reading from The House of Twenty Thousand Books, the journalist’s elegy to the vanished intellectual world of his grandparents, Chimen and Miriam, and their vast library of socialist literature and Jewish history.
A rare book dealer and self-educated polymath who would go on to teach at Oxford and consult for Sotheby’s, Chimen Abramsky drew great writers and thinkers like Isaiah Berlin and Eric Hobsbawm to his north London home; his library grew from his abiding passion for books and his search for an enduring ideology. The books, documents, and manuscripts that covered every shelf at 5 Hillway were testaments to Chimen’s quest — from the Jewish orthodoxy of his boyhood, to the Communism of his youth, to the liberalism of his mature years.
read from Dirt: A Love Story, edited by Barbara Richardson, with an introduction by Pam Houston.
Community farms. Mud spas. Mineral paints. Nematodes. The world is waking up to the beauty and mystery of dirt. This anthology celebrates the Earth’s generous crust, bringing together essays by thirty-six award-winning scientists, authors, artists, and dirt lovers to tell dirt’s exuberant tales.
Geographically broad and topically diverse, these essays reveal life as lived by dirt fanatics—admiring the first worm of spring, taking a childhood twirl across a dusty Kansas farm, calculating how soil breathes, or baking mud pies. Essayists build a dirt house, center a marriage around dirt, sink down into marshy heaven, and learn to read dirt’s own language. Scientists usher us deep underground with the worms and mycorrhizae to explore the vast and largely ignored natural processes occurring beneath our feet.
presents Nothing Holy About It: The Zen of Being Just Who You Are, Zen teachings--infused with elements of memoir--by a popular modern teacher who grew up at the feet of two of the great figures who brought Zen to America, Shunryu Suzuki and Dainin Katagiri.
Tim Burkett was only twenty when he became a student of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. Today, Suzuki Roshi is one of the most famous Zen teachers in the world but, in 1964, he was virtually unknown outside of his small circle of dedicated Zen students. Those early years of American Zen were humble ones; they were often tumultuous, and always uncertain. As a part of that core group, Tim remembers the struggle to raise money for the now famous Tassajara Monastery.
Presents Local Color: Seeing Place Through Watercolor.
Whenever we first encounter a new environment, whether landscape or cityscape, one of the most immediate and powerful sensations comes from its colors, or the palette of colors, which profoundly influence our reaction to and sense of a space. In Local Color, designer and educator Mimi Robinson teaches us not only how to see the colors around us but also how to capture and record them in watercolor This instructional book includes everything you need to sharpen your powers of observation, develop your color senses, and create beautiful palettes of local color.
Presents How to Entertain, Distract, and Unplug Your Kids:Tricks, Tools, and Spontaneous Screen-Free Activities.
“I don’t have kids, but if I did, I’d totally try this stuff!”--Wannabe Parent
“So fun! My kids love matching socks now. Thank you!”--Actual Parent
“I’m just glad we didn’t screw you and your brother up too badly, honey.”--Jan Jervis (Mom)
A fun and practical guide to keeping kids engaged and off your phone.
Face it. Your kids don't want you around ALL the time! As much as you'd like to build that go-cart or that amazing tree house for them, you also need a little time for yourself!
Sure, we'd all like to hand our kids the phone when things get tough, but down deep we know that screen time will not build world leaders. So how does a parent like you keep those little rug rats entertained and engaged in a meaningful way while you get your own stuff done?
presents Finding Yourself in the Kitchen: Kitchen Meditations and Inspired Recipes from a Mindful Cook
Nothing is more ordinary than the kitchen, and yet it is the perfect place to explore who we are and what we are capable of. In Finding Yourself in the Kitchen, Velden asks you to seek deeper meaning in this space and explores what cooking can teach about intimacy, failure, curiosity, and beauty. What happens when we find ourselves in the kitchen? What vitalizes, challenges, and delights us there? An extension of her popular "Weekend Meditation" column on TheKitchn.com, this book offers you the chance to step back and examine your life in a more inspired way.
