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2021 Holiday Book List: Local Authors 

Looking for a locally sourced holiday gift or the perfect book to read  on a winter night? TNT’s 2021 fall and winter booklist of local authors includes an eclectic assortment of genres and subjects this year, with something for every interest. We are showcasing seven books in this issue that include surfing, recipes, detective fiction, travel, self help, short stories, and local history. These are all books that are written or contributed to by local authors, and share a connection to the local community.

Look for part two of our holiday book list in the next issue of TNT. And if you are a local author with a new book, please share your news with us:

Gift this book

Big Wednesday (Deluxe Anniversary Edition)

by Denny Aaberg and John Milius 

Surfers and surf movie fans have a treat this season: the novelization of the screenplay for the 1978 film Big Wednesday in a deluxe publication that features photographs from the making of the film, a surfing map of Southern California, eight pages of the original script, and essays by Roger McGrath, Tatsuo Takei, Don James, and Peter Townend, as well as John Milius’ original pitch letter to Lynn Nesbit, a surf term glossary, and new afterword.

Big Wednesday follows three friends, Matt, Jack, and Leroy, as they come of age and face the looming threat of Vietnam, coming together for one last iconic day of surfing, when giant waves hit the California coast in the spring 1974.

The book fleshes out the screenplay co-written by filmmaker John Milius and writer and musician Dennis Aaberg. Both men grew up surfing at the local surf breaks. Aaberg is a lifelong Pacific Palisades resident.

Big Wednesday is arguably one of the best and most authentic surf films ever produced. The new book offers new insight into this now classic film. 

Gift this book

Unmute Yourself, Girlfriend

by Susan Dukow, and others 

“Something wonderful happened during the pandemic for me and forty-two friends,” writes Topangan Susan Dukow. “We wrote a book!  As the coronavirus raged, forty-three classmates and friends wrote an anthology of memoirs: Unmute Yourself, Girlfriend.”

The 43 contributors all went to high school together in Pennsylvania, 1964-68. The authors of this anthology include: “a Woodstock icon, a judge, a Columbine survivor, an archaeologist, a midwife/pot farmer/CEO, a sex therapist, accountants, a linguist, a dancer, a molecular biophysicist, artists, a film production masochist, a ballistic engineer scientist, a topless dancer who became a nurse, numerous teachers, writers and phDs., many wives and mothers.”

All the profits from the sale of this book will go toward scholarships at the group’s Alma Mater, the Philadelphia High School for Girls. “It is our gift to Girls’ High for what it took many of us fifty-plus-years to realize,” Susan explains.

Gift this book

Gated Prey

by Lee Goldberg

Local mystery writer Lee Goldberg is back with another Eve Ronin mystery, set in Calabasas. Gated Prey is the third in the series, and a fun local read for mystery enthusiasts.

In this mystery, “A simple sting operation takes a violent and unexpected turn for Detective Eve Ronin. Eve’s bosses are eager to declare the case closed, but there are too many unanswered questions for her to let go. Was the trap actually for her, bloody payback for Eve’s very public takedown of a clique of corrupt deputies? Or is there an even deadlier secret lurking behind those opulent gates? Eve’s refusal to back down and her relentless quest for the truth make her both the hunter…and the prey.”

Goldberg wrote extensively for television before turning his talents to crime fiction. He writes well-crafted mysteries that regularly top bestseller lists. The setting—one he knows well and clearly loves—is especially fun for local residents.

Gift this book

Life in Malibu II

by Suzanne Guldimann

Topanga New Times editor Suzanne Guldimann grew up in Malibu and has written about life there and throughout the Santa Monica Mountains in the local media for more than 15 years. 

Life in Malibu II is her second volume of essays and photos chronicling local history and natural history. This collection, once again illustrated throughout with original and archival photographs, includes a short history of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and the Backbone Trail; reflections on the 2018 Woolsey fire and the once-in-a-lifetime super bloom of wildflowers that followed the fire’s devastation; a trip on the legendary Malibu Railway; a look at some bizarre and wonderful zooplankton and shore life; and the quest to capture the perfect sunset and the elusive sunset green flash. This collection is an entertaining and fascinating look at life not only in Malibu but in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Gift this book

Malibu Farm Sunrise to Sunset: Simple Recipes All Day

by Helene Henderson

Helene Henderson’s Malibu Farm is so successful that she now has a branch of the restaurant in Newport Beach. Her latest cookbook, published in September 2021, features beautiful photos and a mix of tempting contemporary recipes. Many are vegetarian or vegan, some are not. All feature ways to use fresh, seasonal produce, with a focus on flavor. The photos and recipes are interspersed with the author’s reflections on her childhood in Sweden, insights from her experiences as a restauranteur, and her love of living by the ocean. It’s as much a coffee table book as it is a recipe book.

Gift this book

Musings – The Short Happy Pursuit of Pleasure and Other Journeys

by Joseph Rosendo

Topanga Resident Joseph Rosendo has delighted audiences and made friendships worldwide with his public television series Joseph Rodeno’s Travelscope. In his new book, Musings – The Short Happy Pursuit of Pleasure and Other Journeys, he shares his reflections on travel and life. 

“It is a touching and often-humorous journey through a life propelled by a passionate and compassionate view of the world…written in a conversational tone that captures the heart and soul of the author and reveals his deep connection to the travel experience, especially as a path to pleasure, enlightenment and cultural connections,” the description states, and that isn’t an exaggeration. Heartfelt and perceptive, these musings range from thoughts on culture and community, to how-to tips for packing, planning and other nuts-and-bolts travel issues.

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The Inner Work of Age: Shifting from Role to Soul

by Connie Zweig

Dr. Connie Zweig is a familiar presence in Topanga, where she has offered workshops in mindful aging, or “saging” at the Topanga Library, and through the Canyon Sages. 

Connie has been a pioneer in fields of shadow work and mindfulness practice. She received her doctorate in depth psychology, trained at the Los Angeles Jung Institute, and was in private practice in Los Angeles for over two decades before her retirement, and is the author of The Holy Longing and A Moth to the Flame, and co-author of Meeting the Shadow and Romancing the Shadow. 

Connie’s new book, The Inner Work of the Soul, focuses on what the author describes as the “late life crisis” faced by many professionals as they transition from career to retirement.

“I felt disoriented when I retired,” Connie told the Topanga New Times

With her book, she seeks to provide guidance on how to identify worth and find wisdom in aging and take advantage of longevity as a blessing, not a curse.

“Many of us may have an extended lifespan that is unprecedented in human history, but there is no guidance for people in this late stage of life,” she explains. “This is a time to repair relationships, reclaim creative dreams, find a new awareness and become an Elder. The world is starved for wisdom.”

Woven throughout the book is wisdom from prominent elders, including Ken Wilber, Krishna Das, Father Thomas Keating, Anna Douglas, James Hollis, Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Ashton Applewhite, Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao, Roger Walsh, and Stanislav Grof.

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