Heavy Reading: Too Fat to Fly [Audio]

Heavy Reading

Books are just too fat.

I usually go to a bookstore before I head off on a long flight, even though, except at airports, they are bit hard to find these days. My nostalgic favorite is a century-old shop in San Francisco with so many volumes on the second floor that I always feared it would collapse and I would perish under several tons of weighty words. When my kids were small we did family outings there where we disappeared into the stacks and our own private universes.

I paid a visit a few weeks ago, wanting to finally take the plunge into Christopher Hitchens’ briar patch of lush verbosity Arguably. But I picked it up off the display table and muttered “uh-oh.”


Moving to Wine Country: Sonoma, California

Lif eIn A Tourist Town: Sonoma, California

After spending most of my life as either a city dweller or a mountain hermit, I have now opted for the in-between, the idyl of small town life in a tourist destination in California’s Wine Country. I have moved to the middle of a city block. There are houses to the right of me, houses to the left: a retired car dealer, a widow, a forty-something executive couple, a retired diplomat, a few clowns and jokers, notably a gang of 20-somethings that parties every weekend night until someone throws up and guests roar off on their motorcycles. There is a local radio station that mixes small town news with “hey dude” commentary about the 70s drug and rock scene. Recently the local newspaper featured a story about an encounter between a vehicle and a very large sow.

Over the past 20 years or so, Sonoma, California has gained the status of “tourist town.”


Robert Gumpertz



After years in New York and Paris drawing for Playboy, Paris Match, The New York Times, Penthouse and other publications he settled in Northern California where he is now “Artist in Residence” at O’Hanlon Center for the Arts in Mill Valley. He is best known around these parts as simply Gumpertz, the San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist for many years.