Class: Carol Benet - Potpourri of Literary Prizes Book Group (Corte Madera Store)

Monday, February 17, 2020 - 1:00pm
photo of Carol Benet

Five Mondays: February 17, March 23, April 20, May 18, June 22 • 1:00-3:00 pm • $130

The book group, led by Carol Benet, will read and discuss these books:

Febuary 17
This Blinding Absence of Light - Tahar Ben Jelloun
(International Impac Dublin Literary Award)

March 23
The Ruined House - Ruby Namdar
(Sapir Prize)

April 20 
Beloved - Toni Morrison
(Nobel Prize)

May 18 
The Appointment - Herta Muller
(Nobel Prize)

June 22
Improvement - Joan Silber
(PEN/Faulkner, National Book Critics Circle Award)

Carol Benet received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley where she won an Outstanding Teaching Award. Carol Benet has been teaching her popular classes on literary awards at Book Passage for more than 25 years.  

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Gish Jen - The Resisters (Corte Madera Store)

Monday, February 17, 2020 - 7:00pm

The time: not so long from now. The place: AutoAmerica. The land: half under water. The Internet: one part artificial intelligence, one part surveillance technology, and oddly human--even funny. The people: Divided. The angel-fair "Netted" have jobs, and literally occupy the high ground. The "Surplus" live on swampland if they're lucky, on water if they're not.

The story: To a Surplus couple--he once a professor, she still a lawyer--is born a Blasian girl with a golden arm. At two, Gwen is hurling her stuffed animals from the crib; by ten, she can hit whatever target she likes. Her teens find her happily playing in an underground baseball league.

When AutoAmerica rejoins the Olympics, though--with a special eye on beating ChinRussia--Gwen attracts interest. Soon she finds herself playing ball with the Netted even as her mother challenges the very foundations of this divided society.

A moving and important story of an America that seems ever more possible, The Resisters is also the story of one family struggling to maintain its humanity and normalcy in circumstances that threaten their every value--as well as their very existence.

Extraordinary and ordinary, charming and electrifying, this is Gish Jen at her most irresistible.

Gish Jen is the author of four previous novels, a story collection, and two works of nonfiction, the latest of which was The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap. Her honors include the Lannan Literary Award for fiction and the Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She teaches from time to time in China, and otherwise lives with her husband and two children in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: John Hart - Poetry, Anyone?

Monday, February 17, 2020 - 7:00pm
photo of poet and poetry teacher John Hart

Eight Mondays: Feb 17 – Apr 6, 2020 • 7:00 - 9:00 pm • $225

Let’s admit it: Not all poetry is equally interesting. Some poems grab the reader right away and don’t let go. Others are tricky but have their hidden rewards. Still others just lie there. But which is which? We read a handful of poems, old and new, each week and then have fun disagreeing about them. “If you like poetry,” a repeat participant says, “you’ll enjoy this class. If you don’t know if you like poetry, you’ll enjoy this class." If you think you don't know anything about poetry, you are likely to be very surprised. Widely published local poet, author, and editor of the poetry journal Blue Unicorn,

John Hart is a seasoned teacher with deep knowledge and love of poetry from every era. 

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Elena Schwolsky - Waking in Havana (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Tuesday, February 18, 2020 - 6:00pm

Compelled by her anti-war work with returning Vietnam veterans and her passion for social justice, Elena Schwolsky traveled to the then-forbidden island of Cuba in 1972 with a brigade of youthful volunteers to help build houses for workers and support the still young Cuban Revolution; a decision that would shape her life and ultimately lead her back to Cuba twenty years later—as she shares in her beautifully narrated new book Waking in Havana: A Memoir of AIDS and Healing in Cuba.

