Vroman's March

Vroman's March lineup includes conversations hosted by Arielle Estoria, Michelle Dowd and Nedra Glover Tawwab among others. (Vroman's Bookstore/Submitted)

Southern California’s renowned Vroman’s Bookstore is continuing the new year with more exceptional virtual and in-person programs in March.

Vroman’s in-store events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted. Off-site events are most often ticketed and will include a link to buy. Masks are strongly encouraged for those attending the events.

All in-person events will be held at Vroman’s, located at 695 E. Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, unless otherwise noted.

To register, visit vromansbookstore.com. Those with questions can contact email@vromansbookstore.com.

In-person events

Vroman’s presents Nedra Glover Tawwab, in conversation with Dr. Thema Bryant, discussing “Drama Free: A Guide to Managing Unhealthy Family Relationships” | 7 p.m. Monday, March 6

In this guide, licensed therapist and bestselling relationship expert Nedra Glover Tawwab offers clear advice for identifying dysfunctional family patterns and choosing the best path to breaking the cycle and moving forward.

Covering topics ranging from the trauma of emotional neglect to the legacy of addicted or absent parents to mental health struggles in siblings and other relatives, and more, this clear and compassionate guide will help you take control of your own life.

This ticketed event will take place at All Saints Church, 132 N. Euclid Avenue, Pasadena. Tickets include one entry and one copy of “Drama Free,” which will be handed out at check-in. The ticket link is at eventbrite.com.

Cara Black, in conversation with Naomi Hirahara, discusses “Night Flight to Paris” | 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 8

October 1942: It’s been two years since Kate Rees was sent to Paris on a British Secret Service mission to assassinate Hitler. Since then, she has left spy craft behind to take a training job as a sharpshooting instructor in the Scottish Highlands. But her quiet life is violently disrupted when Col. Stepney, her former handler, drags her back into the fray for a risky three-pronged mission in Paris.

Each task is more dangerous than the next: Deliver a package of forbidden biological material. Assassinate a high-ranking German operative whose knowledge of invasion plans could turn the tide of the war against the Allies. Rescue a British agent who once saved Rees’ life — and get out. 

Michelle Dowd, in conversation with Michael Scott Moore, discusses “Forager: Field Notes for Surviving a Family Cult: A Memoir” | 7 p.m. Thursday, March 9

As a child, Michelle Dowd grew up on a mountain in the Angeles National Forest. She was born into an ultra-religious cult started in the 1930s by her grandfather, a mercurial, domineering and charismatic man who convinced generations of young male followers that he would live 500 years and ascend to the heavens when doomsday came. 

Comfort and care are sins, Dowd is told. As a result, she was forced to learn the skills necessary to battle hunger, thirst and cold; learned to trust animals more than humans; and, most importantly, learned how to survive in the natural world.

John Sayles discusses “Jamie MacGillivray: The Renegade’s Journey” | 3 p.m. Saturday, March 11

It begins in the highlands of Scotland in 1746, at the Battle of Culloden, the last desperate stand of the Stuart “pretender” to the throne of the Three Kingdoms, Bonnie Prince Charlie, and his rabidly loyal supporters. Vanquished with his comrades by the forces of the Hanoverian (and Protestant) British crown, the novel’s eponymous hero, Jamie MacGillivray, narrowly escapes a roadside execution only to be recaptured by the victors and shipped to Marshalsea Prison (central to Charles Dickens’ “Hard Times”), where he cheats the hangman a second time before being sentenced to transportation and indentured servitude in colonial America “for the term of his natural life.” His travels are paralleled by those of Jenny Ferguson, a poor village girl swept up on false charges by the English and also sent in chains to the New World.

The novel follows MacGillivray and Ferguson through servitude, revolt, escape and romantic entanglements — pawns in a deadly game. 

Arielle Estoria, in conversation with Simone Boyce, discusses “The Unfolding: An Invitation to Come Home to Yourself” | 7 p.m. Monday, March 13

Arielle Estoria is known for her moving and empowering words that encourage women and all people to be confident in who they are, compassionate about where they’ve been, and loving about who they are becoming. In this stunning collection of essays, poems and meditations, beautifully illustrated in earth tones, Estoria tenderly reveals the places in her life where she has been broken open, mended back together in new ways, and shows us how this process of “unfolding” helps us discover and return home to the person we were always meant to be.

