Hemp, birds, and the alimentary canal—oh my! Bookshop Santa Cruz rolls out a slew of noteworthy book events
Bookshop Santa Cruz will be teeming with activity this April, as more than a dozen renowned authors are scheduled to stop by in promotion of their latest books. From poetry, to short stories, to nail-biting novels, to informative nonfiction, there’s an author event for every reader to enjoy.
Take a look:
Mary Roach, “Gulp”
Without curly orange hair, a magical school bus, and a name like “Ms. Frizzle,” you’d be hard-pressed to make the alimentary canal sound interesting. That is, unless you’re Mary Roach. The bestselling author, known for her side-splitting science writing, manages to do just that in her new book, “Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal.” Within its pages, Roach explores the tubular passage that extends from the mouth to the rear in a way that is somehow both interesting and entertaining. To do so, readers go on location to a pet food taste-test lab, a fecal transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal.
Emma Donoghue, “Frog Music”
Inspired by the still-unsolved 1876 murder of Jenny Bonnet in San Francisco, “Frog Music” is a historical drama told from the perspective of Blanche Beunon, a young French burlesque dancer, prostitute, and friend of Bonnet, who witnessed her murder. The latest from bestselling author Emma Donoghue—known for her wildly popular book from 2010, “Room”—“Frog Music” is one page-turner you don’t want to miss.
Sheila Himmel and Fran Smith, “Changing The Way We Die”
In our modern society, talking about death is somewhat taboo. And yet, it’s an event that everyone faces at some point in their lifetime. Rather than continue to dodge the subject, award-winning journalists and co-authors Sheila Himmel and Fran Smith have tackled it head on in their newest book, “Changing The Way We Die.” Meant to serve as a resource for anyone who wants to be prepared to face death, the book offers a broad look at the hospice landscape through stories of real patients, families, doctors, and the corporations that increasingly own the market.
Doug Fine, “Hemp Bound”
Once the 4/20 festivities have come to a close, another often misunderstood plant will enter the spotlight at Bookshop Santa Cruz. In his new book, “Hemp Bound: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution,” comedic investigative journalist and bestselling author Doug Fine embarks on an eye-opening journey with the innovators who are testing, researching and pioneering hemp’s applications for the 21st century. The book explains how hemp may help end dependence on fossil fuels, heal farm soils damaged by monocultures, and bring more taxable revenue into the economy than marijuana.
David Sibley, “The Sibley Guide to Birds: Second Edition”
When “The Sibley Guide to Birds” was released in 2000, author and illustrator David Sibley quickly established himself as one of the world’s leading experts on birding. The book is considered to be the most comprehensive guide to birds on the market, and now, Sibley has unveiled the highly anticipated second edition. The follow-up offers expanded and updated information, new paintings, new and rare species, and a new eye-catching design.
Barbara Ehrenreich, “Living With a Wild God”
Award-winning columnist, essayist and author of the pot-stirring “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America,” Barbara Ehrenreich has just released a memoir, entitled “Living With a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth about Everything.” After uncovering a journal she had kept during her adolescence, Ehrenreich set out on a part-philosophical and part-spiritual journey to explore those teenage musings and, ultimately, find herself. “Living With a Wild God” documents that quest and its results.
Author Lorrie Moore dishes on her newest book of short stories, ‘Bark’
It’s been 15 years since Lorrie Moore released her beloved collection of short stories, “Birds of America.” Her follow-up, “Bark,” features eight tales of love, loss, death, friendship, politics, and parenting—all of which illustrate American life: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Moore’s poetic writing style, combined with her unique sense of humor and thought-provoking meditations on relationships, make “Bark” a must-read.
Here’s what she had to say about it:
GOOD TIMES: Do you feel as though your writing style has evolved since “Birds of America”?
Lorrie Moore: One can always hope and pray. But I don’t go back to old work and compare and contrast. So I don’t really know.
Did you write the stories in “Bark” individually and then group them together? Or did you write them with the purpose of featuring them in the same book?
“Bark” comprises 10 years of stories. They are all individually conceived of and prompted. But then put together—I suppose as siblings, if that makes sense. If there’s a family resemblance it’s both unintentional and inevitable.
Which of these stories is your favorite?
I always like the story that seems most overlooked. I have an idea which story that might be but am not precisely sure.
Some of the soul-searching in this book feels too real to be fiction. Do you see yourself in your characters?
No, I don’t see myself in certain characters, but I do draw from my own well a bit.
One line from the story “Subject to Search” that really stood out was “regrets are stupid, crumpled-up tickets to a circus that has already left town.” Do you agree with that statement?
I try never to agree or disagree with fictional characters but just let them have their moments and utterances.
While there are a lot of deep, sometimes depressing, themes covered in the book, there is also a lot of wisdom, humor and irony. How do you find a balance and maintain perspective in your own life, between the hard times and the good?
That is going to be my next book! So I can’t give it away just yet.
How did you settle on the title “Bark”?
I wanted an image that was both resonant and that ended in K.
Join Lorrie Moore for a reading, signing and audience Q&A at Bookshop Santa Cruz, 1520 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 6.