San Francisco Events

Tanya Selvaratnam - Assume Nothing: A Memoir of Intimate Violence (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Wednesday, May 6, 2020 - 6:00pm

When Tanya met Eric, they fell quickly and effortlessly in love, fueling each other’s growing political ambitions. But their power dynamic soon took a dark turn, as he criticized Tanya and began to try to control her, even telling her that he would have to kill her if they broke up. Sex turned frighteningly violent. At a friend’s urging, she opened up to a domestic violence expert, who confirmed what Tanya, on some level, already knew: she was in an abusive relationship. She considered avenues for protection—an ethics complaint, a civil claim, going to the police. But a situation that would be dire for most women was even more dangerous for Tanya because her abuser was the attorney general of New York—the top law enforcement officer in the state. She feared he would be tipped off and that he would crush her.

Tanya’s story is harrowing, but not as rare as you might think. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, on average, nearly twenty people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. In Assume Nothing, Tanya uses her abuse at the hands of former New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to expose the prevalence of intimate partner violence—and offers steps to recognize, expose, and end it.

Tanya Selvaratnam is the author of The Big Lie: Motherhood, Feminism, and the Reality of the Biological Clock. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Vogue, CNN, Glamour, and McSweeney’s. She is an Emmy-nominated and Webby-winning filmmaker, who has produced for Aubin Pictures, Glamour Women of the Year, Planned Parenthood, and the Vision & Justice Project.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

David Sax - The Soul of an Entrepreneur (San Francisco Ferry Building Store/Shack 15)

Wednesday, May 6, 2020 - 6:30pm

Doors open at 6:30pm, event begins at 7:00pm • This event is being held in partnership with Shack 15. Please visit Book Passage's Ferry Building store to receive a free pass for the event and directions to Shack 15's location on the second floor of the Ferry Building.

We're often told that we're living amidst a startup boom. Typically, we think of apps built by college kids and funded by venture capital firms, which remake fortunes and economies overnight. But in reality, most new businesses are things like restaurants or hair salons. Entrepreneurs aren't all millennials—more often, it's their parents. And those small companies are the fabric of our economy.

The Soul of an Entrepreneur is a business book of a different kind, exploring our work but also our passions and hopes. David Sax reports on the deeply personal questions of entrepreneurship: why an immigrant family risks everything to build a bakery; how a small farmer fights to manage his debt; and what it feels like to rise and fall with a business you built for yourself.

This book is the real story of entrepreneurship. It confronts both success and failure, and shows how they can change a human life. It captures the inherent freedom that entrepreneurship brings, and why it matters.

David Sax is a writer, reporter, and speaker who specializes in business and culture. His previous book, The Revenge of Analog, was a #1 Washington Post bestseller, was selected as one of Michiko Kakutani's Top Ten books of 2016 for the New York Times, and has been translated into six languages. He is the author of Save the Deli, which won a James Beard award, and The Tastemakers. He lives in Toronto.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

Jill Wine-Banks - The Watergate Girl (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - 6:00pm

Watergate was a time—much like today—when Americans feared for the future of their democracy and women stood up for equal treatment. At the crossroads of the Watergate scandal and the women’s movement was a young lawyer named Jill Wine Volner (as she was then known), barely thirty years old and the only woman on the team that prosecuted the highest-ranking White House officials. Called “the mini-skirted lawyer” by the press, she fought to receive the respect accorded her male counterparts—and prevailed.

In The Watergate Girl, Jill Wine-Banks opens a window on this troubled time in American history. It is impossible to read about the crimes of Richard Nixon and the people around him without drawing parallels to today’s headlines. The book is also the story of a young woman who sought to make her professional mark while trapped in a failing marriage, buffeted by sexist preconceptions, and harboring secrets of her own. Her house was burgled, her phones were tapped, and even her office garbage was rifled through.

At once a cautionary tale and an inspiration for those who believe in the power of justice and the rule of law, The Watergate Girl is a revelation about our country, our politics, and who we are as a society.

Jill Wine-Banks is an MSNBC legal analyst, appearing regularly on the network’s primetime and daytime shows. She began her career as an organized crime prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice, which led to her selection as one of three assistant Watergate special prosecutors in the obstruction of justice trial against President Nixon's top aides. She has also served as general counsel of the U.S. Army, solicitor general and deputy attorney general of the state of Illinois, and executive vice president and chief operating officer of the American Bar Association. In each case, she was the first woman to hold the position. A graduate of the University of Illinois and the Columbia University School of Law, she lives in Chicago.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

Heather Grzych - The Ayurvedic Guide to Fertility (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Thursday, May 14, 2020 - 6:00pm

