Category Archives: books

My New Book, Gone Feral: June 12

It’s been a long time coming, but my new memoir, Gone Feral: Tracking My Dad Through the Wild, will be released on June 12. The book is very personal–about my hippie parents, my feral father, and my journey to become a parent myself. “There is much to be learned here for all daughters — about acceptance, about redemption, about the distances we must go at times to find our own deepest familial truths,” wrote the author Elizabeth Gilbert about Gone Feral.

Gone_Feral_cover

I’ll be doing several events in the Bay Area, hope you can come to one of these:
BAY AREA READINGS
-June 13 at Pegasus Books on Shattuck, Berkeley, 7:30
-June 14 at the Temescal Public Library, Oakland, 12pm
-June 16 at Omnivore Books, SF, 6:30pm
-June 17 at Books Inc, Alameda, 7pm
-June 18 at Book Passage, Corte Madera, 7pm
-June 19 at Copperfield’s Sebastopol, 7pm

Then I head to the Pacific Northwest, via roadtrip with my daughter, my sister, and her daughter! Should be epic.
-June 30 at Powell’s (main store), Portland, 7pm
-July 1 at Town Hall in Seattle, 7:30
-July 2 at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, 7pm
-July 8 at the Olympia Public Library, 6:30pm
-July 10 at BookPeople in Moscow, ID 6:30pm
-July 15 at Eagle Public Library in Eagle, ID, 7pm
-July 18 at Carson City Public Library in Nevada

VERY IMPORTANT: If you can’t come to one of these events (I know, it’s wedding season), consider pre-ordering a copy of Gone Feral through Amazon or Powell’s. You can pre-order on Amazon here. Amazon chose it as one of their favorite books for the month of June! Or at Powell’s here or find your closest bookstore that sells Gone Feral thru Indiebound.

The reviews have been trickling in, here are a few of them:
“Like the offspring of so many of the hippie back-to-the-landers of the 1970s, Carpenter, herself an urban farmer (Farm City, 2009), and her sister received only minimal parental attention, which was further diminished when their parents split over the strain of free love and a lax work ethic. When her mother took the girls to Washington, leaving their father behind on a sprawling Idaho homestead, they never thought he would disappear from their lives. The phone call that comes nearly 30 years later saying that George, their
now 73-year-old father, really has gone missing motivates Carpenter to try to find the man, literally and figuratively, whom her father became. Spurred on by a desire to raise a family of her own and decipher the genetic code for either survival or destruction that she might be passing on, Carpenter performs a wild pas de deux with the cantankerous George, approaching him as one would a wild animal with no trust in humanity. Carpenter chronicles her daring quest for understanding and familial continuity in this sincere and remarkably uninhibited memoir.”
–Carol Haggas, Booklist

“Oakland author Novella Carpenter clearly remembers the day her dad went missing — it was Oct. 17, 2009, when he vanished from his Idaho town. In this engaging memoir, Carpenter realizes that George — a free-spirited 73-year-old homesteader — had been missing in action for most of her life. Carpenter writes with humor and honesty about searching for him — and what the experience taught her about being a daughter and a mother.”
–San Jose Mercury News

See you at a local bookstore soon!

Thanks Marin!

Who would have guessed that my foul-mouthed, grungy memoir, Farm City, first published way back in 2009, would be chosen as One Book, One Marin for 2014? Not me. Not my mama. But somehow it has happened.

novellapluslibrarians

Here’s me and a bunch of librarians and a couple of booksellers at the launch event for OBOM, at Book Passage in Corte Madera last week. I didn’t know what a big deal it was until I got to the store, which was packed, and saw this massive wall of Farm City at the front of the store.

walloffarmcity
That’s Joe, a high school teacher who is starting an urban farm at Redwood High, just down the street from Book Passage. They already have a garden, but the school is going full-out with chickens and other projects. I can’t wait to see that grow.

The premise of One Book, One Marin is to have everyone in your community read a book together; but from that book comes an opportunity to branch out and learn more. In the case of Marin and Farm City (which I sometimes misspell Fart Cimy, the librarians and everyone else involved put together a great list of events and workshops: urban beekeeping, food and social justice, raising goats and rabbits with K. Ruby from the Institute of Urban Homesteading. Check out these free events–it’s an amazing list. I’m so proud to be a part of this.

