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Ventura County Weekend : Set Aside Some Thanks for Holiday Activist : Author Sara Josepha Hale pleaded in editorials and letters to President Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national celebration.

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Thanksgiving is the one holiday we generally celebrate without guilt or stress. We join family and friends to feast (no calorie counting) and there is no pressure to shop for presents. So let us remember a writer who in the mid-1800s lobbied to have Thanksgiving declared a national holiday. Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879), the author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, began pleading in editorials, and personal letters to President Lincoln for the holiday. Finally in 1863 the president declared the fourth Thursday in November the nation’s official day of thanks.

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Following Thanksgiving, it’s time to plan for Hanukkah and Christmas giving. Think books and consider the work of Ventura authors when compiling a holiday gift list. First the novels: “Kill Me Again” is the eighth adventure novel written by Paul Bishop, the LAPD detective and Camarillo resident. “Petticoats and Pistols,” a historical Western, is the latest novel by the prolific Margaret Brownley of Simi Valley, who has written 11 novels in five years. Sharan Newman’s “The Wandering Arm” is the third novel in her medieval mystery series set in 12th-Century France.

For local books that inform and edify: In “No More Frogs to Kiss,” Ojai author and nationally known lecturer Joline Godfrey offers advice to young girls on how to achieve financial independence. Jim Lane of Ventura has co-authored “Finding the Key to Your Castle,” a witty illustrated guide to cooperative living for homeowners, renters and landlords involved with homeowner associations. Oxnard travel journalist Bob Carter’s “The Best of Central California: Main Roads & Side Trips” is a great read for active and armchair travelers.

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Two autographing authors are scheduled this weekend at Barnes & Noble, 4360 E. Main St., Ventura. Jonathan Robinson, a Santa Barbara psychotherapist will sign “The Little Book of Big Questions” at 1 p.m. Saturday. And young girls from 7 to 12 who are interested in science are encouraged to meet Judith Love Cohen, who will read from “You Can Be a Woman Astronomer” at 1 p.m. Sunday.

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D. Burke will read a Christmas story at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in the children’s room at Ojai Table of Contents, 208 E. Ojai Ave.

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UP THE COAST

Judith Love Cohen will read from “A Clean Sea: The Rachel Carson Story” and will also read excerpts from her “You Can Be a Woman Zoologist, Paleontologist, Marine Biologist, Astronomer” career series at 2 p.m. Saturday in Barnes & Noble, 829 State St.

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Theodore Roosevelt Gardner will sign “Lotusland,” the lavishly illustrated book about Ganna Walska and the world-class garden she created in Montecito. The signing is at 2 p.m. Sunday in Chaucer’s Books, 3321 State St. The gardens at Lotusland are now open for public viewing.


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