To be or not to be a mother is a question that increasing numbers of women postpone answering until their fertility has diminished. Heather Grzych knows this firsthand. As someone who spent most of her adult life trying not to get pregnant, she grappled with conception in her midthirties but faced many challenges. In the midst of this reckoning, she left her successful corporate life and became one of only a few people in the United States with an advanced degree in Ayurvedic medicine. In Ayurveda, she found a gentle, holistic approach to understanding the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of fertility. She shares that understanding—which led to the birth of her son—in The Ayurvedic Guide to Fertility. She describes optimum health practices, which include diet and lifestyle choices, engagement with the environment, and recognition of one's life history. With insight and personal understanding, she helps women address the fears, blockages, and conflicts that affect reproductive health so that they can activate channels that have been dormant or blocked. In this empathic woman-to-woman guide, Grzych helps readers create the best possible circumstances for conception naturally, holistically, and joyfully.

Heather Grzych is a board-certified Ayurvedic practitioner who bridges the worlds of conventional and alternative medicine to help women and men heal their physical and emotional lives. She is on the board of directors for the National Ayurvedic Medical Association and has consulted with doctors, governments, and insurance companies. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

Jamie Evans - The Ultimate Guide to CBD (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - 6:00pm

Discover new ways to live a healthy life by incorporating cannabidiol (CBD) into your daily routines. Whether you are seeking information on making your own CBD self-care products, how to cook with CBD, or how to administer CBD to your pet, The Ultimate Guide to CBD makes for the perfect introduction.

In The Ultimate Guide to CBD, you'll start by learning the basics—including the most current science in the field of CBD research. Since there are many ways to use cannabidiol, you'll also learn the differences between each application, with a detailed look at CBD oils, flower, ready-made beverages, tinctures, isolates, concentrates, capsules, salves, balms, face oil, vaping, and more. A discussion on homemade versus professional-made products is included, along with tips on how to pick a trustworthy brand. In the chapters that follow, you'll be able to explore CBD in a variety of ways:

  • Wellness: Self-care is the ultimate practice that can benefit your life, your relationships, and your overall happiness. This chapter will encourage the reader to evaluate their own personal wellness and hygiene routines, providing information on how to best use CBD-rich skincare, bath, and body products. An overview of other complimentary soothing herbs is provided, as well a “how-to” guide for crafting CBD face masks, salves, and massage oil.
  • Beverages and Food: Find your inner mixologist with CBD beverages, from CBD mocktails and cocktails to CBD coffee, matcha, and more. Learn how to make your own CBD oil at home and go gourmet with CBD honey, olive oil, butter and other infusions to craft delicious CBD cuisine.
  • Fitness: With opioid addiction on the rise, athletes are looking for new ways to manage pain, reduce anxiety, alleviate stress, and enhance performance. This section focuses on CBD and fitness by exploring the different ways that CBD may benefit the body during physical activities, such as yoga, running, skiing/snowboarding, and contact sports. An overview of CBD supplements and relief balms, as well as a “how-to” guide to making a post-workout balm to relieve sore muscles.
  • Pets and Other Uses: It turns out that our four-legged friends may also benefit from CBD. Learn how to safely share CBD with dogs and cats for anxiety reduction and pain management.

With all this and more, including expert spotlights featuring some of the top names in CBD-related businesses, this is the go-to resource you've been looking for.

Jamie Evans is the founder of The Herb Somm, a CBD and cannabis blog and lifestyle brand that is focused on the gourmet side of the industry. She is an educator, host, and writer specializing in cannabis, CBD, food, recipes, wine, and the canna-culinary world. She has also crafted a number of her own CBD recipes, collaborating with some of the top manufacturers across the US. Jamie is also the co-editor of GoldLeaf's acclaimed Cooking Journal as well as a contributor to MARY magazine, The Clever Root, and POPSUGAR, where she specializes in CBD-related features. In addition to her work in the cannabis industry, Jamie has over ten years of wine industry experience. Having represented a wide array of organizations and wineries including Jackson Family Wines, Folio Fine Wine Partners, Napa Valley Grapegrowers, and more, she is best known for literary work as well as producing high-end events, and developing top-notch public relations, marketing, and hospitality programs. As an industry leader, Jamie was recently named as one of Wine Enthusiast magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers in 2018 and as a 2018 Innovator by SevenFifty Daily, both recognizing her efforts in the cannabis industry. Jamie has been featured in dozens of different articles and TV segments including Forbes, Cheddar TV, Wine Enthusiast, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, ABC, and High Times, among many others.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

Jennifer Ackerman - The Bird Way (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - 12:30pm

"There is the mammal way and there is the bird way." This is one scientist's pithy distinction between mammal brains and bird brains: two ways to make a highly intelligent mind. But the bird way is much more than a unique pattern of brain wiring, and lately, scientists have taken a new look at bird behaviors they have, for years, dismissed as anomalies or mysteries. What they are finding is upending the traditional view of how birds conduct their lives, how they communicate, forage, court, breed, survive. They're also revealing the remarkable intelligence underlying these activities, abilities we once considered uniquely our own—deception, manipulation, cheating, kidnapping, infanticide, but also, ingenious communication between species, cooperation, collaboration, altruism, culture, and play.

