Book of the Year

College of the Redwoods proudly presents our 
2018/19 Book of the Year choice.

The Madonnas of Echo Park by Brando Skyhorse

About the Author

Skyhorse’s debut novel, The Madonnas of Echo Park (Simon & Schuster, 2010), received the 2011 PEN/Hemingway Award, and the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The book was also a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick. Take This Man: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster, 2014) was an Amazon Best Book of the Month selection and named by Kirkus Reviews as one the Best Nonfiction Books of the year. Skyhorse has also co-edited an anthology, We Wear The Mask: 15 Stories About Passing in America (Beacon Press, 2017). He has been awarded fellowships at Ucross Foundation and the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference. Skyhorse is an Associate Professor of English at Indiana University in Bloomington.



(From Amazon ):
The Madonnas of Echo Park is both a grand mural of a Los Angeles neighborhood and an intimate glimpse into the lives of the men and women who struggle to lose their ethnic identity in the pursuit of the American dream. Each chapter summons a different voice: poetic, fierce, comic. We meet Hector, a day-laborer who trolls the streets for work and witnesses a murder that pits his morality against his illegal status; his ex-wife Felicia, who narrowly survives a shooting and lands a cleaning job in a Hollywood Hills house as desolate as its owner; and young Aurora, who journeys through her now gentrified childhood neighborhood to discover her own history and her place in the land that all Mexican-Americans dream of, “the land that belongs to us again.”

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Mission Statement

The Book of the Year Program encourages reading and discussion among students, staff, and community members.  Whether fiction or nonfiction, books are chosen to serve as stepping stones to more books and more discussion by introducing compelling voices that help to illuminate aspects of our world which may be unfamiliar.  Books are also chosen to help augment themes, concepts, or actions that are relevant to the diversity of courses and programs at the college.  Our ideal book is one that cannot be put down, one whose characters, places, and events linger in the reader's mind long after the last page has been read.

Committee Members

David Holper, Chair

  • Wendy Butler 
  • Ana Kolpin
  • Dana Maher
  • Will Meriwether
  • Shannon Mondor
  • April Klingonsmith
  • Robyn Roberson
  • Penelope Schwartz

It is the policy of College of the Redwoods not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its educational programs and its employment practices.

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