Luisa Smith is the Buying Director for Book Passage. She's been a part of the store staff for almost twenty years.
The art of Andy Goldsworthy awakens a sense of wonder in the natural world that lives long beyond the existing art piece. Using materials and conditions he encounters on a daily basis, his work allows us to appreciate the forces of permanence, decay, labor, vitality, and growth. Out of earth, rocks, leaves, ice, shadow, and snow he creates art that exists briefly before they are altered and erased by nature and time. Ephemeral Works features approximately 200 of these works from 2004 to 2015, arranged in chronological sequence, capturing his creative process through changing environments and seasons.
Maira Kalman’s paintings illustrate her wonderful sense of humor and ability to capture the tender bonds between dogs and their owners. In gorgeous colors reminiscent of Matisse, Kalman brings us the dogs in her life, from the dogs she lovingly illustrated in her acclaimed children’s books to the real-life pets who inspire her still. Here we see playful canines, supportive friends, lovely paintings. Beloved Dog is a joyful book for dog lovers and art lovers alike.
After reading H is for Hawk, many of us fell in love with the world of birds and wanted to know more about these intelligent creatures. In Bird Love, we see the beauty and diversity of some of our most colorful and elegant feathered friends. We are introduced to Commander Skyring the Gang-Gang Cockatoo, Dexter the White-Bellied Sea Eagle, Mrs. Plume the Budgerigar, and many others in these whimsical portraits. Hundreds of stunning photographs of birds from Australia to North America show us more than just their gorgeous plumage, expressive eyes, and inquisitive personalities of these birds, with these portraits we see Leila Jeffreys’ love and compassion for these amazing creatures.
There have been biographies of Gen. George Armstrong Custer before, but this is the first time we see such a deeply personal and complex portrait of the man who has remained a controversial person in American history. Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning author, T.J. Stiles, reveals Custer to be a volatile, contradictory person, passionate yet self-destructive, intelligent yet bigoted. Court marshalled twice in six years, he was often at odds with the military. While Custer helped create modern America he struggled, and never quite succeeded, to adapt to it. In Custer’s Trials, Stiles has written both a magisterial and fascinating portrait of General Custer and the changing landscape of America.
What a wonderful and surprising literary debut from the award winning actress Mary-Louise Parker. Here we see the path of her life through the letters she imagines writing to the men in her life, real and hypothetical. We meet the beloved priest from her childhood, the grandfather she never knew, the uncle of the infant daughter she adopted. Gradually an intimate portrait of her grows, swinging from funny to touching but always fascinating, Dear Mr. You shines with her intelligence and charm. Whether she is writing to an ash-covered fire fighter or a former lover, we love meeting Ms. Parker and recognizing a reflection of ourselves.
Devil’s Acre was a bar-filled block in San Francisco in the late 1800’s. Here begins San Francisco’s love affair with inspired cocktails, and here is where Duggan McDonnell draws inspiration for this captivating book. Twenty-five iconic cocktail recipes made famous by San Francisco are accompanied by an additional 45 recipes to show their evolution from classic elixirs, such as the legendary Pisco Punch and Irish Coffee, to contemporary favorites, such as the Revolver and the Last Word. Cocktail lore and San Francisco history are woven throughout, taking us on a history- packed drinking tour of our beloved city.
Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning author Mary Oliver stuns us once again, as her poems in Felicity deliver a beautifully rendered portrait of the human heart and all of its complex connections. Here she meditates love and asks what it truly means to love another. The nature of love is slowly revealed to the reader and the enormous power its connections can hold are lovingly shown. Oliver’s poems are honest, precise, and beautiful, and a new collection of them is always a cause for celebration.
An intensely personal book of never before published interviews of Jerry Garcia, revealing his thoughts on his songwriting process, his memories of growing up in San Francisco, and much more. Dennis McNally was the Grateful Dead’s longtime publicist, here he collects never-before-released interviews, set lists, drawings, and photographs. The result is the most candid and revealing portrait of the Grateful Dead frontman that we have ever been allowed to see. These unguarded moments of Jerry remind us why he was such an amazing musician and beloved son of the Bay Area.
Inspired by the surrealists, American artist Joseph Cornell developed into one of the leading exponents of collage and assemblage. Using simple shadow boxes, he arranged eclectic fragments of photographs or Victorian era bric a brac, in a way that flirts with both the formality of Constructivism and the fantasy of Surrealism. He was fascinated by a vast array of subjects, from ornithology to astronomical charts, from Old Master Paintings to early films and starlets. The combinations of these subjects is where the beauty blooms in his art. Joseph Cornell: Wanderlust brings together the most captivating examples of his extraordinary work.
It is nearly impossible to know what truly goes on in any marriage, even a very public one. But Betty Boyd Caroli pulls back the curtain and reveals a strong partnership between Lady Bird and Lyndon Johnson. Lady Bird worked quietly behind the scenes on every campaign and was relied upon as a key strategist, fundraiser, barnstormer, and peacemaker. Caroli shows Lady Bird’s strength behind her soft southern manners, and reveals the fascinating partnership that was behind the walls of the White House.