Some of these extraordinary behaviors are biological conundrums that seem to push the edges of—well—birdness: A mother bird that kills her own infant sons, and another that selflessly tends to the young of other birds as if they were her own. Young birds that devote themselves to feeding their siblings and others so competitive they'll stab their nestmates to death. Birds that give gifts and birds that steal, birds that dance or drum, that paint their creations or paint themselves, birds that build walls of sound to keep out intruders and birds that summon playmates with a special call—and may hold the secret to our own penchant for playfulness and the evolution of laughter.

Drawing on personal observations, the latest science, and Ackerman's own bird-related travel around the world, from the tropical rainforests of eastern Australia and the remote woodlands of northern Japan, to the rolling hills of lower Austria and the islands of Alaska's Kachemak Bay, The Bird Way shows there is clearly no single bird way of being. In every respect, in plumage, form, song, flight, lifestyle, niche, and behavior, birds vary. It's what we love about them. As E.O Wilson once said, when you have seen one bird, you have not seen them all.

Jennifer Ackerman has been writing about science and nature for three decades. She is the author of eight books, including The Genius of Birds, which has been translated into twenty languages and the forthcoming The Bird Way:A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think. Her articles and essays have appeared in Scientific American, National Geographic, The New York Times, and many other publications, Ackerman is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship in Nonfiction, a Bunting Fellowship, and a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

Sasha Abramsky - Little Wonder: The Fabulous Story of Lottie Dod, the World's First Female Sports Superstar (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Tuesday, June 2, 2020 - 6:00pm

Little Wonder: The Fabulous Story of Lottie Dod, the World's First Female Sports Superstar is a biography of a truly extraordinary sports figure who blazed trails of glory in the last decades of the nineteenth and first decade of the twentieth centuries. Dod was the third woman to win the Ladies' Championships at the Wimbledon tennis tournament. She did so for the first time in 1887, at the ludicrously young age of fifteen. She remains today the youngest person ever to have won a singles trophy in what would come to be known as the big-four Grand Slam tennis tournaments.

Dod won Wimbledon five times, grew bored with competitive tennis, and moved on to myriad other sports. She became the world's leading female ice skater and tobogganist, perfecting her talents in St. Moritz, Switzerland; befriended Elizabeth Main, the most skilled female mountaineer of the age, and joined her in summiting many of Switzerland's and Norway's most difficult mountains; became an endurance bicyclist; played hockey for England; won the British ladies' golf championship in 1904; and finally, in 1908, took the Olympic silver medal in archery in the London Olympics.

In her time, she had a huge following, with fans coming out by the thousands to cheer her on. She was feted by the media, and repeatedly profiled by the top sports journals of the day. Had Dod lived in a different age, this fame would have followed her throughout her life. But Dod's years of glory occurred just before the rise of cinema, radio, and other electronic media. By the outset of World War I, she was largely a forgotten figure; she died alone and without fanfare in 1960.

Little Wonder brings this remarkable woman's story to life, contextualizing it against a backdrop of rapid social change and tectonic shifts in the status of women in society. Dod was born into a world in which even upper-class women such as herself could not vote, were restricted in owning property, and were assumed to be fragile and delicate. True, the monarch was a queen, Victoria; but Victoria's reign was hardly a bastion of feminist progress. Women of Lottie Dod's class were expected not to work and to definitely get married. Dod turned that equation on its head; she never married and never had children, instead putting heart and soul into training to be the best athlete she could possibly be.

Dod was one of the pioneers who paved the way for the likes of Billie Jean King, Serena Williams, and the top female athletes of today. She accepted no limits, no glass ceilings, believed she could compete with the top men in whatever sport she set her sights on, and always refused to compromise.

Sasha Abramsky is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared over the past twenty-five years in major newspapers and magazines in the United States and United Kingdom. These include the Nation, the Atlantic, the New Yorker online, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, the New York Times, the Guardian, the Independent, the Observer, and the New Statesman. He has written widely about poverty and inequality; hunger; mass incarceration; the treatment of immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers; along with book reviews, cultural essays, and travel writing. Little Wonder is Abramsky’s ninth book. He teaches writing part-time at the University of California, Davis, and lives in Sacramento with his wife and two children.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

Zeyn Joukhadar - The Thirty Names of Night (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Wednesday, June 3, 2020 - 6:00pm

Five years after a suspicious fire killed his ornithologist mother, a closeted Syrian American trans boy sheds his birth name and searches for a new one. He has been unable to paint since his mother’s ghost has begun to visit him each evening. As his grandmother’s sole caretaker, he spends his days cooped up in their apartment, avoiding his neighborhood masjid, his estranged sister, and even his best friend (who also happens to be his longtime crush). The only time he feels truly free is when he slips out at night to paint murals on buildings in the once-thriving Manhattan neighborhood known as Little Syria.

