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SD HORT BOOK CLUB: September Reading And Bookish Memories

By Karen England for Let's Talk Plants! September 2021.

As I told the SD Hort Book club members recently in a book club newsletter -

"My love of books and reading comes from my parents and my upbringing. As a child, we lived in Sierra Madre, California, a burg happily nestled in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles County, a town so quaint and Mayberry-like that its proximity to Hollywood, as well as its quintessential and ubiquitous small town America good looks have landed (and still lands) the city in film after film. Filming - Sierra Madre ( Although the town’s film history is a fun fact, it is its location next to Pasadena that looms important to me and my life. My father was in a master’s program at Cal State LA when I was quite young before switching horses mid master’s programs stream and attending Fuller Seminary in Pasadena. We didn’t have a babysitter so I had the joy of spending time with my father as he went back and forth to school and did research and studied. Libraries, bookstores and lunch made up the bulk of our time together. We went to Vroman’s Bookstore on Colorado Blvd. often, as well as to nearby used bookstores and another called Broughton’s. On our Pasadena book outings, we always ate at In-N-Out Burger nearby, which, it turns out, is the oldest existing In-N-Out restaurant. You’ll see this fact is also rather important in my life when I tell you that my Encinitas wedding reception in 1989 was catered by the newly developed In-N-Out food truck!

Above: September 1989 - That’s me and my hubby arriving at our Encinitas reception where the In-N-Out truck was setting up. We came from the ceremony, which was at the Methodist Church down the street, in his grandmother’s Pink 1957 Buick Convertible, the same car that brought my husband home from the hospital when he was born. (Things have changed a lot since back then when the closest In-N-Out was in San Juan Capistrano. Today there is an In-N-Out restaurant by the church, in the old Del Taco, on Encinitas Blvd.)

I always go to Vroman’s when I’m in or near Pasadena to this day. Many times, I eat at In-N-Out as well because it seems only right. . .

The pandemic has opened up the world for us digitally (Incredibly, I can virtually attend cooking school in Ireland with my former cooking teacher!) and I can now attend live author events at my beloved Vroman’s without leaving home. I thought you might like to know about Vroman’s, “Southern California’s Oldest and Largest Independent Bookstore”, if you didn’t already, and its online offerings."

Vroman’s Bookstore Live Author events on Crowdcast. | Vroman's Bookstore (

Thanks for reading along,



Book Report -

On August 30th the SD Hort Book Club discussed Stephen Ambrose's book Undaunted Courage.

It was a lively and wonderful discussion about so many things in the book that are pertinent to today. Things like racism, slavery, sexism, mental illness, epidemics, vaccinations, scientific discovery of flora and fauna, cottonwood trees, and more.

Beyond its historical significance, Undaunted Courage is a story of a great and exciting adventure, the greatest expedition ever undertaken in the history of America. Ambrose gives an unbiased account of Meriwether Lewis and the opening of the American west.

If you missed it, I'm sorry. We unanimously gave it two thumbs up! 👍 👍

Don't miss the next meeting! Anyone can join the SD Hort Book Club by simply sending an email to with "Book Club" in the subject line. It's free and open to all.


Next book - September 27, 2021 at 5 pm on Zoom.

Meeting info and Zoom links are emailed to book club members only, and not the whole SDHS membership. Want to get the info and links? send an email to

Around The World In 80 Plants by Jonathan Drori


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