Louise Aronson - Elderhood (College of Marin)

Friday, April 10, 2020 - 1:00pm

Friday Afternoon Author Series • College of Marin, Kentfield Library
Sponsored by Emeritus Students College of Marin, College of Marin Community Education and Lifelong Learning, and Book Passage

Other Friday Afternoon Author Lectures: Michael Shapiro - The Creative SparkMark Arax - The Dreamt Land

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ESCOM is delighted to partner with Book Passage in bringing a free series of interesting authors to the community. ESCOM, the Emeritus Students College of Marin, is a unique organization of 1500 senior students within the Community Education Department at the College of Marin. The organization fosters lifelong learning through classes, clubs, special events and a reading room. They publish a newsletter of original writing and commentary. ESCOM is sustained by memberships, gifts and bequests. Leadership is through a Council and various committees.

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For more than 5,000 years, "old" has been defined as beginning between the ages of 60 and 70. That means most people alive today will spend more years in elderhood than in childhood, and many will be elders for 40 years or more. Yet at the very moment that humans are living longer than ever before, we've made old age into a disease, a condition to be dreaded, disparaged, neglected, and denied.

Reminiscent of Oliver Sacks, noted Harvard-trained geriatrician Louise Aronson uses stories from her quarter century of caring for patients, and draws from history, science, literature, popular culture, and her own life to weave a vision of old age that's neither nightmare nor utopian fantasy--a vision full of joy, wonder, frustration, outrage, and hope about aging, medicine, and humanity itself.

Elderhood is for anyone who is, in the author's own words, "an aging, i.e., still-breathing human being."

Louise Aronson, MD, is the author of A History of the Present Illness and a geriatrician, educator, and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where she directs UCSF Medical Humanities. A graduate of Harvard Medical School and the MFA Program For Writers at Warren Wilson College, Dr. Aronson has received the Gold Professorship in Humanism, the California Homecare Physician of the Year Award, and the American Geriatrics Society Clinician-Teacher of the Year Award, as well as numerous awards for her teaching, educational research, and writing. The recipient of a MacDowell fellowship and four Pushcart nominations, her articles and stories have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times, New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, and Bellevue Literary Review. She lives in San Francisco.

Kentfield Library
College of Marin
Kentfield, CA 94904

Literary Luncheon: Julia Alvarez - Afterlife (Corte Madera Store)

Friday, April 17, 2020 - 12:00pm

Ticket: $55 (includes meal & signed copy of Afterlife)

The first adult novel in fourteen years by the bestselling author of In the Time of the Butterflies and How the García Girls Lost Their Accents.

Antonia Vega, the immigrant writer at the center of Afterlife, has had the rug pulled out from under her. She has just retired from the college where she taught English when her beloved husband, Sam, suddenly dies. And then more jolts: her bighearted but unstable sister disappears, and Antonia returns home one evening to find a pregnant, undocumented teenager on her doorstep. Antonia has always sought direction in the literature she loves—lines from her favorite authors play in her head like a soundtrack—but now she finds that the world demands more of her than words.

Afterlife is a compact, nimble, and sharply droll novel. Set in this political moment of tribalism and distrust, it asks: What do we owe those in crisis in our families, including—maybe especially—members of our human family? How do we live in a broken world without losing faith in one another or ourselves? And how do we stay true to those glorious souls we have lost?

Julia Alvarez left the Dominican Republic for the United States in 1960 at the age of ten. She is the author of six novels, three books of nonfiction, three collections of poetry, and eleven books for children and young adults. She has taught and mentored writers in schools and communities across America and, until her retirement in 2016, was a writer-in-residence at Middlebury College. Her work has garnered wide recognition, including a Latina Leader Award in Literature from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature, the Woman of the Year by Latina magazine, and inclusion in the New York Public Library’s program “The Hand of the Poet: Original Manuscripts by 100 Masters, from John Donne to Julia Alvarez.” In the Time of the Butterflies, with over one million copies in print, was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts for its national Big Read program, and in 2013 President Obama awarded Alvarez the National Medal of Arts in recognition of her extraordinary storytelling.

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Please note: Tickets are non-refundable.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Class: Peter Thabit Jones - Singing in Chains: Sound-texturing in Poetry

Saturday, April 18, 2020 - 10:00am
photo of Peter Thabit Jones, poet, sound-texturing

Saturday, April 18 • 10am – 1pm • $95

The sound-texturing of a poem connects with the iambic beat in us. Dylan Thomas believed in “the colour of saying,” suggesting it is not just what we say in a poem, but the way we say it. Peter’s talk will focus on the craft of cynghanedd, Welsh-language harmonizing devices, used by Thomas and others in English. The workshop will allow participants to experiment with the devices and poetic forms that lend themselves to creating poems that “sing.”  

Peter Thabit Jones has authored fourteen books, including Dylan Thomas Walking Tour of Greenwich Village. A recipient of many awards including the Eric Gregory Award for Poetry (The Society of Authors, London) and the Homer: European Medal of Poetry and Art, Peter will be in America as a writer-in-residence in Big Sur. 

