Barron Sudderth did not know he was setting out to pen a novel when he undertook his year long quest to write one haiku per day. However after a year of scavenging around Stockton and the Bay Area with a DSLR camera, a sharpie, and a list of haiku, Sudderth came up with a books-worth of color photographic poems. The book’s poems cover the dynamics of a loving relationship where people find themselves reflected in the other, lose themselves, and then rediscover who they are. Barron’s self-reflective haiku explains “I never wanted / to be anything other / than the thing I am.”
Heather B. Rule has taken old Chinese folklore and created four fun plays, so the children of today can enjoy these rich stories from her great-grandparents’ homeland. The first play “The Great Chinese New Year’s Race,” explains the selection of the 12 animals for the Chinese Zodiac. In “Little Lilian & Nian, the Monster from the Mountain,” a little girl discovers the weakness of a ferocious beast terrorizing her village. “The Three Water Goddesses,” is a new take on an old classic where a few villagers fight and win wishes from mischievous aquatic deities. In “The Dragon’s Gift,” we learn the written word is a much needed offering to a selfish king in search of the Elixir of Life.
When a handsome, young hobo jumps off a train in a small town, he becomes embroiled in a murder and infatuated with a beautiful primary school teacher. She is involved with the charismatic high school principal suspected of Communist sympathies. The Last Real Hobo is a nostalgic look at the 1950’s when changing mores and political controversy begin to intrude in the bucolic lives California’s Central Valley farmers.
An F.B.I. investigation and a love triangle unfold among rumors of Reds and perverts, the nasty senate election between Richard Nixon and Helen Douglas, and the chaos created by the Korean War. Contemporary themes of bigotry, misogyny, and conspiracy resonate as a hobo comes of age among a colorful cast of characters who wrestle with personal integrity and professional ethics.
A Lady’s Place by Mary Jo Gohlke is a look at the rich history of the Philomatheon Club and the first women of Stockton who came here in the mid 1800s when Stockton was a jewel in the crown of California and a major transportation hub along the Delta. A Lady’s Place introduces us to the women who were hosts to some of the most powerful political figures in California. The Philomathean Club members fostered cultural and intellectual gatherings to share their global experiences and provide a backdrop for the political and industrial arena during one of Stockton’s most expansive periods of growth.
This group of women grew as the decades passed. They raised the funds necessary to hire designers and contractors to build the structure that stands today as part of historical Stockton. A Lady’s Place is an informative look at a part of Stockton’s rich history that is often overlooked and forgotten but serves as a poignant reminder of the role women played in that history.
Stockton poet David Waldon never set out to be a writer, but once he found his voice, the muse inspired thousands of poems on life, love, politics and the ticking clock in a dying man’s ear. He is the master of the 55-word poem:
One More Night
Ghosts of lost summers
Always touching, yet never touched
Specters on a guitar note
Kisses sweetened by root beer popsicles
Wildflowers beguiling through rolling hills
Ketchup at the corners of your mouth
Floating carefree down the Mokelumne
Top down in the moonlight
A star, our navigator
I wish I may … I wish I might
A sex scandal, a pair of shootings, and internal racism complicate an obscure college team’s quest for an epic bowl game victory. Black alumni leader Arthur Allenby and white counselor Malcolm Wade join forces to help the CSU team face these and other challenges while struggling to salvage their own embattled romances. Desperation Passes celebrates interracial friendships and emerging leadership roles for African-Americans but ridicules the hypocrisy of administrators who overpay opportunistic head coaches while ignoring the academic deficiencies and dismal graduation rates of student-athletes.