Corte Madera Events

Author Events at our Corte Madera store, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, CA, (415) 927-0960. All events are free & open to the public unless otherwise noted.

POSTPONED: Laura Munson - Willa's Grove (Corte Madera Store)

Sunday, March 15, 2020 - 1:00pm

Please note: This event has been postponed due to concerns for the health and well-being of our community. For updates on this event and for additional event information, please subscribe to our e-newsletter.

Four women. One week. One question.

You are invited to the rest of your life.

Three women, from coast to coast and in between, open their mailboxes to the same intriguing invitation. Although leading entirely different lives, each has found herself at a similar, jarring crossroads. Right when these women thought they’d be comfortably settling into middle age, their carefully curated futures have turned out to be dead ends.

The sender of the invitation is Willa Silvester, who is reeling from the untimely death of her beloved husband and the reality that she must say goodbye to the small mountain town they founded together. Yet as Willa mourns her losses, an impossible question keeps staring her in the face: So now what?

Struggling to find the answer alone, fiercely independent Willa eventually calls a childhood friend who happens to be in her own world of hurt—and that’s where the idea sparks. They decide to host a weeklong interlude from life, and invite two other friends facing their own quandaries. Willa's Grove follows these four women as they converge at Willa’s Montana homestead, a place where they can learn from nature and one another as they contemplate their second acts together in the rugged wilderness of big sky country.

Laura Munson is the New York Times bestselling author of This Is Not The Story You Think It Is, which chronicles her journey through her own midlife crossroads. Drawing from the striking response to her memoir, the essay version of it in the New York Times “Modern Love” column, and her speaking events at women’s conferences across the US, Laura founded the acclaimed Haven Writing Retreats and Workshops. After watching hundreds of people find their unique and essential voices under the big sky of Montana she calls home, Laura created Willa, the invitation, the friends, and the town to share what she has learned with people globally. Her work has been published and featured in many media outlets throughout the world. Read more at lauramunson.com.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

POSTPONED: James McBride - Deacon King Kong (Corte Madera Store)

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 7:00pm

Please note: This event has been postponed due to concerns for the health and well-being of our community. For updates on this event and for additional event information, please subscribe to our e-newsletter.

In September 1969, a fumbling, cranky old church deacon known as Sportcoat shuffles into the courtyard of the Cause Houses housing project in south Brooklyn, pulls a .38 from his pocket, and in front of everybody shoots the project's drug dealer at point-blank range.

The reasons for this desperate burst of violence and the consequences that spring from it lie at the heart of Deacon King Kong, James McBride's funny, moving novel and his first since his National Book Award-winning The Good Lord Bird. In Deacon King Kong, McBride brings to vivid life the people affected by the shooting: the victim, the African-American and Latinx residents who witnessed it, the white neighbors, the local cops assigned to investigate, the members of the Five Ends Baptist Church where Sportcoat was deacon, the neighborhood's Italian mobsters, and Sportcoat himself.

As the story deepens, it becomes clear that the lives of the characters—caught in the tumultuous swirl of 1960s New York—overlap in unexpected ways. When the truth does emerge, McBride shows us that not all secrets are meant to be hidden, that the best way to grow is to face change without fear, and that the seeds of love lie in hope and compassion.

Bringing to these pages both his masterly storytelling skills and his abiding faith in humanity, James McBride has written a novel every bit as involving as The Good Lord Bird and as emotionally honest as The Color of Water. Told with insight and wit, Deacon King Kong demonstrates that love and faith live in all of us.

James McBride is an accomplished musician and the author of the National Book Award-winning novel The Good Lord Bird, the bestselling American classic The Color of Water, the novels Song Yet Sung and Miracle at St. Anna, the story collection Five-Carat Soul, and Kill 'Em and Leave, a biography of James Brown. The recipient of a National Humanities Medal, McBride is also a Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at New York University.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

POSTPONED: Katie Roiphe - The Power Notebooks (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, March 21, 2020 - 1:00pm

Please note: This event has been postponed due to concerns for the health and well-being of our community. For updates on this event and for additional event information, please subscribe to our e-newsletter.

In The Power Notebooks, Katie Roiphe—culture writer and author of The Morning After—shares a timely blend of memoir, feminist investigation, and exploration in famous female writers’ lives, in a bold, essential discussion of how strong women experience their power.

