Book ’Em: Chaucer’s Choices Crowd Calendar

By Steven Libowitz   |   April 7, 2021

Prolific Santa Barbara-based children’s book author/illustrator Bruce Hale, whose 60-plus books include the Clark the Shark and the award-winning Chet Gecko mysteries series, kicks off four straight afternoons of conversations with writers about their new books hosted by Chaucer’s. The Edgar-nominated Hale, whose books also include Snoring Beauty, one of Oprah’s Recommended Reads for Kids, and the School for S.P.I.E.S. series, will talk about his just-published Switched, in which an uber-organized 12-year-old boy is forced to take care of his older sister’s obnoxious and extremely disorderly goldendoodle. A head bump during an intense tug-of-war leads to the boy and dog waking up to discover they’ve switched bodies, which gets untangled in the book and will undoubtedly be the subject of much mirth during Hale’s Chaucer’s Zoom at 3:30 pm on Sunday, April 11.  

Famed longtime rock journalist Joel Selvin, who covered pop music for the San Francisco Chronicle for years, stops by virtually to discuss Hollywood Eden: Electric Guitars, Fast Cars, and the Myth of the California Paradise, published just six days before his 6 pm virtual visit on Monday, April 12. In the book, Hale –  whose more than a dozen previous books about pop music include Fare Thee Well: The Final Chapter of the Grateful Dead’s Long, Strange Trip and Altamont: The Rolling Stones, the Hells Angels – chronicles how a group of young artists and musicians from the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean to the Byrds and the Mamas & the Papas, came together at the dawn of the 1960s to create the lasting myth of the California dream through surf music, hot-rod records, and sunny pop music. 

Arriving on Chaucer’s Zoom at 6 pm on Tuesday, April 13, is a conversation between Bay Area-based author Bonnie Tsui and TV producer Caitlin Roper on the subject of swimming. The talk is timed to mark the release of the paperback version of Roper’s popular 2020 book, Why We Swim, which NPR called “A cultural history of humankind’s relationship to bodies of water, an exploration of the benefits and dangers of submerging one’s own body in it, a highlight reel of athletic feats of swimming and diving – and so much more.” Roper is not only the executive producer of Scripted Film & TV at The New York Times – where she shepherded the docuseries based on 2020 Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones’ expansive The 1619 Project headed to Hulu in partnership with Oprah Winfrey – but is also an avid swimmer.

James Salzman, professor of Environmental Law at the UCSB Bren School of Environmental Science, has teamed up with Michael Heller, author of The Gridlock Economy: How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation, and Costs Lives, to pen Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives. The book takes a look at how the concept of possession – “mine” being one of the first words that babies learn – has become a hidden set of rules governing who owns what that explains everything from whether you can recline your airplane seat to why HBO lets you borrow a password illegally, coming to the conclusion that there are just six simple rules that everyone uses to claim everything. The good news: Owners choose the rule that steers us to do what they want, but we can pick a different rule. Salzman will discuss the book at 6 pm on Wednesday, April 14 with Wendy Kilbourne Read, a Santa Barbara-based actress (NBC’s late ‘80s drama Midnight Caller) turned attorney in Santa Barbara with over 20 years of experience in foster care, education, and nonprofit law, as well as organizational and management consulting (the Montecito Journal is among her clients). 


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