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Christmas gift ideas at local bookstores; a cozy mystery Q&A – Orange County Register


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I’m Erik Pedersen, and I’m editing the cover of the Southern California News Group books that we’re going to start sending to our free books newsletter regularly in 2022, but I didn’t want to wait to start bringing our reading community together with a holiday book, author Q&A, and links to some great stories.

Like you, as the holidays draw near, I am visit our local independent bookstores to sort out the novels or non-fiction that I will give as gifts to others and those that I will give to myself. (I’m currently getting more books than I’m giving away, so I probably need to step up a bit.) Some books I’ve donated or recommended recently include “Underland” by Robert Mcfarlane Maggie Smith’s collection of poetry “Goldenrod” and for that very special reader – again, me – I ordered “The Private Life of William Shakespeare” by scholar Lena Cowen Orlin after reading James Shapiro’s opinion. I love good books on Shakespeare, like “Will in the World” by Stephen Greenblatt or “Shakespeare in a Divided America” ​​by Shapiro, and I owe much of my enthusiasm to Cal Poly Pomona’s teacher, Edward Rocklin. , who learned Shakespeare’s plays absolutely overwhelming experience when I was an undergraduate student.

Today we’ll start with a question-and-answer session with writer Jennifer J. Chow, author of the cozy mystery series Sassy Cat and the upcoming “Death by Bubble Tea”. She recently wrote an article on how Southern California inspires his books, and we asked her about some of her reading experiences. She was kind enough to share them with us:

Q: What is the first book that stood out for you? A: “Charlotte’s Web” had a huge impact on me. He featured strong female characters in Fern and Charlotte. The book inspired my imagination by describing an elaborate fantasy world filled with talking animals. It also taught me empathy as I rooted for Wilbur.

Q: Is there someone – a teacher, parent, librarian, or anyone else – who has had an impact on your reading life?

A: My elementary school teacher, Ms. Okada, encouraged me in all forms of writing. She also gave me my first A + on a mysterious short story.

Q: Do you remember a memorable book experience that you are ready to share?

A: I was browsing the library one May and found a shelf of books in honor of African American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. When I read Dale Furutani’s Samurai series, I realized that the mysteries could actually have Asian protagonists.

Q: What are some of your favorite book covers? A: Blatant promo: I love the cover of the first book of my next mystery series: Death By Bubble Tea, and I really like these artistic covers: “Fifty Words for Rain” by Asha Lemmie, “Miracle Creek” by Angie Kim , “The mountains sing” by Nguyá»…n Phan Quế Mai

Jennifer J. Chow likes the covers of “Fifty Words for Rain” by Asha Lemmie, “Miracle Creek” by Angie Kim, “The Mountains Sing” by Nguyá»…n Phan Quế Mai (Covers courtesy of Dutton, Picador, Algonquin Books)

A virtual book festival

Join us for a virtual BOOKISH event with host Sandra Tsing Loh and guests Susan Orlean, Natashia Deon, B. Natterson-Horowitz, MD and W. Bruce Cameron Date: 12/17/2021 Time: 5 p.m.

How to register: Click here for the event link.


Here are some of the new or recent books recommended by independent booksellers in Southern California for 2021. (Images courtesy of the editors)

Choice of bookseller

We asked booksellers in Southern California for their gift and reading recommendations. READ MORE

Kirthana Ramiseti’s first novel, “Dava Shastri’s Last Day”, is about the legacy of a dying American Indian billionaire. (Photo credit: Sub / Urban Photography / Cover courtesy of Grand Central Publishing)

Billion dollar idea

‘Dava Shastri’s Last Day’ author Kirthana Ramisetti talks about her first novel. READ MORE

Mel Brooks’ new memoir, “All About Me!” arrived on November 30, 2021. (Photo by Jeff Spicer / Getty Images, book art courtesy of PenguinRandomHouse)

A Mel from a book

Comedian Mel Brooks talks about his story-filled memoir “All About Me!” READ MORE

Series “The Baby-Sitters Club” written by Ann M. Martin and published by Scholastic. (Image courtesy of Scholastic)

A childhood favorite returns

Rachel Shukert, who created the Netflix series “The Baby-Sitters Club,” picks her favorite books from the series. READ MORE


Animals + books = happiness.

This dog loved a good book almost as much as a comfortable sofa. (Photo by Erik Pedersen)

And the last word? Well, let’s give this to this sweet dog who loved a good book. Please feel free to share your book loving pets, questions and comments with me by sending a note to [email protected]


Margarita W. Wilson

The author Margarita W. Wilson