Anniversary party TONIGHT at Knudsen’s Ice Creamery in Castro Valley – also Susan Maciak speaking in Chicago, and book recommendations


Our anniversary party/networking mixer/reception for our artists, authors, and dynamic world-changers is tonight, drop by between 5 and 10 pm at Castro Valley’s Knudsen’s Ice Creamery! Please feel free to bring business cards, flyers about your work, recommendations of favorite books, etc.

Susan Maciak, whose book Finding a Job That Doesn’t Suck was reviewed in February’s issue, will give a presentation September 13th in Chicago related to her children’s book, The Monster Show. She’ll be at the 57th St. Book Fair on the University of Chicago campus, email for more information.

And now for Editor’s Picks…what is your editor reading? First off, I’m in the middle of Sarah Dunant’s Sacred Hearts. Dunant’s tale of an unwilling young nun in a medieval convent populated by smart female physicians, witty heiresses, and a politically shrewd abbess reveals an incredible amount of historical research as well as a clever, quirky sense of humor. Recently spoke with Dunant at Towne Centre Books – over scones and choral chamber music – she has the educated, sassy, forgiving personality I expected, and a new book reflective of that.

Also in the middle of Dave Eggers’ Zeitoun – which ironically celebrates America while pointing out its flaws. Eggers is a master at taking themes which might be pedantic or boring in the hands of other authors and creating readable, suspenseful novels where you actually care about the distinctive characters and laugh at humor in the midst of tragedy without getting lost in the flashbacks as everything is seamlessly connected. He’s also dedicated to promoting literature and creative writing for teens in diverse environments and celebrating the art of language. Zeitoun relates the tale of a Syrian painting contractor and his Muslim convert wife and their children, and how he rescues people in an old wooden canoe after Hurricane Katrina, only to be wrongly imprisoned…and how he retains his hope and patriotism when finally released.

Also Sue Monk Kidd’s Secret Life of Bees…a lonely South Carolina girl and her black nanny/best friend find home and solace and encounter divinity in the home of country beekeepers and honeymakers. Clever turns of phrase, goes near enough to magic realism to infuse the piece with beauty but stays realistic enough to contain human, flawed, true-to-life, and simply fascinating characters.

Would definitely recommend any of these three books – please feel free to comment with any of your own! If you’ve finished a great book recently, please pass it on or donate to your local affiliate of the International Rescue Committee for people just learning your country’s language.