Those of you who know me well have undoubtedly listened to me wax with rhapsodic wonder about Dr. Starr's incredible books on California. Seriously, this man makes California's wild, mythical and outrageous past come alive in ways that most novelists can only dream of.
His Americans and the California Dream series is like a time machine ride through the grand-sweeping saga that created our state. (Embattled Dreams is my favorite in the series, covering the tumultuous 1940s.) Dr. Starr leaves nothing out of his narrative -- from big ideas to the smallest details of California's epic story. He's a scholarly historian to be sure, but he has the heart of a poet, not to mention the literary chops of a master storyteller. (Can you tell I'm a gushing fan?)
I'll mention this again as the date approaches, but make a note now! And for those of you who haven't already done so: go out and buy Dr. Starr's books. You'll thank me when I see you at the event.