Virtually Vroman’s

Bookstore boasts stellar lineup for September
By Arroyo Staff

The renowned bookstore Vroman’s is hosting more top-notch virtual programs throughout September.

The “Vroman’s Life” events are held virtually through Crowdcast. Register through vromansbookstore.com.

Susan H. Kamei, in conversation with Teresa Watanabe, discusses ‘When Can We Go Back to America? Voices of Japanese American Incarceration during WWII’

6 p.m. Tuesday, September 7

In this dramatic and page-turning narrative history of Japanese Americans before, during and after their World War II incarceration, Kamei weaves the voices of more than 130 individuals who lived through this tragic episode, most of them as young adults.

It’s difficult to believe it happened here. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, the U.S. government forcibly removed more than 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry from the Pacific Coast and imprisoned them in desolate detention camps until the end of World War II just because of their race.

In what Secretary Norman Y. Mineta describes as a “landmark book,” he and others who lived through this harrowing experience tell the story of their incarceration and the long-term impact of this dark period in American history. 

For the first time, why and how these tragic events took place are interwoven with more than 130 individual voices of those who were unconstitutionally incarcerated, many of them children and young adults.

Their words will resonate with readers who are confronting questions about racial identity, immigration and citizenship, and what it means to be an American. 

Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez
discusses ‘For Brown Girls with
Tender Hearts and Sharp Edges:
A Love Letter to Women of Color’
with Yesika Salgado

The founder of Latina Rebels and a “Latinx Activist You Should Know” (Teen Vogue) arms women of color with the tools and knowledge they need to find success on their own terms.

For generations, brown girls have had to push against powerful forces of sexism, racism and classism, often feeling alone in the struggle. By founding Latina Rebels, Rodríguez has created a community to help women fight together. 

In “For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts,” she offers wisdom and a liberating path forward for all women of color. She crafts powerful ways to address the challenges brown girls face, from imposter syndrome to colorism. She empowers women to decolonize their worldview and defy “universal” white narratives by telling their own stories. 

Her book guides women of color toward a sense of pride and sisterhood and offers essential tools to energize a movement. 

Jarrett Adams discusses ‘Redeeming Justice: From Defendant to Defender, May Fight for Equity on Both Sides of a Broken System’

6 p.m. Monday, September 13

He was 17 when an all-white jury sentenced him to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Now a pioneering lawyer, he recalls the journey that led to his exoneration — and inspired him to devote his life to fighting the many injustices in the legal system.

Facing nearly 30 years behind bars, Adams sought to figure out the why behind his fate. Sustained by his mother and aunts, who brought him back from the edge of despair through letters of prayer and encouragement, Adams became obsessed with our legal system in all its damaged glory. 

After studying how his constitutional rights to effective counsel had been violated, he solicited the help of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, an organization that exonerates the wrongfully convicted, and won his release after nearly 10 years in prison.

But the journey was far from over. Adams took the lessons he learned through his incarceration and worked his way through law school with the goal of helping those who, like himself, had faced our legal system at its worst.

After earning his law degree, he worked with the New York Innocence Project, becoming the first exoneree hired by the nonprofit as a lawyer. In his first case with the Innocence Project, he argued before the same court that had convicted him a decade earlier — and won.

In this cinematic story of hope and full-circle redemption, Adams draws on his life and the cases of his clients to show the racist tactics used to convict young men of color, the unique challenges facing exonerees once released, and how the lack of equal representation in our courts is a failure not only of empathy but of the collective ability to uncover the truth. 

Maria Amparo Escandón, in
conversation with Alex Espinoza,
discusses ‘LA Weather’

6 p.m. Tuesday, September 14

LA is parched, dry as a bone, and Oscar, the weather-obsessed patriarch of the Alvarado family, desperately wants a little rain. He’s harboring a costly secret that distracts him from everything else. His wife, Keila, desperate for a life with a little more intimacy and a little less Weather Channel, feels she has no choice but to end their marriage. 

Their three daughters — Claudia, a TV chef with a hard-hearted attitude; Olivia, a successful architect who suffers from gentrification guilt; and Patricia, a social media wizard who has an uncanny knack for connecting with audiences but not with her lovers — are blindsided and left questioning everything they know. 

Each will have to take a critical look at her own relationships and make some tough decisions along the way.

With quick wit and humor, Escandón follows the Alvarado family as they wrestle with impending evacuations, secrets, deception and betrayal, and their toughest decision: whether to stick together or burn it all down. 

T.C. Boyle discusses ‘Talk to Me’

4 p.m. Saturday, September 18

When animal behaviorist Guy Schermerhorn demonstrates on a TV game show that he has taught Sam, his juvenile chimp, to speak in sign language, Aimee Villard, an undergraduate at Schermerhorn’s university, is so taken with the performance that she applies to become his assistant. A romantic and intellectual attachment soon morphs into an interspecies love triangle that pushes hard at the boundaries of consciousness.

