Ales for Arts and fall reading |

Ales for Arts and fall reading

Churchill Arts Council’s Ales for Arts, a beer tasting to raise funds for CAC’s 2015-2016 programs is tonight at the Art Center from 5-9 p.m.

You can sample brews from Great Basin, Lagunitas and Sierra Nevada Breweries as well as the offering from several local brewers. Admission is free — $20 for unlimited beer tastings — and for you non-beer drinkers, crafty cocktails and wine will also be available for purchase. For more info, you can call CAC at 775-423-1440.


Two recent volumes of fiction are worth checking out as you ponder what to put on your fall reading list.

“The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty” (Ecco) is the fourth novel by northern California author, Vendela Vida. Two of her previous efforts have been named “New York Times” notable books of the year and this may be her strongest work to date.

Opening with the less than enigmatic line, “When you find your seat you glance at the businessman sitting next to you and decide he’s almost handsome.” Out narrator is on her way from Miami to Casablanca on some mysterious errand or is it business.

It’s not long until her backpack with her passport, laptop, money and wallet are stolen and she finds heself without identity, adrift in a foreign country. A chance encounter with someone in the film industry, might perhaps lead her in search of a job as a stand-in for a quasi well-known movie star.

Playing off ideas of “punctuated equilibrium”—both philosophical (at certain times, certain events seem to happen at a more rapid rate), and biological (changes, like aging, don’t really happen gradually, but suddenly all at once)—the fast-paced novel, sometimes travelogue, sometimes thriller, is a compelling tale of the narrator’s evolving journey through the sands of lost, and hoped for, identities.

“A Manual For Cleaning Women: Selected Stories” (Farrar Straus and Giroux) collects the work of Lucia Berlin, an under appreciated American author who died in 2004 at the age of 68. While she had a small, devoted cult-like following, her stories never, unfortunately found a larger audience.

Her anecdotal and conversational stories are simultaneously lyrical and briefly, often telegraphically, told, evoking the not monumental edifices of 20th century American lives — laundromats, drifting hitchhikers, detox wards. They are dispatches from the edges of scattered bohemian enclaves throughout the American West.

Told in prose that is short, spunky, snappy and more often than not spot-on in conjuring the character who is speaking, they are a joy to read, a riparian wandering toward the hearts of the matter.

Kirk Robertson covers the arts and may be reached at