Kristin Hannah, in conversation with Maggie Shipstead, discusses “The Four Winds” | 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 14

In Texas in 1921, Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows.

“The Four Winds” is a rich, sweeping novel that stunningly brings to life the Great Depression and the people who lived through it —the harsh realities that divided us as a nation and the enduring battle between the haves and the have-nots. This is a ticketed event located at Vroman’s. Tickets include one entry and one paperback copy of “The Four Winds.”

The ticket link is at eventbrite.com

Elizabeth McKenzie and Yxta Maya Murray discuss their respective new releases, “The Dog of the North” and “God Went Like That” | 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 15

Penny Rush has problems. Her marriage is over; she’s quit her job. Her mother and stepfather went missing in the Australian outback five years ago; her mentally unbalanced father provokes her; her grandmother, Dr. Pincer, keeps experiments in the refrigerator and something worse in the woodshed. But Rush is a virtuoso at what’s possible when all else fails.

McKenzie follows Rush on her quest for a fresh start. 

In award-winning legal scholar and novelist Murray’s new novel, federal agent Reyna Rodriguez reports on a real-life nuclear reactor meltdown and accidents that occurred in 1959, 1964, and 1968 at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory. An infamous research and development complex in California’s Simi Valley, the lab was eventually dismantled by the U.S. government — but not before it created a toxic legacy of contamination and numerous cancer clusters. Toxins and nuclear residue may have been further released by the 2018 Woolsey fire and 2019 floods in the area.

Erik Conway discusses “The Big Myth: How American Business Taught Us to Loathe Government and Love the Free Market” | 7 p.m. Monday, March 20

In their bestselling book “Merchants of Doubt,” Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway revealed the origins of climate change denial. Now, they unfold the truth about another disastrous dogma: the “magic of the marketplace.”

With archival evidence, Oreskes and Conway document campaigns to rewrite textbooks, combat unions and defend child labor. They detail the ploys that turned hardline economists Friedrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman into household names; recount the libertarian roots of the “Little House on the Prairie” books; and tune into the General Electric-sponsored TV show that beamed free-market doctrine to millions and launched Ronald Reagan’s political career.

By the 1970s, this propaganda was succeeding. Free market ideology would define the next half-century across Republican and Democratic administrations, giving us a housing crisis, the opioid scourge, climate destruction and a baleful response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cathleen Schine discusses “Kunstlers in Paradise” | 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 21

For years Mamie Künstler, 93 years old, as clever and glamorous as ever, has lived happily in her bungalow in Venice with her inscrutable housekeeper and her gigantic St. Bernard dog. Their tranquility is upended when Mamie’s grandson, Julian, arrives from New York City. Like many a 20-something, he has come to seek his fortune in Hollywood. But it is 2020, the global pandemic sweeps in, and Julian’s short visit suddenly has no end in sight.

Mamie was only 11 when the Künstlers escaped Vienna in 1939. They made their way, stunned and overwhelmed, to sunny, surreal Los Angeles, where they joined a colony of distinguished Jewish musicians, writers and intellectuals also escaping Hitler. Now, faced with months of lockdown and a willing listener, Mamie begins to tell Julian the buried stories of her early years in Los Angeles: her escapades with eminent émigrés like Arnold Schoenberg, Christopher Isherwood and Thomas Mann. Oh, and Greta Garbo. While the pandemic cuts Julian off from the life he knows, Mamie’s tales open up a world of lives that came before him. They reveal to him just how much the past holds of the future. 

Liam Callanan, in conversation with Marisa Silver, discusses “When in Rome” | 7 p.m. Thursday, March 23

Meet Claire: 52, desperate to do something new and get a fresh start.

Enter the chance to go to Rome: Home to a struggling convent facing a precipitous end, the city beckons Claire, who’s long had a complicated relationship with religion, including a “missed connection” with convent life in her teens. “Once in Rome,” she finds a group of funny, fearless nuns in a gorgeous villa, beautiful runs throughout a color-saturated city, and a chance to reflect. It all leads her to an unexpected question — should she join the convent? — and an answer that startles her as much as it does those closest to her.

