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Clark's Staff Picks


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Clark is the Chief Financial Officer 

Clark spends most of his work hours dealing with insurance, accounting, banking and computer stuff
so you won’t see him on the sales floor that often. 
He first started at Vroman’s as a bookseller in the Arcadia store in the Santa Anita mall over 20 years ago. 
He likes most anything on Star Wars and enjoys books related to history. He also loves playing games, including many that we have at Vroman’s.
SKU: 3558380021537
Availability: On Our Shelves Now

Splendor is my favorite new game of 2014! It is a faced paced game for 2-4 players and can be very addictive. The game plays in about 30 minutes and is beautifully crafted with chips that represent gems. Players are merchants of the Renaissane dealing in gems and they use the gems to buy gem mines, transportation and shops, all of which increase the player's prestige. The player who reaches 15 prestige points the fastest wins. This will make an Awesome gift. 

Under the Lilacs Cover Image
ISBN: 9780358153931
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - March 3rd, 2020

I love lilacs, so when I saw this picture book I had to pick it up and read it. The author crafted a beautiful story of a young girl who feels left out and alone. The girl uses her creativity to assuage her boredom by going outdoors and building something. Her creativity draws those that were too busy for her into her new imagined world. This is a perfect book for a child who sometimes feels lonely and separated when their family is busy with other things. There is power in creativity.

Master & Apprentice (Star Wars) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525619376
Availability: Usually arrives at our store within 4-7 days
Published: Del Rey - April 16th, 2019

What pivotal things happened between Qui-Gon & Obi-Wan in the years preceding The Phantom Menace? Claudia Gray's story helps answer that question and so much more. Qui-Gon and his padawan are sent to a remote planet to help another Jedi solve a mystery. In the process Qui-Gon must face his past obsession with the Jedi prophesies and lingering issues with his own master, Count Dooku. The book gives Star Wars fans a new base for Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan's relationship. I love it.

The Nest Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062414229
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - April 4th, 2017

I loved this book and couldn’t put it down. The story is set around the four siblings of the Plumb family and their connection to a trust fund dubbed the Nest. The author weaves a compelling tale of the lives of the Plumbs and everyone around them as they deal with the aftermath of the trust fund’s depletion because of the folly of the eldest sibling. Sibling bonds, lifestyle choices, destructive behaviors, dysfunction and codependency are scattered throughout the book and paint vivid characters that are believable and slowly grow on you. I highly recommend this intense story.

Vader’s Little Princess: (Star Wars Kids Book, Star Wars Children’s Book, Geek Dad Books) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781452118697
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Chronicle Books - April 23rd, 2013

Jeffrey Brown’s second Star Wars themed book is an amazing little book full of great illustrations depicting Darth Vader parenting a young Princess Leia. Every page brought a smile to my face. From illustrations of Leia critiquing the Death Star trash compactor to Leia introducing Vader to Han for the first time. This would be a great gift for any Star Wars fan and particularly good for dads of all ages. I was overjoyed to get my copy and tell as many people as possible about the book.

Beautiful Assassin: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061691225
Availability: Usually arrives at our store within 4-7 days
Published: Harper Perennial - March 22nd, 2011

Tat’yana Levchenko is not just any sniper in the Soviet army during World War II she is the best sniper. Her story is one of a mother’s love and the struggle to find someone to love. She champions women’s equality and shows the world the strength of Russian women. Tat’yana befriends Eleanor Roosevelt, but becomes embroiled in a Soviet plot to blackmail the first lady. Michael White paints a picture of a woman recovering from loss, finding love and escaping the forces around her that are out of control; her story is heart wrenching at times, but inspiring for what one woman can do.

The Night Circus Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307744432
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - July 3rd, 2012

One word—Magical. I really enjoyed this first novel. The time period, characters, and setting enveloped me. This is a story of two young illusionists who are pitted against one another by their respective teachers. The venue for this contest of endurance and skill is a circus, which is both unusual and amazing as the two illusionists make it something remarkable. Falling in love was not part of the contest, but they do fall in love while being mesmerized by each other’s creations. I enjoyed every moment of it.

Also available on audio

Star Wars®: The Jedi Path Cover Image
ISBN: 9781452102276
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Chronicle Books - September 7th, 2011

This is an amazing book. Actually it’s more than a book, it is an heirloom that has been passed down over the years from one Jedi to another. It is a manual for students of the Force. Every Star Wars fan from young to old should have this. It is a nicely bound book with great illustrations and contains notations from Yoda, Anakin, Obi-Wan and Luke, just to name a few. This makes the perfect gift for the Jedi in your life. I absolutely love it.

