Back on Earth, here are three titles to get you in the mood:
• "My First Car," compiled by Matt Stone (Motorbooks, $25, 224 pages): A long list of well-knowns fondly recall their first sets of wheels. Included are Danica Patrick (1996 Mustang), Carroll Shelby (1934 Dodge), Jay Leno (1934 Ford pickup), Hugh Hefner (1941 Chevy) and Bruce Jenner (1954 Cadillac hearse).
• "Cars" by Stephen Bayley (Conran, $19.99, 384 pages): "Car design is our age's singular contribution to cultural history," contends the auto columnist for Car and GQ magazines. He proves his point with striking black-and-white photos (and text) of (among many) the 1947 Cosotalia, 1953 Corvette, 1955 MGA, 1957 Bel Air and the 1964 GTO. That "experiment" by Pontiac – named after the Ferrari Gran Turismo Omologato – started the muscle-car era.
• Conjoined to the concept of the car (freedom, mobility, etc.) is the road trip. Partner that with good chow and you've got "West Coast Road Eats" by Anna Roth (Sasquatch, $22.95, 368 pages). The guidebook-travelogue covers the eclectic eating scene from San Diego to the Canadian border. The "Northern California" section heads south from the Oregon border.
Given our thriving restaurant scene, Roth's five choices in Sacramento are disappointing.
More summer reading
We asked you to share your summer reading lists with other readers. Fran Kruger of Gold River emailed:
"After having read all of (international-thriller writer) Vince Flynn's books, I'm now deep into Daniel Silva's books, including 'Prince of Fire,' 'A Death in Vienna' and others about the Israeli intelligence community's constant covert skirmishes with Palestinian terrorists.
"Another Silva book I enjoyed was 'The Unlikely Spy,' about MI5 (British Military Intelligence) during World War II. I'm looking forward to reading 'In the Garden of Beasts' by Erik Larson. Its portrayal of Berlin during the rise of the Nazi Party in the 1930s should fit in nicely with the Silva's books."
Region's authors busy
Not all titles of interest need be blockbusters from traditional publishers. Consider these:
"Facing Goliath" by Keith Springer (iUniverse, $14.95, 192 pages): The Sacramento-based financial planner explains "how to prepare for the dangerous economic environment that lies ahead" (www.facinggoliaththebook.com).
"Silly Woman, Big Rigs Are for Men" by Mary Ellen Dempsey (PublishAmerica, $24.95, 242 pages): She climbed behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler in 1990 and didn't let up until 2006, driving through 44 of the lower 48 states.
A memoir of what really happens in the world of long hauls. Dempsey lives in Lincoln.
"… But You Can't Report That" by Leo McElroy (CreateSpace, $13.95, 254 pages): Sacramento veteran newsman McElroy recalls his years in broadcast journalism, "from hilarity to horror."
"Give Me 10,000 Men" by William M. Holden (23 House, $19.95, 278 pages): The Sacramento author reveals the true hero of the Spanish-American War – the forgotten Pvt. Alfred C. Petty.
"Cat Mulan's Mindful Musings" by Margie Yee Web (Laughing Cat, $14.95, 87 pages): The El Dorado Hills writer-photographer imparts words of wisdom, accented with pictures of her rescue cat. A percentage of sales will be donated to animal-welfare organizations.
Harrison goes graphic
In March, a few days before the reigning queen of urban paranormal, Kim Harrison, appeared for the Bee Book Club, she told me she was anticipating the summer release of her first graphic novel.
"I had a lot of fun writing the script, but I had more to say than a graphic novel would let me," she remarked.
We think she says plenty in "Blood Work" (Del Rey, $23, 176 pages), an entry in her "Hollows" series, in which everyday people live side-by-side with "the supernatural" who inhabit an alternative world. The lush artwork is by Pedro Maia and Gemma Magno.
In it, Harrison turns back the clock to tell how two of her most popular characters – witch Rachel Morgan and vampire Ivy Tamwood – met and eventually became friends.
What's Harrison's next move?
"I'm going to Comic-Con, the graphic-novel fan convention, in San Diego to celebrate," she said.
Get reading, boys
An email from reader Max Elliot Anderson arrived the other day. Take a look:
"My central focus is getting kids interested in reading, especially boys 8 to 13. That's partially because I grew up hating to read. I've been working on something that might help show boys that reading can be cool. Guys – read a book. Go to www.youtube.com/ watch?v=BgzkiTCeTEU &feature."
We did. Yep, reading's cool – or hot, depending on your take.