Books in bags: all the secrets of the world

This is the first in a series of articles that will cover books with Sacramento ties – those set here or written by local authors. For copies, check local independent bookstores including Time Tested Books (21st Street), Beers Books (S Street), Capital Books (K Street), East Village Bookshop (East Sac), Ruby’s Books (Folsom), Face in a Book (El Dorado Hills)—or through, which supports independent bookstores.

All the secrets of the world by Steve Almond (Zando)—Massachusetts-based author Steve Almond sets his newly published novel largely in Sacramento in 1981. It’s a gripping, suspenseful page-turner that begins with two teenage girls who become unexpected friends, then introduces readers to their very different families. Then a girl’s father disappears, the police intervene, and we set off on a wild journey that takes us from the Reagan-era Fab Forties to South Sac to Joshua Tree to Mexico and beyond. The book includes some spooky aspects, including a middle-aged man’s infatuation with a teenage girl and, oh yeah, scorpions. Many of them. (Luckily, the scorpion scenes aren’t, for the most part, set in Sacramento!) About his choice to set the novel here, Almond says the political landscape of the early ’80s made it the perfect place, plus, “It’s one of those places that isn’t written about as much, celebrated in literature. Almond, who was the featured author of Sacramento Stories on Stage in April, has also spent quite a bit of time here when conceiving the novel.”It reminded me of the Palo Alto I grew up in in the 70s and early 80s. There were uptown and middle and working class neighborhoods. There had a certain quieter rhythm to the place. It was human, not mythical. Fun fact: it’s Nancy Reagan’s eyes peeking out from the cover, so can you spot the scorpion? Book lovers will recognize the Steve Almond’s name in the long list of his other publications, including Candyfreak, Against Fo otball and Bad Stories or perhaps in her four-year stint with wild author Cheryl Strayed as co-host of the New York Times’ popular Dear. Podcast on sugars. For more information, visit author’s website.

About Marcia G. Hussain

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