Vroman’s Local Author Day featuring Barbara Hanky-Rogers, Laurie Markvart and Kenneth R. Strange Jr. | 4 p.m. Sunday, March 26

Barbara Hanky-Rogers presents “It’s a No Grainer Cookbook”

“It’s a No Grainer Cookbook” takes the guesswork out of replacing grains and wheat flour with over 180 appetizing recipes for any occasion.

Laurie Markvart presents “Somewhere in the Music, I’ll Find Me”

Musician Laurie Markvart was adrift in life. In the wake of the deaths of her father and preemie baby, her family life was in anguish and her music career stalled.

Music was the remedy for anything in Markvart’s life. Looking for a quick fix, she attended an open audition in Los Angeles for the “X-Factor” reality TV singing show. During the demanding two-day audition, Markvart reflected on her lifelong music journey.

As a teen, she fled her isolated Wisconsin farm town for the famous music scenes of Minneapolis, Austin and New York City. In rock bands, on tours and with Broadway auditions, Markvart had many highs and lows, successes and failures — some humorous, some dangerous. At the center of it all was a stormy relationship with her mentally ill mother and Markvart’s growing anxiety disorder that plagued her most. The despair she thought would be extinguished with marriage and parenting was for a time, but it shattered with the profound loss of her father and baby.

With mounting pressure to succeed at the X-Factor audition, Markvart must push through her anxieties and heartbreaking reflections and not only find herself in the music but a way to move forward and heal. 

Kenneth R. Strange Jr. presents “It’s Your Camino: One Couple’s 500-Mile Pilgrimage Across Spain”

The Camino de Santiago is quest and pilgrimage, goal and process. It is not a journey for the faint of heart or the soft of foot. People embark on the 500-mile, 31-day trek from the Pyrenees Mountains in France to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain for all sorts of reasons—religious, spiritual, physical and personal. For author Kenneth R. Strange Jr. and his wife, Aurora, walking the Camino is about adventure and a lifelong love of Spain, both of which shine through in the award-winning “It’s Your Camino.”

Nathan Masters, in conversation with David Kipen, discusses “Crooked: The Roaring ’20s Tale of a Corrupt Attorney General, a Crusading Senator, and the Birth of the American Political Scan” | 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 28

Many tales from the Jazz Age reek of crime and corruption. But perhaps the era’s greatest political fiasco — one that resulted in a nationwide scandal, a public reckoning at the Department of Justice, the rise of J. Edgar Hoover, and an Oscar-winning film — has long been lost to the annals of history. In “Crooked,” Nathan Masters restores this story of murderers, con artists, secret lovers, spies, bootleggers and corrupt politicians to its full, page-turning glory.

Newly elected to the Senate on a promise to root out corruption, Burton “Boxcar Burt” Wheeler sets his sights on ousting Attorney General Harry Daugherty, puppet-master behind President Harding’s unlikely rise to power. Daugherty is famous for doing whatever it takes to keep his boss in power, and his cozy relations with bootleggers and other scofflaws have long spawned rumors of impropriety. But when his constant companion and trusted fixer, Jess Smith, is found dead of a gunshot wound in the apartment the two men share, Daugherty is suddenly thrust into the spotlight, exposing the rot consuming the Harding administration to a shocked public. 

Jacqueline Winspear discusses “The White Lady” | 7 p.m. Thursday, March 30

This heart-stopping novel, set in Post-WWII Britain in 1947, follows the coming of age and maturity of former wartime operative Elinor White — veteran of two wars, trained killer, protective of her anonymity — when she is drawn back into the world of menace she has been desperate to leave behind.

A reluctant ex-spy with demons of her own, White finds herself facing down one of the most dangerous organized crime gangs in London, ultimately exposing corruption from Scotland Yard to the highest levels of government.

The private, quiet “Miss White,” as White is known, lives in a village in rural Kent, England, and to her fellow villagers seems something of an enigma. Well, she might, as White occupies a “grace and favor” property, a rare privilege offered to faithful servants of the Crown for services to the nation. But the residents of Shacklehurst have no way of knowing how dangerous White’s war work had been or that their mysterious neighbor is haunted by her past.