Told in a series of notebook entries, Roiphe weaves her often fraught personal experiences with divorce, single motherhood, and relationships with insights into the lives and loves of famous writers such as Sylvia Plath and Simone de Beauvoir. She dissects the way she and other ordinary, powerful women have subjugated their own power time and time again, and she probes brilliantly at the tricky, uncomfortable question of why.

In these informal musings and notes, Roiphe delves into treacherous, largely untalked about, contradictions of contemporary womanhood, going where few writers dare. The Power Notebooks is Roiphe’s most vital, thought provoking, and emotionally intimate work yet.

Katie Roiphe is an author and journalist writing about feminist issues. She is most known for writing The Morning After: Sex, Fear, and Feminism, and In Praise of Messy Lives, as well as The Power Notebooks, and has contributed articles to prominent publications like The New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper’s Magazine, Esquire, The Paris Review, Vogue, and Slate. She has a PhD in literature from Princeton University and is the director of the Cultural Reporting and Criticism program at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and children.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

POSTPONED: Ian Lendler - The Fabled Life of Aesop (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, March 14, 2020 - 4:00pm

Please note: This event has been postponed due to concerns for the health and well-being of our community. For updates on this event and for additional event information, please subscribe to our e-newsletter.

Honoring the path of a slave, this dramatic picture-book biography and concise anthology of Aesop’s most child-friendly fables tells how a child born into slavery in ancient Greece found a way to speak out against injustice by using the skill and wit of his storytelling—storytelling that has survived for 2,500 years.

The Tortoise and the Hare. The Boy Who Cried Wolf. The Fox and the Crow. Each of Aesop’s stories has a lesson to tell, but Aesop’s true-life story is perhaps the most inspiring tale of them all. Gracefully revealing the genesis of his tales, The Fabled Life of Aesop shows how fables not only liberated him from captivity but spread wisdom over a millennium. This is the only children’s book biography about him.

Ian Lendler is the author of the acclaimed Stratford Zoo graphic novel series and the picture books, Undone Fairy Tale, Saturday, and One Day A Dot. He is at one with the universe, but only when eating pizza. He lives near San Francisco, CA.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Michael Christie - Greenwood (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, March 7, 2020 - 1:00pm

It’s 2038 and Jacinda (Jake) Greenwood is a storyteller and a liar, an overqualified tour guide babysitting ultra-rich vacationers in one of the world’s last remaining forests. It’s 2008 and Liam Greenwood is a carpenter, sprawled on his back after a workplace fall, calling out from the concrete floor of an empty mansion. It’s 1974 and Willow Greenwood is out of jail, free after being locked up for one of her endless series of environmental protests: attempts at atonement for the sins of her father’s once vast and violent timber empire. It’s 1934 and Everett Greenwood is alone, as usual, in his maple-syrup camp squat, when he hears the cries of an abandoned infant and gets tangled up in the web of a crime, secrets, and betrayal that will cling to his family for decades.

And throughout, there are trees: a steady, silent pulse thrumming beneath Christie’s effortless sentences, working as a guiding metaphor for withering, weathering, and survival. A shining, intricate clockwork of a novel, Greenwood is a rain-soaked and sun-dappled story of the bonds and breaking points of money and love, wood, and blood—and the hopeful, impossible task of growing toward the light.

Michael Christie is the author of the novel If I Fall, If I Die, which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Kirkus Prize, and selected as a New York Times Editors’ Choice Pick. His linked collection of stories, The Beggar’s Garden, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and won the City of Vancouver Book Award. His essays and book reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Globe and Mail. A former carpenter and homeless-shelter worker, Christie divides his time between Victoria, British Columbia, and Galiano Island, where he lives with his wife and two sons in a timber-frame house that he built himself.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

David Richo - Triggers: How We Can Stop Reacting and Start Healing (Corte Madera Store)

Saturday, March 7, 2020 - 11:00am

Psychotherapist David Richo examines the science of triggers and our reactions of fear, anger, and sadness. He helps us understand why our bodies respond before our minds have a chance to make sense of a situation. By looking deeply at the roots of what provokes us—the words, actions, and even sensory elements like smell—we find opportunities to understand the origins of our triggers and train our bodies to remain calm in the face of painful memories.

The book offers in-the-moment exercises on how to process difficult emotions and physical manifestations in order to to cultivate the inner resources necessary to deal with recurring memories of trauma. When we are triggered, Richo writes, "we are being bullied by our own unfinished business." Explore what your body's knee-jerk reactions can teach you. Triggers: How We Can Stop Reacting and Start Healing acts as a guide to your body's powerful responses, helping you to remain calm under pressure and discover the key to emotional healing.

