It’s this sort of find that keeps me sifting through the thrillers, travel books, and old computer manuals on the library’s sale cart: a completely unmarked, gently read copy of California: A History by “legendary California historian,” Kevin Starr. It’s part of the Modern Library Chronicles series, and you know how I like Modern Library hardcovers (large print, opaque paper, good price—in this case, $1.50!). I’m half-Californian (if I can put it that way) so I have a particular interest in that state. I’m actually surprised that such a giant of a state can be contained in such a small book (370 pages). I expect it will be a mad, magnificent rush through 500 years of influential history.