One night, he enters the abandoned community house and finds the tattered journal of a Syrian American artist named Laila Z, who dedicated her career to painting the birds of North America. She famously and mysteriously disappeared more than sixty years before, but her journal contains proof that both his mother and Laila Z encountered the same rare bird before their deaths. In fact, Laila Z’s past is intimately tied to his mother’s—and his grandmother’s—in ways he never could have expected. Even more surprising, Laila Z’s story reveals the histories of queer and transgender people within his own community that he never knew. Realizing that he isn’t and has never been alone, he has the courage to officially claim a new name: Nadir, an Arabic name meaning rare.

As unprecedented numbers of birds are mysteriously drawn to the New York City skies, Nadir enlists the help of his family and friends to unravel what happened to Laila Z and the rare bird his mother died trying to save. Following his mother’s ghost, he uncovers the silences kept in the name of survival by his own community, his own family, and within himself, and discovers the family that was there all along.

Featuring Zeyn Joukhadar’s signature “magical and heart-wrenching” (The Christian Science Monitor) storytelling, The Thirty Names of Night is a timely exploration of how we all search for and ultimately embrace who we are.

Zeyn Joukhadar is the author of The Map of Salt and Stars. He is a member of the Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI) and of American Mensa. Joukhadar’s writing has appeared in Salon, The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net. The Map of Salt and Stars was a 2018 Middle East Book Award winner in Youth Literature and a 2018 Goodreads Choice Award Finalist in Historical Fiction and was shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. He has been an artist in residence at the Montalvo Arts Center, the Fes Medina Project, Beit al-Atlas, and the Arab American National Museum.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

Carter Sickels - The Prettiest Star (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Tuesday, June 9, 2020 - 6:00pm

Small-town Appalachia doesn't have a lot going for it, but it's where Brian is from, where his family is, and where he's chosen to return to die.

At eighteen, Brian, like so many other promising young gay men, arrived in New York City without much more than a love for the freedom and release from his past that it promised. But within six short years, AIDS would claim his lover, his friends, and his future. With nothing left in New York but memories of death, Brian decides to write his mother a letter asking to come back to the place, and family, he was once so desperate to escape.

Set in 1986, a year after Rock Hudson's death shifted the public consciousness of the epidemic and brought the news of AIDS into living rooms and kitchens across America, The Prettiest Star is an urgent story about the politics and fragility of the body, about sex and shame. And it is a novel that speaks to the question of what home and family means when we try to forge a life for ourselves in a world that can be harsh and unpredictable. It is written at the far reaches of love and understanding, and zeroes in on the moments where those two forces reach for each other, and sometimes touch.

Carter Sickels is the author of the novel The Evening Hour. He is the recipient of the 2013 Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award, and has been awarded scholarships to Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, VCCA, and the MacDowell Colony. His essays and fiction have appeared in various publications, including Guernica, Bellevue Literary Review, and BuzzFeed, and he is the editor of Untangling the Knot: Queer Voices on Marriage, Relationships & Identity. Carter is Assistant Professor of English at Eastern Kentucky University, where he teaches in the Bluegrass Writers Studio Low-Residency MFA program. He lives in Lexington, Kentucky.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

Sam Lansky - Broken People (San Francisco Ferry Building Store)

Tuesday, June 16, 2020 - 6:00pm

"He fixes everything that's wrong with you in three days."

This is what hooks Sam when he first overhears it at a fancy dinner party in the Hollywood hills: the story of a globe-trotting shaman who claims to perform "open-soul surgery" on emotionally damaged people. For neurotic, depressed Sam, new to Los Angeles after his life in New York imploded, the possibility of total transformation is utterly tantalizing. He's desperate for something to believe in, and the shaman—who promises ancient rituals, plant medicine and encounters with the divine—seems convincing, enough for Sam to sign up for a weekend under his care.

But are the great spirits the shaman says he's summoning real at all? Or are the ghosts in Sam's memory more powerful than any magic?

At turns tender and acidic, funny and wise, Broken People is a journey into the nature of truth and fiction--a story of discovering hope amid cynicism, intimacy within chaos and peace in our own skin.

Sam Lansky is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir The Gilded Razor and the West Coast editor at Time magazine. He’s written for New York magazine, The Atlantic, Esquire, and Out. He lives in Los Angeles, California. Read more at samlansky.com.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111

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