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Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1.

Title: Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1.
By: Harriet Elinor Smith, Editor.

Dear Mr. Clemens, So nice to hear from you! As always, I enjoyed reading your recollections of work as a cub pilot on the Mississippi, and the amusing stories of life on the never ending lecture circuit. I’m so sorry about your daughter Suzy passing away; she sounds like such ... [Read more]


fiction, non-fiction, history, biography, travel
0 Comments

Get walking!

The Sidewalk Companion to Santa Cruz Architecture.

Title: The Sidewalk Companion to Santa Cruz Architecture.
By: John Leighton Chase

There's definitely a lot of "here" here in Santa Cruz. With its easy to read maps and charming photographs, "The Sidewalk Companion to Santa Cruz Architecture" has been satisfying the curiosity of thousands of gawkers and walkers since first published in 1975. The 3rd edition (published in 2005) is edited ... [Read more]


non-fiction, history, photography, travel
0 Comments

A Softer Side of Patti

Just Kids

Title: Just Kids
By: Patti Smith

What do artists mean when they refer to having “a breakthrough” and from that point, go on to create their own unique style of expression? This autobiography describes the working conditions of the poet and punk rock star Patti Smith, and her friend, the late avant garde photographer Robert Mapplethorpe ... [Read more]


non-fiction, history, biography, poetry, photography, art
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From a newsman's point of view

Breach of Faith: Hurricane Katrina and the Near Death of a Great American City

Title: Breach of Faith: Hurricane Katrina and the Near Death of a Great American City
By: Jed Horne

Like Goya's signature remark "Yo lo vi, I saw it…," Jed Horne, the metro editor of New Orleans' own excellent newspaper, 'The Times-Picayune', tells it like it really was, firsthand. He and his fellow news staff continued to report the news and serve the city residents in the middle of ... [Read more]


non-fiction, history
0 Comments

The Petty Bringing Down the Great

Hellhound on his Trail

Title: Hellhound on his Trail
By: Hampton Sides

I am not one to read history for pleasure, but I found reading "Hellhound on his Trail" is like reading a thickly plotted novel. This engrossing tale is all the more interesting because it is based on true events. Hampton Sides shows us the little known, gritty bits about Martin ... [Read more]


non-fiction, history, biography
0 Comments

The Making of Modern Paris, or, the demolition of prime real estate?

Haussmann, His Life and Times, and the Making of Modern Paris

Title: Haussmann, His Life and Times, and the Making of Modern Paris
By: Michel Carmona

This is a critical biography of the ultimate urban planner, Baron Georges-Eugene Haussmann. A re-evaluation of the controversial urbanization of Paris, Dr. Carmona (professor of Urban Studies at the Sorbonne) does a fantastic job of laying out the truly hideous public hygiene problem, famously described as "a choleric swamp", and ... [Read more]


non-fiction, history, biography, art, travel
0 Comments

The Tarahumara Ultrarunners

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen

Title: Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen
By: Christopher McDougall

McDougall shares his journey in tracking down and meeting some of the greatest ultrarunners in the world, the Tarahumara Indians. The Tarahumara live in the rugged Copper Canyons of Mexico and keep themselves isolated from the rest of the world. They can run incredible distances with nothing but strips of ... [Read more]


non-fiction, history
2 Comments

The cookbook classic: Why it is still the best reference.

Mastering The Art of French Cooking:

Title: Mastering The Art of French Cooking:
By: Julia Child

Do we only consult this book when faced with a special occasion? Or can we read it, un-rushed, for sheer pleasure? I highly recommend adding to your nightstand, the classic cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. Written with her co-authors, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck, Volume One was first ... [Read more]


non-fiction, history
1 Comment

I can't wait to visit a salt mine!

Salt: A World History.

Title: Salt: A World History.
By: Mark Kurlansky

Thanks to Mark Kurlansky, who always makes history come alive - I learned that simple salt has not always been simple, in fact, man's need for salt and its manufacturing process helped shape civilization. He writes about how salt influenced trade routes, dynasties, and empires, from ancient Egypt, to China, ... [Read more]


non-fiction, history
0 Comments

Gone But Not Forgotten

Davenport Cement Centennial

Title: Davenport Cement Centennial
By: Alverda Orlando & Robert Piwarzyk

Librarian Alverda Orlando has been an authoritative historian on Davenport, California for decades. This is the first time she has collaborated with Robert Piwarzyk, a limestone expert/engineer, to compile a complete history of Davenport Cement Plant, one of the few cement plants existing in California. It will be of even ... [Read more]


non-fiction, history
0 Comments

This House of Sky

This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind

Title: This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind
By: Ivan Doig

Doig captures a dramatic time in the history of his people settling the wilds of Montana, where growing up, he coped with the death of his mother and relied upon the hard-scrabble genius of his father. "My father had a humor unusual in a tense man, a casual gift of ... [Read more]


non-fiction, history, biography
0 Comments

Redemption of Criminal Youth

Last Chance In Texas

Title: Last Chance In Texas
By: John Hubner

The most violent criminal youth find hope in an unlikely place, "punish-'em-hard" Texas, The Giddings School, where all-day, one-on-one and group therapy sessions led by dedicated professionals teach the juvenile offenders to take responsibility for their crimes and to develop empathy and compassion for others. Instead of coming back into ... [Read more]


non-fiction, history, teen fiction
3 Comments

It's A Long Drive Down Interstate 5, or that's a lot of cotton!