We fell in love with the food of Yotam Ottolenghi in his first cookbook, Plenty, and with each new book our devotion grows. His food is always inspired, with revelatory combinations and flavors, and still accessible for the home cook. Ottolenghi’s inspiration comes from his Middle Eastern background and his unapologetic love of the ingredients. NOPI is his eponymous, high-end London restaurant where he showcases his signature style of blending fresh ingredients with unique blends of exotic herbs and spices.
With 17,897 strips published, Peanuts has been called “arguably the longest story ever told by a human being.” It is certainly one of the most beloved. Charles M. Schulz believed that the key to cartooning was to take out the extraneous details and leave in only what’s necessary, and with this single goal he created the most popular comic in the world. With unprecedented access to the extraordinary archives of the Charles M. Schulz Museum, Chip Kidd has created a Peanuts book unlike any other allowing a fascinating look at the unpublished art, developmental work, exclusive photographs, and the strips that have touched us all.
In a beautiful meditation on mindfulness through grace, Pulitzer Prize -winning dance critic, Sarah L. Kaufman examines the power of graceful moments in life— the sense of being seen at ease in the world. Inspired by Cary Grant, Kaufman sifts through moments of elegance in sports, movies, dance, fashion and music, glimpses of grace in both expected and unexpected moments. By illuminating grace in small moments she shows us the power of grace to provide comfort when we feel lost and provide strength in the face of adversity. With wit and style this book is a most wonderful antidote to a world of people locked into their cell phones and increasingly disconnected from human interaction.
Titian Ramsay Peale II (1799-1885) was a noted American artist, naturalist, and entomologist in whose fascination with butterflies began at a young age. Creating gorgeous illustrations of butterflies which can only be compared to Audubon’s illustrations of birds, Peale made it his lifelong work to document the delicate creatures in an ambitious and comprehensive manuscript. The book, along with his companion volume on caterpillars, was never published and resided in the Rare Book Collection of the American History Museum of Natural History in New York. You will be amazed by the beauty and breadth of this work, especially considering the plates for the color illustrations were prepared for the printer by the artist more than 100 years ago.
Woody Allen: A Retrospective celebrates the master storyteller as an entertainer, a writer, and a director. Here is the first complete, film by film overview of Allen’s entire career, using both archival and original interviews. From slapstick to romantic comedies, Woody Allen has almost 50 movies to his credit. Even more impressive than the number of movies that he has made is the consistently high quality of his work, which is why so many of them are amongst the most beloved movies of the past 40 years. Tom Shone is a wonderful writer and his eloquent descriptions prove to be the perfect addition to this amazing collection of 250 photographs, movie stills, and posters.
Inspired by his love of Jazz, Mitch Albom has written his most accomplished work to date. Frankie Presto was abandoned as an infant and grew into a great guitar player. At nine he leaves Spain for America with an old guitar and six very special strings. He grows to discover how the music he loves can bring him joy but may also be his greatest burden, as the magic strings have the power to change people’s lives. Albom’s love of music and ear for rhythm make this a powerful novel with a driving beat.
A magnificent suspense novel set in both Paris and New York City. Ambition drives Samir Tahar down a complicated path, where a stolen identity leads to both great wealth and possible ruin. Determined to not be defined by his heritage and willing to betray friends and family, Samir assumes the identity of his Jewish roommate, and finds his way to the top of New York society as a respected attorney. However, his messy past as a Tunisian immigrant from Paris may not stay quietly hidden forever and threatens to topple his carefully constructed lie and the perfect life he built on top of it all. This provocative novel offers a thrilling mix of deceit and desire, as the intriguing possibilities of reimagining your identity may come with a terrible cost.
This spellbinding tale shows how the tumultuous events in one year deeply affected Shakespeare, and inspired him to create three of his greatest tragedies – King Lear, MacBeth, and Antony and Cleopatra. James Shapiro is one of the leading experts on Shakespeare, here he shows how religious divide in England and the onset of the plague vexed all of England, including the great bard. Shortly before 1606 Shakespeare seemed lost, his writing had slowed and perhaps he had lost the inspiration forever. The foiled Gunpowder plot appears to be the first disturbing event to have shaken the cobwebs from his mind and allow him to finally finish King Lear as his own divided nation provided the inspiration.This fascinating book reveals how these plays, appearing to be tales of history, were actually steeped in current events.
A wonderful novel of family, art, and mystery set both during WWII and present day. In 1940 Alizee is a strong-willed artist working for the WPA, under the patronage of Eleanor Roosevelt. She is living in New York City, when she vanishes. Seventy years later, her great-niece Danielle, discovers images beneath famous paintings that may unlock her family mystery. Art and politics may appear to be strange bedfellows, but here B.A. Shapiro deftly shows the great influence one may have on the other. Weaving together the past and the present, fictional and historical, The Muralist is the most intriguing portrait of our country’s own complicated history of anti-Semitism and resistance.
There is a reason that Sherlock Holmes is regarded as one of the most enduring characters of all time. With his intelligence, wit, and the all too human cracks in his armor, he has inspired authors both in and outside of the mystery genre since his inception. No one is a greater authority on what makes a great mystery than famed publisher and bookseller Otto Penzler. Here he collects the very best Sherlock Holmes stories by authors ranging from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to Neil Gaiman. With so much talent and such a fabulous character to begin with it is easy to get lost in the vast array of wonderful tales of the great detective.