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« Week of May 5, 2013 »
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5
Start: 1:00 pm

Bestselling author, public theologian, and leading Christian activist Jim Wallis offers his definition of the spiritual compass we need to effect lasting change in our society in On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned About Serving the Common Good ($21.99). He argues that by working together, we can reshape our society, politics, and economy. Wallis explores how reading the Bible as well as the culture can shape our lives for genuine transformation.

 

Start: 4:00 pm

Former Los Angeles Times humor columnist Kathleen Buckstaff weaves together an unforgettable story using her own emails and columns about her journey with her mother through illness and beyond. The Tiffany Box ($14.99) is raw, humorous, heartbreaking and inspiring.

 

Start: 7:00 pm

Sharon Socol’s debut photographic compilation, Plus One: An Outsider’s Photographic Journey Into the World of Fashion ($60.00), features 100 candid images from seminal moments at famed fashion shows and parties in New York and Paris between 2001 and 2010. The book’s title and theme reflect Socol’s status as a self-proclaimed ‘plus one’ for husband Howard Socol. Using her unique Everyman perspective, Socol was able to capture stunningly intimate moments not only of industry icons including supermodels and designers including Diane von Furstenberg, Alber Elbaz, Narciso Rodriguez, Zac Posen, Tommy Hilfiger and Giorgio Armani, but also of those who toiled behind the curtain – the dressmakers, dressers, choreographers, makeup and hair artists, bouncers and waiters who provided the backbone for those glamorous, fleeting moments.

Sharon Socol lives in Coral Gables, Florida, with her husband Howard. They have two daughters and four grandchildren. Sharon travels the world regularly and is always taking photographs. Sharon is the founder of Photographing Ourselves, a photography and creative writing program for children at risk, and Casa Valentina, safe and affordable housing and supportive services for girls leaving foster Care in Miami. 

 

6
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-god

Book 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/.
  

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.

 

7
Start: 12:00 pm

Six years ago, an overweight, pre-diabetic Mark Bittman faced a medical directive: adopt a vegan diet or go on medication. As one whose professional and leisure time revolved around cooking, eating, and enjoying a wide variety of fine foods, neither choice was appealing, yet it was clear something had to give. His solution? Shift the focus of his diet to vegetables, fruits, and grains, following a strict vegan diet (no meat or dairy) and eliminating processed foods for most of the day, then eat the foods he simply couldn’t give up forever only after 6 p.m.—and (mostly) in moderation. Beyond that, his eating plan involved no gimmicks, scales, calorie-counting, or point systems—and there were no so-called forbidden foods. Just wholesome, all-natural, mostly home-cooked meals that were as varied and satisfying as they were delicious. The results of this dietary recalibration are presented in Vb6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00pm to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health ($26.00), which reveals the lasting and sustainable value of this new, flexible and viable approach to eating.

Mark Bittman is one of the country's best-known and most widely respected food writers. His How to Cook Everything books, with one million copies in print, are a mainstay of the modern kitchen. Bittman writes for the Opinion section of the New York Times on food policy and cooking and is a columnist for the New York Times Magazine. His cooking show, The Minimalist, based on his popular New York Times column, can be seen on the Cooking Channel. He is also the author of Food Matters, Food Matters Cookbook, Fish, and Leafy Greens.

 

Start: 6:00 pm

The long-awaited memoir from the Academy Award–winning director of such legendary films as The French Connection, The Exorcist, and To Live and Die in LA, The Friedkin Connection ($27.99) takes readers from the streets of Chicago to the suites of Hollywood and from the sixties to today, with autobiographical storytelling as fast-paced and intense as any of the auteur's films.

William Friedkin, maverick of American cinema, offers a candid look at Hollywood, when traditional storytelling gave way to the rebellious and alternative; when filmmakers like him captured the paranoia and fear of a nation undergoing a cultural nervous breakdown.

 

Start: 7:00 pm

"The war tried to kill us in the spring." So begins the National Book Award-finalist The Yellow Birds ($14.99), a powerful account of friendship and loss. In Al Tafar, Iraq, twenty-one-year old Private Bartle and eighteen-year-old Private Murphy cling to life as their platoon launches a bloody battle for the city. Bound together since basic training when Bartle makes a promise to bring Murphy safely home, the two have been dropped into a war neither is prepared for.

With profound emotional insight, especially into the effects of a hidden war on mothers and families at home, Kevin Powers has written a groundbreaking novel that is destined to become a classic.

