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Jul 25th
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Literature

A&E - Literature

A Search for the Good Life

A Search for the Good Life

Author Laura Fraser’s account of coming to terms with and then learning to love her place in the world
Being a woman, a writer and an avid traveler, I was intrigued by Laura Fraser’s new book, “All Over the Map.” Travel writing may sound glamorous, but it can be an exhausting and sometimes frightening job. Many of the world’s farthest flung corners, once you set foot in their squalid streets, no longer seem exotic but downright scary. On the other hand, being a travel writer presents a string of riveting sensory experiences that remain engrained on your memory far after the reality has faded into the past. But perhaps more than a focus on travel writing, Fraser’s book, dubbed a “coming of middle-age memoir” by Booklist, is a look into the life of an independent woman who is coming to terms with her internal struggle for excitement and security. In short, she wants to have someone to come home to.

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A&E - Literature

Solitary Confinement

Solitary Confinement

Pulitzer Prize-winning author pens poignant new novel
Literary maven Jane Smiley is no stranger to fame. She has published four works of non-fiction and 13 novels (including the critically acclaimed “A Thousand Acres” which I read in my American Authors class while studying English in college and promptly fell in love with her writing) in the time that many people take to decide where to travel for summer vacation.  Her latest literary foray is entitled, “Private Life,” an illuminating new novel that spans the life of an ordinary woman married to an extraordinary yet self-indulgent man. Or so she thinks. The 20th century has just dawned and Margaret Early, a native of St. Louis, Mo., blithely marries the man her mother chooses for her, and resigns herself to be a dutiful housewife. Her secretive new husband moves her to Northern California, where she endures two world wars, the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and myriad personal tragedies. Little does she know of the trials and tribulations she will endure as the wife of a Navy captain that fancies himself a scientist of the highest degree. What begins as a marriage based on convenience and security turns into a prison sentence, and Smiley’s lyrical prose explores the life of one woman who lives a life she grows to loathe. To outside observers, Margaret’s existence seems charmed, but on the inside, turmoil and unhappiness threaten to disarm her will to live.

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A&E - Literature

Poetry Corner

Poetry Corner

Editor’s note: In this week’s Poetry Corner, we feature the work of D. A. Powell, the author of “Tea,” “Lunch,” and “Cocktails,” which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry. His most recent collection, “Chronic,” was also a finalist for the NBCC Award, and was named a best book of 2009 by Publishers Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and other publications, and won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. He teaches at the University of San Francisco and lives in the Bay Area. The following selected poems, written by D. A. Powell are: “confessions of a teenage drama queen,” “early havoc,” and “he’s a maniac, maniac” from “Chronic,” © 2009. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minn., graywolfpress.org.

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A&E - Literature

The Great Sierra Nevada Unconformity

The Great Sierra Nevada Unconformity

Daniel Arnold’s ‘Early Days in the Range of Light’ goes back in time to discover, firsthand, the early mountaineers
The premise is simple, the execution grand. Take nearly a dozen or so early pioneers of California mountaineering and tread in the echoes of their bootsteps. Follow them up the peaks that defined them, separated only by time itself. Sounds easy, right?

Almost forgot to mention: No Gore-tex, GPS or nylon ropes allowed. If these early mountaineers went solo, so shall you. If they had to roll their meager possessions up into a blanket and tie it off with an old rope as Clarence King did, then you too will leave your backpack at home. Like John Muir, you will chase away hunger with bread crusts and tea. As for maps … what maps? You will bed atop a layer of dead pine needles, shivering under the stars and storms without a tent. With the invention of DEET still decades away, mosquitoes will sing you to sleep. And you will come to know the Sierra like you have never known it before.

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A&E - Literature

Beautiful Mind

Beautiful Mind

Distinguished local poet, writer and translator Richard Kessler takes on some of the greats in poetry

The great American poet Robert Frost once said, “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought, and the thought has found words.” Throughout the centuries, poets have churned emotions into flowing words of love, passion, hate, regret and every other human emotion one can name. One of the most famous yet elusive poets of the 20th century, Jorges Luis Borges from Argentina, preferred to explore the dark world of blindness, visions and dreams. But until now, many of Borges intriguing poems have remained unexplored by English speakers. Local translator (and poet and writer) Stephen Kessler has undertaken the monumental task of translating Borges’ works from Spanish into English and has therefore created two new masterpieces where poetry books are concerned—“The Sonnets” and “Poems of the Night.” GT recently caught up with Kessler prior to his poetry reading at Bookshop Santa Cruz to find out more about his compelling translations.

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Mars Enters Scorpio: The Nine Tests

Over the years I’ve mentioned the nine tests of Mars and Scorpio. The tests are given to everyone—unawakened, beginning to awaken, and the awakened. The purpose is to test our strength, courage, ability to adapt, discriminate and have discernment. To see if we are deceived by illusion or are “warriors triumphant, emerging from the battle.”

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Roger That

The late film critic Robert Ebert profiled in lively doc, ‘Life Itself’

 

The Maestra Returns

Cabrillo Festival’s Marin Alsop is back to ‘rock the boat of tradition’
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Time is Ripe

Local fruit harvests hit markets, Storrs Winery celebrates ‘Best White’, and a salt fix from heaven

 

I remember Santa Cruz when…

Santa Cruz | Librarian

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Hunter Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

Smooth with soft tannins, this velvety crimson Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is delicious and very drinkable.