Virtual Events

Corte Madera Class: Valentina Medda - Italian for Beginners

Thursday, June 1, 2023 - 1:30pm

Italian for Beginners

Eight Thursdays ( June 1st - July 20th  1:30pm – 3:00 pm PT)


Corte Madera in-person class

This class will be held in a large room with a door open to outside for good ventilation.
Book Passage will continue to follow all state and local health guidelines.


Join Valentina for a fun and communicative introduction to the Italian language. You will start from the basics, learning and practicing in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Communicate in Italian at a basic user level.
  • Engage in simple social interactions in Italian - ask and answer simple questions about familiar topics.
  • Use classroom language, greetings, expressions of salutation and courtesy, basic commands.
  • Pronounce Italian words correctly and speak with the right intonation.
  • Learn about Italian culture and the ways Italians communicate.
  • Order a cappuccino or a spritz like a pro, impressing the locals while vacationing in Italy.

Please contact us at if you have questions about which level class is best for you.


Valentina Medda was born and raised in the beautiful island of Sardinia. She holds an honors degree in Japanese studies from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and also earned a master’s degree in Italian Language and Literature Teaching Methodology from the International University of Siena. Valentina is a certified CELI examiner and holds preparation courses for Italian citizenship applicants. 

Valentina is very passionate about her job and truly loves being part of her students’ progress. She lives in Marin with her husband, son, and their beloved Milo rescue senior dog, Roscoe. 


Book Passage Corte Madera
51 Tamal Vista blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Corte Madera Class: Kerrin Meis - The Aesthetic Movement: Art for Art's Sake

Friday, May 12, 2023 - 1:00pm to Friday, May 19, 2023 - 3:30pm


Two Fridays ( May 12th & 19th  1:00 – 3:15 pm PT)


Corte Madera in-person class

This class will be held in a large room with a door open to outside for good ventilation.
Book Passage will continue to follow all state and local health guidelines.


Dismayed by what they considered terrible Victorian taste, a group of artists resolved to banish historicism, moralizing messages, and art that was frankly ugly to create art that was simply beautiful with no underlying meaning. They adopted the word Aesthetic to describe their goals.  

Major figures in the movement were:

  • James Mc Neill Whistler 
  • Frederic Lord Leighton 
  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti (who had survived his connection with the Pre-Raphaelites)
  • Alfred Moore 
  • G. F. Watts
  • Aubrey Beardsley
  • architects E.W. Godwin and Christopher Dresser. 

They adopted the slogan "Art for Art's Sake," a phrase originally coined in France by Theophile Gautier. Supporting the ideals of the movement were outspoken critics Walter Pater and Oscar Wilde. As an attack against the Industrial Revolution and mass production, Aestheticism understandably evolved into something called the Arts and Crafts Movement, led by William Morris and Philip Webb. 

We will look at paintings, furniture, decorative objects and architecture, especially two houses, that of Lord Leighton and that of William Morris and a room by Whistler.


Kerrin Meis taught art history at SFSU for ten years and has led study tours in Europe. Her Book Passage classes have been favorites for years.

Book Passage Corte Madera
51 Tamal Vista blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Katie Williams - My Murder (Online Event)

Tuesday, June 6, 2023 - 5:30pm

Katie Williams 

My Murder
A Novel


Live Online

Tues., June 6, 2023 • 5:30pm PT

This event will be hosted online by Book Passage. Please contact with questions regarding online events.

What if the murder you had to solve was your own?

Lou is a happily married mother of an adorable toddler. She’s also the victim of a local serial killer. Recently brought back to life and returned to her grieving family by a government project, she is grateful for this second chance. But as the new Lou re-adapts to her old routines, and as she bonds with other female victims, she realizes that disturbing questions remain about what exactly preceded her death and how much she can really trust those around her.

Now it’s not enough to care for her child, love her husband, and work the job she’s always enjoyed—she must also figure out the circumstances of her death. Darkly comic, tautly paced, and full of surprises, 
My Murder is a devour-in-one-sitting, clever twist on the classic thriller.

