The Boulevard Sentinel pick for St. Patrick’s Day is Maureen O’Carroll: A Musical Memoir of an Irish Immigrant Childhood, which O’Carroll co-wrote with her daughter, Leora O’Carroll, an L.A.-based writer and musician.

Connecting NELA Writers and NELA Readers

2019 Editions Front Page March More News Picks
Picks from the people who bring you the Boulevard Sentinel

While most of us were doing whatever it is we do with our lives, some of our NELA neighbors were writing and editing books. Here’s a rundown, including events where you can meet the authors.

Maureen O’Carroll: A Musical Memoir of an Irish Immigrant Childhood

The Boulevard Sentinel pick for St. Patrick’s Day is Maureen O’Carroll: A Musical Memoir of an Irish Immigrant Childhood, which O’Carroll co-wrote with her daughter, Leora O’Carroll, an L.A.-based writer and musician.

Maureen O’Carroll grew up during the Depression and World War II in a large, poor, quirky family in Sydney, Australia. Her parents had left Ireland in 1930, after years of periodic imprisonment for their involvement in Ireland’s fight for independence from Britain.

Her mother was May Gahan O’Carroll, an honored participant in the 1916 Irish Uprising, who helped support the family by fortune telling. Her father, John O’Carroll, opened a barbershop in their home that became a hub for locals.

O’Carroll’s life story is infused with Irish history, politics, Catholicism, humor and hardship. But the defining theme is music. Her parents, convinced that music could be a path out of poverty, encouraged O’Carroll and her nine siblings to practice and play; all 10 of them became musicians. O’Carroll, who died in 2012, was an acclaimed cellist who played in orchestras around the world.

She was also true to her roots, even as her experiences took her far from her origins. Once, during a concert with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, she refused to play Rule Britannia. She put down her cello, walked off the stage and didn’t return until the piece ended.

The Lady from the Black Lagoon:  Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick

This is the first book by Mallory O’Meara, a NELA-based screenwriter, producer and co-host of the podcast, Reading Glasses.

O’Meara’s subject, Milicent Patrick, was the make-up and special effects designer who created Gill-man, a.k.a. the Creature from the Black Lagoon, in the 1954 movie of the same name.

Gill-man was the premier movie monster of his day and Patrick, who was also an actor and an animator, was the trailblazer who made him what he was. 

O’Meara will present her book at The Last Bookstore / 453 S. Spring St / Downtown / Tuesday, March 5 / 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. / Ticket price, $26, includes the book


Husbands That Cook

This cookbook by Ryan Alvarez and Adam Merrin, of Eagle Rock, started out the way many good meals do — with a food-is-love desire to cook, share and entertain. 

In 2015, Alvarez and Merrin started a recipe-and-storytelling blog as a way to communicate with family and friends who were always asking for their recipes. In 2016, the blog was a finalist in the blog awards by Saveur, the food magazine. That led to a book deal and to Husbands That Cook, which will be in book stores on Mar. 12.

The recipes reflect the lives of Alvarez, an actor, and Merrin, a composer. There are Cuban dishes, like Yuca con Mojo, from Alvarez’s childhood. There are recipes from the couple’s travels and their at-home experiments, which Merrin credits with transforming him into someone who loves to cook. Every recipe comes with a story – about their relationship, families, neighborhood and the small house with the big yard where they grow most of their food.

Alvarez and Merrin will sign books at Barnes and Noble at the Grove (189 The Grove Drive, near the L.A Farmers Market) on Saturday, Mar. 9 and at the Eagle Rockdale Community Garden (1003 Rockdale Ave.) on Saturday, Mar. 30 and Sunday, Mar. 31, during the garden’s annual seedling sale. For more information and to pre-order the book, visit

An Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles

From its first edition in 1965, An Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles has been the bible of built L.A., critiquing the buildings that delight, fascinate and confound Angelenos.

The new 6th edition has been edited with wit, expertise and some 200 new entries by Robert Inman, of Eagle Rock. Inman, the author of Finding Los Angeles by Foot and other books, collaborated on the 6th edition with his longtime mentor, Robert W. Winter, the architectural historian who co-wrote the original Guidebook. (Winter, a professor emeritus at Occidental, died recently at 94.)

Inman has many book events near NELA this month, including: Los Feliz Branch Library / 1874 Hillhurst Ave / Thursday, Mar. 14 / 6:45 p.m. / For a full list, click here.  


Dear Seller: Real Estate Love Letter from Los Angeles

The longing for a home of one’s own is on display in Dear Seller: Real Estate Love Letters from Los Angeles, published by Narrated Objects and edited by Teena Apeles, who is also an editor at Design Studio Press, the art book publisher in Eagle Rock.

Dear Seller
features letters written by prospective homebuyers to home sellers in L.A., including in Highland Park, Glassell Park and Eagle Rock. The letter writers know they won’t be the top bidder, so they focus on other issues: Their love for the house, their backgrounds, values and hopes.

The letter writers are going for the prize, but not by talking money. What emerges is a definition of “home.”

In addition to its emotional depth, the book is visually stunning, with more than 100 images of the homes the letter writers fell for.

Taking Back the Boulevard: Art, Activism, and Gentrification in Los Angeles

Jan Lin, a sociology professor at Occidental College, will discuss his new book, Taking Back the Boulevard: Art, Activism, and Gentrification in Los Angeles, on March 19 at the Center for the Arts Eagle Rock.

The book tells the story of Highland Park and Eagle Rock, including interviews with the artists, activists and leaders who have shaped Northeast L.A. during decades of disinvestment, revitalization and now, gentrification.

“The book – a careful, respectful, insightful work – also has elements of memoir and oral history, of good memories recalled, but also expressions of regret and puzzlement,” wrote the Boulevard Sentinel in a review.

Autographed copies of the book will be for sale at the event, which is sponsored by the Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society / Center for the Arts / 2225 Colorado Blvd. / Tuesday, Mar. 19/ 7p.m. to 9p.m. / Free