Literature

Bird Songs Don’t Lie: Writings from the Rez PREORDER

In this deeply moving collection of short stories and essays, Gordon Lee Johnson (Cupeño/Cahuilla) cements his voice not only as a wry commentator on American Indian reservation life but also as a master of fiction writing. In Johnson’s stories, all of which are set on the fictional San Ignacio reservation in Southern California, we meet […]

Hardcover, ISBN: 9781597143974 Temporarily Out of Stock

Bret Harte’s Gold Rush: “Outcasts of Poker Flat,” “The Luck of Roaring Camp,” “Tennessee’s Partner,” and Other Favorites

These fifteen stories bring the California Gold Rush to life with their boisterous assemblage of rough-clad miners, pistol-packing preachers, iron-willed women, and philosophical gamblers. Theirs was an unpredictable world, filled with gold strikes and freak tragedies, when the wisdom of the gambler sometimes counted for more than that of the preacher. A master storyteller, Harte […]

Paperback, ISBN: 9780930588885 Temporarily Out of Stock

Brother and the Dancer: A Novel

Final sale! Was $15.00, now $3.75. Winner of the 2012 James D. Houston Award, Keenan Norris’s first novel is a beautiful, gritty, coming-of-age tale about two young African Americans in the San Bernardino Valley—a story of exceptional power, lyricism, and depth. Erycha and Touissant live only a few miles apart in the city of Highland, […]

Paperback, ISBN: 9781597142458 Temporarily Out of Stock

Ecotopia (40th Anniversary Epistle Edition)

Twenty years have passed since Northern California, Oregon, and Washington seceded from the United States to create a new nation, Ecotopia. Rumors abound of barbaric war games, tree worship, revolutionary politics, sexual extravagance. Now, this mysterious country admits its first American visitor: investigative reporter Will Weston, whose dispatches alternate between shock and admiration. But Ecotopia […]

Paperback, ISBN: 9781597142939 Temporarily Out of Stock

Essential Muir: A Selection of John Muir’s Best Writings

Preservationist. Inventor. Lobbyist. John Muir was many things at once, and he is California’s best-known icon-so much so that his image was chosen to appear on the new state quarter. But the best way to know the man who founded the Sierra Club and helped create Yosemite National Park is to read his own words. Essential […]

Paperback, ISBN: 9781597140270 Temporarily Out of Stock

Father Junípero’s Confessor: A Novel

Led by the zealous Fray Junípero Serra to the fringes of the Spanish Empire in the mid-1700s, Franciscan missionaries Francisco Palóu and Juan Crespí are as fervid as their master about the opportunity posed by Alta California: to gloriously swell the kingdom of God through conversion—consensual or forced—of the native people. As Crespí and our […]

Fightin’ Words: 25 Years of Provocative Poetry and Prose from “The Blue-Collar” PEN

Energy crackles through PEN Oakland’s new collection of poetry and prose, in which 125 works distill radical politics and the need for social justice into passionate literature. Pieces span the spectrum of human emotion: from rage, as in Floyd Salas’s declamation against torture, to grief in CB Follett’s “Words to the Mother Whose Son Shot My Son,” to joy and […]

Paperback, ISBN: 9780615967974 Temporarily Out of Stock

Fup

Start with Granddaddy Jake Santee, a cantankerous, ninety-nine-year-old coot with a taste for gambling and whiskey; add in Tiny, his gentle giant of an adopted grandson, whose passion for building well-crafted fences on land with no livestock borders on obsessive; then add Fup, a twenty-pound mallard with an iron will and a fondness for hooch […]

Paperback, ISBN: 9781597141581 Temporarily Out of Stock

How a Mountain Was Made: Stories

In the tradition of Calvino’s Italian Folktales, Greg Sarris, author of the award-winning novel Grand Avenue, turns his attention to his ancestral homeland of Sonoma Mountain in Northern California. In sixteen interconnected original stories, the twin crows Question Woman and Answer Woman take us through a world unlike yet oddly reminiscent of our own: one […]

Hardcover, ISBN: 9781597144148 Temporarily Out of Stock
Paperback, ISBN: 9781597144735 Temporarily Out of Stock

The Journey of the Flame

On the night of his 104th birthday, Don Juan Obrigón—tall and straight, with hair still flaming red—prepares to tell his life story to assembled relatives and guests. The story he will tell describes his travels as a boy of twelve in 1810, when he accompanied the Spanish viceroy of Baja California from the southern tip […]