Katie Williams is the author of the novel Tell the Machine Goodnight, which was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize, and young adult novels, The Space Between Trees and Absent. Her short fiction has appeared in The Atlantic, American Short Fiction, Prairie Schooner and elsewhere. Williams earned her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin. She is an assistant professor at Emerson College in Boston.


Katie Williams photo courtesy of Athena Delene.

Online Event

Thomas Moore - The Eloquence of Silence (Online Event)

Monday, June 5, 2023 - 1:00pm

Thomas Moore 

The Eloquence of Silence

Live Online

Mon., June 5, 2023 • 1:00pm PT

This event will be hosted online by Book Passage. Please contact with questions regarding online events.

In The Eloquence of Silence: Surprising Wisdom in Tales of Emptiness, a 30-year bestselling author and teacher makes a provocative and compelling case for an easier, lighter way of moving through life and the world by embracing the peace, calm, and spaciousness of emptiness

Emptiness tends to get a bad rap, often connoting lack. But revered author Thomas Moore learned a different lesson about emptiness when he first went on a book tour to promote his Care of the Soul. The book went on to become a classic bestseller, but at first Moore was often met by empty bookstores, devoid of the hundreds who would soon crowd his appearances. Moore learned a lesson in what is known in Indian philosophy as sunyata, a way of observing and even embracing emptiness. Of course we'd all prefer immediate praise and recognition. But life does not work that way. As Moore eloquently expresses, drawing on spiritual traditions, folktales, literature, and his own life, spaces of emptiness or lack are often our greatest teachers. The blank spaces in a work of art or piece of music, or the arid bits of a landscape, are every bit as eloquent as the more crowded.

Moore gently prods us to consider that our constant multitasking may not be getting us anywhere. Listening to a podcast while taking a walk, or scanning an email while pushing a baby stroller, may mean missing the heart and soul of what is all around us, available to us anytime, no matter our circumstances. The awareness and embrace of the ubiquitous emptiness in our world and in our own lives, the daily recognition of quiet spaciousness, is not a retreat from reality but a rich and full welcome to all that is most meaningful and real.


Thomas Moore is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Care of the Soul. He has written 24 other books about bringing soul to personal life and culture, deepening spirituality, finding meaningful work, and imagining sexuality with soul. He has been a Catholic monk and university professor and is also a psychotherapist influenced mainly by C. G. Jung and James Hillman. His work brings together spirituality, mythology, depth psychology, and the arts, emphasizing the importance of images and imagination. He lives in New Hampshire.


Thomas Moore photo courtesy of the author.

Online Event

Laura Dave & Rebecca Serle with Jessica Knoll - The Last Thing He Told Me & One Italian Summer (Online Event)

Wednesday, March 22, 2023 - 4:00pm

Laura Dave & Rebecca Serle
in conversation with Jessica Knoll 

The Last Thing He Told Me
One Italian Summer

An Online Event

Weds., March 22nd • 4:00pm PT

This event will be hosted live online. Please contact with questions regarding live events.

A not-to-be-missed star novelist online panel discussion!

In partnership with Simon & Schuster, join is for a special online event AuthorFest Spring 2023 featuring bestselling authors Rebecca Serle and Laura Dave in conversation, moderated by Jessica Knoll. Both Serle and Dave are masters of complicated family and love stories, creating characters that have enchanted people across mediums as both of their work has leapt from the page to the screen. In their conversation, they’ll discuss the adaptations, where they draw inspiration, and how the world around them influences their work.

Laura Dave is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Last Thing He Told Me, Eight Hundred Grapes, and other novels. Her books have been published in thirty-eight countries and have been chosen by Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club, Book of the Month Club, and the Richard and Judy Book Club. The Last Thing He Told Me was chosen as the Goodreads Mystery & Thriller of the Year for 2021. It is soon to be a limited series on Apple TV+, cocreated by Laura. She resides in Santa Monica, California.

Rebecca Serle is the New York Times bestselling author of One Italian Summer, In Five Years, The Dinner List, and the young adult novels The Edge of Falling and When You Were Mine. Serle also developed the hit TV adaptation Famous in Love, based on her YA series of the same name. She is a graduate of USC and The New School and lives in Los Angeles. Find out more at

Jessica Knoll is the New York Times bestselling author of The Favorite Sister and Luckiest Girl Alive—now a major motion picture from Netflix starring Mila Kunis. She has been a senior editor at Cosmopolitan and the articles editor at Self. She grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and graduated from the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their bulldog, Beatrice.