David Richo, PhD, is a psychotherapist, teacher, and workshop leader whose work emphasizes the benefits of mindfulness and loving-kindness in personal growth and emotional well-being. He is the author of numerous books, including How to Be an Adult in Relationships and The Five Things We Cannot Change.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

POSTPONED: David Allen Sibley introduced by John Muir Laws - What It's Like to Be a Bird (Corte Madera Store)

Thursday, May 21, 2020 - 7:00pm

Please note: This event has been postponed due to concerns for the health and well-being of our community. For updates on this event and for additional event information, please subscribe to our e-newsletter.

Introduced by John Muir Laws

"Can birds smell?" "Is this the same cardinal that was at my feeder last year?" "Do robins 'hear' worms?" In What It's Like to Be a Bird, David Sibley answers the most frequently asked questions about the birds we see most often. This special, large-format volume is geared as much to nonbirders as it is to the out-and-out obsessed, covering more than two hundred species and including more than 330 new illustrations by the author. While its focus is on familiar backyard birds—blue jays, nuthatches, chickadees—it also examines certain species that can be fairly easily observed, such as the seashore-dwelling Atlantic puffin. David Sibley's exacting artwork and wide-ranging expertise bring observed behaviors vividly to life. (For most species, the primary illustration is reproduced life-sized.) And while the text is aimed at adults—including fascinating new scientific research on the myriad ways birds have adapted to environmental changes—it is nontechnical, making it the perfect occasion for parents and grandparents to share their love of birds with young children, who will delight in the big, full-color illustrations of birds in action. Unlike any other book he has written, What It's Like to Be a Bird is poised to bring a whole new audience to David Sibley's world of birds.

David Allen Sibley is the author and illustrator of the series of successful guides to nature that bear his name, including The Sibley Guide to Birds. He has contributed to Smithsonian, Science, The Wilson Journal of Ornithology, Birding, BirdWatching, North American Birds, and The New York Times. He is a recipient of the Roger Tory Peterson Award for Promoting the Cause of Birding from the American Birding Association and the Linnaean Society of New York's Eisenmann Medal. He lives and birds in Massachusetts.

John Muir Laws is a naturalist, educator, and artist, with degrees in conservation and resource studies from the University of California, Berkeley; in wildlife biology from the University of Montana, Missoula; and in scientific illustration from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He has written and illustrated several books including The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling (2016), The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds (2012), Sierra Birds: a Hiker’s Guide (2004), and The Laws Guide to the Sierra Nevada (2007) and he is co-author with Emilie Lygren of How to Teach Nature Journaling (forthcoming, June 2020). He is the recipient of the 2020 Local Hero Award from Bay Nature Magazine for environmental education, was a 2010 Audubon TogetherGreen Conservation Leadership Fellow, and has received the Terwilliger Environmental Award for outstanding service in environmental education. Visit his website at www.johnmuirlaws.com.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

POSTPONED: Marilyn Chase - Everything She Touched: The Life of Ruth Asawa (Corte Madera Store)

Tuesday, April 28, 2020 - 7:00pm

Please note: This event has been postponed due to concerns for the health and well-being of our community. For updates on this event and for additional event information, please subscribe to our e-newsletter.

This compelling biography recounts the incredible life of American sculptor Ruth Asawa (1926–2013), who developed a style of hanging wire sculptures that is celebrated all over the world. With her sinuous, intricate, and seemingly weightless metal sculptures, Asawa transformed the barbed wire of her adolescence into art that is both extraordinarily beautiful and entirely unique. Ruth Asawa was born and raised on a California farm. She survived the World War II‐era Japanese internment camps, which is where she got her first art lessons—from three Japanese‐American animators who had worked for Walt Disney and were interned along with her. After the war Ruth traveled to Mexico and later attended the groundbreaking school at Black Mountain College, where she began experimenting with new forms of art.

In addition to her hanging wire pieces, Asawa also created iconic urban public art, revolutionized arts education in her adopted hometown of San Francisco, fought through lupus, and defied convention to raise a large, multiracial family. Through it all, she made art steadily, and over the course of more than a half century created hundreds of sculptures and works on paper characterized by their innovative use of material and form.