What if it were possible to speak to the members of another species — to converse with them, not just give commands or coach them but to really have an exchange of ideas and a meeting of minds? Did apes have God? Did they have souls? Did they know about death and redemption? About prayer? The economy, rockets, space? Did they miss the jungle? Did they even know what the jungle was? Did they dream? Make wishes? Hope for the future? These are some of the questions Boyle asks in his wide-ranging and hilarious new novel “Talk to Me,” exploring what it means to be human, to communicate with another and to truly know another person — or animal. 

Stuart Neville discusses ‘The House of Ashes’

1 p.m. Monday, September 20

Sara Keane’s husband, Damien, has uprooted them from England and moved them to his native Northern Ireland for a “fresh start” in the wake of her nervous breakdown. Sara, who knows no one in Northern Ireland, is jobless, carless, friendless — all but a prisoner in her own house. When a blood-soaked old woman beats on the door, insisting the house is hers before being bundled back to her care facility, Sara begins to understand the house has a terrible history her husband never intended for her to discover. 

As the two women form a bond over their shared traumas, Sara finds the strength to stand up to her abuser, and Mary — silent for six decades — is finally ready to tell her story.

Marisa Kanter discusses ‘As If on Cue’ with Becky Albertalli

6 p.m. Friday, September 24

Lifelong rivals Natalie and Reid have never been on the same team. So when their school’s art budget faces cutbacks, of course Natalie finds herself up against her nemesis once more. She’s fighting to direct the school’s first student-written play, but for her small production to get funding, the school’s award-winning band will have to lose it. 

Reid’s band. And he’s got no intention of letting the show go on.

But when their rivalry turns into an all-out prank war that goes too far, Natalie and Reid have to face the music, resulting in the worst compromise: writing and directing a musical. Together. At least if they deliver a sold-out show, the school board will reconsider next year’s band and theater budget. Everyone could win. Except Natalie and Reid.

Because after spending their entire lives in competition, they have absolutely no idea how to be co-anything. And they certainly don’t know how to deal with the feelings that are inexplicably, weirdly, definitely developing between them.

Vroman’s Local Author Day featuring David F. D’Orazi and Vicki Childs 

6 p.m. Monday, September 27

D’Orazi presents ‘The In-Between Artist: The Story of Tony D’Orazi’

The successes and struggles of influential 20th century artist Tony D’Orazi are detailed in this first biography, “The In-Between Artist: The Story of Tony D’Orazi,” from his early years as a child prodigy in Missoula, Montana, to his ascension into an award-winning artist by way of New York City and Chicago and his days working for Disney to ultimately becoming the radio and television personality known as Uncle Tony O’Dare, “the first cartoonist of the air.” Tony’s personal struggles would repeatedly attempt to derail his artistic ambitions, but the art would always find a way to persevere.

Along his ascent, he would also meet his true love, with whom he formed a vaudeville act, which found them entertaining crowds across America.

From there, he became a husband and father of four who constantly struggled to find balance between his roles as a visual artist and family man, all while battling with severe bouts of mental illness.

This is a portrait of an artist and entertainer that also includes later chapters of his life, in which he went on to become a successful salesman and character actor, all while still pursuing his need to create. In the end, despite all these roles he played and the countless hurdles he faced, Tony remained an artist in between. Ultimately, his story proves that no matter what obstacles he faced, his art always found a way.

Vicki Childs presents ‘Rachel’s Butterflies’

What would you need to lose in order to find yourself? Growing up in their elite British private school, three girls became inseparable. Decades later and worlds apart, they’ll soon discover that some bonds last forever.

Liz, an ambitious businesswoman, is beholden to nobody and determined to keep it that way. Emily, a homebody with a countryside cottage, is happy to be surrounded by her family and her crafts. Chrissy, a writer turned Realtor, is living the American dream in sunny Los Angeles. But are their lives as perfect as they seem?

A sudden tragedy reunites the childhood friends, but just as they begin to reconnect, their lives are derailed. Each will be forced to reexamine who they are and make some life-altering decisions. Can they embrace their chance for true happiness, or will they continue to be molded by those around them?

In this compelling tale of struggle and redemption, three women learn that when your world turns upside down it’s your true friends that lead you back home.

6 p.m. Tuesday, September 28

Jay Coles, in conversation
with Dave Connis, discusses
‘Things We Couldn’t Say’

From one of the brightest and most acclaimed new lights in YA fiction, a fantastic new novel about a bi Black boy finding first love — and facing the return of the mother who abandoned his preacher family when he was 9.

There’s always been a hole in Gio’s life. Not because he’s into both guys and girls. Not because his father has some drinking issues. Not because his friends are always bringing him their drama. No, the hole in Gio’s life takes the shape of his birth mom, who left Gio, his brother and his father when Gio was 9 years old. For eight years, he never heard a word from her — and now, just as he’s started to get his life together, she’s back.

It’s hard for Gio to know what to do. Can he forgive her like she wants to be forgiven? Or should he tell her she lost her chance to be in his life? Complicating things further, Gio’s started to hang out with David, a new guy on the basketball team. Are they friends? More than friends? At first, Gio’s not sure — especially because he’s not sure what he wants from anyone now.

Cole shows us a guy trying to navigate love in all its ambiguity — hoping at the other end he’ll be able to figure out who he is and who he should be. 

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