Kevin Powers was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University, and holds an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a Michener Fellow in Poetry. He served in the US Army in 2004 and 2005 in Iraq, where he was deployed as a machine gunner in Mosul and Tal Afar. This is his first novel.

 

8
Start: 1:00 pm

Stegner Fellow, Iowa MFA, and winner of The Atlantic's Student Writing Contest, Anthony Marra has written a brilliant debut novel that brings to life an abandoned hospital where a tough-minded doctor decides to harbor a hunted young girl, with powerful consequences. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena ($26.00) begins in the final days of December 2004, in a small rural village in Chechnya, eight-year-old Havaa hides in the woods when her father is abducted by Russian forces. Fearing for her life, she flees with their neighbor Akhmed--a failed physician--to the bombed-out hospital, where Sonja, the one remaining doctor, treats a steady stream of wounded rebels and refugees and mourns her missing sister. Over the course of five dramatic days, Akhmed and Sonja reach back into their pasts to unravel the intricate mystery of coincidence, betrayal, and forgiveness that unexpectedly binds them and decides their fate. With The English Patient's dramatic sweep and The Tiger's Wife's expert sense of place, Marra gives us a searing debut about the transcendent power of love in wartime, and how it can cause us to become greater than we ever thought possible.

Anthony Marra is the winner of a Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize, The Atlantic's Student Writing Contest, and the Narrative Prize, and his work was anthologized in Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and is currently a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. He has lived and studied in Eastern Europe, and now resides in Oakland, CA.

 

Start: 6:00 pm

In conversation with Sandra M. Gilbert

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.

Professor Emerita at the University of California, Davis, Berkeley resident Sandra M. Gilbert has published eight collections of poetry, most recently Aftermath. Among her prose books are the memoir Wrongful Death, the cultural study Death’s Door: Modern Dying and the Ways We Grieve; and two essay collections, On Burning Ground, and Rereading Women.. With Susan Gubar, she is coauthor of The Madwoman in the Attic, No Man’s Land (three volumes) and coeditor of The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women. She is currently at work on a book tentatively titled The Culinary Imagination along with an anthology of food writing. In 2013, Gilbert and Gubar were named winners of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Lifetime Achievement.

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-god

 

Start: 7:00 pm

Remember reading Catcher in the Rye and The Great Gatsby in high school? How about Slaughterhouse-Five and Pride and Prejudice? Would you read them again now that no one’s grading you, just for your own enjoyment? Practical Classics ($18.00) helps you do just that.

Author Kevin Smokler guides you through fifty books commonly assigned in high school English class and shows you why you’d probably enjoy rereading the same books as an adult. Smokler’s essays on the classics—witty, down-to-earth, appreciative, and insightful—are divided into ten sections, each covering an archetypical stage of life—from youth and first love to family, loss, and the future. The author not only reminds you about the essential features of each great book but gives you a practical, real-world reason why revisiting it in adulthood is not only enjoyable but useful.

Kevin Smokler is the editor of Bookmark Now: Writing in Unreaderly Times, a San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book of 2005. His writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Fast Company, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Believer. He can be found online at www.kevinsmokler.com or on Twitter at @weegee.

 

9
Start: 6:00 pm

The thirteen stories in Birds of Paradise Lost ($15.95) shimmer with humor and pathos as they chronicle the anguish and joy and bravery of America’s newest Americans, the troubled lives of those who fled Vietnam and remade themselves in the San Francisco Bay Area. The past—memories of war and its aftermath, of murder, arrest, re-education camps and new economic zones, of escape and shipwreck and atrocity—is ever present in these wise and compassionate stories. It plays itself out in surprising ways in the lives of people who thought they had moved beyond the nightmares of war and exodus. It comes back on TV in the form of a confession from a cannibal; it enters the Vietnamese restaurant as a Vietnam Vet with a shameful secret; it articulates itself in the peculiar tics of a man with Tourette’s Syndrome who struggles to deal with a profound tragedy. Andrew Lam's debut short story collection is an emotional tour de force, intricately rendering the false starts and revelations in the struggle for integration, and in so doing, the human heart.

Andrew Lam is the author of Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora, which won the 2006 PEN Open Book Award, and East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres. Lam is an editor and cofounder of New American Media, an association of over two thousand ethnic media outlets in America. He was a regular commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered for many years, and was the subject of a 2004 PBS documentary called "My Journey Home". His essays have appeared in newspapers and magazines such as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Baltimore Sun, the Atlanta Journal, the Chicago Tribune, Mother Jones, and the Nation, among many others. His short stories have been widely taught and anthologized.

