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« Week of May 18, 2014 »
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18
Start: 1:00 pm

Like many farm children, Julene Bair left home as soon as she could, headed for what she hoped would be a more exciting life in San Francisco. The Ogallala Road: A Memoir of Love and Reckoning ($26.95) opens years later when Julene inherits part of her father’s farming empire. She knows his empire was built by plowing the prairies that enchanted her in childhood, and by mining the Ogallala aquifer, the sole source of water on the western plains. But now her family, like many other irrigators, pumps over two hundred million gallons out of the aquifer each year. Julene returns to Kansas to search for one of the few springs that still flow out of the aquifer. She happens on an even rarer find—Ward, a Kansas man who owns a ranch in the beautiful Smoky Valley. A single mother, Julene hopes that Ward will become the father her son has always wished for. Meanwhile, she struggles to reconcile her love for her family’s land with their abuse of it, and ultimately becomes a crusader for the Ogallala aquifer. Her page-turning story is a uniquely American saga of love, farm and family in our challenging times.
 
Julene Bair is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program. Her essay collection, One Degree West, won several regional awards and was a finalist for the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award. She has taught at the University of Wyoming and the University of Iowa and currently lives in Longmont, Colorado. Bair has written editorials on the Ogallala Aquifer, most notably for USA Today and the New York Times.

 

 
 

Start: 2:00 pm
End: 4:00 pm
I’m Your Man ($16.99) is the definitive account of Leonard Cohen, one of the most important and influential artists of our era, a man of powerful emotion and intelligence whose work has explored the definitive issues of human life. Acclaimed music journalist Sylvie Simmons crafts a portrait of Cohen as nuanced as the man himself, drawing on a wealth of research that includes Cohen’s personal archives and more than a hundred exclusive interviews with those closest to him—from his lovers, friends, monks, professors, rabbis and fellow musicians to his muses, including Rebecca De Mornay, Marianne Ihlen, Suzanne Elrod and Suzanne Verdal—and most important, with Cohen himself.

From his hometown of Montreal to London and the Greek island of Hydra, New York in the sixties to his remarkable retreat to a monastary in Los Angeles in the mid-nineties, his extraordinary comback and continued relevance today, Simmons navigates Cohen’s journey and explores every complex, contradictory strand of his life and his influence. I'm Your Man is a deeply insightful portrait of both the artist and the man of extraordinary vision, spirit, depth and talent.

Sylvie Simmons is an award-winning writer and one of the foremost music journalists working today. Born in London, she moved to Los Angeles in the late seventies and started writing about rock music for magazines such as Sounds, Creem, Kerrang! and Q. She is the author of acclaimed fiction and nonfiction books, including the biography Serge Gainsbourg: A Fistful of Gitanes and the short-story collection Too Weird for Ziggy. She lives in San Francisco, California, where she writes for MOJO magazine and plays the ukulele.

Start: 4:00 pm

Michelina Vinter’s debut novel, Colette ($10.99), is an infectiously uplifting work, embodied by a heroine who takes no prisoners and rescues the men in her life. Filled with intrigue and torn loyalties, Vinter takes us on a whirlwind tour through the times that changed our world forever.

Encountering everything from disillusioned first love, to the Gestapo, and even a kidnapping plot, Colette’s life proves to be as exciting as it is dramatic. Keeping readers guessing until the last sentence, this captivating novel uses romance, action, and intrigue to draw readers in, while exploring the constraints of life and family, and bridging the social stigma of interracial marriage during the 1940’s. Vinter honors the struggle these couples faced not only from society but also within their own families. Mirrored in her own life, Vinter is intimately wise in sharing that true love has no boundaries. Colette travels around the world and back again in defense of her family, her child, and her love. But will it be enough?