presents Cityscapes 2: Reading the Architecture of San Francisco, the follow up to Cityscapes: San Francisco and Its Buildings, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Part pocket guide, part history, and part architectural primer, the companion piece to urban design critic John King’s Cityscapes: San Francisco and Its Buildings contains all of the wit and wonder of the first installment.
reading from her debut novel, Girl Waits With Gun, an enthralling mystery based on the forgotten true story of one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs. “A smart, romping adventure, featuring some of the most memorable and powerful female characters I've seen in print for a long time. I loved every page as I followed the Kopp sisters through a too-good-to-be-true (but mostly true!) tale of violence, courage, stubbornness, and resourcefulness.” — Elizabeth Gilbert
Constance Kopp doesn’t quite fit the mold. She towers over most men, has no interest in marriage or domestic affairs, and has been isolated from the world since a family secret sent her and her sisters into hiding fifteen years ago. One day a belligerent and powerful silk factory owner runs down their buggy, and a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets, and threats as he unleashes his gang on their family farm.
present The Social Sex: A History of Female Friendship, a rich, multifaceted history of the evolution of female friendship.
In today’s culture, the bonds of female friendship are taken as a given. But only a few centuries ago, the idea of female friendship was completely unacknowledged, even pooh-poohed. Only men, the reasoning went, had the emotional and intellectual depth to develop and sustain these meaningful relationships.
Presents An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, the first history of the United States told from the perspective of indigenous peoples,
just out in paperback. 2015 Recipient of the American Book Award.
"Belongs on the shelf next to Dee Brown's classic, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee."--San Francisco Chronicle
Today in the United States, there are more than five hundred federally recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people, descendants of the fifteen million Native people who once inhabited this land. The centuries-long genocidal program of the US settler-colonial regimen has largely been omitted from history. Now, for the first time, acclaimed historian and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz offers a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples and reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the US empire.
reads from Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California.
“The author is deeply rooted in the Golden State’s financial history, as anyone knows who read her excellent Towers of Gold. Now we find that terroir’s part of that story, too. A family member’s bottled heirlooms passed down through generations fall victim to a bizarre crime, and the author’s drawn in by a sense of loss, anger, and curiosity. How could even an unhinged perpetrator of the worst case of wine arson in California history destroy vintages bearing some of the biggest names in West Coast viticulture, and apparently get away with it? Dinkelspiel weaves together strands of past and present in an enthralling narrative that binds the reader to the investigation and to her personal triumph.”--James Conaway, author of the NYT bestseller, Napa: The Story of an American Eden
On October 12, 2005, a fire broke out in Vallejo, California’s Wines Central, a warehouse that stored thousands of cases of wine from vineyards and individual collectors. Within hours, flames and heat had ravaged the concrete building, destroying more than four and a half million bottles of wine worth $250 million. It was the costliest destruction of wine in history, annihilating entire California vineyard libraries as well as bottles of some of the most sought-after wines in the world.
reads from her debut novel, After the Parade, a heartfelt, funny, endlessly compelling quest of a lonesome man who moves to San Francisco from a small Minnesota town trying to make his way in a profoundly complex and beautiful world.
“Lori Ostlund's wonderful novel should come with a set of instructions: Be perfectly still. Listen carefully. Peer beneath every placid surface. Be alive to the possibility of wonder."--Richard Russo
This is the story of forty-year-old Aaron Englund—a big-hearted, self-conscious, deeply sensitive man who decides it is time to leave his older partner and make a new life for himself in San Francisco. But as he steps out into a new world, Aaron finds his memories flying back to his childhood in the small town of Mortonville, Minnesota. Aaron might have left Mortonville years ago, but in San Francisco he starts to understand that real freedom won’t come until he has made peace with the traumas, mysteries, and lost opportunities bound up in that tiny Midwestern town.
reads from Golden Age, the much-anticipated third volume of her Last Hundred Years trilogy, following Some Luck and Early Warning, in which the Langdon family comes into the present day and beyond.
