L.A. book events: Explorations of Oaxacan cooking and the jungle for the adventurous reader

Adrienne Brodeur
(Julia Cumes)

This week’s book events take us into the wilds — of the heart, of California, of Oaxacan cooking and the jungle. Throw a dash of astrology in there and voila: It’s a slate of readings for the adventurous.

Want to really play with destiny? Try squeezing into sold-out events with Hillary and Chelsea Clinton (Wilshire Ebell Theatre on Tuesday), and Ann Patchett (All Saint’s Church in Pasadena on Tuesday), if you dare. If not, there’s plenty else on offer:

Holy mole

Jonathan Gold, food critic for the Los Angeles Times and Pulitzer Prize winner, called Guelaguetza, the mole mecca on Olympic Boulevard since 1994, “the best Oaxacan restaurant in the country.” Bricia Lopez, one of the Guelaguetza chefs who has taken over the family restaurant with her siblings, has released her first beautifully designed cookbook, “Oaxaca: Home Cooking From the Heart of Mexico.” At Vroman’s, she’ll be in conversation with food writer Javier Cabral (L.A. Taco) and chef Carlos Salgado (Taco Maria).


3 p.m. Sunday. Vromans, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. Free.

Wild at heart

Huge buzz precedes “Wild Game,” a memoir that was bought in a heated auction between several U.S. publishers, and for good reason: The story is jaw-droppingly lurid. Adrienne Brodeur, age 14, was enlisted by her narcissistic but charismatic mother, Malabar, to help enable an affair she was having with her husband’s best friend, Ben. The affair lasted for years, and the situation got even more tangled when Adrienne married, wait for it, Ben’s son. The title comes from a cookbook that Malabar and Ben, a chef and a hunter, respectively, were going to write together. Brodeur, who founded Zoetrope with Francis Ford Coppola, will share more details of love and betrayal at Vroman’s.

8 p.m. Monday. Vromans, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. Free.


Written in the stars

What happens when two fire sign poets bond over their love for astrology? A Twitter account is born, and then a book: “Astro Poets: Your Guides to the Zodiac.” Alex Dimitrov (Sagittarius) and Dorothea Lasky (Aries) apply their trademark literary touch to their first primer, which probes such pressing matters as how Beyoncé is a classic Virgo and whether anyone can expect a late-night sexting Scorpio to ever commit (short answer: no). Dimitrov and Lasky will be joined by fellow stargazer-poet Melissa Broder, author of the essay collection “So Sad Today.”

7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles Free.

Hot on the trail


Wildlife activist Boyd Varty’s experiences as a lion tracker have led him through the South African wilderness to the TED stage and finally to Book Soup, where he will discuss his memoir, “The Lion Tracker’s Guide to Life.” Growing up with lions, leopards, snakes and elephants on the Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa, Varty will share wisdom gained from his non-human family with the book-reading members of the animal kingdom.

7 p.m. Wednesday. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. Free.

On the ‘Royal Road’

In order to understand his native California, writer Nick Neeley walked 650 miles along part of El Camino Real. The “Royal Road” from San Diego to San Francisco was traversed by Spanish explorers in 1769, an expedition Neeley kept pace with for 12 weeks nearly 250 years later. Neeley will discuss his “Alta California,” a collage of history, chance encounters and personal reflection, with environmental journalist Dean Kuipers, author of “The Deer Camp,” a memoir about his late father’s relationship to his sons and his rural Michigan land.


7 p.m. Wednesday. Chevalier’s Books, 126 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles Free.