Last year, City Lights published Dana Frank's Local Girl Makes History: Exploring Northern California's Kitsch Monuments. Given the publisher, you might think the book is challenging fiction anchored by a witty postmodern title, but it's not: Local Girl really is a guidebook of oddities, with chapters dedicated to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk's Cave Train Ride, the 2,000 year-old redwood slice at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, the Pulgas Water Temple, and the "stone cats" by Highway 17 in Los Gatos. But for Frank, who has taught at the University of California at Santa Cruz since 1991, the giddy roadside attractions are a springboard to deeper insights. According to the publisher, the book is a "combination of memoir, local history, and reflections on culture, politics and the politics of history-making."
Thu., Jan. 10, 7 p.m., 2008