Start: 1:00 pm
What is the purpose of life on earth? In An Unknown World: Notes on the Meaning of the Earth ($15.95), philosopher Jacob Needleman frames man’s role on the planet in a completely new and fresh way, moving beyond the usual environmental concerns to reveal how the care and maintenance of a world is something vital and basic to our existence as authentic human beings.
The acclaimed author of The American Soul, The Essential Marcus Aurelius, Lost Christianity, and Money and the Meaning of Life, Jacob Needleman is a professor of philosophy at San Francisco State University and former director of the Center for the Study of New Religions at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley.
Start: 4:00 pm
What if there were a single skill that could directly and radically improve our relationships and our emotional lives? Empathy, teaches Karla McLaren, is that skill. With The Art of Empathy: A Complete Guide to Life's Most Essential Skill ($18.95), this acclaimed author teaches us how to perceive and feel the experiences of others with clarity and authenticity-to connect with them more deeply and effectively. Informed by current insights from neuroscience, social psychology, and healing traditions, this book teaches readers why empathy is not a mystical phenomenon but a natural, innate ability that we can strengthen and develop, how to identify and regulate our own emotions and boundaries, and so much more.
Karla McLaren is an empath, pioneering educator, researcher, and award-winning author whose empathic approach to emotions revalues even the most “negative” emotions, and opens startling new pathways into the depths of the soul. She is the author of The Language of Emotions, and the online course Emotional Flow (2012). Karla has taught at such venues as the University of San Francisco, Naropa University, Kripalu, and the Association for Humanistic Psychology, and she is currently developing new forms of empathy and social interaction curricula for autistics and other neurologically diverse people. She lives in Sonoma County, California. For more information, visit karlamclaren.com.
Start: 7:00 pm
Introduced by Don George
Modern budget travel was practically invented by Arthur Frommer a few decades ago with his famous book Europe on $5 a Day. He remains the nation’s foremost authority on leisure travel along with his daughter, Pauline Frommer. They discuss the relaunch of the Frommer Guidebooks, with 30 new travel guides in two formats: EasyGuides, and Day by Day Guides.
Start: 7:00 pm
Co-Sponsored by the Academy of Sciences
In The Shark's Paintbrush: Biomimicry and How Nature Is Inspiring Innovation ($26.95), Jay Harman introduces us to pioneering engineers in a wide array of businesses who are uncovering and copying nature's hidden marvels. He shows business leaders and aspiring entrepreneurs how we can reconcile creating more powerful, lucrative technologies with maximizing sustainability. He injects a whole new vocabulary and way of thinking into the business sphere that speaks to both small start-ups and corporate giants.
Since the Industrial Revolution, manufacturers have built things by a process known as "heat, beat, and treat." They use enormous amounts of energy to heat raw material, shape it with heavy machinery, and maintain its design, strength, and durability with toxic chemicals. Now, in a world of depleted natural resources, entrepreneurs and scientists are turning to nature to inspire future products that are more energy- and cost-efficient. Biomimicry, the science of employing nature to advance sustainable technology, is arguably one of the hottest new business concepts. At the center of this growing movement has been award-winning inventor and biomimetic entrepreneur Jay Harman.
Jay Harman is a scientist, inventor, and entrepreneur dedicated to creating breakthrough technologies through biomimicry that will radically reduce energy consumption worldwide. He continues to conduct field research leading to new biomimetic products. Harman is CEO of PAX Scientific based in San Rafael, CA.
Start: 12:30 pm
Suspenseful, comic, and touching, the ninth and final novel in Armistead Maupin's bestselling "Tales of the City" series follows one of modern literature's most unforgettable and enduring characters -- Anna Madrigal, the legendary transgender landlady of 28 Barbary Lane -- on a road trip that will take her deep into her past in The Days of Anna Madrigal ($26.99)
Now a fragile ninety-two, and committed to the notion of "leaving like a
lady," Anna Madrigal has seemingly found peace in the bosom of her
"logical family" in San Francisco: her devoted young caretaker Jake
Greenleaf; her former tenant Brian Hawkins; Brian's daughter Shawna; as
well as Michael Tolliver and Mary Ann Singleton, who have known and
loved Anna for nearly four decades.
