Book publishing and writing are ongoing passions. My publishing adventures began when I founded my own feminist small press, HerBooks, in 1984. Since then, I've written a historical novel and a memoir, and published a series of photo books that weave together my photography and creative writing. More recently I began creating handmade artist's books. See the section of this website entitled "Handmade Books" for more on this.
I created many books based on oral histories I conducted at my position as director of the UC Santa Cruz Library's Regional History Project from 1989 to 2021.
I hope you enjoy exploring these books through this webpage.
If you would like to order a copy of any of the books below, please click on the photo of the book cover.
Some of my books are now available through my Etsy shop, HerZines!
I lived with my friend/comadre Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa (September 26, 1942 – May 15, 2004) for ten years in a house on the the edge of the sea in Santa Cruz, California. This photoessay interweaves images of Anzaldúa's house, and the border between ocean and land from where Anzaldúa drew inspiration and solace in the last period of her life. In her writing, I wrestled with grief over Anzaldúa's death from diabetes at age 61, but also wanted to pay tribute to the enduring prophetic power of Anzaldúa's theory of nepantla (in-between-ness/liminality), which is ever more relevant more than a decade after her death.
Crane Songs is a photographic and poetic meditation on migration and refugees in a time of political and environmental upheaval. Set in California's Central Valley, this photobook weaves together the natural history of the sandhill crane with my family's exile during the Holocaust, and impressions of the drought and climate change in California..
With lives that extend beyond 5000 years, bristlecone pine trees are the world's oldest witnesses, living archives. This photographic essay synthesizes natural history with human history, delving into themes of memory, time, and survival in an environmental and Jewish context.
Drawing on the poem "Eli, Eli," by the Hungarian Jewish partisan Hannah Szenes, my own poetry and photographs, and my Great-Uncle Erwin's will, written just before the deportations of Hungary's Jews to Auschwitz, this book offers a poetic montage of remembrance and healing.
These photographs record the luminous Sierra Nevada Mountains of California through four seasons: the sensors foothills, the twisted Merced River Canyon; Yosemite Valley, the high country of alpine lakes cupped in enduring granite, the surreal beauty of Mono Lake, the stark drama of the Owens Valley, and finally the neighboring White Mountains, home of the bristlecone pine, the most ancient trees in the world.
In Praise of Rain is a photographic and poetic tribute to rain in a time of climate change and uncertainty.
Fiction and Nonfiction
Girona, Spain, 1492--Rabbi Raphael Halevi seeks to save his community from the Inquisition. Help comes in the unexpected form of the spirit of the biblical prophet, Huldah, and a Christian scribe who has discovered his hidden Jewish identity. This lyrical and suspenseful novel of Jewish history, magic, and Kabbalah offers a feminist reinterpretation of an intriguing Hebrew prophet.
The Keeper of Memory delves into the emotional territory of a child growing up in a house filled with secrets and silence. At seventeen, I discovered I am Jewish and that my parents were Holocaust refugees. Through this memoir I sought to integrate and step beyond the trauma that cast a shadow across four generations of my family--and find a spiritual home.
Oral History Books
Available in hardcover from Lulu.com
554 pages, full color photographs
Regional History Project
At the University of California, Santa Cruz and across the world, 2020 was a year of not just the COVID-19 pandemic, but pandemics, plural. While the pandemic can be mapped and tracked and tallied with numbers, for it to be understood and felt for many, if not most people, we need stories. This collection of twenty-two oral history interviews, gathered in late 2020 by UCSC students under the auspices of the Library’s Regional History Project, is an impressionistic illustration of an unstable present, exploring a range of ways people have encountered and interpreted this time. Some narrators speak primarily of racism and racial justice; for others, COVID-19 is in the extreme foreground. Others raise questions of economic justice in America and more locally for graduate students at UCSC; still others address climate change, since the CZU Lightning Complex fires also exploded across Santa Cruz County in 2020 and nearly consumed the campus itself.
A synergistic web of visionary farmers, activists, educators, and researchers is transforming the food system in Central California and beyond. This sampling of narratives is drawn from the first extensive oral history of organic and sustainable farming. It documents a multifaceted and interdependent community of change-makers who speak for themselves, offering a window into the dynamic history of a movement.
Since 1996, over 60,000 schoolchildren have experienced a unique adventure with O’Neill Sea Odyssey, a free, hands-on oceanography and ecology program offered aboard a sixty-five-foot catamaran sailing the Monterey Bay. How did a decades-long battle against offshore oil drilling in California lead to this living classroom in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary? This book tells an inspiring story of environmental heroism and imagination through two interconnected stories based on oral histories conducted by the University of California Santa Cruz’s library. The iconic wetsuit innovator and surfer, Jack O'Neill, and his daughter, Bridget, discuss their thriving program, and Dan Haifley, now the executive director of O’Neill Sea Odyssey, describes how he and a team of environmental activists won a victory against Big Oil and spearheaded the creation of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, protecting one of the world's most diverse marine ecosystems.
