Books & Literature Feed

Montara Mountain Book Back in Print

Montara Mountain by Barbara VanderWerf
Montara Mountain
is back in print. Barbara VanderWerf’s guidebook to the trails, plants, and fascinating historical lore of Montara Mountain, including San Pedro Valley Park, is available at the Visitor Center Trailside Store. Originally published in 1995, Montara Mountain was reprinted in 2010 with a foreword by Mike Vasey. As this is still a great reference book for hikers, bicyclists, and horseback riders, the Friends of San Pedro Valley Park (SPVP)—working with Barbara—have facilitated a third printing. Trailside Store hours are Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The park entrance is at 600 Oddstad Boulevard just south of the Oddstad/Rosita/Linda Mar intersection. Friends of SPVP present informative nature programs, and always welcome new members to support volunteer work in the park:

Friends of San Pedro Valley Park

Amy Goodman, Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now!

Pacifican Ron Berger meets with Democracy Now! host and investigative journalist Amy Goodman during a Peninsula stop April 12 on her national speaking and book-signing tour that celebrates the progressive TV news program's 20 years, currently broadcast on 1,400 stations, including Pacific Coast TV Channel 26 in Pacifica. Goodman starts each morning's program proclaiming, "From Pacifica, it's Democracy Now!" The program originally aired in 1996 on five Pacifica Radio stations around the country. (Editor's note: Pacifica Radio has no connection with Pacifica, California.)

Photo and caption by Alan Wald


Florey's Book Co. welcomes special orders; most books are available in just a few days. Florey's offers FREE gift wrapping for any purchase. Community groups hold meetings and activities at Florey's. Call or visit the bookstore for information. 2120 Palmetto Avenue (Sharp Park), Pacifica. Phone 650-355-8811. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.



Lost in the Fog of History: Portola Expedition Snafus

The Portola expedition’s accidental discovery of San Francisco Bay was celebrated with a giant exhibition in the 1915 Panama-Pacific Expo. Now S.F. Chronicle columnist Gary Kamiya tells the dramatic story of the Spanish explorers who landed on the beach in what is now Linda Mar, hiked up the hill in full body armor, and spotted the bay, mistakenly thinking they were on an island off the coast of California. Kamiya says, “That discovery was in fact of comedy of errors…(they had) no idea what they were looking for, (didn’t) recognize it when they found it, and returned to camp to receive a tongue-lashing from none other than Father Junipero Serra.”

Gary Kamiya

Shipwrecks, Scalawags & Scavengers

On October 4, Pacifica Coastside Museum welcomed back Joann Semones, shipwreck aficionado and author of Pirates, Pinnacles, and Petticoats: The Shipwrecks of Point Pinos and Monterey Bay, a painstakingly researched account of maritime tragedies that convincingly ties together the first U.S. female lighthouse keeper, Robert Lewis Stevenson, and even Leonard DiCaprio. Semones also mentioned the 143rd anniversary celebration of Pigeon Point Lighthouse on November 14 from 1 to 7 p.m. and a piece of an 1880s shipwreck that washed up recently in Half Moon Bay.

Story courtesy of

Steve Blank: Four Steps to the Epiphany

Book Review by ScienceGrrl

Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products That Win

Steve Blank's new book (5th edition) is worth a read for anyone in any organization—startup or not! Eminently useful, a fast read, with a detailed contextual bibliography, plus two appendices that can be used as hands-on workbooks—to start applying your new knowledge.

Blank introduces a new idea: Customer Discovery. Thought you knew about your customers? Think again. Then validate! The book walks you through all the steps of Customer Discovery, from getting buy-in through verification of your hypotheses.

There's more, though. Blank elucidates the four steps to the epiphany: Customer Discovery, Customer Validation, Customer Creation, and Company Building. And we learn that not all startups are alike. OK, maybe most of us were on to that.

Blank explains how understanding market types will define whether you know where to move next in the fast-changing world of business. Are you bringing a new product to an existing market? To a new market? It makes a vital difference to all choices along the startup road map.

Four Steps to the Epiphany is based on real-life experience over a successful career that includes eight startups. Blank credits many interesting people, including "his best student" Eric Reis, who wrote The Lean Startup.  

Want to learn more but don't want to read the book? Check out the website: Steve Blank

Public Library Offers eReaders for Checkout

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San Mateo County Library (including branches in Pacifica and Half Moon Bay) now offers eReaders for checkout at all 12 library locations countywide. In an effort to expand digital collections, an initial 65 tablets have been added as part of the library’s In Luck collection. As with other In Luck items, the eReaders are available first-come, first-served for a three-week checkout. Nook HD eReaders are preloaded with selected best sellers and come with a carrying case, charger, and instructions.
Rapid growth in eBooks has created an even greater demand for digital content at public libraries. San Mateo County Library is pleased to help bridge the digital divide by providing these devices to those users who could not otherwise afford this technology. Upcoming expansions of this program will include additional eReaders with titles for children and teens.

Library Offers Free Streaming Videos

                                  San Mateo County Library (including Coastside branches in Pacifica and Half Moon Bay) now offers streaming video to its library cardholders. Video collections include:

IndieFlix, online streaming of award-winning independent films, shorts, and documentaries from around the world, with unlimited access to thousands of streaming film-festival hits, including the best of Sundance, Cannes, and Tribeca.

Criterion Collection, more than 200 acclaimed films from Gus Van Sant, Guillermo del Toro, Federico Fellini, John Ford, Jean-Luc Godard, Alfred Hitchcock, Akira Kurosawa, Francois Truffaut, and Orson Welles.

PBS Video Collection, hundreds of great PBS documentaries and series, including films of Ken Burns, Great Performances, and Frontline.

World Newsreels Online (1929-1966), full runs of newsreels (short documentary films) in their original form, including nine newsreel series from the United States, Japan, France, and the Netherlands, bringing history to life.

No special setup or software required—all you need is a San Mateo County Library Card, broadband Internet connection, and a device to instantly stream video. For information and instructions, visit your local San Mateo County Library branch or click this link

Yosemite: A Storied Landscape

I sure hope you check out the e-book on iTunes and iBooks (free sample available). It includes illuminating stories, pictures, and videos on Yosemite's native people, soldiers, artists, climbers, promoters, and protectors. For me, it's been a wonderfully intense work of love and discovery. Twenty percent of all proceeds from the e-book go to support Yosemite Conservancy's restoration and education projects in the park.

Kerry Tremain

Get the e-Book Here