Laura Dave photo courtesy of Katherine Eskovitz; Rebecca Serle photo courtesy of Ann Molen; Jessica Knoll photo courtesy of Sabrina Lantos.


Online Event

Pre-Conference Class: Hallie Ephron - Creating a Compelling Protagonist

Friday, July 21, 2023 - 9:00am

A Special Mystery Writers Conference 2023 Pre-Conference Class

Creating a Compelling Protagonist:
Making The Reader Care

Friday July 21st, 9:00 – 11:30 am PT


Corte Madera in-person class

This class will be held in a large room with a door open to outside for good ventilation.
Book Passage will continue to follow all state and local health guidelines.


A crime fiction editor once told me that when she reads a manuscript, she’s looking for a protagonist so compelling that readers will care about what happened to that character before the book opens and what’s going to happen to that character after the book ends. That character’s journey should be transformational so that by the end of the novel, they are changed in some fundamental way. And what makes the transformation matter is often some experience in that character’s past that motivates them to “get it right this time.”

In this workshop, we’ll walk through the process of planning and developing a compelling main character--from coming up with a name to finding those details that ignite their first appearance. We’ll also explore elements such as: how to use character to drive a narrative voice, how to deepen viewpoint, and how to develop compelling character relationships and conflicts.


New York Times bestselling author Hallie Ephron, Edgar Award finalist and five-time finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, writes books she hopes readers can’t put down. Her newest suspense novel, Careful What You Wish For, with its echoes of Marie Kondo life-changing decluttering tips, explores the relationships built by professional organizers and their clients — showing just how easily the lines between professional and personal can be blurred.


Read more about the 2023 Mystery Writers Conference here.




Book Passage Corte Madera
51 Tamal Vista blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

​Tim Burkett with ​Busshō Lahn - Enlightenment Is an Accident (Online Event)

Tuesday, May 30, 2023 - 4:00pm

​Tim Burkett 
in conversation with ​Busshō Lahn

Enlightenment Is an Accident
Ancient Wisdom and Simple Practices to Make You Accident Prone


An Online Event

Tues., May 30th • 4:00pm PT

This event will be hosted live online. Please contact with questions regarding live events.

A warm-hearted guide to Buddhist practice for those ready to contend with the reality that enlightenment—the realization of non-self—can’t be achieved by the self.

A well-known spiritual saying goes, “Enlightenment is an accident. But we can make ourselves more accident-prone.” As an authentic American Zen takes shape, enlightenment continues to be misunderstood as a project to be completed, a goal to be achieved, or a prize to be awarded. Tim Burkett’s new book,
Enlightenment is an Accident, unhooks enlightenment from the hot air balloon of ego and brings it back down to earth. 

Drawing on stories of his first teacher, the Zen master Shunryu Suzuki (author of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind), and Burkett’s decades of practice and teaching, he reveals how to live in the world with a deep joy that comes from embracing the work and play of this very moment. With the wisdom and humor of a seasoned practitioner familiar with all manner of eccentric fixations and silly dead-ends, he offers views and practices we can use to support the paradoxical process of letting enlightenment happen on its own. 

Tim Burkett began practicing Zen Buddhism in San Francisco in 1964 with Shunryu Suzuki. He is the former CEO of the largest nonprofit organization in Minnesota for individuals with mental illness and served as guiding teacher of Minnesota Zen Meditation Center from 2004 to 2021. He is a psychologist, Zen Buddhist priest, and author.

Busshō Lahn is a Zen student and teacher, and the founder of Flying Cloud Zen Spiritual Practice Community. He’s also a popular speaker, retreat leader, spiritual director, author, and is a Senior Priest at Minnesota Zen Meditation Center. His book Singing and Dancing are the Voice of the Law was published in early 2022.








Tim Burkett photo courtesy of the publisher; Busshō Lahn photo courtesy of the author.


