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March 15, 2023 @ 7:00 pm8:00 pm

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 Penny is a virtuoso at what’s possible when all else fails.

Elizabeth McKenzie, beloved novelist of California and its idiosyncrasies, follows Penny on her quest for a fresh start. There will be a road trip in the Dog of the North, an old van with gingham curtains, a piñata, and stiff brakes. There will be injury and peril. There will be a dog named Kweecoats and two brothers who may share a toupee. There will be questions: Why is a detective investigating her grandmother, and what is “the scintillator”? And can Penny recognize a good thing when it finally comes her way?

This slyly humorous, thoroughly winsome novel finds the purpose in life’s curveballs, insisting that even when we are painfully warped by those we love most, we can be brought closer to our truest selves. (Penguin Press)


In award-winning legal scholar and novelist Yxta Maya 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 US 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.

God Went Like That takes the form of an EPA report in which Reyna presents riveting interviews with individuals affected by the disasters. With imagination and artistry, Murray brings to life an actual 2011 Department of Energy dossier that detailed the catastrophes and the ensuing public health fallout and highlights the high costs of governmental malfeasance and environmental racism. (Curbstone Press)

Event date:
Wednesday, March 15, 2023 – 7:00pm
Event address:
695 E. Colorado St.
PasadenaCA 91101

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