Big Red Barn Board Book Cover Image
By Margaret Wise Brown, Felicia Bond (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780694006243
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - January 6th, 1995

My family was given this classic board book as a gift from a friend who reminisced about reading the book to her young children. We fell in love with it immediately and it continues to be a favorite at bedtime, well beyond the board book years. The singsong of the words is like a lullaby. I personally liked how the illustrator created the marvelous image of a sailboat next to the reflection of the moon which pairs so well with the author’s words. It is so subtle, but yet fits perfectly with the story.

The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris Cover Image
ISBN: 9781442344181
Availability: Usually arrives at our store within 4-7 days
Published: Simon & Schuster Audio - May 24th, 2011

McCullough’s 17-hour audio book took me on a journey to Paris. I love American history, but this was something a bit different covering Americans in Paris from 1830 to 1900. It transformed my thinking about what it must have been like to travel or live in France as an American in this volatile period in French history. I learned so much about a broad cross section of artists, doctors, writers, politicians and architects and their profound impact on America from their experiences. I really enjoyed this book.

Hug Cover Image
By Jez Alborough, Jez Alborough (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780763615765
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick - November 12th, 2001

What a wonderful little book. With few words other than “hug” in the book, the illustrations tell the story. When reading this to my son, I find myself using different inflections that correspond to how Bobo, the star of the book, appears to feel. My son seems to enjoy it and responds to each inflection with a sigh. Bobo’s emotional cries for a hug remind me how important it is to give that little hug even when you are not even being asked for one. This is a great little book for a two to four year old.

The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst, and the Rush to Empire, 1898 Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316004121
Availability: Usually arrives at our store within 4-7 days
Published: Back Bay Books - May 16th, 2011

This is an insightful account of the people and conditions that lead to the Spanish American War of 1898. Thomas does an amazing job of connecting the five protagonists in his story. Although much of the book centers around Teddy Roosevelt and his eventual ascension to the Presidency, the other four main historical figures are prominently portrayed for their stance on imperialism in the 1890’s. I really enjoyed Evan’s account of this critical time in American history.

Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown Cover Image
This item is not available.
ISBN: 9780762440726
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Running Press Kids - March 8th, 2011

My family loves the Peanuts, but my most favorite character in the series is Linus and his blanket. This fun colorful storybook was a welcome addition to our family library. Linus fends off his sister, Snoopy and his grandmother to save his blue blanket. What could be better? Have you even envisioned Linus’ blanket as a kite, well you’ll find that in this adorable book and be rewarded with a happy smile after reading it.

The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143119609
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - April 26th, 2011

Philbrick’s faithfully researched book on The Battle of the Little Bighorn, George Custer and Sitting Bull was a rewarding read for the history buff in me. I enjoyed it immensely and highly recommend this to those interested in history especially those who don’t know much about the period of the late 1800’s in the American old west. The author’s account is through a very wide lens, but that made it a wonderful account of the battle at what lead to it.

Also available as an audio book.

DogFish Cover Image
By Gillian Shields, Dan Taylor (Illustrator)
This item is not available.
ISBN: 9781416971276
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - November 25th, 2008

I highly recommend this beautifully illustrated and fun to read picture book, which was published in November 2008. I love reading this story to my almost three-year old son. The illustrations of the boy remind me of him and they are fun for both of us. The story is about a boy who wants a dog, but can’t have one and learns to love what he has, a fish. The illustrator is Dan Taylor and this is his first book.

Outcast: Star Wars Legends (Fate of the Jedi) (Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi - Legends #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345509079
Availability: Backordered
Published: Del Rey - April 27th, 2010

This brilliant nine book series is set two years after the events of the Legacy of the Force series (which is set 40+ years after Star Wars A New Hope). The books are wonderfully true to the Star Wars universe and although there are lots of new characters, Luke, Leia and Han are still dramatically present. The series follows multiple plot lines that intertwine but all revolve around the Jedi Order struggling against the government, the fallout from Jedi Jacen Solo's fall to the dark side, and a new Sith order that has come to light. This series is a must read for Star Wars fans.

