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A California enters its sixth year of drought, journalist Charles Fishman says that residents aren't doing nearly enough to adapt to the "new normal" in a state that is becoming increasingly dry. Fishman, who is the author of the book "The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water" is speaking in Bakersfield on Thursday October 27th at the CSUB Icardo Center at 7:00 PM as part of the culminating event of the One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern community read. 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/boyce-d/2854694049/
Flickr user Boyce Duprey / Creative Commons

Today, Mussel Slough doesn't show up on many maps of the San Joaquin Valley. But in 1880, this small settlement northwest of Hanford was the site of one of the bloodiest gunfights in the Old West. It pitted a group of Kings County farmers against the powerful Southern Pacific Railroad in a fight for their land. 

For Fresno natives of a certain age, Al Radka, the Fulton Mall, Lesterburger and parties in "the figs" all are cultural touchstones that bring back memories of a simpler time. They're also the subject of a new book by journalist Steven H. Provost titled "Fresno Growing Up: A City Comes of Age: 1945-1985." From historic photos of long lost Fresno landmarks to stories about life in the 50's and 60's, the new book seeks to capture the essence of an era when so many baby boomers grew up.

Heyday Books

California’s isn’t just home to internationally renowned gems like Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks – it’s also a place that’s rich in its own human history. And while many stories, like the Gold Rush and Hetch Hetchy are well known, a new book seeks to document the “hidden history” of the Sierra. It’s called “Sierra Stories: Tales of Dreamers, Schemers, Bigots and Rogues” by author Gary Noy, a history professor at Rocklin College.

Charismatic,  controversial, courageous and complicated. Those are just a few words that could sum up the life of the late civil rights leader and farm labor activist Cesar Chavez. Now over 20 years after his death, a new biography seeks to provide fresh insight into a man who is an inspiration for millions. The book is called “The Crusades of Cesar Chavez” by Miriam Pawel, who joined us on Valley Edition to talk about Chavez the man and Chavez the myth. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Cities like Merced Fresno and Bakersfield all share one common thread, other than being major stops on Highway 99.

Backbeat Books

Buck Owens was one of the giants of country music, helping to define a rough and ready sound that will forever be linked with the city that Owens called home – Bakersfield. While Owens died in 2006, his legacy lives on. Now a new book titled “Buck 'Em: The Autobiography of Buck Owens” tells his story.

http://sph-publications.berkeley.edu/

As the House and Senate continue to struggle to find common ground on the issue of immigration reform, one University of California, Berkeley professor is working to bring new insights into a significant group of undocumented immigrants here in California and throughout the west – those who pick the food we eat every day.

http://timzhernandez.com/

Author Tim Z. Hernandez's new novel "Mañana Means Heaven," tells a fictionalized story of the real-life “Mexican Girl” from Jack Kerouac’s "On The Road."  

Valley Edition Host Joe Moore interviewed Hernandez about why he chose to tell the story, how he met Bea Franco (later known as Bea Kozera)  and more. 

Here are some highlights from our interview with Hernandez:

Kerman farmer Paul Betancourt says it's time to Californians to abandon that idea that a healthy environment and a healthy agriculture economy can't co-exist. His new book "Ten Reasons: Finding Balance on Environmental Issues" seeks to find solutions that are both economically practical and environmentally beneficial. 

Rising global temperatures aren’t just an international concern, they’re also an important local issue, especially when it comes to public health. How will climate change affect everything from rates of asthma and valley fever to wildfires and natural disasters?

Today we're introducing Homegrown, Valley Public Radio's book club about the Central Valley.

We will read books that shine a light on distinct issues, communities and experiences in the region. We'll air in-depth interviews with authors and panel discussions with local experts about the books. You can listen for the segments on Valley Edition and see online features at KVPR.org.

We also want to hear your questions and comments about the book. You can connect with us through Facebook, Twitter or e-mail, and our website, KVPR.org. Just search "Homegrown."

Heyday Books

Local photographer Joel Pickford's new book "Soul Calling: A Photographic Journey Through The Hmong Diaspora" is an intimate look into the world of the Hmong people.

This week on Valley Edition, we look at the changing demographics of California, which is now a net exporter of people to other states. How did the California dream turn out to be a nightmare for so many? We talk to some residents who've left, and also to experts who are using the newly revised population estimates to plan the state's future. We also talk about the role of kids on family farms, and learn about the California Reads program taking place in Kern County.

Valley Edition for May 1, 2012:

This week on Valley Edition, we hear from the Central California SPCA and hear why they are walking away from a decades old contract to provide animal control services to the City and County of Fresno. We'll also talk about how some residents of rural Valley communities live in "third-world" conditions and what some people are trying to do to change that situation. And we close the program with a discussion of world book night, a new event that is coming to Fresno. 

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