Michelina Vinter is a practicing acupuncturist and herbalist. Possessing a vivid imagination since she was a child, she often was told to get to the point - which led to her career as an acupuncturist. Born in France, her family moved to the United States when she was twelve years old. With firsthand experiences in hard goodbyes and long conversations with her maternal grandmother, Vinter’s wisdom beyond her years led to a fulfilling writing career covering multiple genres.

 

Start: 7:00 pm
Marin County, California, summer, 1979. When young women start turning up dead on the mountain behind the home of Rachel and her devoted eleven-year-old sister, Patty, their father—a larger-than-life, irresistibly handsome (and chronically unfaithful) detective—is put in charge of finding the “Sunset Strangler.” Watching her father’s life slowly unravel as months pass and more women are killed, Rachel embarks on a dangerous game to catch the killer. Her actions will destroy her father’s career and alter forever the lives of everyone she loves. Thirty years later, Rachel constructs a new strategy to smoke out the Sunset Strangler she believes is still at large and vindicate her father—a plan that unexpectedly unearths a long-buried family secret.

Loosely inspired by the Trailside Killer case, After Her ($14.99) is part thriller, part love story—a poignant, suspenseful, and painfully real family saga that traces a young girl’s first sexual explorations, the loss of innocence, the bond shared by sisters, and the tender but damaged relationship between a girl and her father that endures even beyond the grave.
 
Joyce Maynard has been a reporter for the New York Times, a magazine journalist, a radio commentator, and a syndicated columnist, as well as the author of seven previous novels, including To Die For, Labor Day, and The Good Daughters, and four books of nonfiction. Her bestselling memoir, At Home in the World, has been translated into sixteen languages. Maynard’s bestselling novel Labor Day was adapted for film by Academy Award-nominated director Jason Reitman and stars Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. Maynard makes her home in California.
 
19
Start: 10:00 am
End: 12:00 pm

Four Mondays: May 19-June 9 • 10:00-12:00 pm • $125

 

 

Lisez à la maison un livre, des textes d’actualité puis discutez en classe et cultivez votre français en échangeant des idées.

Josette Charbit Schwartz has taught French at the Lycée Français, The Branson School, and French American International in San Francisco. “Josette makes us feel comfortable with asking questions or stumbling on new words, and that openness is absolutely essential to learning,” said one student.

Start: 1:00 pm
End: 3:00 pm

Four Mondays: May 19-June 9 • 1:00-3:00 pm • $125

 

 

This class will focus on everyday topics, such as: salutations, food, and communicating in simple, correct sentences.

Josette Charbit Schwartz has taught French at the Lycée Français, The Branson School, and French American International in San Francisco. “Josette makes us feel comfortable with asking questions or stumbling on new words, and that openness is absolutely essential to learning,” said one student.

 

Start: 5:00 pm

Special signing event!

Master entrepreneur, original hip-hop mogul, and New York Times bestselling author Russell Simmons shares the most fundamental key to success—meditation—and guides readers to use stillness as a powerful tool to access their potential.

In the New York Times bestseller Super Rich, Russell Simmons proved that to be rich is more than just having money in the bank—wealth is about balance, joy, and conscientious living.

In Success Through Stillness ($20.00), Simmons shows the connection between inner peace and outward success through interviews with other successful leaders in various industries, and how learning to be still has been instrumental in his own career. Simmons attributes his meditation practice with changing his life for the better and says that there is no "bad" way to meditate, only different forms for different people.

In this highly anticipated new book, Russell Simmons guides readers into finding greater clarity and focus and explains how to be healthier in both mind and body. Simmons breaks down what he’s learned from masters of meditation to create a guide that is accessible to those unfamiliar with the practice.

Russell Simmons has been influential in various business and media ventures including Def Jam Recordings, Phat Farm, Baby Phat, Run Athletics, Simmons Lathan Media Group, and many more.

 

Start: 7:00 pm

From award-winning author, Mona Simpson, comes a beguiling new work about an eavesdropping boy working to discover the mysteries of his unraveling family in: Casebook: A Novel ($25.95). He uncovers instead what he least wants to know- the workings of his parents' private lives.

