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Get My Meaning?: Simon Winchester ponders his upcoming appearance at the Capitola Book Cafe Nov. 8.

Party Lines

Have your cake and read it too at Bookshop Santa Cruz and Capitola Book Cafe

By Jessica Neuman Beck

Let's all take a moment to remember the pilgrims in the funny hats. November is a month traditionally associated with harvests and abundance. I can't say I'm feeling it; the only thing I harvest is a paycheck. But in many places in the world you wouldn't be able to find fresh strawberries in late fall, and for that I can truly say I'm thankful, because I'd hate to be deprived of a topping for my shortcake by something as fickle as a season.

We do have a veritable cornucopia of literary events this month. November brings Bookshop Santa Cruz's 37th birthday, which they're celebrating with a party on Friday, Nov. 7, at 7:30pm. Stop by to listen to the Hot Damn String Band or partake in cake and ice cream. Ice cream, of course, is in season no matter what time of year it is served, although the same can't be said of the toppings.

Local author Mark Rovan will be appearing at the Capitola Book Cafe on Thursday, Nov. 6, at 7:30pm to talk about his book Surfing the Soul: Mountain, Ocean and Spirit Poems. Rovan, a poet, surfer and traveler, translates into poems his experiences observing nature from California to New Zealand.

On Saturday, Nov. 8, at 2:30pm, come learn about all those things you don't know when Simon Winchester reads from The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary. Winchester, who also explored lesser-known details about the OED in The Professor and the Madman, now tackles the subject head-on, to the delight of logophiliacs everywhere.

Acclaimed local author Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston will be at Bookshop Santa Cruz on Thursday, Nov. 13, at 7:30pm to read from her new novel, The Legend of the Fire Horse Woman. Well known for her memoir Farewell to Manzanar, Houston now tells the story of three generations of Japanese-American women who have been placed in an internment camp during World War II.

Maude Meehan, author of As if the World Made Sense, celebrates her 83rd birthday with the Book Cafe and local poet Patrice Vecchione on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at 7:30pm. This is the second time in one month that literary aficionados can score free birthday cake at local bookstores. Don't let this opportunity pass you by! Oh, and the poetry should be good, too.

Thursday, Nov. 20, at 7:30pm is the Celebration of Local Authors at the Capitola Book Cafe. This event will feature George Ow Jr., James Houston, Sandy Lydon, Geoffrey Dunn and Tony Hill and will include a special presentation on Chinatown Dreams.

As Thanksgiving approaches, we should all take a moment to reflect on how lucky we are to live in a city that has the distinction of being one of the most unaffordable in the country. I don't know about you, but that's the first thing that comes into my head every time I harvest my paycheck.

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From the October 29-November 5, 2003 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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