In the 1960s, a small team of innovators gathered on a stunning sweep of land overlooking the California coast. They envisioned a new and different kind of university—one that could reinvent public higher education in the United States. Through this oral history of the University of California, Santa Cruz, we hear first-person accounts of the campus’s evolution, from the origins of an audacious dream through the sea changes of five decades. More than two hundred narrators and a trove of archival images contribute to this dynamic, nuanced account. Today, UC Santa Cruz is a leading research university with experimental roots. This is the story of what was learned, what was lost, and what has grown along the way.
Raymond F. Dasmann's life as a conservation biologist during a half-century embraced both groundbreaking fieldwork and the effort delineate the concepts which are the intellectual scaffolding of modern ecology. His life work was shaped by a passion for the natural world and the desire to solve environmental problems which threaten the planet.
Out in the Redwoods is a multi-generational community history project which uses oral history interviews, narratives, photographs, and other archival material to document hte trajectory of recent GLBT American history on one college campus.
Kenneth Norris was a natural historian in the tradition of Aldo Leopold. He was the father of American marine mammology and discovered much of what we now know about the social life of dolphins and whales. He founded the University of California's Natural Reserve system and taught his students to practice science with rigor and passion.
This volume includes an oral history with Ken Norris as well as eight of his colleagues who share recollections of Norris's research interests in desert biology, herpetology, and marine mammology, his scientific legacy and teaching philosophy. Norris helped to craft the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and was the author of over a hundred scientific papers and several books on dolphins and porpoises.
Also available in PDF for free at:
In this oral history interview, Neal Coonerty, Bookshop Santa Cruz’s owner, tells a story of creativity, resilience, humor, and persistence, a tale of how one independent bookstore has survived competition from superstores, online booksellers, electronic books, a devastating natural disaster, and personal tragedy, to thrive as a nationally recognized and vibrant community business.
For over thirty years, Santa Cruz County residents have opened up their copy of the Santa Cruz Sentinel each morning and seen their lives reflected in Shmuel Thaler’s photographs. From triathlons to earthquakes, from clam chowder cook-offs to murder trials, from burning brush to breaching humpback whales—Thaler’s images record the dynamic nature of this unique Central California coastal community that we call home. His photographs fuse a recognizable artistic, graphical aesthetic with a driving documentary impulse. This oral history photobook based on interviews conducted by the Regional History Project at the University of California, Santa Cruz Library captures the trajectory and philosophy of Shmuel Thaler’s photographic career.
This compelling oral history of Thea Felika Eden focuses on the Kindertransport, a program which rescued 10,000 Jewish children from Germany and Austria and brought them to England. It is an important contribution to the literature by and about child survivors of the Holocaust and other extreme forms of trauma.
This anthology by and about women runners captures the essence of running, and the spirit and dreams of women. The runners in these stories, essays, and poems cover the whole range of women—young and old, single and married, gay and straight, fast and slow, casual runners and fierce. These are not profiles of elite runners or Olympic personalities. They are moving works of literature about ordinary people achieving something extraordinary in their lives.
What I Learned at Bug Camp offers a compelling inquiry through the eyes of an artist, naturalist, and teacher. Sarah Rabkin joins personal essay and science journalism in fluent, spirited prose that probes the spaces between science and art, autonomy and community, doubt and faith. On a passionate quest for a "home in the world," she creates bridges out of stories, inviting us to join her on the trail.
Out-of-Print, groundbreaking Feminist (and mostly lesbian) books from my press, HerBooks
I published the books pictured below between 1984 and 2002 through my feminist press, HerBooks. They were distributed through feminist and other independent bookstores. I am proud to have been part of the women in print movement that helped build Second Wave feminism. Copies of some of these books can still be found through online book searches, or on Amazon; I have a few extra copies of some of them, so contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
New: As of March 8, 2021 (International Women's Day!) the following titles have been digitized as historical archival artifacts and are available through the University of California, Santa Cruz's Scholarship site:
Garden Variety Dykes: Lesbian Traditions in Gardening
Lesbian Words I: A Santa Cruz Anthology
Lesbian Words II: A Santa Cruz Anthology
The Lesbian in Front of the Classroom: Writings by Lesbian Teachers
The World Between Women: An Anthology
Childless by Choice: A Feminist Anthology
Lizards/Los Padres: Short Stories by Bettianne Shoney Sien
To Live with the Weeds: Poetry by D.A. Clarke
Banshee, Poetry by D.A. Clarke
A Transported Life: Memories of Kindertransport: The Oral History of Thea Feliks Eden
Irene Reti and HerBooks Feminist Press: An Oral History. Available online in full text and audio here.
Distributed by HerBooks. Available in full text PDF through UCSC Library at: https://library.ucsc.edu/sites/default/files/betweenthelines_0.pdf