Online Event

Corte Madera Class: Kerrin Meis - “Under the Radar” Art Museums In America

Friday, April 14, 2023 - 1:00pm


Two Fridays ( April 14th & 21st  1:00 – 3:15 pm PT)


Corte Madera in-person class

This class will be held in a large room with a door open to outside for good ventilation.
Book Passage will continue to follow all state and local health guidelines.


On our endless search for great art in unexpected places, we can find some in our own backyard and others in cities better known for more famed attractions. 

In this class we will visit the some of the following:

  • The astonishing Crocker Museum in Sacramento
  • The Cantor Center at Stanford, including the Rodin Sculpture Garden and the Anderson Collection
  • The Timken Museum in San Diego
  • The USC Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena
  • The Armand Hammer Museum in Los Angeles with lunch there at Alice Water's LULU
  • The Meadows Museum at SMU in Dallas housing the largest collection of Spanish and Latin American art in the country
  • The Blanton Museum at the University of Austin including Ellsworth Kelly's monumental AUSTIN  
  • The Sydney and Walter Besthoff  Sculpture Garden in New Orleans 
  • The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, exhibiting on a 66-acre estate one of the preeminent collections of art in America spanning Western and non-Western Art from Ancient times to the 21st century 
  • The Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis with its outstanding collection of porcelains, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings displayed in elegant galleries and a park-like garden for which one must bring one thing: time!


Kerrin Meis taught art history at SFSU for ten years and has led study tours in Europe. Her Book Passage classes have been favorites for years.

Book Passage Corte Madera
51 Tamal Vista blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Rupert Holmes - Murder Your Employer (Online Event)

Wednesday, March 29, 2023 - 5:30pm

Rupert Holmes
in conversation with Luisa Smith

Murder Your Employer
The McMasters Guide to Homicide

An Online Event

Wed., March 29th • 5:30pm PT

This event will be hosted live online. Please contact with questions regarding live events.


From the diabolical imagination of Edgar Award–winning novelist, playwright, and story-songwriter Rupert Holmes comes a devilish thriller with a killer concept: The McMasters Conservatory for the Applied Arts, a luxurious, clandestine college dedicated to the fine art of murder where earnest students study how best to “delete” their most deserving victim.

Who hasn’t wondered for a split second what the world would be like if a person who is the object of your affliction ceased to exist? But then you’ve probably never heard of The McMasters Conservatory, dedicated to the consummate execution of the homicidal arts. To gain admission, a student must have an ethical reason for erasing someone who deeply deserves a fate no worse (nor better) than death. The campus of this “Poison Ivy League” college—its location unknown to even those who study there—is where you might find yourself the practice target of a classmate…and where one’s mandatory graduation thesis is getting away with the perfect murder of someone whose death will make the world a much better place to live.

Prepare for an education you’ll never forget. A delightful mix of witty wordplay, breathtaking twists and genuine intrigue, 
Murder Your Employer will gain you admission into a wholly original world, cocooned within the most entertaining book about well-intentioned would-be murderers you’ll ever read.

Rupert Holmes’s much celebrated career ranges from chart-topping story songs with surprising twists—“Escape (The Pina Colada Song)”—to Tony Award–winning whodunit musicals—The Mystery of Edwin Drood—Edgar Award–winning comedy-thrillers—Accomplice—and the Nero Wolfe Best American Mystery Novel nominated Where the Truth Lies, made into an Atom Egoyan motion picture starring Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon. Called “an American treasure” (Los Angeles Times), “a true Renaissance man” by Newsweek, “a comic genius” (Kirkus Reviews) and simply “a genius” (The Times, London), Rupert Holmes brings his wickedly clever storytelling talents to this outrageous and darkly comic mystery set in a secret, idyllic campus where students learn how to “do in others as you would have others do you in.”

Rupert Holmes has received two Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America, and multiple Tony® and Drama Desk Awards for his Broadway mystery musicals, including the book of Curtains and his sole creation, the Tony® Award–winning Best Musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood. His first novel, Where the Truth Lies, was nominated for a Nero Wolfe award for Best American Mystery Novel, was a Booklist Top Ten Debut Novel, and became a motion picture starring Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon. His second novel, Swing, was the first novel with its own original, clue-bearing musical score. He has adapted Agatha Christie, John Grisham, and R.L. Stine for the Broadway and international stage. His short stories have been anthologized in such collections as Best American Mystery StoriesChristmas at the Mysterious Bookshop, and On a Raven’s Wing. Holmes’s earliest story-songs were published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and  he is also the writer/vocalist of several Billboard Top 10 hits, including his Billboard #1 multi-platinum classic with a memorable twist-ending: “Escape (The Pina Colada Song).”

