Start: 10:30 am
End: 12:30 pm
5 Tuesdays: Feb. 11, Mar. 11, April 8, May 13, & June 10 • 10:30-12:30pm • $105 Pat Holt leads a discussion of books that have captured the contemporary imagination. Holt is the former book review editor of the San Francisco Chronicle and publisher of Holt Uncensored. Reading List: Feb.: A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki $16.00Mar.: City of Women, David Gillham $16.00Apr.: Me, Who Dove Into the Heart of the World, Sabina Bergman $15.00May: Pigeon English, Stephen Kelman $13.95June: The Garden of Evening Mists, Tan Twan Eng $15.99
Start: 1:00 pm
Dept. of Speculation ($22.95) is a portrait of a marriage. It is also a beguiling rumination on the mysteries of intimacy, trust, faith, knowledge, and the condition of universal shipwreck that unites us all.Jenny Offill's heroine, referred to in these pages as simply "the wife," once exchanged love letters with her husband postmarked Dept. of Speculation, their code name for all the uncertainty that inheres in life and in the strangely fluid confines of a long relationship. As they confront an array of common catastrophes-a colicky baby, a faltering marriage, stalled ambitions-the wife analyzes her predicament, invoking everything from Keats and Kafka to the thought experiments of the Stoics to the lessons of doomed Russian cosmonauts. She muses on the consuming, capacious experience of maternal love, and the near total destruction of the self that ensues from it as she confronts the friction between domestic life and the seductions and demands of art.With cool precision, in language that shimmers with rage and wit and fierce longing, Jenny Offill has crafted an exquisitely suspenseful love story that has the velocity of a train hurtling through the night at top speed. Exceptionally lean and compact, Dept. of Speculation is a novel to be devoured in a single sitting, though its bracing emotional insights and piercing meditations on despair and love will linger long after the last page.Jenny Offill is the author of the novel Last Things, which was chosen as a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times and was a finalist for the L.A. Times First Book Award. She is the coeditor, with Elissa Schappell, of two anthologies of essays, The Friend Who Got Away and Money Changes Everything. Her children's books include 17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore, 11 Experiments That Failed, and Sparky. She teaches in the writing programs at Queens University, Brooklyn College, and Columbia University.
Start: 6:00 pm
Third-generation farmer Gary Romano, owner of Sierra Valley Farms, speaks from experience about today's most vital issues: how to live with purpose and how to protect our food supply. In Why I Farm: Risking It All for a Life on the Land ($15.00), Romano documents a disappearing way of life and issues a wake-up call, describing his metamorphosis from a small boy growing up on a farm to an adult white-collar worker and his ultimate return to the land. If you've ever wanted to claim a patch of earth, this book offers hard-earned counsel about small farming in the twenty-first century. Part memoir, part call to action, Romano details the challenges and joys of living off the land, what's at stake, and why this way of life must be protected for future farmers. After a childhood spent pulling weeds and planting seeds, Gary Romano received a master's degree in recreation administration from California State University, Chico, and worked as a park ranger and county park administrator before returning to the farm.
Start: 7:00 pm
One Book One Marin Launch An unforgettably charming memoir, Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer ($16.00) is full of hilarious moments, fascinating farmer's tips, and a great deal of heart. When Novella Carpenter—captivated by the idea of backyard self-sufficiency—moved to inner city Oakland and discovered a weed-choked, garbage-strewn abandoned lot next door to her house, she closed her eyes and pictured heirloom tomatoes and a chicken coop. The story of how her urban farm grew from a few chickens to one populated with turkeys, geese, rabbits, ducks, and two three-hundred-pound pigs will capture the imagination of anyone who has ever considered leaving the city behind for a more natural lifestyle.Novella Carpenter grew up in rural Idaho and Washington State. She went to University of Washington in Seattle where she majored in Biology and English. She studied under Michael Pollan for two years while attending Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Her writing has appeared on Salon.com, Saveur.com, and sfgate.com (the San Francisco Chronicle's website), and in Food & Wine and Mother Jones. She lives in Oakland, California.