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Half Moon Bay in Books: Part III of the Coastside in the Arts

In this last installment of our series, we take a look at the page-turners featuring Half Moon Bay and its surroundings.

Who wouldn’t be captivated by the backdrop of coastal bluffs, fields rich in color, and the friendly, wholesome people that make Half Moon Bay and the Coastside what it is to visitors and residents alike? Or is there a story behind the picture- perfect scene?  Not surprisingly, this area has been the inspiration for many a writer, and often a home. 

in Princeton (located at the Shoppes at Harbor Village) dedicates much of its store content to local works.  Manager Carole Brehm’s shelves have much to share from local talent, including El Granada writers Richard Rhodes (Pulitzer Prize winner), Patricia Ryan Madson, and Diane Lee Moomey. 

Covering topics inspired by life here and abroad, are local works such as Richard Bode’s "Beachcombing at Miramar:  The Quest for an Authentic Life" or "Holy Beggars: A Journey From Haight Street to Jerusalem" by Aryae Coopersmith.  

Self-help books like Victoria Marina-Tompkins’ "Spiritual Turning Points:  A Metaphysical Perspective of the Seven Life Transitions," "Being A Great Divorced Father" by Paul Mandelstein, and "It’s Your Wedding, Not Theirs" by Miles O’Brien Riley, Ph.D. of Miramar have all hit the shelves. 

Poet Paul Mills created his "Poetry in Half Moon Bay" focused on his life in the area. Some time ago in the 70s, poet Harold Leland Johnson wrote "Ballad of Half Moon Bay (And Other California Poems)."

For a new author’s raw take on how life can be in the Bay Area and Half Moon Bay, read Jason Woods’ "From Here to Half Moon Bay, Part One." The book is first in a 4-part series described as a "bold and brave account of life" from an African American man raised in Half Moon Bay by Caucasian parents.  

Local author and activist David Batstone sheds light in his book "Not For Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade and How We Can Fight It." Batstone is the co-founder and president of the Not For Sale organization . The book is available for purchase at the Not For Sale store located in the back of the Shoppes at Harbor Village, as well as at Harbor Books.

In the realm of local history, there is plenty to write about.  , longtime Coastside resident and founder of the Half Moon Bay Historical Association, released 2009’s rich "Half Moon Bay’s Turning Points:  Through the Windows of the Zaballa House."  The Images of America series has covered nearly the entire Coastside community, with titles and appointed authors devoted to the San Mateo County Coast, Moss Beach, and Princeton-by-the-Sea, to name a few.  Local history experts Kathleen Manning and Jerry Crow cover the series’ "Half Moon Bay," focusing on the time-honored faces, places, and traditions that have shaped the community today.

And of course, the natural marvel called is a favorite subject of writers and photography books.  Author Susan Casey delves into the treacherous surf break just outside Half Moon Bay as part of her book "The Wave." "Inside Mavericks: Portrait of a Monster Wave," featuring the photography of Doug Acton, focuses on the transformation of Half Moon Bay each winter because of Mavericks. "Waves" by local Steve Hawk, former editor of Surfer Magazine, captures artful photographs of waves around the globe, including stops in Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay.

Look out to the Farallon Islands for author Casey’s "The Devil’s Teeth," an account of the journalist's struggles to be alongside biologists dedicated to studying the Great White Sharks found in nearby waters.

Moving away from reality, what could be better than a murder mystery taking place in Half Moon Bay?  Texan Nancy Jill Thames uses The Ritz-Carlton as a backdrop for "Murder In Half Moon Bay" (Volume One of the Jillian Bradley Mysteries) to unravel her story throughout the hotel, local nurseries, and restaurants while heroine-columnist Jillian Bradley reveals who is responsible for murder during a garden club conference.  In James Patterson’s 2005 "Fourth of July," the best- selling author teams up with journalist and author Maxine Paetro to offer this fourth installment of the Women’s Murder Club series, featuring a hard-working San Francisco police lieutenant who runs coastside for some peace, only to find Half Moon Bay holds its own murderous mysteries. No stone is left unturned by the sleuth as she interferes with local policing to capture the wrongdoers.

Half Moon Bay area writer Wendy Nelson Tokunaga has created appealing cross-cultural pieces of fiction and nonfiction in her books "Midori By Moonlight," "Love in Translation," and "Marriage in Translation." Nelson Tokunaga's inspiration for her books on the interplay between Japanese and American cultures comes from her marriage to a Japanese man.

So whether it be a true story or fiction, gritty or smooth, poetic, artful, or insightful, the Coastside’s connection in books is profound.  Back at the bookstore, Brehm sums it up best for those who may want something new to peruse.

“I can’t even begin to tell you how much talent is here,” she says.

- Reporting contributed by Kristine Wong

Cid June 21, 2011 at 02:26 PM
Carol forgot to mention that Harbor Books is the source for some wonderful local artisan handmade jewelry too!
Mike from HMB June 21, 2011 at 03:29 PM
Half Moon Bay appears again in Patterson's current (and tenth) installment of the Women's Murder Club series, Tenth Anniversary. Heroine Lindsay Boxer is married at the Ritz Carlton in an outdoor seting overlooking the cliffs commonly seen there throughout the year.

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