Elena returns to the island––a pediatric AIDS nurse weary from the constant loss and sorrow surrounding her work, a grieving widow dealing with the death of her husband—himself a victim of the disease, and a lifelong activist hoping to reconnect with the resilient spirit she felt as a young ‘brigadista’. The author takes readers along through her humorous attempts to navigate this very different culture—into Havana’s controversial AIDS sanatorium and the lives of the generous, opinionated and passionate Cubans who become her family and help her to heal.

Elena Schwolsky, RN, MPH, is a nurse, community health educator, activist, and writer who spent a decade as a pediatric nurse at the height of the AIDS epidemic. She has trained AIDS educators in Cuba and Tanzania and currently teaches community health workers in diverse urban neighborhoods in New York City. Her essays have appeared in The American Journal of Nursing and The Veteran, and her work has been included in the anthologies Storied Dishes: What Our Family Recipes Tell Us About Who We Are and Where We’ve Been and Reflections on Nursing: 80 inspiring stories on the art and science of nursing. A chapter she co-wrote appears in the textbook Children, Families and AIDS: Psychosocial and Therapeutic Issues. Schwolsky is the recipient of a writing award from the Barbara Deming Money for Women Fund and is proud to be recognized as the madrina (godmother) of Proyecto Memorias, the Cuban AIDS Quilt project.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

Fergus M. Bordewich - Congress at War (Corte Madera Store)

Tuesday, February 18, 2020 - 7:00pm

The story of how Congress helped win the Civil War--a new perspective that puts the House and Senate, rather than Lincoln, at the center of the conflict.

This brilliantly argued new perspective on the Civil War overturns the popular conception that Abraham Lincoln single-handedly led the Union to victory and gives us a vivid account of the essential role Congress played in winning the war.

Building a riveting narrative around four influential members of Congress--Thaddeus Stevens, Pitt Fessenden, Ben Wade, and the pro-slavery Clement Vallandigham--Fergus Bordewich shows us how a newly empowered Republican party shaped one of the most dynamic and consequential periods in American history. From reinventing the nation's financial system to pushing President Lincoln to emancipate the slaves to the planning for Reconstruction, Congress undertook drastic measures to defeat the Confederacy, in the process laying the foundation for a strong central government that came fully into being in the twentieth century. Brimming with drama and outsized characters, Congress at War is also one of the most original books about the Civil War to appear in years and will change the way we understand the conflict.

Fergus M. Bordewich is the author of seven nonfiction books, including The First Congress: How James Madison, George Washington, and a Group of Extraordinary Men Invented the GovernmentAmerica's Great Debate: Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas, and the Compromise That Preserved the Union; and Washington: The Making of the American Capital. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Jean Parvin Bordewich.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Joshua Hammer - The Falcon Thief (Corte Madera Store)

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 - 7:00pm

On May 3, 2010, an Irish national named Jeffrey Lendrum was apprehended at Britain’s Birmingham International Airport with a suspicious parcel strapped to his stomach. Inside were fourteen rare peregrine falcon eggs snatched from a remote cliffside in Wales.

So begins a tale almost too bizarre to believe, following the parallel lives of a globetrotting smuggler who spent two decades capturing endangered raptors for royals in the United Arab Emirates—where falcon races have multimillion-dollar purses and a champion bird might just be worth risking prison for—and Detective Andy McWilliam of the United Kingdom’s National Wildlife Crime Unit, who’s determined to protect the world’s birds of prey from one of the most irrepressible predators of our time.

The Falcon Thief whisks readers from the volcanoes of Patagonia to Zimbabwe’s Matobo National Park, and from the frigid tundra near the Arctic Circle to luxurious aviaries in the deserts of Dubai, all in pursuit of a man who is reckless, arrogant, and gripped by a destructive compulsion to make the most beautiful creatures in nature his own. It’s a story that’s part true-crime narrative, part epic adventure—and wholly unputdownable until the very last page.

Joshua Hammer is the New York Times bestselling author of The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu. He has written for The New York Times Magazine, GQ, Smithsonian, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, National Geographic, and Outside. He lives in Berlin.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

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