In Everything She Touched, Marilyn Chase draws on letters, diaries, sketches, photos, and interviews with those who knew her to tell Ruth Asawa’s inspiring story. The book is richly illustrated with over 70 reproductions of Asawa’s art and archival photos of her life, including portraits shot by her friend, the celebrated photographer Imogen Cunningham.

Marilyn Chase is a journalist, author, and teacher. She spent over two decades at the Wall Street Journal, and her previous books include The Barbary Plague: The Black Death in Victorian San Francisco. As a continuing lecturer at U.C. Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, Chase now teaches reporting and writing to a new generation of journalists. She lives in San Francisco.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

POSTPONED: Bennett Jacobstein - Sarah Winchester: Beyond the Mystery (Corte Madera Store)

Sunday, May 3, 2020 - 1:00pm

Please note: This event has been postponed due to concerns for the health and well-being of our community. For updates on this event and for additional event information, please subscribe to our e-newsletter.

Sarah Winchester lost her only child, Annie, at six weeks old. Her beloved husband William, heir to the Winchester Rifle fortune, died at a young age from tuberculosis. Sarah never recovered from her two heartbreaking losses and channeled her grief into two building projects. Both stand today, 97 years after her death.

In San Jose, California, Sarah built an architectural marvel, a mansion in the American Queen Anne revival style reflecting great beauty and great innovation. Rumor suggests that the grief-stricken widow sought comfort from a medium in Boston who told her that as the heir to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company fortune she was being cursed by the spirits of those killed by the Winchester rifle. She should move west, the medium said, build a house and never stop building. As long as construction continued, she was told, she would not die. The rooms would shelter the good spirits and the sound of hammers would drive away the bad spirits.

A less notorious part of her legacy can be found in West Haven, Connecticut, where Sarah funded the building and operation of a hospital for patients with tuberculosis. The hospital was named the William Wirt Winchester Annex for Tuberculosis, in honor of her late husband. Sarah was especially concerned with helping those of limited economic means. Over the years thousands of lives were saved through the work of this hospital. Although the hospital is no longer operational, the fund Sarah created continues to support the Winchester Chest Clinic, now part of the Yale New Haven Hospital.

Sarah’s hospital remains virtually unknown, whereas the mansion is toured by a steady stream of visitors from around the world. Sarah Winchester: Beyond the Mystery presents historical documents including newspaper and magazine articles, personal correspondence, and interviews with Sarah’s contemporaries to develop a truer version of Sarah Winchester, focused not on her grief but her profound acts of compassion. 

Bennett Jacobstein lives in San Jose, CA. He is a retired librarian and founder of Toucan Valley Publications, publisher of demographic materials and children’s social studies titles. He is the author of The Joy of Ballpark Food: From Hot Dogs to Haute Cuisine, a culinary tour of the food offering of each of the major league baseball stadiums.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Meng Jin - Little Gods (Corte Madera Store)

Wednesday, February 26, 2020 - 7:00pm

In conversation with Melissa Cistaro

On the night of June Fourth, a woman gives birth in a Beijing hospital alone. Thus begins the unraveling of Su Lan, a brilliant physicist who until this moment has successfully erased her past, fighting what she calls the mind’s arrow of time.

When Su Lan dies unexpectedly seventeen years later, it is her daughter Liya who inherits the silences and contradictions of her life. Liya, who grew up in America, takes her mother’s ashes to China—to her, an unknown country. In a territory inhabited by the ghosts of the living and the dead, Liya’s memories are joined by those of two others: Zhu Wen, the woman last to know Su Lan before she left China, and Yongzong, the father Liya has never known. In this way a portrait of Su Lan emerges: an ambitious scientist, an ambivalent mother, and a woman whose relationship to her own past shapes and ultimately unmakes Liya’s own sense of displacement.

A story of migrations literal and emotional, spanning time, space and class, Little Gods is a sharp yet expansive exploration of the aftermath of unfulfilled dreams, an immigrant story in negative that grapples with our tenuous connections to memory, history, and self.

Meng Jin was born in Shanghai and lives in San Francisco. A Kundiman Fellow, she is a graduate of Harvard and Hunter College. Little Gods is her first novel.

Melissa Cistaro is the bestselling author of the award-winning memoir Pieces of My Mother (US edition) and the Canadian bestseller Without My Mother (HarperCollins Canada). Melissa mentors writers and teaches memoir writing workshops in the Bay Area and internationally.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

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