September 8, 2013 |
VACAVILLE, Calif. - A few months ago, I found out that my life was about to get louder. Seeing the word "pregnant" appear on a stick can quickly change how you look at - and hear - things. With quiet and solitude about to become rare commodities, it seemed like a good time to head to Silent Stay, a monastic retreat atop a Vacaville hill about 30 miles east of Napa. The idea, basically, is to shut up while you center yourself. The concept intrigued me, so I booked the three-night minimum stay.
August 23, 2013 |
Paul Yoon's "Snow Hunters" is a novel in which little happens - not, in many ways, unlike life. This is not meant as criticism: Some of the fiction that moves me most is that with the least overt action, in which the interior rather than the exterior is at stake. That's the case here too, as Yoon explores the experiences of a man named Yohan, a North Korean who defects in the 1950s, after the Korean War. Moving back and forth between Yohan's adjustment to living in a Brazilian coastal town and his memories of childhood as well as of a period spent as a prisoner in an American hospital camp, it is a lovely novel, subtly rendered, operating "as though someone, somewhere, were dreaming this and he had crossed into it without permission.
November 11, 2012 |
SANTA BARBARA - Chinese scrolls often show landscapes of mountains, deep-cut gorges and paths that spiral through them and past caves in foliage. On these paths, often barely visible, smallish robed figures walk alone or sit in a group. Even people relatively familiar with this kind of art have peered at the finely drawn figures and wondered: Who are they? What are they up to? The Santa Barbara Museum of Art is offering an unusually comprehensive answer to such questions with a far-reaching show called "The Artful Recluse: Painting, Poetry, and Politics in 17th Century China.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 26, 2012 |
MONO PASS TRAIL - Mary Breckenridge crosses the High Sierra every year, with only her horse and two mules for company. She always leaves in September, when heat still tents the Central Valley but cool mountain breezes stir silvery-green aspen leaves. Higher up, the nights could be so cold that the water in her coffee pot turned rock-hard. It's happened. She kept going. Packing and unpacking 300 pounds of gear daily, making and breaking camp, starting her fire from twigs. Reporter's notebook: Follow the journey It made her feel thrillingly self-reliant.
August 26, 2012 |
Winter Journal Paul Auster Henry Holt: 230 pp., $26 The most evocative passage in Paul Auster's "Winter Journal" comes early in the book. "Yes, you drink too much and you smoke too much, you have lost teeth without bothering to replace them, your diet does not conform to the precepts of contemporary nutritional wisdom," Auster admits, referring to himself in the second person, as he does throughout this fragmentary memoir, "but if you shun most vegetables it is simply because you do not like them, and you find it difficult, if not impossible, to eat what you do not like.
July 1, 2012
Contra Costa County pier Point Pinole Pier Overview: The allure is the walk through the grassy parklands of the Point Pinole Regional Shoreline to get to the 1,250-foot concrete pier. The views are not impressive — San Francisco isn't visible from this vantage point — but the solitude makes it special. Background: Beginning in the 1880s, several companies used the spot for manufacturing gunpowder and dynamite. The original pier (its pilings can be seen at the foot of the current pier, which was built in 1977)