Bolinas Reads: October 2023

drawing of Enzo Resta by Vanessa Waring


A Monthly Interview with Bolinas Library Readers

Enzo Resta (formerly Stefano Resta) has been a Bolinas resident since he was two years old, 54 years ago. His parents moved here from New York City in 1967. His Uncle Greg Hewlett came out first and his parents followed shortly thereafter. His mother was a seamstress and farmer, and his father was the ringmaster to an avant-garde circus and he later became a painter and a sculptor. While Enzo has circumnavigated the globe many times over, and has been down the Amazon, sailed the Greek Islands, roamed the ancient city of Damascus, and trekked the Himalayas, he has always returned to his home in Bolinas. After coming across the essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson entitled The American Scholar, opens a new window, he studied literature at U.C. Berkeley. He has been writing poetry from an early age and has three collections in the library: Earth Temples, Fires & Mandolins, opens a new window; Fish, Bird, Stone, Star, opens a new window; and a CD, Under the Curve of Blue, opens a new window. He recently organized The Bolinas Film Festival., opens a new window

What are you reading now? What’s in your pile of books? 

Right now, I’m re-visiting some of the classics: Dante’s Divine Comedy, opens a new window, the trilogy of plays by Sophocles; The Three Theban Plays, opens a new window, and Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams, opens a new window. I also have a big stack of books on the art and craft of filmmaking. A few that stand out on the stack are The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Films , opens a new window(Michael Ondaatje) and Devotional Cinema, opens a new window (Nathaniel Dorsky). I typically have a stack of cookbooks that I am looking at as well, for culinary inspiration and because I enjoy cooking as alchemy – the seasons, textures, colors, flavors all re-imagined into new ways to enjoy. I get a lot of inspiration from the cookbook called Malibu Farm Cookbook: Recipes From the California Coast, , opens a new window(H.Henderson & M. Lof), which keeps it simple, fresh, and organic.  I also enjoy titles such as Old World Italian: Recipes & Secrets from Our Travels in Italy: A Cookbook, opens a new window (Mimi Thorisson),  Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables, opens a new window (Joshua McFadden & Martha Holmberg), Pasta:The Spirit & Craft of Italy’s Greatest Food, with Recipes , opens a new window(Missy Robbins & Talia Baiocchi), and work by Eric Ripert, opens a new window. Eric Ripert is a very sophisticated chef who keeps things as simple as possible, especially with vegetables.

Do you like to read paper or ebooks?

I always read paper, although I listen to audio books sometimes while driving. I also like to read screen plays. I’ve been writing scripts lately and teaching how to write screenplays, so I look to other writers to see how they approach the genre.

Are you a browser in the library or do you know in advance what you are looking for?

I love the library and like coming in to browse often. I also order specific books that I want to read. The reference librarians have always been some of my favorite people to connect with.

Do you have a favorite genre?

Magic Realism is a favorite. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, opens a new window, Isabel Allende, opens a new window, Jorge Luis Borges., opens a new window And of course, I love poetry, especially Pablo Neruda, opens a new window, Octavio Paz, opens a new window, Getrude Stein, opens a new window, the Beats, opens a new window, and Czeslaw Milosz, opens a new window, among others. Poetry has always had a role in my life. Here, we simply transcribe that which we observe, and it becomes poetry: the moon, the sea, apples, salt, rosemary.

What was your reading experience as a child. Did you grow up with a lot of books?

When I was little, we did not have electricity, so we relied on transistor radios and kerosene lamps. There was a lot of storytelling; more stories than books. My stepfather, Russ Riviere, was a good storyteller. There were lots of folktales, such as Brer Rabbi, opens a new windowt, Wiley and the Hairy Man, opens a new window, Little Eight John, opens a new window, all originating from African folklore.  On the radio we also listened to stories such as Mystery Theater.

Were there any books that made a big impression on you earlier in your life?

I was very influenced by the work of Octavio Paz and the way he emphasizes the necessity of lyricism – as if the piece should work as a sound as much as it should work as meaning. Neruda made an impression on me in that many academic writers felt controlled, disciplined, and I enjoyed his odes and his passion for simple things.

Do you have books at home. Organized?

I always have stacks of books around me, on the coffee table, on the night stands, on my desk, on the bookcases. Sometimes I organize them, but I typically can find what I am looking for without too much structure to the whereabouts of the books. I’m also moving more toward library shopping vs. collecting books.

What books might we be surprised to find on your shelf?

I do have a stack of books on business literacy related topics.

Is there a book that you always meant to read but still haven’t?

I tend to want to read the major works – something like James Joyce’s Ulysses, opens a new window would fall into that category.

Is there a famous author that you wanted to meet, maybe back in time?

Pablo Neruda. I think he was a character. Hemingway, opens a new window certainly. Probably most, I would enjoy connecting with Homer (The Odyssey)., opens a new window

Where do you like to read? Ideal reading experience?

I like to read outside in a natural environment, surrounded by nature or else in a place like a library surrounded by books.

Why read?

As my father said, pay attention along the trail. There is so much to be learned. I read for the pleasure of new discoveries. I could compare it to the sensation of being on a train in a foreign country with every new corner opening up  a new view. I love learning.