Local Lowdown: On the Bookshelf

Posted on Sep 30 by Leslie Dinaberg

Here’s a peek at what some of our local scribes will have on the bookstore shelves this season.Our World of Water

Sue-Grafton-X

The reigning queen of local mystery writers, Sue Grafton is back, and she’s up to the letter “X,” in what is perhaps her darkest and most chilling novel featuring a remorseless serial killer who leaves no trace of his crimes. Operating out of the fictional town of Santa Teresa (a.k.a. Santa Barbara), hard-boiled private investigator Kinsey Millhone takes us on yet another exciting and twisty journey we won’t soon forget.

Gunpowder Press recently published the late Barry Spacks’s final book of poems, Shaping Water. A master poet and mentor, Spacks published 11 books of poetry during his lifetime, including Spacks Street, which won the Commonwealth Club of California’s Poetry Medal. He was selected as Santa Barbara’s first official poet laureate in 2005.

Inspired by Frances Schultz’s popular House Beautiful magazine series on the makeover of her house, ShapingWater_500x750The Bee Cottage Story: How I Made a Muddle of Things and Decorated My Way Back to Happiness is a charmingly illustrated, humorous memoir that illuminates life lessons gleaned from her journey to rebuild her life after a broken engagement, cancer and a series of devastating losses.

Water is always top of our minds these days, and journalist Michael Cervin’s latest tome, Our World of Water: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Earth’s Most Critical Resource, discusses water from a historical context to its spiritual element and the present water crisis. It also looks toward our collective future and the inherent value of water to appreciate its awesome power while recognizing its fundamental importance.

Anne Fleet-Giordano, "Marry, Kiss, Kill"

Murders take the spotlight at Santa Barbara International Film Festival in Marry, Kiss, Kill, the debut mystery by Anne Flett-Giordano. The Emmy-winning television writer/producer (Frasier, Hot in Cleveland, Desperate Housewives) has created a fresh and funny Santa Barbara police detective/heroine—Nola MacIntire—who actually makes us yearn for more crime to come to town.

Known for her hilarious memoirs I’ve Still Got It…I Just Can’t Remember Where I Put It and If It Was Easy, They’d Call the Whole Damn Thing a Honeymoon, Their Golden Dreamsformer KTYD personality Jenna McCarthy turns her comedic talents to fiction with Pretty Much Screwed, a story of love, loss, friendship, forgiveness, turtledoves, taxidermy and one hilariously ill-placed tick. Dumped after 20 years of marriage, this novel follows a woman’s journey of picking herself up out of the gutter when life kicks her to the curb.

Set in California during the Gold Rush years, Willard Thompson’s latest, Their Golden Dreams, follows the lives of some of the men and women who were thrown together during those rough and tumble days. Mixing fictional characters with cameos from historical figures, this third book in the Chronicles of California series traces the lives of those who came to California seeking riches.

Joye Emmens, "She's Gone"

It’s 1969 and teenage Jolie stands on the deck of her parents’ Santa Barbara home watching an uncontrolled oil spill. She’s outraged and motivated to do something about it. Jolie’s father may be an oil executive, but that doesn’t stop her from hitchhiking to the harbor and joining an anti-oil drilling protest. Bee Cottage StoryAnd so begins Joye Emmons’s She’s Gone, a heartfelt story of self-discovery that follows a young woman’s odyssey through social and political issues that continue to be relevant today.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in the Fall 2015 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

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