Paperback, ISBN: 9781890771584 Temporarily Out of Stock

Lunch Bucket Paradise: A True-Life Novel

With the sharp wit of a master storyteller, Fred Setterberg chronicles his childhood in the postwar Eden of Jefferson Manor, a blue-collar suburb of Oakland. Like a Bay Area Garrison Keillor or Bill Bryson, Setterberg reveals the quirks of his family and neighbors with nuance and care. Each chapter propels him toward adulthood while poignantly exploring class, masculinity, and modern life amidst the intoxicating abundance of a new California. In advance of this book’s publication, sections of Lunch Bucket Paradise have won prizes from The Florida Review, Literal Latte, and Solstice Literary Magazine.

Mark Twain’s San Francisco

Jumping frogs, high society, beloved San Francisco characters Emperor Norton and the stray dogs Bummer and Lazarus who followed on his heels—nothing escaped Mark Twain’s scrutiny or his acerbic wit. Editor Bernard Taper has gathered together a heady selection of newspaper articles, correspondence, poetry, and short stories that are humorous—sometimes exasperating and controversial—but always engaging. […]

Paperback, ISBN: 9781890771690 Temporarily Out of Stock

Masha’allah and Other Stories

Winner of Heyday’s James D. Houston Award, emerging writer Mariah K. Young brings readers deep into the varied lives of remarkable individuals at the fringes of dominant culture. Set in the lively and unpredictable landscape of East Oakland, Young’s subtly crafted stories and unforgettable characters continually surprise and delight. In each of these nine tales, […]

No Place for a Puritan: The Literature of California’s Deserts

Feared and romanticized throughout the ages, the desert has a hold on our imagination that is never more evident than in the literature it has inspired. From Mary Austin’s meditations in The Land of Little Rain to Joan Didion’s acerbic cast of characters in Play It As It Lays, the desert’s seemingly barren landscapes have […]

Paperback, ISBN: 9781597140980 Temporarily Out of Stock

No Rooms of Their Own: Women Writers of Early California, 1849-1869

In the wild, isolated Western frontier, where laws, traditions, and living conditions were like nowhere else in America, it was a bold act for a woman to write and to seek publication. Dame Shirley, Ina Coolbrith, and Mary Hallock Foote never achieved the fame and success of Mark Twain or Bret Harte, but they were […]

Paperback, ISBN: 9781890771010 Temporarily Out of Stock

A Queen’s Journey

Final sale! Was $14.95, now $3.74. There are few more intriguing and captivating characters in the history of Hawaii than its last queen, Liliuokalani—the island monarch who could just as easily read Shakespeare as “sit barefooted on a woven mat.” Told with mesmerizing detail by master storyteller James D. Houston, A Queen’s Journey captures the deep ambiguities […]

Paperback, ISBN: 9781597141635 Temporarily Out of Stock

Ransoming Pagan Babies: The Selected Writings of Warren Hinckle

From his galvanizing exposés in Ramparts magazine to his hand in inventing gonzo, Warren Hinckle upended twentieth-century investigative reporting and gave it new provocation and zest. In the first career-spanning collection of writings by this key figure of American journalism, Ransoming Pagan Babies contains an astonishing thematic sweep: Joseph Mitchell–esque portraits of old San Francisco […]

Hardcover, ISBN: 9781597144162 Temporarily Out of Stock

Spring Salmon, Hurry to Me!: The Seasons of Native California

Final sale! Was $16.95, now $4.24. Spring Salmon, Hurry to Me! offers a literary calendar at once ancient and yet in some ways more relevant than the markers of time we are accustomed to. Combining old-time stories and sacred myths with contemporary poems and short stories, this collection articulates the cyclical changes in the natural world […]

Paperback, ISBN: 9781597140799 Temporarily Out of Stock

Trail Posts: A Literary Exploration of California’s State Parks

Two college students leap among the branches of a coastal redwood canopy, with no safety equipment other than their sense of balance. A woman gives her testimonio of the day in 1846 when boisterous men in coyote skins raised a hand-painted bear flag above her home. A beginning surfer—derogatorily termed a “kook”—ponders the grassroots activism […]

Paperback, ISBN: 9781597142724
Price: $18.00