The series in order:
#1 Outcast by Aaron Allston
#2 Omen by Christie Golden
#3 Abyss by Troy Denning
#4 Backlash by Aaron Allston
#5 Allies by Christie Golden
#6 Vortex by Troy Denning
#7 Conviction by Aaron Allston
#8 Ascension by Christine Golden
#9 Apocalypse by Troy Denning


The Guy's Guide to Surviving Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the First Year of Fatherhood Cover Image
ISBN: 9780738210278
Availability: Usually arrives at our store within 4-7 days
Published: Da Capo Lifelong Books - May 11th, 2005

This is a very funny book, giving fatherhood advice without actually giving a lot of advice. The author writes about his experience as a first time father. Although I read it after my second son was born, instead of while my wife was pregnant or after my first son was born, I still found it fun to read and it made me laugh throughout. Although I didn’t agree with everything Crider said about fatherhood, I thought it was a great way to bond with another recent father over the tough things about becoming a parent.

Clara and Mr. Tiffany: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812980189
Availability: Backordered
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - March 20th, 2012

Clara Driscoll comes to life in this historical novel set in New York City between the 1890’s and 1908. The story, which is based on letters written by the real Clara to her family in Ohio, wrapped me in the world of leaded glass during the heyday of Tiffany lamp creation. Clara is a woman of creativity who plants herself in the realm of working men, when women were not seen as equals. I found the author’s work a rare glimpse into the striking contrast of life at the turn of the last century.

Also available as an audio book.

Invincible: Star Wars Legends (Legacy of the Force) (Star Wars: Legacy of the Force - Legends #9) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345477477
Availability: Usually arrives at our store within 4-7 days
Published: Del Rey - December 30th, 2008

This series of 9 books has re-energized my love of George Lucas’ world.  The series starts about 40 “standard” years after Star Wars: A New Hope.  Although some wonderful characters from Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi have passed on during the 40 years, the main focus of the series is Luke, Leia, Han and their families.  I listened to the audio books and I loved every moment that I spent with the series.  The books are not as light as the first three movies were.  They are darker and similar to the prequel movies (Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith), but it is a wonderful series and can’t be missed by any Star Wars enthusiast.  You definitely need to have read or watched the six movies to have a good base for this series, but who hasn’t seen the six Star Wars movies?  Anyway, I strongly recommend these books on either audio or in print; they are listed below in order:

#1 Betrayal
#2 Bloodlines
#3 Tempest
#4 Exile
#5 Sacrifice
#6 Inferno
#7 Fury
#8 Revelation
#9 Invincible

Invincible is also available as an audio book.

The Force Unleashed: Star Wars Legends (Star Wars - Legends) Cover Image
This item is not available.
ISBN: 9780345502858
Availability: Not Available
Published: Del Rey - August 25th, 2009

Set two years before Star Wars:  A New Hope, this book should be read by every Star Wars fan.  The book tells a brilliant tale of one of Darth Vader's apprentices and how the Rebel Alliance was started.

Also available as an audio book.

SKU: 824968717912

This is a wonderful railway themed board game, which won the prestigious Spiel des Jahres (German for Game of the Year) award in 2004 for excellence in game design. The game is beautifully designed and easy to play. It plays 2-5 players in about 45-60 minutes, for ages 8 and up. Ticket to Ride is a personal favorite of mine for friends and family on game night and I highly recommend getting a copy. I love the added bonus of helping players remember geography.

Mayflower: Voyage, Community, War Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143111979
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - April 24th, 2007

This book is the fascinating story of the Mayflower voyage and the first 50 years of Plymouth Colony. The history of the Mayflower and Plymouth are often idealized, but Philbrick’s account based on extensive research, paints the early settlers and their descendents in more realistic light. Everything you ever needed to know about the Pilgrims and more.

Also available as an audio book.

Bunny's Noisy Book Cover Image
By Margaret Wise Brown, Lisa McCue (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780786807444
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - February 1st, 2002

I have been reading this wonderful board book to my son since he was one year old. The illustrations are fabulous with brilliant colors of spring including lilac, columbine and ladybugs. The story is fun because it can be interactive. For example, when the bunny yawns, my son and I yawn. When the bunny stretches, we stretch. Although the publisher recommends it for ages 4-8 years old, I found it to be great starting at 1 year old.

Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe Cover Image
This item is not available.
ISBN: 9780060936389
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - November 2nd, 2004

This is a wonderful account of the 16th century journey around the world led by Magellan. This is really worth reading for those interested in basic world history or specifically the Age of Discovery.

Also available as an audio book.

Girl in Hyacinth Blue Cover Image
ISBN: 9780140296280
Availability: Backordered
Published: Penguin Books - October 1st, 2000

This is a captivating novel.  It tells the tale of eight individuals touched by a lost and unknown Vermeer painting.  The story moves backward in time from present day to the 17th century, and each character has a remarkable tale.  The author did a wonderful job detailing each part of the story from a different point of view.  Vreeland’s book is absolutely captivating and wonderfully told.

Also available as an audio book.