Armistead Maupin is the author of the nine-volume "Tales of the City" series that includes Tales of the City, More Tales of the City, Further Tales of the City, Babycakes, Significant Others, Sure of You, Michael Tolliver Lives, and Mary Ann in Autumn. The first three books were made into television miniseries starring Olympia Dukakis and Laura Linney. Maupin's other books include Maybe the Moon and The Night Listener, which was made into a film starring Robin Williams and Toni Collette. A stage musical version of Tales of the City premiered at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater in May, 2011. Maupin lives in Santa Fe with his husband, photograher Christopher Turner.
Start: 6:00 pm
Following the death of his younger brother in Europe, journalist John Easley is determined to find meaning in his loss, to document some part of the growing war that claimed his own flesh and blood. Leaving his wife, Helen, behind in Seattle, he heads to the Territory of Alaska to investigate the Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands, a story censored by the U.S. government.
While accompanying a crew on a bombing run, John's plane is shot down
over the island of Attu. But surviving the crash is only the beginning
of his ordeal in this harsh and unforgiving fury of a wilderness known
as "the Birthplace of Winds." In the days ahead, John must battle the
elements, starvation, and his own regrets while evading discovery by the
Japanese. Alone in their home 3,000 miles to the south, Helen struggles with her
husband's absence-a silence that exposes the truth of her sheltered,
untested life. Caught in extraordinary circumstances, in this new world
of the missing, she is forced to reimagine who she is-and what she is
capable of doing. Somehow, she will find John and bring him home, a
quest that takes her into the farthest reaches of the war, beyond the
safety of everything she knows.
Brian Payton has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Boston Globe. He is the author of Shadow of the Bear: Travels in Vanishing Wilderness, which was chosen as a Barnes and Noble Book Club Pick, an NPR Pearl's Pick, and a 2006 U.S. National Outdoor Book Awards Book of the Year. Another work of nonfiction, The Ice Passage, and a novel, Hail Mary Corner, were published to acclaim in Canada. He lives with his family in Vancouver.
Start: 7:00 pm
for the first time on why attorney general Robert F. Kennedy wasn’t
killed in 1963 instead of on why President John F. Kennedy was, Mark
Shaw offers a stunning and provocative assassination theory that leads
directly to the family patriarch, Joseph P. Kennedy. Mining fresh
information and more than forty new interviews, Shaw weaves a
spellbinding narrative involving Mafia don Carlos Marcello; Jack Ruby
(Lee Harvey Oswald’s killer); Ruby’s attorney, Melvin Belli; and,
ultimately, the Kennedy brothers and their father.
Mark Shaw author of twenty-plus books, is a former criminal defense attorney who has served as a legal analyst for ABC, ESPN, and USA Today. He is a member of the Assassination Archives and Research Center in Washington, DC, and the Mary Ferrell Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering critical thinking on a range of historical topics, including the assassinations of the 1960s. He lives in Superior, Colorado.
Start: 7:00 pm
Please note: this event has been cancelled.
Why is it that some of the greatest works of literature have been produced by writers in the grip of alcoholism, an addiction that cost them personal happiness and caused harm to those who loved them?
In The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking ($26.00) Olivia Laing examines the
link between creativity and alcohol through the work and lives of six of
America’s finest writers: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway,
Tennessee Williams, John Berryman, John Cheever, and Raymond Carver. All six of these men were alcoholics, and the subject of drinking surfaces in some of their finest work, from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to A Moveable Feast.
Often, they did their drinking together: Hemingway and Fitzgerald
ricocheting through the cafes of Paris in the 1920s; Carver and Cheever
speeding to the liquor store in Iowa in the icy winter of 1973.
Olivia Laing is the author of To the River, published by Canongate to critical acclaim, and shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize. She was deputy books editor of the Observer, and writes for The Guardian, New Statesman, and The Times Literary Supplement, among other publications. She lives in Cambridge.
Start: 7:00 pm
In her masterful new novel, Nancy Horan has recreated a love story that is as unique, passionate, and overwhelmingly powerful as the one between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney depicted so memorably in Loving Frank. Under the Wide and Starry Sky ($26.00) chronicles the unconventional love affair of Scottish literary giant Robert Louis Stevenson, author of classics including Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and American divorcee Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne. They meet in rural France in 1875, when Fanny, having run away from her philandering husband back in California, takes refuge there with her children. Stevenson too is escaping from his life, running from family pressure to become a lawyer. And so begins a turbulent love affair that will last two decades and span the world.
