Rivkah Sass of Sacramento
Director of the Sacramento Public Library
Fiction: "I've read 'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Bronte at least 40 times. Jane is one of the truest and bravest characters in literature. The story is a metaphor for life."
Nonfiction: "In 'How the Heather Looks,' author Joan Bodger chronicles her family's summer adventure as they sought (the real settings of fictitious books by children's authors) Beatrix Potter, A.A. Milne, Kenneth Grahame and others. I go back to it whenever I need a little food for my soul."
Chris Enss of Grass Valley
27 nonfiction Westerns ("Object Matrimony")
Fiction: " 'The Ballad of Frankie Silver' by Sharyn McCrumb is based on a true story. It's about a murder that takes place in the Old West and the use of modern-day practices to solve it."
Nonfiction: " 'Elizabeth Bacon Custer and the Making of a Myth' by Shirley Leckie explores her life and marriage to Gen. George Custer, and her influence as his widow (to create the Custer legend)."
James Rollins of El Dorado Hills
Nine titles in the "Sigma Force" thriller series ("Bloodline")
Fiction: " 'World War Z' by Max Brooks is a cautionary tale about a zombie apocalypse. Considering that the Centers for Disease Control recently produced 'Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic' (a graphic novel emphasizing the importance of emergency preparedness), maybe Mr. Brooks' novel should be reclassified as nonfiction."
Nonfiction: " 'The Lost City of Z' by journalist David Grann tells the tale of a turn-of-the-century British explorer who vanished into the Amazon jungle while searching for a fabled lost city. It's both a dark mystery and a real-life 'Indiana Jones' adventure story."
Eileen Rendahl of Davis
The "Messenger" urban-suspense series ("Dead on Delivery")
Fiction: "Catriona McPherson has eight books in her 'Dandy Gilver' historical-mystery series, and you can jump into it through 'The Proper Treatment of Bloodstains.' It's got that 'Downton Abbey' and 'Upstairs, Downstairs' feel to it."
Nonfiction: "Spring Warren's 'The Quarter-Acre Farm' is the perfect book for anyone, because this is the time to start planning a garden."
Kim Stanley Robinson of Davis
10 science-fiction titles in three series, and six stand-alone novels ("Galileo's Dream").
Fiction: "If I were introducing somebody to science fiction, I would give them Ursula K. Le Guin's (Hugo and Nebula award-winning) 'The Left Hand of Darkness.' "
Nonfiction: " 'In Motion' by Tony Hiss is about what happens to our cognitive responses, perception and mental state when we travel. I read some of it while on a plane and it was helpful."
Hut Landon of San Francisco
Executive director of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association
Fiction: " 'Telegraph Avenue' by Michael Chabon captures the essence of Berkeley and Oakland, and that urban East Bay feeling of community. If you're a fan of language, he is always a pleasure to read."
Nonfiction: " 'Season of the Witch' by David Talbot is a look at San Francisco in the '60s and the '70s, which was a culturally and politically pivotal time in the city."
Karen Joy Fowler of Santa Cruz
Seven novels ("The Jane Austen Book Club") and four short story collections
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