Start: 7:00 pm
From Broughton Coburn, author of the New York Times bestselling Everest: Mountain Without Mercy, comes a chronicle of the iconic first American expedition to Mt. Everest in May 1963 – published to coincide with the climb's 50th anniversary – combining riveting adventure, a perceptive analysis of the mountain's dark and terrifying historical context, and revelations about a secret mission that followed.The Vast Unknown ($26.00) is, on one level, a harrowing, character-driven account of the climb itself and its legendary team of alternately inspiring, troubled, and tragic climbers who suffered injuries, a near mutiny, and death on the mountain. It is also an examination of the profound sway the expedition had over the American consciousness and sense of identity during a time when the country was floundering. And it is an investigation of the expedition's little-known outcome: the selection of a team to plant a CIA surveillance device on the Himalayan peak of Nanda Devi, to spy into China where Defense Intelligence learned that nuclear missile testing was underway.Broughton Coburn, author or editor of seven books, including two national bestsellers, has worked in environmental conservation and development projects in the Himalaya for more than two of the past three decades. In addition he has directed projects for the World Bank, World Wildlife Fund, and American Himalayan Foundation.
Start: 7:00 pm
Driven by curiosity, wanderlust, and health crises David Downie and his wife set out from Paris to walk across France to the Pyrenees. Starting on the Rue Saint-Jacques then trekking 750 miles south to Roncesvalles, Spain, Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James ($27.95) follows their eccentric route: 72 days on Roman roads and pilgrimage paths--a 1,100-year-old network of trails leading to the sanctuary of Saint James the Greater. It is best known as El Camino de Santiago de Compostela-"The Way" for short.The object of any pilgrimage is an inward journey manifested in a long, reflective walk. For Downie, the inward journey met the outer one: a combination of self-discovery and physical regeneration. More than 200,000 pilgrims take the highly commercialized Spanish route annually, but few cross France. Downie had a goal: to go from Paris to the Pyrenees on age-old trails, making the pilgrimage in his own maverick way. Listen to David discuss his new book on NPR below:http://www.npr.org/2013/04/14/176830220/a-pilgrimage-through-france-though-not-for-godBook Passage hosts monthly meetings of Left Coast Writers® at our Corte Madera store. The monthly meetings provide an evening of literary connections, support, counsel, readings, writing tips, literary chat, unabashed networking, and great fun. Each meeting also features a presentation by one of several Bay Area literary figures. LCW has its own lively newsletter and website at www.leftcoastwriters.com/.