My next Marin event will be at the Pt. Reyes Library, March 8 at 3pm…hope to see you there!

Pomegranate explosions

They started to explode on the shrub/tree I planted years ago. My first good crop of Wonderful Pomegranates. I had thought: they’ll never ripen here.
pomagranates
I thought they needed heat. Dry heat. Which we don’t have much of here in Oakland. But ripen they did.

We ate them raw. Frannie is allowed to eat them outside only because they are so messy and juicy. They are one of her favorite snacks, partially because of the work they involve, digging the seeds out, pulling off the pith and membranes; partially because (I think) of that incredible crunch, the explosion of fresh juice in the mouth.
franpom

Until now, there’s nothing left.
peels

Besides snacking on them, I sometimes threw them into salads, like massaged kale salad, to add a bright sweetness. Some people recommend cooking with poms, like Ken Albala. I had never heard of Ken before, but I found myself in Idaho of all places, at the Bookpeople in Moscow, Idaho, and the owner highly highly recommended his book, The Lost Art of Real Cooking, and its companion, The Lost Arts of Hearth and Home. The books are instruction manuals for how to make all sorts of crazy stuff like a koji rice mold and rag rugs; and stuff that you wished you made but haven’t yet like corn tortillas (nixtamalizing your own corn, of course), olla podrida (look it up!), and marmalade.

I’ve never met Ken or his co-author, Rosanna Nafziger, but they are totally my people! Ken lives in Stockton where he teaches food history at the University of the Pacific. I think he must have some pomegranates growing in his garden because in the Hearth and Home book, there’s a recipe for pomegranate molasses that sounds out of this world. Basically you just cook the pomegranate seeds with some sugar and vanilla for a million hours on low. The result is that gummy blood-like sludge that tastes like heaven.

Sadly, Frannie and I ate all the poms fresh. Next year I’m hoping the pomegranate tree will have biggered itself and I’ll have enough to try the recipe…But if you find yourself with an overabundance, give it a shot. Any other good pom recipes out there?

Talking

Hey, I’ll be at Laney Community College giving a talk on Monday, April 22. Noon-1:30 in the Forum (the lecture hall between the library and a building named “B”. Hope to see you there.

Also, thanks to everyone who has been coming to work day. It’s become a fun regular thing. However, next week, Thursday, April 25, work day is canceled. My sister is in town and we are going on a pilgrimage. More on that later.

East BayDar

Hi y’all! See you today in the garden, right? 3-5pm at 28th street and MLK in oakland. We will be moving soil, potting up tomatoes, and spreading mulch. I’ll have some nettle tea to drink.

Also, heads up that I’ll be performing at Michelle Tea’s East Bay version of her popular SF Radar Reading series. It’s on March 2, 8pm at La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley. If you’ve never been to a Michelle Tea event, know that they are very fun, the whole audience ends up being part of the show, and in general, everyone leaves with a smile on their face. I have no idea what I’ll read–maybe an excerpt from my new book? http://www.facebook.com/events/139190622913853/?ref=22

Announcing…The Essential Urban Farmer

Three years ago, bad-ass urban farmer Willow Rosenthal and I were complaining about email. It takes up so much of our time! Questions sent asking about how we plant, harvest, muck, milk, etc were delaying us from planting, harvesting, mucking, and milking. What to do? Write a book of course.

Here she blows, at over 500 pages, it took us the full three years to write the beast.

We are thrilled with the results, and we hope you will be too.

To promote the Essential Urban Farmers we will be at the following places, more to come, and details to be announced:

-February 29, 18 Reasons, San Francisco. Talk at the Women’s Building, exploring the possibilities of urban farming, followed by a dinner discussion at 18 Reasons, to buy tickets for the dinner, click here. The talk will be general admission.
-March 10, Biofuel Oasis, Berkeley
-March 15 or 29, Ecology Center, Berkeley
-April 21, Market Hall Oakland
-June 2, Sunset Garden Expo

See you there, I’ll be there with babe in arms!