 

 

Start: 7:00 pm

In 1994, Anchee Min made her literary debut with a memoir of growing up in China during the violent trauma of the Cultural Revolution. Red Azalea became an international bestseller and propelled her career as a successful, critically acclaimed author. Twenty years later, Min returns to the story of her own life to give us The Cooked Seed ($26.00), an immigrant story that takes her from the shocking deprivations of her homeland to the sudden bounty of the promised land of America, without language, money, or a clear path.


Anchee Min was born in Shanghai in 1957. At seventeen she was sent to a labor collective, where a talent scout for Madame Mao's Shanghai Film Studio recruited her to work as a movie actress. She moved to the United States in 1984. Her first memoir, Red Azalea, was an international bestseller, published in twenty countries. She has since published six novels, most recently Pearl of China.

 

10
Start: 6:00 pm
3 Minute Reads from San Francisco Grotto Writers
50+ Writers, 3 Minutes Each!

Joins us for a fast-paced and irreverent evening, showcasing new work from the students of the San Francisco Writer's Grotto writing classes. On this Friday evening, both fiction and nonfiction writers will read their work — but only for 3 minutes each! Their instructors (Grotto authors) will enforce the time limit. Join us for wine, fun, and fresh new writing.

 
Start: 6:30 pm

Terri Glass of Marin Poets in the Schools hosts a lively poetry reading of K-12 students from schools in the county. Lea Aschenas, Claire Blotter, Dana Lomax, Michele Rivers, and Kathy Evans will be on hand to introduce their students and speak about the impressive language of these young poets.

 

11
Start: 12:30 pm

In Dad is Fat ($25.00), stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, who’s best known for his legendary riffs on Hot Pockets, bacon, manatees, and McDonald's, expresses all the joys and horrors of life with five young children—everything from cousins ("celebrities for little kids") to toddlers’ communication skills (“they always sound like they have traveled by horseback for hours to deliver important news”), to the eating habits of four year olds (“there is no difference between a four year old eating a taco and throwing a taco on the floor”). Reminiscent of Bill Cosby’s Fatherhood, Dad is Fat is sharply observed, explosively funny, and a cry for help from a man who has realized he and his wife are outnumbered in their own home.

Jim Gaffigan is a stand-up comedian and actor with numerous film, television, and stage credits. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, Jeannie, and their five children in a two-bedroom apartment.

 

Start: 1:00 pm

Your family has a hankering--a yen for chicken tikka masala or queso fundido, for shrimp pad thai or a Philly cheesesteak--and they want it bad. So you decide to eat out at a local ethnic or roadside restaurant, or do take-out. It's expedient, but is the food really that good? Really really good? Because Lucinda Scala Quinn's versions of all those dishes families crave will knock your socks off and prove beyond a doubt that the foods you love can be made better, faster, tastier, cheaper, and more healthfully at home.

Lucinda Scala Quinn is all about smart strategies that simplify and make for great taste, so why outsource feeding our families when it takes less time, money, and effort to cook these favorite comfort foods ourselves? And why miss out on the untold gifts of sitting at home with your family around the dining room table? So next time there's a request for pulled pork or deep-dish pizza or chicken fettuccine Alfredo, or cold soba noodles or fried rice, forget about soggy takeout and overpriced restaurants--just crack open Mad Hungry Cravings ($27.95) and you'll find simple recipes for all those dishes your family wants to eat, right now.

 

Start: 4:00 pm

In conversation with Don George 

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-god

Start: 7:00 pm

Life for Alex Schrader has never involved girls. He goes to an all-boys prep school and spends most of his time goofing around with his friends. But all that changes the first time he meets Bijou Doucet, a Haitian girl recently relocated to Brooklyn after the earthquake-and he is determined to win her heart. For Bijou, change is the only constant, and she's surprised every day by how different life is in America, especially when a boy asks her out. Alex quickly learns that there are rules when it comes to girls-both in Haitian culture and with his own friends. And Bijou soon learns that she doesn't have to let go of her roots to find joy in her new life.

Told in alternating viewpoints against the vibrant backdrop of Haitian-American culture, A Song for Bijou ($16.99) is Josh Farrar's heartwarming story of Alex and Bijou's first steps toward love.

Josh Farrar is the author of Rules to Rock By.

 

Start: 7:00 pm

Left Coast Writers Launch®

Enjoy a preview of Wandering in Paris, the next anthology from the editors of Wandering in Costa Rica.

 



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