Editor’s Note: As Californians continue to stay at home during the Coronavirus crisis, CapRadio Reads has had to postpone some of its live author interviews. Like the rest of the world, we're unsure when those events will return, but in the meantime, we know that books can provide an escape or comfort in trying times. Join Host Donna Apidone as she talks with authors and others about the books that keep us going.
A couple of California authors are on my reading list this week. They are people I admire for the landscapes they paint with the written word.
The first time I read a John Steinbeck book, I was in middle school. The book was “Travels With Charley,” a chronicle of a cross-country trip by a man and his dog – Charley was a poodle – in a pick-up/camper. The States look different when you see them through the eyes of a creative genius on the back roads.
Some of Steinbeck’s America is still out there, but some of it may be gone forever. Imagine pulling off the road today and asking a farmer if you can park on the edge of his field for the night.
Steinbeck also provided a couple of other nonfiction views of California. “The Sea of Cortez” and “Log from The Sea of Cortez” allow us into the early conservation work of Ed Ricketts and others who cared about ecology in coastal California.
Another writer who gave much more factual accounts of events in California was Kevin Starr. Starr was California’s State Historian from 1994 to 2004. He captures the appeal of the state in a series of books with titles that include the world Dream. I’ve sampled several of them when in search of a particular name or event. The two I’ve read in their entirety are about the Great Depression (“Endangered Dreams”) and about the wartime period from 1940-1950 (“Embattled Dreams”).
Let me know who your favorite California author’s are right now. [email protected]
- “Travels With Charley,” John Steinbeck
- “The Sea of Cortez,” John Steinbeck
- “The Log from The Sea of Cortez,” John Steinbeck
- “Endangered Dreams,” Kevin Starr
- "Embattled Dreams," Kevin Starr