The King of California, J.G. Boswell and The Making of A Secret American Empire.

Title: The King of California, J.G. Boswell and The Making of A Secret American Empire.
By: Mark Arax

This book dovetails perfectly if you happen to be reading John Steinbeck, or studying the photographs of Dorothea Lange. A biography which examines the life of a very powerful farmer (at one point owning over 200,000 acres of rich farmland) used to driving bargains across bar stools and shaking down ... [Read more]


non-fiction, history, biography
0 Comments

Pathways to Santa Cruz County & Its People

Pathways to the Past: Adventures in Santa Cruz County History

Title: Pathways to the Past: Adventures in Santa Cruz County History
By: Alverda Orlando and 21 others

Pathways to the Past is not the first book on the history of Santa Cruz County. As a matter of fact, at the time of this writing, our library catalog alone shows 135 titles on its history from early ones like Illustrations of Santa Cruz County, California, with historical sketch ... [Read more]


non-fiction, history, biography
1 Comment

Endearing biography of Doris Day

Doris Day: the untold story of the girl next door

Title: Doris Day: the untold story of the girl next door
By: David Kaufman

Are you a "Dayniac" too? This biography is so much more than just the usual tell-all book about America's sweetheart Doris Day with the superb voice and acting career. This book will give you the real low-down on her smarmy manager/husband, Marty Melcher. Miss Day was one of the biggest ... [Read more]


non-fiction, history, biography
1 Comment

Lime Kilns in the Limelight

Lime Kiln Legacies

Title: Lime Kiln Legacies
By: Frank A. Perry, and others

Lime Kiln Legacies is the first complete history of the lime industry in Santa Cruz County. The rise and fall of the lime industry in Santa Cruz County coincides with the developing history of California. In the first half of the 1800s, only small amounts of lime began to be ... [Read more]


non-fiction, history
3 Comments

The Wife of a Famous Man

Song Without Words

Title: Song Without Words
By: Sophia Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy's wife bore him 13 children. He scribbled his novels in notebooks that only she was able to read so she spent all night copying in a legible hand everything he wrote the previous day...think about THAT the next time you see a copy of WAR AND PEACE. But ... [Read more]


history, biography, photography
1 Comment

Watching The Oscars Will Never Be The Same.

The Big Show : High Times and Dirty Dealings Backstage at the Academy Awards

Title: The Big Show : High Times and Dirty Dealings Backstage at the Academy Awards
By: Steve Pond

All the in-fighting and back-stabbing and shocking shenanigans of Hollywood and the behind-the-scenes gossip of the biggest show we all love to watch! Written by an observer extraordinaire who loves juicy gossip as much as we do. Now I know just how quirky the hosts can be, and it's the ... [Read more]


non-fiction, history
0 Comments

A Colorful History

Color: A Natural History of the Palette

Title: Color: A Natural History of the Palette
By: Victoria Finlay

Doesn't this sound like something that would be assigned in a dry history class? If you think so, you'd be wrong! Victoria Finlay, an excellent writer, has given us a history of the development of color in paint that is actually a page-turner. Extensively researched, we learn that each hue ... [Read more]


non-fiction, history, biography, art
0 Comments

French wine makers in WWII: an inspiring story!

Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure.

Title: Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure.
By: Don and Petrie Kladstrup

The authors interviewed several members of five prominent wine making families in France. Very interesting stories of how they personally hid Jewish refugees in wine caves and smuggled members of the Resistance in wine barrels! We read of grape harvests ruined because of the shortage of horses, sulfur dust and ... [Read more]


non-fiction, history
1 Comment

Friends in the Kitchen

M.F.K. Fisher and Me: A memoir of Food and Friendship

Title: M.F.K. Fisher and Me: A memoir of Food and Friendship
By: Jeannette Ferrary

If only it were my kitchen! I would prove to both Jeannette and Mary Frances that when I scramble eggs, or sear a pork chop, it was their advice that helped me make them turn out so "right." What serendipity! Jeannette is a cookbook writer and writes M.F.K. a fan ... [Read more]


non-fiction, history, biography
0 Comments

Correspondence from the German Occupation

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
By: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Upon a strong recommendation and kind provision of the book, I started to embark on the reading of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. However I had a slow start. For some reason, I was deterred by its format consisting of letters or correspondence between the protagonist Juliet ... [Read more]


fiction, history
6 Comments

History You Can't Put Down

The Great Bridge

Title: The Great Bridge
By: David McCullough

Part biography, part engineering study, and part political history, The Great Bridge tells the story of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. Popular historian David McCullough brings history to life in this book, which has all of the interest, characters and plot of a good novel. Even those (like myself) ... [Read more]


non-fiction, history
0 Comments

Book Kits

To help your book discussion group, we've gathered a collection of popular paperback titles and sorted them into kits which can be sent to you upon request.

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