Tag archives: books

Juicy Joyce, and Chaucer’s choices
By Steven Libowitz   |   June 18, 2024

Turning from the stage to the page, it took a full century for Santa Barbara to buddy up to Bloomsday, the annual celebration of the life and work of Irish writer James Joyce every June 16; the day his 1922 novel Ulysses takes place in 1904, and named after its protagonist Leopold Bloom. Dublin’s been […]

Summer Reads
By Leslie Zemeckis   |   June 11, 2024

‘When Women Ran Fifth Avenue’ When Women Ran Fifth Avenue is a fascinating look at the rise of the department store in America. It will make local readers long for the days when we had department stores in Santa Barbara. Julie Satow takes a deep dive into the culture and rise of the female executive […]

Chaucer’s Choice: ‘Poor Ghosts’
By Steven Libowitz   |   March 26, 2024

David Starkey is one of Santa Barbara’s most entrenched writers. His varied literary career spans poetry, textbooks and fiction, and a term as Santa Barbara’s 2009-2011 Poet Laureate. Starkey was Founding Director of the Creative Writing Program at SBCC, co-editor of the California Review of Books, and the publisher and co-editor of Gunpowder Press. Over […]

Literary March Madness
By Leslie Zemeckis   |   March 5, 2024

March is a big publishing month. I could not cover all the new releases below but will have more recommendations on my social media posts. Listen for the Lie by Amy Tintera is an unexpectedly hilarious thriller. When Lucy’s best friend is murdered, Lucy becomes suspect number one. After all, she is covered in her […]

William Caxton Facsimile Edition of ‘The Canterbury Tales’
By Elizabeth Stewart   |   February 20, 2024

GG sends me a beautiful leather-bound book, The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400), The William Caxton Facsimile Edition; of which only 500 were published by Cambridge University Press in 1973. She has #248, signed by Cambridge University scholar Walter Hamilton of Magdelene College. On the last page of this huge volume is a wonderful […]

The Month of Her-Stories
By Leslie Zemeckis   |   February 6, 2024

Kristin Hannah has a sure winner with The Women. Hannah expertly crafts a heartbreaking, emotional story about love and loss. From a family of “heroes,” Frankie follows her brother to Vietnam feeling she wants to do her part for her country. It is 1965. Frankie comes from a conservative family where she is expected to […]

Doors, Wars and Outdoors
By Steven Libowitz   |   January 30, 2024

Gordon Gekko would likely not be interested in reading The Doors’ drummer John Densmore’s new book The Doors Unhinged: Jim Morrison’s Legacy Goes on Trial. But those who don’t subscribe to the “Greed is good” theory might be intrigued by the 30-year member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s exploration of the “greed […]

Dolphins, Academia, Kid Lit and More 
By Steven Libowitz   |   January 23, 2024

Dove Joans, the local animal communicator and explorer – aka Dolphingirl – has published the second edition of Dolphin Talk, expanding on her personal stories and life experiences regarding “interspecies communications with dolphins.” Dolphingirl invites us all to experience nature and the animal kingdom in ways we might only have imagined. How? Via what Joans […]

Two Birds with One Signing
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 12, 2023

Chaucer’s Books closes out its impressive year of in-store events on December 12 with husband-and-wife authors Neal Allen and Anne Lamott surrounding Allen’s latest, Better Days: Tame Your Inner Critic. The new book finds the former journalist and corporate executive turned writer and spiritual coach diving into how our own internal critical voice gets in […]

Tonia at Tecolote, Authors Assemble at Library 
By Steven Libowitz   |   December 5, 2023

Artist Symeon Shimin’s name may not be a household word, but his most famous work might be one of the better-known images in American history: the original poster for Gone with the Wind. But Shimin, who died in 1984, not only painted such promotional images for Hollywood films but was also an award-winning illustrator of […]

Holiday Stories for Everyone
By Leslie Zemeckis   |   December 5, 2023

Meet the Benedettos by Katie Cotugno is exactly as the cover promotes – The Kardashians meets Pride and Prejudice. Five famous sisters, famous for being famous, are living in a crumbling mansion when the man (or men) of their dreams moves in next door. It’s light, it’s funny. Lost Hours is Paige Shelton’s latest mystery. […]

Jacob the Baker, Noah the Movie Maker
By Richard Mineards   |   November 21, 2023

Pulitzer Prize nominee, poet, and philosopher Noah benShea is now in the movie business! The Montecito resident – who was formerly assistant dean of students at UCLA at the age of 22 – has written a number of books using the character Jacob the Baker, including Gentle Wisdom for a Complicated World, which has been […]

The Leaves of Fall and Books
By Leslie Zemeckis   |   November 7, 2023

As a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, author Vanessa Lillie’s compelling Blood Sisters is based on a real crime involving multiple missing indigenous girls and women. Syd, an archeologist for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, finds herself back in her small-town home in Oklahoma to solve the mystery of a recently discovered skull. […]

Medora’s Book Club  Opening at Casa del Herrero
By Joanne A Calitri   |   October 31, 2023

Medora Steedman Bass is the daughter of Carrie and George Steedman, owners of Casa del Herrero. Earlier this year, various papers and journals of hers were discovered at the house, which document her love of books and reading, and spawned the creation of a book club in her honor called The Medora Book Club. Medora […]

Half a Century Later: Memoir of War’s Woes and Wooing 
By Steven Libowitz   |   October 31, 2023

The veteran experience is also a jumping off point for The Hardest Year: A Love Story in Letters During the Vietnam War, a just-published memoir by author-poet Carole Wagener and her husband, William Wagener, that has been called a personal snapshot of the turbulent ‘60s as framed through the hearts of two souls divided by […]

Book ‘em 
By Steven Libowitz   |   October 17, 2023

Palliative care physician Michael Kearney, who is also a student of Native American traditions and Mahayana Buddhism, wove together his professions in three nonfiction books that merge mythology, psychology, spirituality, and poetry. The Santa Barbara resident’s just-published book, Becoming Forest – A Story of Deep Belonging, isa fable of a young Irish woman who finds […]

Bonfire of the Inanities
By Jeff Wing   |   October 3, 2023

“Those Who Do Not Learn History Are Doomed to Repeat It.” This quaint bromide is periodically hauled out to remonstrate against ideas that seem determined to repeat some wanton mistake from the past. Book banning fits that description like a glove. There is in this country a newish state law on the books – HB […]

Fall Reads
By Leslie Zemeckis   |   October 3, 2023

The Leftover Woman by Jean Kwok is the story of Jasmine, a Chinese girl who has fled her small village to escape an abusive husband and to find her daughter that was taken from her and sent to America. With no legal credentials, Jasmine must work in a sleezy bar, turning herself into an object […]

Read ‘em and Keep
By Steven Libowitz   |   September 19, 2023

If your relationship to books runs more to reading than writing or discussing, it’s time to rejoice as Planned Parenthood’s massive annual book sale gets underway as this issue hits newsstands. Paying no attention to Kindle and its kind, the book sale forges on for a 49th year, once again at the spacious Exhibit Hall […]

Mysterious Setember
By Leslie Zemeckis   |   September 5, 2023

Amy Chua’s The Golden Gate is a thriller packed with historical tidbits, exploring race and class in San Francisco in the 1940s. When a presidential candidate is found murdered in a lux hotel, Detective Sullivan is called in to cull between the many suspects. Is it possible one or all three beautiful heiresses are involved, […]