I love books. I love to search for them, to buy them, to read them and, inevitably, to fall asleep with them. I have books lining shelves in nearly every room - and on my coffee table. But the only books that make it to the table are books related to California: California mid-century architecture, California art, California kitsch, California landscaping... you get the idea.
(Front and Back of book with quote)
I hadn't really looked at the smallest coffee table book, which was a gift, until my husband picked it up and noticed that one of the two quotes on the back is by a relative of mine, Kevin Starr. Other than being my mother's cousin, he's the California State Librarian Emiritus and writer of a series of books on the history of California. In some of those books he infuses the experiences of his relatives, many of which are also mine, who originally came from Ireland to live in San Francisco - where another five generations remained, for a while anyway. (Photo on right are my great-great grandparents who are also Kevin Starr's great-grandparents, the Thomas Nortons. I don't know her first name.)
Whenever I see Kevin's colorful books lining bookstore shelves, or see him interviewed on CNN or PBS, I admire how he spreads his enthusiam for this state, and wonder - though his passion is obviously a lot more serious than my book collection and blog - if our mutual interest is somehow written into my DNA. Or is it just the San Diego sea breeze that I breathed in the morning of my birth that makes me unable to imagine living anywhere else on the planet.
A few years ago I ran into Kevin at the L.A. Times Book festival at UCLA, and invited him and his beautiful wife, Sheila, over for a spaghetti dinner; I picked his brain, between bites, about a book idea I had - because that's the selfish sort of person I am... If I feed you, I need something in return. That's what It felt like, anyway.
Well, as of this date, I've never written that amazing book, and next April I will return to UCLA's book festival to drool over more books and admire the people who actually sat down to write them, like Kevin - who I hope goes on for many more years sharing his love and knowledge of California, the state we love so much.
The Quote: "California has always been a figment of its own imagination...." Kevin Starr
Now I just hope Kevin doesn't discover that I outed him on the internet as being a relative of mine.