Santa Barbara Bookworms Readings


Santa Barbara Bookworms Readings

Local picks for great summer reads

By Leslie Dinaberg | July 14, 2022

Summer Reading Main Page

Barbara Cronin Hershberg

“I’ve been in the same reading group for about 30 years now, so it keeps me reading,” says Barbara Cronin Hershberg. A former elementary school teacher for the Goleta Union School District, Hershberg is now the volunteer president of the Friends of Santa Barbara Public Library, sits on the Santa Barbara City Library Board, and helps sell Planned Parenthood books — she’s therefore a great defender of books. .

Her summer reading recommendations include: Teenager by Bud Smith, The maid by Nita Prose French braid by Anne Tyler, Always listening by Anne Griffin, The Parisian library by Janet Charles, and Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. “I am currently reading Ruth Ozeki The Book of Form and Void (a coming-of-age story, much of which takes place in a fictionalized version of the Vancouver Public Library).

David Starkey

“I was really looking forward to reading Emily St. John Mandel’s novel sea ​​of ​​tranquility. I love how she writes such vivid, almost simple scenes, but they’re always in service of a larger, more complex plot,” says David Starkey, former Santa Barbara Poet Laureate and Emeritus Professor of English at the SBCC.

“When it comes to summer reading, I don’t think it’s a time to read ‘lesser’ or ‘lighter’ books – it’s just an opportunity to read more good books. !” he says.

Emma Trelles

“I read endlessly, day and night, on my phone, my laptop, and in my favorite way – in print. I prefer the latter because there’s something intimate about holding the words and the imagination of another human in your hands and allow them into your own consciousness, even if only for a brief moment,” says Santa Barbara Poet Laureate Emma Trelles. “I don’t read less or more in the summer, but since I don’t usually teach (she teaches composition and creative writing at SBCC), I go around and visit books that are patiently waiting for me on my shelves and piled on my nightstand . And that can mean newer or older titles, as well as classics. When I look towards summer reading, I think of the freedom to read whatever I want.

She said, “Right now, ironically, I am in the pensive heart of Overwintering: the power of rest and retreat in difficult times, by Katherine May, which associates the season with when things go wrong in our lives and how we could use this slower time to heal. I also read Calypso, by David Sedaris. I haven’t read anything from him in a long time and he really is at his peak with this collection of textured essays that makes me feel his losses and gropings (and by default mine) and also makes me laugh out loud, sometimes all in one paragraph.

Then on deck for Trelles: “the great Audre Lorde’s A Burst of Light and Other Essays (because while I’ve read some of his work, I want to sit and dwell on his brilliance for an extended period of time); In the dream house, by Carmen Maria Machado; and Willa Cather’s My Anthonya novel I’ve always wanted to read and bought last year at Planned Parenthood’s annual book sale at Earl Warren.

Trelles also has poetry to recommend. “I’m in love with Central Coast poet Marsha de la O’s Every voracious thing. She’s such a gifted poet in the way she combines a rich web of imagery with personal inquiry. The first poem in the book asks “Can you say what you want?” And the poet replies: “To lay it down, lay my story about evil like a blanket of butterfly wings.” I’ve been walking around with these lines in my head for days.

Other poetry books Trelles is looking forward to: “The Gospel of Wildflowers and Weedsthe Cuban-American poet Orlando Ricardo Menes; An incomplete list of names, by Michael Torres, a young poet who just read here at the Santa Barbara Public Library and blew my mind; and, because I am teaching them this fall, re-read Levitationsby Nicholas Reiner, and logic of mourning, by Crystal AC Salas, two Latinx poets and winners of the Alta California Chapbook Prize from our city’s Gunpowder Press. This award was the cornerstone of my first year as Poet Laureate and these two collections speak to family and love in a deeply moving way.

Lauren Trujillo

Some personal recommendations from Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation director Lauren Trujillo include Rise of Malibu by Taylor Jenkins Reid and The personal librarian by Heather Terrell. Trujillo is currently reading Unbound by Tarana Burke, atlas of the heart by Brene Brown and do a better job by Max Yoder.

Also soon on Trujillo’s stack is The fifth season by NK Jemisin, a sci-fi fantasy novel that was recently announced as Santa Barbara’s 2022 Reading Book. This annual Santa Barbara Public Library community reading program is one of many initiatives supported by the foundation , and Trujillo is particularly pleased that The fifth season is the first SB Reads book written by a black woman, as well as the first in the science fiction fantasy genre.

Sandy Starkey

“I’m reading Amy Bloom’s memoir In Love right now,” says CCSC English teacher emeritus Sandy Starkey. “It’s about her husband who has early onset Alzheimer’s disease and his efforts to do what he asks of him: find a way to end his life with dignity. It turns out that Switzerland is the best option in this case. It’s very, very sad, and it’s not what I would normally call summer reading, but it’s fine. Starkey also recently re-read James Baldwin fire next time, which she says isn’t typical summer reading, “but it inspires me to stand up against racism.” I might look for some Barbara Pym for a more typical summer read when I’m done with Bloom. His novels are funny and engaging… with wonderful characters, all flawed but always mostly kind. She’s a kind of modern-day Jane Austen.

Emily Cosentino Lee

Always a bookworm-loving bookworm, Emily Cosentino Lee, Marketing and Promotions Manager, shares some favorite summer reads in the most recent Santa Barbara Independent All Booked Newsletter (sign up at There’s no such thing as an easy job by Kikuko Tsumura, My life in France by Julia Child, and A true love by Taylor Jenkins Reid are currently at the top of the list.

Lee also highlights books by Santa Barbara authors in the newsletter and online ( Some recent additions: Off-Script: A Mother’s Journey Through Adoption, a Husband’s Alcoholism, and Special Needs Parenting by Valerie Cantella; Cinema in Flow by Roger Durling; Mavericks, Mystics, and Misfits: Americans Going Against the Tide by Arthur Hoyle; and the premonition by Michael Lewis. To be included, locals should send their book news announcements to [email protected], with the subject line “Local Author Spotlight.”

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