Last Night in Twisted River: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345479730
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - June 15th, 2010

At many times the story brought me to tears. John Irving’s storytelling is complex and many of his characters are richly developed, I now know some of them better than some of my friends. Like many Irving books, the story takes some wild turns and I am in awe at how he can create such a remarkable story. I was captivated through most of the book as he told the tale of three people who cope through the overwhelming accidents of life. A must for Irving fans.

Also available as an audio book.

Soul Catcher: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061340734
Availability: Usually arrives at our store within 4-7 days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - September 2nd, 2008

This pre-Civil War novel about the life of a slave catcher was riveting and thought-provoking. Although the subject is not for the faint of heart, the story left me with a profound feeling that some of the best stories are the ones that are hard to hear. I was touched by the emotion of the two main characters & how life would have been during a very dark time.

Also available as an audio book.

SKU: 655132001700

I love this game and have for years. It was the winner of multiple awards including the 2001 Game of the Year in Germany. It is great for 2-5 players and for ages 8 and up. I especially like playing it as a 2-player game with my wife. It is a tile placement game where each player draws a tile and decides where to place it to build roads, cities or farmland. Then by using your own supplies of meeples you claim roads, cities or farmland to score points. I have personally played this game dozens of times and every time you play it is different and enjoyable.

Darth Vader and Son (Star Wars Comics for Father and Son, Darth Vader Comic for Star Wars Kids) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781452106557
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Chronicle Books - April 18th, 2012

This is best humor book I have seen in a really long time. Have you ever imagined how good of a father Darth Vader would have been to Luke? Jeffrey Brown has the answers all wrapped up in this little book. From Luke splashing in puddles on Dagobah to Darth Vader reading a Darth Maul storybook to Luke. I am a big Star Wars fan and the illustrations and humor won me over in a moment. This would make a great Father’s Day gift or a gift for any Star Wars fan of any age. I loved it.

Staff Pick Badge
Star Wars: Jedi Academy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780545505178
Availability: Usually arrives at our store within 4-7 days
Published: Scholastic Inc. - August 27th, 2013

My son and I had a blast with this book. Jeffrey Brown introduces us to Roan, a middle grade student who wanted to go to pilot academy, but instead is “stuck” with the Jedi academy instead. The book feels like a mix between Dairy of a Wimpy Kid and Harry Potter, set in the Star Wars universe. The story is part comic book and part journal and tells of Roan’s 1st year at the academy with all the ups and downs of a new kid at a new school. It is a very cool combination with fun illustrations and would be excellent for any 8-12 year old, especially any Star Wars fan.

Lisette's List: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812980196
Availability: Backordered
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - June 23rd, 2015

I loved this book! Susan Vreeland’s ability to mix art with incredibly vibrant characters tugged at my emotions. Set in rural France between 1937 and 1948, the book captures Litsette’s struggle to leave Paris, the city she loves, and move to rural Provence to take care of her husband’s dying grandfather, Pascal, on the verge of World War II. The story takes incredible turns as Lisette adapts to life in a small village and everything that comes along with it during a period of war and occupation. Like all Vreeland novels, art plays a powerful role and in this one lose plays a central character. Lisette learns the stories behind Pascal’s art collection, only to lose the collection during the war. The story follows her longing to find the painting and discovering herself and her love of art along the way.

Bloodline (Star Wars) Cover Image
By Claudia Gray, January LaVoy (Read by)
This item is not available.
ISBN: 9780451486080
Availability: Not Available
Published: Random House Audio - May 3rd, 2016

This book is amazing. What happened between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens? Well this book helps fill in some of the timeline. Bloodline is the compelling story of the events leading up to Princess Leia founding the Resistance. It includes familiar characters from the past (Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) as well as characters from The Force Awakens. The story is packed with Princess Leia in action. I highly recommend this to any Star Wars fan.

Vernon Downs Cover Image
ISBN: 9781448214259
Availability: Usually arrives at our store within 4-7 days
Published: Bloomsbury Reader - August 27th, 2015

This is a deep and haunting look at a young man trying to find himself among the chaos of a life damaged by the lack of family and permanence. The story opens with Charlie trying to find a way to impress his college girlfriend by attempting to take her to lunch with her favorite author. Down the rabbit hole he goes on a wild obsessive adventure into the author’s life along the path Charlie tries to examine his own patch worked life without any permanence. I struggled to like Charlie throughout the novel while he meandered through his crazy exploits to impersonate the author, but around every twist of the wild ride, Charlie continues to try and find himself and figure out how to adapt to the lack of permanence in his life.