Nancy Horan is the author of Loving Frank. She is also a journalist whose work has appeared in numerous publications. She has two sons, and lives with her husband on an island in Puget Sound.
Start: 7:00 pm
End: 9:00 pm
6 Thursdays., Jan. 23 - Feb. 27 • 7:00-9:00pm • $150
"To have great poets," Walt Whitman said, "There must be great audiences too." What makes a poem worth reading? This group looks at famous poets from several centuries and from several literatures. Widely-published local poet and author John Hart co-edits the venerable all-poetry journal Blue Unicorn, now in its 36th year.
Start: 7:00 pm
Marla Fibish and Bruce Victor are Noctambule. They take their name from one of the songs on their acclaimed CD Travel in the Shadows, their setting of a Robert Service poem about a nocturnal ramble through the streets and less savory back alleys of Paris. The recording is centered on the idea of the 'night journey,' as explored in a broad variety of poetry -- the opportunity to see and experience things differently once the usual sources of light have been extinguished. All the songs are original settings of poetry from a variety of poets-- Tennyson, Neruda, Roethke, St. Vincent Millay, and several from Robert Service. There are two original instrumental pieces as well – a reel and a waltz – as well as one traditional song. The music is rendered with lush beauty, sensitivity and humor on an unusual array of strings - various guitars in varied tunings, mandola, mandolin, bouzouki, tenor guitar, accordion, and their blended voices.
Start: 7:00 pm
In Saints of the Shadow Bible ($26.00), Rebus is back on the force, albeit with a demotion and a chip on his
shoulder. He is investigating a car accident when news arrives that a
case from 30 years ago is being reopened. Rebus's team from those days
is suspected of helping a murderer escape justice to further their own
Ian Rankin is a #1 international bestselling author. Winner of an Edgar Award and the recipient of a Gold Dagger for fiction and the Chandler-Fulbright Award, he lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, with his wife and their two sons.
Start: 9:30 am
End: 3:30 pm
Sat., Jan. 25 • 9:30-3:30pm • $105
In this workshop, students will study the components of personal essay through lecture and writing exercises and will learn how to structure and craft creative nonfiction in a way that is both joyful and rewarding. Victoria Zackheim wrote The Bone Weaver and has edited five anthologies. She wrote the documentary "Where Birds Never Sang," which aired on PBS.
Start: 10:00 am
End: 4:00 pm
Sat. Jan. 25 • 10:00-4:00 pm • $105
Aristotle called plot “the most important element of storytelling.” But to plot properly, you must have a plan, and the plan must give rise to emotion. Does the plot always seem to elude you? Spend a day planning and plotting and find out what you’re missing. Bring your flat-lining fiction and nonfiction and fix it.
Linda Watanabe McFerrin is the founder of Left Coast Writers®. Her latest novel, Dead Love, a global supernatural thriller, was a Bram Stoker Award finalist.
Class Credit: Participants in these classes may receive credit at Dominican University: bookpassage.com/dominican-credit
Start: 4:00 pm
In The Last Death of Jack Harbin ($15.95), before the outbreak of the Gulf War two eighteen-year-old football stars and best friends from Jarrett Creek, Texas, signed up for the army. But Woody Patterson was rejected and stayed home to marry the girl they both loved, while Jack Harbin came back from the war badly damaged. The men haven't spoken since. Just as they are about to reconcile, Jack is brutally murdered. With the chief of police out of commission, it's up to trusted ex-chief Samuel Craddock to investigate. Against the backdrop of small-town loyalties and betrayals, Craddock discovers dark secrets of the past and present to solve the mystery of Jack's death.
Terry Shames is the author of A Killing at Cotton Hill, the first Samuel Craddock Mystery. She is the coeditor of Fire in the Hills, a book of stories, poems, and photographs about the 1991 Oakland Hills Fire. She grew up in Texas and continues to be fascinated by the convoluted loyalties and betrayals of the small town where her grandfather was the mayor. Terry is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. Visit Terry Shames online at www.terryshames.com.
Start: 7:00 pm
Adrienne Amundsen went to Afghanistan and brought back Reclaiming the Apple: Poems from Afghanistan ($12.95), which describes a country devastated by war. She found the people determined and resilient in impossible circumstances. Both Afghans and American soldiers are depicted here, and tragedy stands next to hope in this modern war zone.