1987: the next generation of Langdons are facing economic, social, cultural, and political challenges unlike anything their ancestors have encountered. Michael and Richie, twin sons of World War II hero Frank, work in the high-stakes worlds of government and finance, in Washington and New York—but their fiercest enemies may be closer to home. Charlie, the charmer, recently found, struggles to find his way; Guthrie is deployed to Iraq, leaving the Iowa farm—the heart of this enthralling saga—in the hands of his younger sister, Felicity, though Felicity as always, has her own ideas.
returns to Mrs. Dalloway's to read from her latest volume of poetry, Erratic Facts. “Witty, rebellious, and yet tender, [her poetry is] a treasure trove of an iconoclastic and joyful mind.” (Pulitzer Prize citation)
The "classic American poet” (Los Angeles Times)—is lauded for her highly intelligible, deeply insightful wisdom and vitality. Erratic Facts is her first collection since The Best of It, animated with her signature swift, lucid, lyrical poems.
reads from her much-anticipated new volume of stories, Mendocino Fire, her first in twenty years. In this collection of richly imagined stories the master of short fiction delivers a diverse suite of stories about men and women confronting their vulnerabilities in times of transition and challenge.
"The first pleasure here is the glitter and darkness of the prose only Tallent can produce; but the profounder gift in these stories is the author s empathy, a tireless empathy, her knowledge of her characters peculiar entitlements and pangs and assumptions." --Louis B. Jones
The triumphant, long-awaited return of a writer of remarkable gifts: in this collection of richly imagined stories her first new work in twenty years the master of short fiction delivers a diverse suite of stories about men and women confronting their vulnerabilities in times of transition and challenge.
Beginning in the 1980s, Elizabeth Tallent's work, appeared in some of our most prestigious literary publications, including The New Yorker, Esquire, and Harper's. Marked by its quiet power and emotional nuance, her fiction garnered widespread praise.
in conversation about their recent books, A Master Plan for Rescue and Electric City, respectively.
About Master Plan: Set in 1942 New York and Berlin, [a novel] about the life-giving powers of storytelling, and the heroism that can be inspired by love. In essence, it is two love stories: the story of a child who worships his parents, then loses his father to an accident and his mother to her resulting grief; and the story of a young man who stumbles into the romance of his life, then watches her decline, forever changing the arc of his future. Each is propelled by the belief that if he acts heroically enough, it will restore some part of what--or whom --he has lost.
reads from her magnificent novel, Alice in Bed.
"In a work of breathtaking imagination, Hooper goes beyond the singular diarist who was Alice James and gives us the person--audaciously curious, unapologetically original, and clearly the equal of her two more illustrious brothers, Henry and William. The James clan was known for quirkiness, even in Boston, but their sibling bond is here revealed as tender, enduring, and full of a private mirth. An extraordinary accomplishment, a captivating read.--Thad Carhart, author of The Piano Shop on the Left Bank
"Arm yourself against my dawn, which may at any moment cast you and Harry into obscurity," Alice James writes her brother William in 1891. In Hooper's magnificent book, zingers such as this fly back and forth between the endlessly articulate and letter-writing Jameses, all of whom are geniuses at gossiping. And the James family did, in fact, know everyone intellectually important on both sides of the Atlantic, but by the time we meet her in 1889, Alice has been sidelined and is lying in bed in Leamington, England, after taking London by storm.
reads from her debut novel, Dream House.
Architect Gina Gilbert is coming apart, alienated by her clients' grand house dreams and no longer certain she feels at home in San Francisco. When she travels to Maine to put family affairs in order at her childhood home, Gina and her sister Cassie stir up decades-old suspicions and resentments. Gina struggles to reconcile toxic childhood memories that still permeate the house's rooms with her deep longing for its exquisite waterfront landscape. She uses her architect's eye to unearth smoldering secrets that change family history and release her from the grip of her past.
reads from his new book, Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few.
In cooperation with KPFA.
reads from Alone on the Wall
Reads from M Train
"It's a roadmap to my life."
Legendary artist Patti Smith delivers an unforgettable odyssey, told through the prism of cafés and haunts she has visited and worked in around the world.
reads from his new book, My Brain Is on Fire: Paris and Other Obsessions.