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Support your local writers during the holidays

December 3, 2000
Elisabeth Sherwin -- gizmo@ dcn.davis.ca.us

If you decide to give a book to someone for the holidays this year, think locally.

Northern California is filled with writers. For an overview, you might first look at volume one in "The Literature of California" edited by Jack Hicks, James D. Houston, Maxine Hong Kingston and Al Young. This book gathers the best examples of the state's literature. It's edited by a Chinese-American woman, an African-American man, and two Anglo scholars with roots in the proletariat. The first volume covers California writing from 1510 to 1944.

Kingston lives in the Oakland Hills. She is working on a novel titled "The Fifth Book of Peace." Al Young lives in Berkeley where he is working on a novel called "A Piece of Cake." The latest book by Jim Houston of Santa Cruz, "Snow Mountain Passage," will be out in March. Watch for a Sacramento publication party to be co-hosted by state Librarian Kevin Starr in mid-January. And don't forget Nevada City poet Molly Fisk. Her most recent book of poetry is "Terrain," which came about when she decided to undertake a project with two of her writing buddies, Oakland poet Forrest Hamer and San Francisco poet Dan Bellm.

"So we decided to do a collaborative chapbook and after a little procrastinating, each of us came up with about 20 poems. Somehow the job fell to me to put it together, I think because I had just done an anthology of kid's poems for California Poets in the Schools," she said. "The poems in the book are not arranged into three little sections, one for each of us, but rather scattered together, so when we do readings from it, we all read alternately, making the event a little more like a chamber music concert than a standard poetry reading." You can order "Terrain" from Hip Pocket Press at (415) 626-2946. Watch for an announcement of Fisk's appearance on "Printed Matter on the Air" on KDVS 90.3 FM early in the new year.

If you want to support a struggling writer and the First Amendment at the same time, Robert Clark Young's book "One of the Guys" is now out in paperback. Buy it and make the conservatives mad.

The former publisher of Suttertown News, Tim Holt, was delighted when The Next Chapter in Woodland ordered 20 copies of his sci-fi future history, "On Higher Ground," and sold eight copies before his reading there last fall. He also wrote a young adult novel about a dog that joins a wolf pack. He hopes kids will identify with "The Pilgrims' Chorus" and the book's adventurous central character. Both books are available from Suttertown Publishing at (530) 235-4034. Holt also has promised to drive down from Dunsmuir to appear on KDVS radio.

Sean Stewart is new to Davis but not to publishing. This science fiction writer's work is frequently picked by the New York Times as "notable," high praise, well deserved. Check out "Mockingbird" or "Galveston."

Sands Hall of Nevada City, the daughter of writer/teacher Oakley Hall, has written her first novel, "Catching Heaven" (Ballantine Books, $25,2000). She will be on KDVS on Dec. 11 at 5 p.m. Her literary novel is set in the Southwest and involves two sisters, Maud and Lizzie. Maud flees her life as a relatively unsuccessful actor in L.A. for the small town of Marengo, where her sister and three children live.

Three more books, two by former Davis residents, one by a current resident, also have recently been published.

"Road Trip USA: California and the Southwest" is the work of Jamie Jensen who lives on Radcliffe Drive in Davis. The book covers 10,000 miles of scenic and historic highway over California and points of interest. (That reminds me of Bill Roe's book "All the Way to Lincoln Way" on the historic Lincoln Highway, which would also make an excellent holiday gift.) Eric Paul Shaffer, who graduated from UC Davis and now lives in Hawaii, has published a collection of poems in "Portable Planet" (available at www.leapingdogpress.com).

"There is more good news," Shaffer said in a recent email. "Leaping Dog Press will publish 'Living at the Monastery, Working in the Kitchen,' my fourth book of poetry, in 2001. These are poems in the voice of a cantankerous, old Taoist-Buddhist monk in 7th century China."

Another former Davis resident, Tim Rundquist, has published (www.iuniverse.com) "How Heavy is the Mountain," an Alaskan tour manual/novel. He lives in Minnesota but spent eight seasons as a professional tour guide in Alaska. You'll read more about him later, but check out his book now.

And enjoy the holidays.

To inquire about ordering any of the above mentioned books from an independent bookstore,
Bogey's Books at discounted prices [ Click Here ]

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