Miles Adler-Rich, helped by his friend Hector, spies on his separating parents. Both boys are in thrall to Miles's unsuspecting mother, Irene, who is "pretty for a mathematician." Their amateur detective work starts innocently but soon takes them to the far reaches of adult privacy as they acquire knowledge that will affect the family's well-being, prosperity, and sanity. The boys struggle to deal with the existence of evil, and proceed to concoct hilarious modes of revenge on their villains and eventually, haltingly, learn to offer animal comfort to those harmed and to create an imaginative path to their own salvation.

Mona Simpson is the author of Anywhere But Here, The Lost Father, A Regular Guy, My Hollywood, and Off Keck Road, which was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and won the Heartland Prize of the Chicago Tribune. She has received a Whiting Writer's Award, a Guggenheim grant, a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Award, and, recently an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

In her magnificent new novel, internationally acclaimed author Yiyun Li masterfully moves a story of three childhood friends back and forth in time between America and China. Both a gripping novel of suspense and a penetrating study of personal corruption and moral ambivalence, Kinder Than Solitude ($26.00) is the unforgettable story of three friends whose lives are changed by a murder one of them may have committed.

When Boyang, Ruyu and Moran were young, they would share two bicycles among the three of them and whistle John Denver’s “Country Roads” as they explored Beijing. Then, they are involved in a mysterious accident in which a neighbor is poisoned, and their friendship splinters. Now grown and estranged, all three are living anonymous lives as they ruminate on the “accident,” trying to come to terms with their actions and self doubt, all three haunted by what really happened. Brilliantly written, this work resonates with provocative observations about human nature and life.                               

Yiyun Li is the author of A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, The Vagrants, and Gold Boy, Emerald Girl. A native of Beijing and a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, the Whiting Writers’ Award, and the Guardian First Book Award. Granta named her one of the best American novelists under thirty-five, and The New Yorker named her one of twenty U.S. writers under forty to watch. She teaches writing at the University of California, Davis.

 

20
Start: 12:00 pm

Ticket: $55 (includes lunch & signed book)

Please noteonline registration is sold out. For availability, please call (415) 927-0960 ext. 1.  

In her work as a New York Times food critic, editor of Gourmet, and as a memoirist, Ruth Reichl has long illuminated the theme of how food defines us. This vision has never been more clear than in Delicious, her dazzling fiction debut about sisters, family ties, and a young woman who must finally let go of guilt and grief to embrace her own true gifts.

Book Passage hosts literary luncheons with celebrated authors at our Marin store. These events are catered by the outstanding Insalata’s Restaurant of San Anselmo. The price includes lunch and an autographed book.

 

Start: 6:00 pm

Troublemaker: Troubled Words for Troubled Times ($15.95) is a collection of sermons written by Episcopal deacon, Vicki Gray, who speaks with a prophetic voice about many of the things that make our world broken.

This work is grounded in the gospel story of Jesus, remembering how Christ always stood with the poor, marginalized, and vulnerable. Consequently, he stood in the line of fire for those who sought to oppress or ignore others. In this way, Jesus was always getting into trouble. He was courageous because he risked speaking into the silence that masked the poverty and struggle of his people. He was willing to be identified with outcasts. It is with this vision of Jesus that Vicki seeks to follow the path of discipleship.

These sermons tell the story of one woman’s journey into a lifetime of dedicated service to those on the margins of society or under the threat of war. Vicki intentionally walks out in faith to stand in harm’s way, believing in the power of God to bring peace, hope, and justice to those in need.

Vicki Gray is a deacon in the Episcopal Church, who works in some of the most challenging ministries in the Bay Area. Vicki works closely with people who have been marginalized in our society: the homeless, prisoners, families struggling in poverty. She has also taken up the global issues of peace and justice, especially in the Middle East. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, and retired Foreign Service Officer, she has served on the faculty of the National Defense University. She is a recipient of the Bronze Star as a combat veteran in Vietnam.