What People Are Saying about Peter Thabit Jones

"Peter Thabit Jones is poetry. He lives, creates and recites the alluring and mysterious. In Salem and in Cambridge MA, Peter’s readings, classes and workshops were magical. His is a dynamic voice and he invites us to explore the world with him. Such an adventure is pure delight as Peter can transform even the arduous job of stone-laying into verse.” – Kristine Doll, Ph.D., Professor, Department of World Cultures and Languages, Salem State University

"Peter Thabit Jones mesmerized a gathering of Boulder poets and novelists at my home, an event to be reprised this fall, to satisfy audience demand. Peter's poems and public appearances have captured the imagination of the Boulder community. To listen to him read is a rare treat, not to be missed in any venue." -- Paul M. Levitt, Professor emeritus, University of Colorado

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Emily Gould - Perfect Tunes (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Monday, April 20, 2020 - 6:00pm

It’s the early days of the new millennium, and Laura has arrived in New York City’s East Village with the hopes of recording her first album. A songwriter with a one-of-a-kind talent, she’s just beginning to book gigs when she falls hard for Dylan, a troubled but magnetic musician whose star is on the rise. Their time together is stormy and short-lived—Dylan dies a few months into their relationship—but will reverberate for the rest of Laura’s life.

Flash forward fourteen years: Laura’s daughter, Marie, is asking ques­tions about the father she never knew, questions that Laura does not want to answer. Laura has built a quiet life that bears little resemblance to the one she envisioned when she left Ohio all those years ago, and she’s taken pains to close the door on what was and what might have been. But Marie won’t let her, and when she attempts to track down Dylan’s family, both mother and daughter are forced to confront the heartbreak at the root of their relationship.

Funny, wise, and utterly immersive, Perfect Tunes explores the fault lines between parents and children, and asks whether dreams deferred can ever be reclaimed.

Emily Gould is the author of the novel Friendship and the essay collection And the Heart Says Whatever. With Ruth Curry, she runs Emily Books, which publishes books by women as an imprint of Coffee House Press. She has written for the New York TimesNew YorkThe New YorkerBookforum, and many other publications. She lives in New York City with her family.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

Julia Phillips - Disappearing Earth (Corte Madera Store)

Monday, April 20, 2020 - 7:00pm

One August afternoon, on the shoreline of the Kamchatka peninsula at the northeastern edge of Russia, two girls—sisters, eight and eleven—go missing. In the ensuing weeks, then months, the police investigation turns up nothing. Echoes of the disappearance reverberate across a tightly woven community, with the fear and loss felt most deeply among its women.

Taking us through a year in Kamchatka, Disappearing Earth enters with astonishing emotional acuity the worlds of a cast of richly drawn characters, all connected by the crime: a witness, a neighbor, a detective, a mother. We are transported to vistas of rugged beauty—densely wooded forests, open expanses of tundra, soaring volcanoes, and the glassy seas that border Japan and Alaska—and into a region as complex as it is alluring, where social and ethnic tensions have long simmered, and where outsiders are often the first to be accused.

In a story as propulsive as it is emotionally engaging, and through a young writer's virtuosic feat of empathy and imagination, this powerful novel brings us to a new understanding of the intricate bonds of family and community, in a Russia unlike any we have seen before.

Julia Phillips is a Fulbright fellow whose writing has appeared in Glimmer Train, The Atlantic, Slate, and The Moscow Times. She lives in Brooklyn.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Julia Flynn Siler - The White Devil's Daughters (Corte Madera Store)

Tuesday, April 21, 2020 - 7:00pm

Beginning in 1874, the Occidental Mission Home on the edge of San Francisco's Chinatown served as a gateway to freedom for thousands of enslaved and vulnerable young Chinese women and girls. Run by a courageous group of female abolitionists who fought the slave trade in Chinese women, it survived earthquakes, fire, bubonic plague, and violence directed against its occupants and supporters. With compassion and an investigative historian's sharp eye, Julia Flynn Siler tells the story of both the abolitionists who challenged the corrosive anti-Chinese prejudices of the time and the young women who dared to flee their fate. She relates how the women who ran the home defied contemporary convention--even occasionally breaking the law--by physically rescuing children from the brothels where they worked or by snatching them off ships as they were being smuggled in--and how they helped bring the exploiters to justice. She also shares the moving stories of many of the girls and young women who sought refuge at the mission, and she writes about the lives they went on to lead. The White Devil's Daughters is a remarkable chapter in an overlooked part of our history, told with sympathy and vigor.

Julia Flynn Siler is a New York Times best-selling author and journalist. Her most recent book is Lost Kingdom: Hawaii's Last Queen, the Sugar Kings, and America's First Imperial Adventure. Her first book, The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty, was a finalist for a James Beard Award and a Gerald Loeb Award for distinguished reporting. A veteran journalist, Siler is a longtime contributor and former staff writer for The Wall Street Journal and has been a guest commentator on CNBC, CNN, and the BBC. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their two sons.

51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925

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