Reading the Western Landscape Community Book Discussion - The Arboretum
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Wednesday, March 22; 7:00PM - 8:00PM

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 Emeritus, Susan Eubank, at  You must RSVP to Susan for the discussions you would like to attend.

December 28, 2022 ON ZOOM

Always Coming Home by Úrsula K. Le Guin; Margaret Chodos (Illustrator); Todd Barton (Composed by); George K. Hersh (Contribution by). New York: Harper & Row, 1985.

ISBN: 9780060155452

“…Le Guin is among the … most respected American writers who regularly set their narrative in the future to force a dialogue with the here and now… [The book] is a slow, rich read, …a liberal utopian vision, rendered far more complex … by a sense of human suffering. …The novel is about an imaginary people living in a far distant future on the Pacific coast. As a native of Berkeley, Calif., who lives in Portland, Ore., Mrs. Le Guin obviously knows her fictional territory. Moreover, if anyone is the world’s greatest authority on the Kesh, it’s the author, since she invented them. .”—Samuel R. Delany, New York Times

The Expendable Man by Dorothy B. Hughes; Afterword by Walter Mosley, New York: New York Review of Books, 2012, originally published 1963.

May 24, 2023

Spell Heaven by Toni Mirosevich, Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint, CA, 2022.

ISBN: 9781640095168

“What happens when a lesbian couple—a college professor and a nurse—decide to forsake the expensive city and move a few miles south to Seaview, a foggy coastal town in Northern California where homes are affordable but some neighbors far from welcoming?…In lyrical, often shimmering, language, Mirosevich finds meaning and memory in the lives lived by the “confused” sea, the name, she explains, given to the sea when waves go back and forth on a windy day. “Confused but still beautiful,” the narrator insists. These stories both comfort and surprise. You will want to read them over and over again, like waves going back and forth, revealing something new each time.”— Elaine Elinson, New York Journal of Books

A collection of linked stories that celebrate those who relish human connection in an increasingly isolated world. Stories include the tale of an undocumented boy’s drowning when a wave pulls him out to sea, an ex-FBI agent’s surveillance of a man who leaves chocolate bars at a tree in a weekly ritual, a mother on meth who teaches a lesson on mercy, and Kite Man, who flies kites from a fishing pole and sells drugs on the side. His motto: When the kites fly, you can buy.

June 28, 2023

Selected Verse: A Bilingual Edition, revised. by Federico Garcia Lorca; Edited by Christopher Mauer, Translated by Catherine Brown, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, c2004.

ISBN: 9780374528553

The entire poetic spectrum of Spain’s greatest modern poet and dramatist is showcased in this new bilingual anthology. Lorca (1898-1937) drew upon his country’s rich and sonorous musical tradition for inspiration, and his early poems are spellbindingly beautiful, animated with the sweet breath of the Andalusian land he loved so much and lit with images and metaphors as bright and quick as birds. … [Lorca] scholar Maurer has chosen well from all 10 of Lorca’s published poetry collections as well as from a selection of previously uncollected works, and the translations are superb.— Donna Seaman, Booklist

Selected verse from the poet who “expanded the scope of lyric poetry” (Rafael Campo, The Washington Post). The work of Federico García Lorca, Spain’s greatest modernist poet, has long been admired for its emotional intensity and metaphorical brilliance. The revised Selected Verse, which incorporates changes made to García Lorca’s Collected Poems, is an essential addition to any poetry lover’s bookshelf. In this bilingual edition, García Lorca’s poetic range comes clearly into view, from the playful Suites and stylized evocations of Andalusia to the utter gravity and mystery of the final elegies, confirming his stature as one of the twentieth century’s finest poets.

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