 

Start: 7:00 pm
This beautiful volume celebrates one of the twentieth century's most important photographers, Dorothea Lange. Led off by an authoritative biographical essay by Elizabeth Partridge (Lange's goddaughter), the book goes on to showcase Lange's work in over a hundred glorious plates. Dorothea Lange ($50.00) is the only career-spanning monograph of this major photographer's oeuvre in print, and features images ranging from her iconic Depression-era photograph "Migrant Mother" to lesser-known images from her global travels later in life. Presented as the companion book to a PBS American Masters episode that will air in 2014, this deluxe hardcover offers an intimate and unparalleled view into the life and work of one of our most cherished documentary photographers.
 
Elizabeth Partridge is the goddaughter of Dorothea Lange and an award-winning author of numerous books. She lives in California.

21
Start: 10:00 am
End: 12:00 pm

Four Wednesdays: May 21- June 11 • 10:00-12:00 pm • $125

 

 

This class will continue the study of tenses, grammar, and review, using simple dialogues.

Josette Charbit Schwartz has taught French at the Lycée Français, The Branson School, and French American International in San Francisco. “Josette makes us feel comfortable with asking questions or stumbling on new words, and that openness is absolutely essential to learning,” said one student.

 

Start: 12:00 pm

Intimate Meals with Famed Authors at The Spinster Sisters Restaurant in Santa Rosa

$95 person • includes the book, meal, wine, tax, tip & dessert
Call Book Passage at 415-927-0960 to reserve, or click link below

Please note: online registration is sold out. For waitlist availability, call (415) 927-0960 ext. 1. 

Ruth Reichl, the former editor of Gourmet magazine and best-selling author of culinary memoirs Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me with Apples, makes her fiction debut with a story set at an iconic food magazine in New York called “Delicious.” Delicious! ($27.00) is a novel of sisters, family ties, and a young woman who must find the courage to let go of the past in order to embrace her own true gifts. The Library Journal says Reichl’s novel is “drenched in food lore and love.”

 

 

Start: 6:00 pm

What is real and what is an illusion? Can you trust your memory to provide an accurate record of what has happened in your life?

The Confabulist
($27.95) is a clever, entertaining, and suspenseful narrative. It weaves together the rise and fall of world-famous Harry Houdini with Martin Strauss, an unknown man whose fate seems forever tied to the magician’s in a way that will ultimately startle and amaze. It is at once a vivid portrait of an alluring world; a front-row seat to a world-class magic show; and an unexpected love story. In the end, the book is a kind of magic trick in itself-- there is much more to Martin than meets the eye.

Historically rich and ingeniously told, this is a novel about magic and memory, truth and illusion, and the ways that love, hope, grief, and imagination can—for better or for worse—alter what we perceive and believe.

Steven Galloway lives in British Columbia and teaches creative writing at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of The Cellist of Sarajevo, which was an IndieBound and a Barnes and Noble Discover selection, and has been chosen for community reads across the country.

 

Start: 7:00 pm
The remarkable story of an ordinary man who was transformed when a traumatic injury left him with an extraordinary gift.
 
No one sees the world as Jason Padgett does. Water pours from the faucet in crystalline patterns, numbers call to mind distinct geometric shapes, and intricate fractal patterns emerge from the movement of tree branches, revealing the intrinsic mathematical designs hidden in the objects around us.

Yet Padgett wasn't born this way. Twelve years ago, he had never made it past pre-algebra. But a violent mugging forever altered the way his brain works, giving him unique gifts. His ability to understand math and physics skyrocketed, and he developed the astonishing ability to draw the complex geometric shapes he saw everywhere. His stunning, mathematically precise artwork illustrates his intuitive understanding of complex mathematics.

