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Allende in the Life: Isabel Allende reads from 'Kingdom of the Golden Dragon' May 6 at 7:30pm.

Bike to Book

Spring weather and healthy exercise are no excuse to miss this month's local lit events

By Jessica Neuman Beck

Springtime in Santa Cruz is a reminder to locals why we pay so much to live here. The flowers are blooming, the fog promises to burn off by at least early afternoon and the ocean views are the things postcards are made of. It's a good thing, too, since May is National Bike Month. What better time to pedal next to the coast on your way to your 9-to-5 office job or next bout of classes? Part-time cyclists can observe Bike to Work Week May 17-21, or the truly unmotivated can skip all the preamble and just go for Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 21.

As someone whose entire biking experience lately involves the stationary cycle at the gym, I'm much more inclined to spin my mental wheels by spending some quality time with a good book. There are lots to choose from this month, and if you're cycling to an author event, all the better- a cruiser with a book in the basket is particularly fetching.

Tuesday, May 4, at 7:30pm, Randall Sullivan will be at the Capitola Book Cafe, reading from his new book, The Miracle Detective. An investigation into skepticism and belief prompted by an Oregon woman's 1994 vision of the Virgin Mary on the walls of her trailer, The Miracle Detective examines the history of the miraculous.

Thursday, May 6, at 7:30pm at Bookshop Santa Cruz, acclaimed author Isabel Allende presents her newest novel, Kingdom of the Golden Dragon, available in English and Spanish. Aimed at young adults, the novel tells the story of a mythic struggle between good and evil in the Himalayas.

Saturday, May 8, at 7:30pm, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley will be at Bookshop Santa Cruz with her new book, A Year at the Races. Revisiting the territory she first explored in Horse Heaven, Smiley recounts her lifelong love affair with horses and draws on the wisdom of trainers, vets, jockeys and even a horse whisperer.

Tuesday, May 11, at 7:30pm the Capitola Book Cafe has Jodi Picoult reading from My Sister's Keeper. Picoult has a knack for tackling controversial subjects in her fiction, and her latest novel is no exception. The story of a girl who was conceived to provide donor organs for her ailing older sister, My Sister's Keeper examines the ethics of genetic planning and the emotional toll a sick child can have on a family.

Saturday, May 15, at 7:30pm, Joann Levy will be joined by Jim Houston at Bookshop Santa Cruz to discuss Levy's new book, Unsettling the West: Eliza Farnham and Georgiana Bruce Kirby in Frontier California. Levy's book examines the lives of the two pioneer women who shook up the masculine Old West.

Tuesday, May 18, at 7:30pm at the Capitola Book Cafe, local author Fred Reiss reads from his new novel, Surf.com. Set in 1999 and showing satirical echoes of West Side Story, Surf.com tells the story of the love affair between a surfer and a dotcom girl.

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From the April 28-May 5, 2004 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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