Local books make good holiday gifts
Looking for something uniquely Sonoma Valley to give this year? You can't beat a book about your favorite place, or written by someone who lives in your favorite place. Here are some recent works produced by local residents and about local places. We have quite a talent pool here.
Sugarloaf Ridge State Park was opened to the public in 1969. Before that time, the area of the park, located high in the Mayacamas mountains, was inhabited or intermittently occupied by a variety of persons including Native Americans, hardscrabble homesteaders, gentlemen ranchers, and a smattering of coal-producing colliers, weekend hunters, Scout troops, and itinerant hippies. This book, by Larry Maniscalco, history docent for Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, reviews the rich and often fascinating cultural history of the park from prehistory to the present day.
Available for $11.60 on Amazon.com or at the Sugarloaf Visitors Center, 2605 Adobe Canyon Road.
Where the World Begins: Sonoma Mountain Stories and Images will be published by Sonoma Mountain Preservation (SMP), a local nonprofit organization, to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Approaching the mountain as a living presence, the book invites you to discover this natural treasure at the heart of southern Sonoma County. With a central text written by Glen Ellen writer Arthur Dawson, this small coffee-table-sized volume also features 140 photographs, a dozen maps, and numerous quotes by people who know and love this inspiring mountain.
Contributing authors include Kenneth Brower, Meg Beeler, Rebecca Lawton and Tracy Salcedo. Photography by Ed Cooper, Scott Hess, Ulrich Kolbe, Richard Dale and others. 160 pages. Available for pre-order at www.sonomamountain.org for $40. Purchase supports SMP's efforts to preserve the mountain's scenic, agricultural and natural resources; expand recreational opportunities there; and to educate the public about the mountain and relevant issues.
It's been a productive 15 months for Glen Ellen author Tracy Salcedo. Historic Denali National Park and Preserve, a collection of essays about the expansive national park surrounding Denali, the highest summit in North America, was published by Lyons Press in September 2017. The book explores both the park's natural and human history, from the geology that raised and shaped the mountain to climbing adventures to the summit. Historic Denali, which received favorable reviews in Fairbanks and Anchorage newspapers, was published in conjunction with the park's 100th anniversary.
In spring 2018, Salcedo published a second edition of her FalconGuide to hiking in California's Great Valley. Best Hikes Sacramento: The Greatest Vistas, Rivers, and Gold Rush Trails features everything from urban trails along the Sacramento River to paths delving into California's fabled Gold Country.
Finally, in September 2018, Salcedo's Death in Mount Rainier National Park hit bookstores. Published by Lyons Press, the book tells the tales of unfortunate accidents on the Northwest's most iconic peak. More than 450 people have perished on the mountain's storied slopes, and Salcedo shares the circumstances, aftermaths, and lessons learned.
Find these all on Amazon.com, Falcon.com, and lyonspress.com
Eat Like Walt: The Wonderful World of Disney Food
Marcy Carriker Smothers, an honorary Kenwoodian, takes readers on a culinary tour of Disneyland's six lands. Two decades before the California food revolution, Walt Disney was planning a revolution of his own. Disney knew that food could be more than nourishment - it could be entertaining, too. Every attraction has a story, and so do many of the menu items. Disneyland's food transports us as much as it satiates us, or as Disney declared, “The food is as fabulous as the fun, too.” This is Smothers' second book.
You can find out more at eatlikewalt.com or find the book at Amazon.com and Copperfield's Books.
Highs and Lows on the John Muir Trail and The Hungry Spork
Long-distance backpacker Inga Aksamit, who lives in Kenwood, wrote her first book, Highs and Lows on the John Muir Trail ($12.99) for people new to tackling the 211-mile trail between Yosemite National Park and King's Canyon and Sequoia national parks. It recounts her experience on the trail in all its pitfalls and glory. Her second book, The Hungry Spork ($9.99), is a how-to meal planning guide and addresses the often daunting challenge of prepping and carrying food for a multi-day trek.
They are both available on Amazon.com and at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park Visitors Center.
This historical novel by Rebecca Rosenberg of Kenwood centers on a love triangle between Charmian London, Jack London, and Harry Houdini, the famous illusionist and stunt performer noted for his sensational escape acts. Now torn between two of history's most mysterious and charismatic figures, Mrs. London must find the courage to forge her own path, even as she fears the loss of everything she holds dear.
Available at Copperfield's or Readers Books, or on Amazon.com for $14.95.
Ring Around Reality: A Novel
Oakmonter Kay Mehl Miller's fourth book focuses on Diana Lossen's journey into alcoholism. Alcohol itself is a silent but relentless character, which Diana barely notices until it has hooked her.
Available on Amazon.com for $20.50.
A Matter of Time
A new book by Ed Davis of Glen Ellen, is a quick read and was written even quicker. On Nov. 29, 2002 at 5 a.m., Davis sat down to his computer intent on writing a 50,000-word novel in just 24 hours. The result would become the subject of his latest novel, published last month, and available for free download through his website at www.eddavisbooks.com and through Amazon.com or IndieBound.
A short story (based on a true story) about the wanderings of a little dog who became separated from his family during the Northern California wildfires of 2017. All proceeds from sale of this book will be donated to the victims of the fires. Written by Kay Millard Hosmer of Oakmont, and inspired by the adventures of Barclay the dog from Glen Ellen.
Available on Amazon.com or at the Kenwood Press office for $10.
MemoirHurtling Jade and Other Tales of Personal Folly
Kenwoodian Jean Wong's memoir was released in 2017. The book is about Wong's “idiotic and fabulous journey up and down the slippery slopes. And it tells all! Well, not quite all, but almost.” Kirkus Review calls it “an insightful memoir...of an intriguing life.” The book can be purchased on Amazon.com and sells for $16.
Also for sale at the Kenwood PressFrom Arrowhead Mountain to Yulupa: The Stories Behind Sonoma Valley Place Names
By Arthur Dawson, Kulupi Publishing, Glen Ellen, 1998, $10
Where Oaks Play Catch with the Sun: Poems and Art by the Children of Sonoma Valley
Selected and introduced by Arthur Dawson
Kulupi Publishing, Glen Ellen, 1999, $10
The Land Remembers: An Introduction to Terroir and its Expression at MacLeod Family Vineyard
Originally a French term dating back at least a millennia, terroir has recently become a buzzword in American wine and culinary circles. While roughly defined as “soil + climate + people,” understanding its full meaning requires a deeper vision, which George MacLeod eloquently provides.
By George M. MacLeod, Kenwood, 2016, $20.
Journey to Harvest: How to Grow Great Grapes, Make Distinctive Wines & Live Forever
George MacLeod overlays the story of his own personal journey with a year in the life of a vineyard. In the process, he manages to teach us some important insights into grape growing, local history, family and, oh yes, the secret to eternal life.
By George and Greta MacLeod, Kenwood, 2015, $15.