The first documented case of acquired savant syndrome with mathematical synesthesia, Padgett is a medical marvel. Struck by Genius ($27.00) recounts how he overcame huge setbacks and embraced his new mind. Along the way he fell in love, found joy in numbers, and spent plenty of time having his head examined. Like Born on a Blue Day and My Stroke of Insight, his singular story reveals the wondrous potential of the human brain.
 
Jason Padgett is an aspiring number theorist and mathematician with acquired savant syndrome and synesthesia. He is currently the manager of three futon stores in Tacoma, Washington. His art, drawings of the grids and fractals he sees synesthetically, won Best International Newcomer at the Artoconecto A-B(o)MB show at the Bakehouse Art Complex in 2008. Struck by Genius is his first book. 
 
Maureen Seaberg is an author with several forms of synesthesia and is an expert synesthesia blogger for Psychology Today. She has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times; the Daily Beast; the Huffington Post; O, The Oprah Magazine; and ESPN: The Magazine. She has appeared on MSNBC, PBS and "The Lisa Oz Show" on Oprah Radio. A native New Yorker, she currently resides in the city. 
 
 
22
Start: 11:15 am
End: 1:15 pm

Four Thursdays: May 22-June 12 • 11:15-1:15 pm • $125

 

 

This class will use French with current events, varied texts, and dialogues.

Josette Charbit Schwartz has taught French at the Lycée Français, The Branson School, and French American International in San Francisco. “Josette makes us feel comfortable with asking questions or stumbling on new words, and that openness is absolutely essential to learning,” said one student.

Start: 6:00 pm

Kaye McDonough's Pagan: Selected Poems ($17.95) reverberates with a loving touch that spares nothing. Within its pages the impressions of a poet who focuses on lovers, friends, and family comes to life. The deft artistry of Vermeer, the splendid pathos of Beat legend Bob Kaufman, and the lives of many women are among the themes handled with grace and craftsmanship. McDonough serves as a witness to the mysteries of the ordinary. The impressive range of these poems will serve to enlighten and entertain generations to come.

Kaye McDonough was born in Pittsburgh in 1943, and studied literature at Vassar College before transferring to the University of California at Berkeley, where she earned a degree in Art History during the turbulent 1960s. She went to Paris in 1963 and explored the literary haunts of the "lost generation" before making her way back to California. She became part of the North Beach scene in San Francisco as a young publisher of Greenlight Press, and associate editor and typesetter for Alix Geluardi’s now classic anthology of San Francisco poets, 185. She has an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, and has been a visiting playwright/poet at City College of New York, University of Utah, and Brown University. She has taught at various colleges and universities while continuing to do readings and to publish in numerous small press magazines. She is currently at work on a memoir, The Spell of Bohemia

Start: 7:00 pm
Peter Heller, the celebrated author of the breakout best seller The Dog Stars, returns with an achingly beautiful, wildly suspenseful second novel about an artist trying to outrun his past.

Jim Stegner has seen his share of violence and loss. Years ago he shot a man in a bar. His marriage disintegrated. He grieved the one thing he loved. In the wake of tragedy, Jim, a well-known expressionist painter, abandoned the art scene of Santa Fe to start fresh in the valleys of rural Colorado. Now he spends his days painting and fly-fishing, trying to find a way to live with the dark impulses that sometimes overtake him. He works with a lovely model. His paintings fetch excellent prices. But one afternoon, on a dirt road, Jim comes across a man beating a small horse, and a brutal encounter rips his quiet life wide open. Fleeing Colorado, chased by men set on retribution, Jim returns to New Mexico, tormented by his own relentless conscience.

A stunning, savage novel of art and violence, love and grief, The Painter ($24.95) is the story of a man who longs to transcend the shadows in his heart, a man intent on using the losses he has suffered to create a meaningful life.
 
