793-2191/ppc.net). There Brownstein will discuss her new book, “Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl: A Memoir” in conversation with actress Amy Poehler.
Brownstein will talk about growing up in the Pacific Northwest, performing in the legendary punk band Sleater-Kinney (cited as best rock band by music critic Greil Marcus), and how music helped sow the seeds for her now wildly popular satirical television series, “Portlandia.”
Vroman’s Bookstore is located at 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. Call (626) 449-5320. Vroman’s Hasting Ranch is located at 3729 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. Call (626) 351-0828 or visit vromansbookstore.com. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is located at 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino. Call (626) 405-2100 or visit huntington.org.