Luisa Smith is the Buying Director of Book Passage, where she has worked for over 25 years, and Editor in Chief of Scarlet, an imprint of Mysterious Press. She grew up surrounded by books as her father is the bestselling author, Martin Cruz Smith and her mother was an English teacher. A childhood filled with books has resulted in a lifelong love of every aspect of the world of books, but the mystery genre holds a particularly special place in her heart.


Rupert Holmes photo courtesy of Susan Woog Wagner.


Online Event

Andrea Dunlop | Women Are the Fiercest Creatures & Mary Otis | Burst (Online Event)

Saturday, March 25, 2023 - 4:00pm

Andrea Dunlop
Women Are the Fiercest Creatures

Mary Otis

An Online Event

Sat., March 25th • 4:00pm PT

This event will be hosted live online. Please contact with questions regarding live events.


Women Writing: Our Stories. Our Voices. Our Impact (in Literature & Beyond)

Burst - Award-winning author, Mary Otis of Yes, Yes, Cherries (“Funny, brave, and amazing” —Lorrie Moore) delivers an arresting debut novel that explores the relationship complexities between mothers and daughters, the desire to escape, and the longing to connect. Burst is a powerful story about how we become—and unbecome—our mothers, how we absorb the past, and how we burst into our own futures.

Viva has always found ways to manage her mother’s impulsive, eccentric, and addictive personality. She’s had to—for her entire life, it has always been Viva and Charlotte against the world. After accidentally discovering an innate ability for dance, Viva chases her new passion
with the same fervor with which her mother chases the bottle. Over the years, Viva’s talent becomes a ticket to a life of her own, and as she moves further away from home to pursue her dream, Charlotte struggles to make peace with her own past as a failed artist and the effects of her addiction. When tragedy strikes, Viva begins a downward spiral and must decide whether she will repeat her mother’s mistakes or finally take control of her life.

Mary Otis is the author of the short story collection Yes, Yes, Cherries. Her fiction, essays, and poetry have been published in Best New American Voices, Electric Literature, Tin House, Zyzzyva, McSweeney’s, Bennington Review, The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, and numerous other literary journals and anthologies. She has taught fiction at UCLA and was a founding professor in the UC Riverside Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program. Originally from the Boston area, Mary lives in Los Angeles.

Women Are the Fiercest Creatures - In this wildly addictive novel, three overlooked women take on the charming, manipulative tech CEO who wrote them out of his
startup’s history. Anna Sarnoff is still reeling from her quickie divorce from tech wunderkind Jake Sarnoff. Forced out of the company that she helped Jake build, Anna is trying to pick up the pieces of her life, navigating the waters of solo parenting their two teenage boys and adapting to her new role of ex-wife. To make things more complicated, Jake seems to want her back…and his persuasiveness tempts her to say yes. Set in the wealthy enclaves of Seattle’s tech elite, the lives of these three women grow entangled as long-held secrets are forced to the surface, threatening to destroy their families.

Written with razor-sharp intelligence and heart, Women Are the Fiercest Creatures is a searing look at the complexities of family and the obstacles women navigate in every aspect of their existence.

Andrea Dunlop is an author and consultant based out of Seattle, WA with over a decade and a half of experience in book publishing. She is the author of three novels including Losing the Light (February 2016), She Regrets Nothing (February 2018), and We Came Here to Forget (July 2019) all from Atria/Simon & Schuster. Her books have been featured in Town & Country, Bustle, InStyle, US Weekly, Vanity Fair, People, and elsewhere. In addition to her writing and consulting, Andrea is an accomplished speaker and has presented at book and publishing conferences nationwide


Andrea Dunlop photo courtesy of the author; Mary Otis photo courtesy of the author.


Online Event


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