Peter Heller is the best-selling author of The Dog Stars. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in both fiction and poetry. An award-winning adventure writer and a longtime contributor to NPR, Heller is a contributing editor at Outside magazine, Men's Journal, and National Geographic Adventure, and a regular contributor to Bloomberg Businessweek. He is also the author of several nonfiction books, including Kook, The Whale Warriors, and Hell or High Water: Surviving Tibet's Tsangpo River.
 
23
Start: 6:30 pm

Special event for teens!

Live conversation over Skype

An edgy and original coming-of-age story interwoven with several generations of family history and set against the bawdy, violent end of the world

Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba has always filled notebooks with the “histories” of his family and the narrative of his daily life, but his story takes an epic, dangerous turn when he and his best friend, Robby, accidently bring about the end of humanity by unleashing an unstoppable army of horny, hungry, six-foot-tall praying mantises on their small Iowa hometown. While struggling with their own confusing love triangle, the boys piece together the origin of the unstoppable soldiers from stories that have been locked away in an absurd underground bunker for decades.

Delightfully bizarre, raucous, and hilarious, Grasshopper Jungle ($18.99) is a complex and fascinating balancing act that is both a genre roller coaster ride and an intimate coming-of-age study.

Andrew Smith is the acclaimed author of five novels for young adults, incuding Ghost Medicine, In the Path of Falling Objects, The Marbury Lens, Stick, and Passenger, as well as the forthcoming Winger. Andrew prefers the seclusion of his rural Southern California setting, where he lives with his wife, 16-year-old son, 13-year-old daughter, two horses, three dogs, three cats, and one irritable lizard named Leo. 

 

Start: 7:00 pm

Paul O'Rourke is a man made of contradictions: he loves the world, but doesn't know how to live in it. He's a Luddite addicted to his iPhone, a dentist with a nicotine habit, a rabid Red Sox fan devastated by their victories, and an atheist not quite willing to let go of God.

Then someone begins to impersonate Paul online, and he watches in horror as a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account are created in his name. What begins as an outrageous violation of his privacy soon becomes something more soul-frightening: the possibility that the online "Paul" might be a better version of the real thing. As Paul's quest to learn why his identity has been stolen deepens, he is forced to confront his troubled past and his uncertain future in a life disturbingly split between the real and the virtual.

At once laugh-out-loud funny about the absurdities of the modern world, and indelibly profound about the eternal questions of the meaning of life, love and truth, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour ($26.00) is a deeply moving and constantly surprising tour de force.

Joshua Ferris is the author of two previous novels, Then We Came to the End and The Unnamed. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, and Best American Short Stories. He lives in New York.

 

24
Start: 4:00 pm
Since well before his epic 1974 walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, Philippe Petit had become an artist who answered first and foremost to the demands of his craft—not only on the high wire, but also as a magician, street juggler, visual artist, builder, and writer. A born rebel like many creative people, he was from an early age a voracious learner who taught himself, cultivating the attitudes, resources, and techniques to tackle even seemingly impossible feats. His outlaw sensibility spawned a unique approach to the creative process—an approach he shares, with characteristic enthusiasm, irreverence, and originality in Creativity: The Perfect Crime ($27.95).
           
Making the reader his accomplice, Petit reveals new and unconventional ways of going about the artistic endeavor, from generating and shaping ideas to practicing and problem-solving to pulling off the “coup” itself—executing a finished work. The strategies and insights he shares will resonate with performers of every stripe (actors, musicians, dancers) and practitioners of the non-performing arts (painters, writers, sculptors), and also with ordinary mortals in search of fresh ways of tackling the challenges and possibilities of everyday existence.

Philippe Petit has performed on the high wire more than eighty times around the world; he is also a magician, street juggler, visual artist, builder, lecturer, and writer. A frequent contributor to TED and other national venues, he is the author and illustrator of several books, including To Reach the Clouds, the basis of the 2009 Academy Award–winning documentary Man on Wire.



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