Reading the Western Landscape Community Book Discussion - The Arboretum
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Reading the Western Landscape Community Book Discussion

About the Community Book Discussion

The Arboretum Library’s book group explores the portrayal of western North American landscape in fiction, non-fiction, drama, and poetry, letters, graphic novels, etc.  The group generally, but not always, meets the last Wednesday of the month in the Arboretum Library or out on the Arboretum grounds, pandemic, weather and sunlight permitting. When the weather is good and disease rates are low, the group will meet outside in appropriate places in the gloriously, beautiful grounds of the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden with appropriate social distancing and masking. The group leader will decide each month whether the meeting will be in-person or on Zoom.

The group uses a modified version of the Shared Inquiry™ method developed by the Great Books Foundation.  The discussion is greatly enhanced if the chosen book of the month is read, although we welcome those who just want to listen. Let the host know you only want to listen. New participants are always welcome!

Click here to see the questions already asked for this year’s past books and check out the history of the book club by hovering on the tab and see all the previous years and books to explore.

For more information and to be added to the e-mail reminder list about the Community Book Discussion Group, please contact, Arboretum Librarian, Susan Eubank, at 626-821-3213 or  You must RSVP to Susan for the discussions you would like to attend.

January 26, 2022, 7:00 p.m. , PDT, on Zoom

Mrs. Spring Fragrance and Other Writings by Sui Sin Far. New York: Modern Library, 2021 [original publication date 1912].

ISBN: 9780593241202

“It seems strange that more use has not been made of the opportunities for story making that are presented by the life of Chinese [immigrants] in America…Such a book, therefore…which deals with humorous and domestic phases of Chinese [American] life is refreshingly welcome. The writer tells her tales with a charming lightness of touch. Of the 36 stories in the collection, 20 are tales of Chinese [American] children and it is in some of these that the author is in her happiest vein. The stories are gathered in book from [many magazines.] It is well that they are so gathered for they deserve the success with the public that they have evidently had with the editors” — San Francisco Call, July 7, 1912

A rediscovered classic of linked short stories set in San Francisco’s Chinatown, portraying Chinese Americans as they fall in love, encounter racism, and wrestle with their new, hyphenated identities–a century before writers like Maxine Hong Kingston and Amy Tan. Set in early twentieth-century Chinatown, Mrs. Spring Fragrance and Other Writings is the story of Chinese men and women living in the United States as they wrestle with prejudice and forced detention; choose to become wholly Americanized or stay true to their cultural heritage; meet both kind and predatory Americans; and find love, purpose, and understanding within their families. By turns ironic and heart-rending, these stories are windows into the lives of everyday people in an unforgiving, often racist city who find solidarity and hope in the most unexpected places.

March 30, 2022, 7:00 p.m.

Where the Rainbows Wait : The Remarkable Lessons Taught & Learned in a One-Room Texas Schoolhouse by Trent Jones; Carlton Stowers, Chicago: Playboy Press, New York : Simon and Schuster, ©1978.

ISBN: 9780872235014



Free event

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