In 1990, the first Easy Rawlins mystery novel Devil in a Blue Dress joined a long line of books that take Los Angeles as its muse and antagonist. Written by Walter Mosley, the book was set in Watts, and introduced Rawlins, an African-American veteran who ends up broke and unable to find work. Eventually, Rawlins finds himself taking up detective work, and Mosley found himself with a thriving detective series. Little Green is the latest installment. It finds Rawlins navigating a new sociopolitical landscape in 1967 L.A., one permanently altered by the Watts riots and the rise of hippie culture. The book promises to be yet another clever exploration of the intersection of race, class and mystery in California’s most intriguing city. Walter Mosley appears on Thursday, May 16, at Book Passage. 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. 7pm. 415.927.0960.
When one is a practicing sex educator and clinical sexologist with several degrees to her credit, it’s only a matter of time before a book deal or movie option comes around. Now a major motion picture nominated for an Oscar, The Sessions is a story of one of Cheryl Greene’s patients who was confined to an iron lung after contracting polio at age six. The devoutly religious man wanted to know what it’s like to “be” with a woman, in the Biblical sense; Greene served as his sex surrogate and, lo and behold, it changed his life and inspired a Hollywood script. Greene speaks about her new book, An Intimate Life: Sex, Love and My Journey as a Sex Surrogate Partner, on Friday, Feb. 1, at Book Passage. 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. 7pm. Free. 415.927.0960.
Writers dream about the day that their novel is finally published, gracing the shelves of bookstores and miraculously ending up as an Oprah’s book club pick. But what about all the work that goes on before that joyous day? In a talk titled “My Long, Slippery, Uphill-Both-Ways Path to Publication,” acclaimed Sebastopol author Seré Prince Halverson will share the 25-year, two-marriage, four-kid, two-agent, three-novel-long journey that lead to the publication of The Underside of Joy by Dutton. Part of the monthly writers forum series hosted by Marlene Cullen, the talk offers a chance to get real about writing fiction. Seré Prince Halverson talks about her writing journey on Thursday, Nov. 15, at the Petaluma Community Center. 320 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma. 7pm. $15. 707.762.6279.
A New Yorker contributor since 1974, Ian Frazier has finally knocked out his first novel. Really an expansion of his regular humor columns, The Cursing Mommy’s Book of Days is like AbFab on acid, its star being an alcoholic mommy with a “clueless idiot” for a husband, a “horrible, wretched” oldest son and a propensity for blaming the Bush administration for every mishap that befalls her. This book is is quite a departure from Frazier’s earlier work, such asTravels in Siberia, wherein the author recounts the history of Siberia along with some its famous exiles. The novel’s been racking up fans, who love Frazier’s keen sense of humor. Ian Frazier appears on Monday, Nov. 12, at Book Passage. 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. 7pm. 415.927.0960.
by Jay Scherf
on Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 5:30 PM
When President Bill Clinton dedicated the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 1996, ending a battle between mining interests and environmental activists, he held up Terry Tempest Williams’ anthology Testimony: Writers Speak on Behalf of Utah Wilderness and said, “This made a difference.” Both as an activist and a prolific writer, Williams, a sixth-generation Utah Mormon, has become a leading voice for the desert West. Williams presents her latest work, When Women Were Birds, on Monday, June 18, at Book Passage. 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. Free. 5pm. 415.927.0960.
When is stepping back from a job appropriate? After a week? A year? Twenty-five years? Cartoonist Dan Piraro, creator of Bizarro, has finally completed his 10,000th cartoon and is deciding to take a much-deserved break. Well it’s sort of a break—he’s going to be touring on his “other” claim to fame, his one-man comedy show. Is pursing a new profession really the best way to take a break from 25 years of work? I guess the joke’s on him this time. Consistently funny in newsprint and garnering rave reviews for his variety show, Piraro is a national treasure, with a smart hat to boot. Catch the celebration with guest comedian Michael Capozzola on Friday, April 27, at 142 Throckmorton Theatre. 142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. 8pm. $20–$23. 415.383.9600.
When I was a kid, my mom had a Best of Judy Collins record that I listened to obsessively, playing “Send in the Clowns” and “Both Sides Now” on repeat. Yes, even at the age of eight I was already prepping for a life of constant sorrow. It wasn’t until years later that I learned my favorite childhood folk singer was actually the inspiration for “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” by Crosby, Stills and Nash. Turns out that Judy Collins had a two-year relationship with Stephen Stills that ended tragically when she left him for future Sgt. Stedenko Stacy Keach. No doubt, this will be discussed in her new book Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music, and in person when Judy Collins appears on Saturday, April 7, at Book Passage. 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. 1pm. 415.927.0960.
In local author Bart Schneider’s novel Nameless Dame, a mysterious murder is the talk of the town in Guerneville. Without giving too much away, this gripping mystery travels around Sonoma County in search of information linked to the crime. It’s just like getting in the middle of a real police investigation in the local neighborhood, without having to deal with the actual life-risking danger that’s involved. It’s up to Minnesota private investigator Augie Boyer to uncover the strange schemes happening up and down the coast before it’s too late. Get even closer to the action when Schneider reads and discusses his book on Thursday, March 15, at Readers’ Books (130 E. Napa St., Sonoma; 7:30pm; free; 707.939.1779) and Thursday, March 22, at Guerneville’s own River Reader (16355 Main St., Guerneville; 7pm; free; 707.869.2240).
How can corporations seemingly show up everywhere? Why can they get away with virtually everything? This Saturday, Jeff Clements answers those questions—and takes on Mitt Romney’s “corporations are people, my friend” comment—with his book Corporations Are Not People, informing readers of current corporate rights and their effect on the environment and the public at large. Clements’ book even provides some solutions to the issue. Yes, this book is going to be the survival kit in the case of a corporation apocalypse. Drive away from Wal-Mart and head down to Marin this Saturday, March 3, at Book Passage. 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. 1pm. $17.95. 415.927.0960.
Books on the political atmosphere are often smart, or at least smartly written. So when a weirdly penned but sensational “tell-all” comes down the publishing pipe and hits the bestseller list, it’s cause for amusement. In 200 years, no doubt, people will still be reading Dreams from My Father. Could we say the same for ‘Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime’? Basically a tabloid-like retelling of the 2008 election unworthy of the journalistic experience behind authors John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, the book boasts such turns of phrase as Hilary Clinton corralling “plenty of surrogates ready to sink their canines into Obama’s keister,” she having “never exactly been a buoyant Hubert Humphrey on the stump. . . .” Huh? If you’re lost as to what a “semiotician’s fantasia” is and you want an explanation “vomited verbally” (actual phrase from the book!), be there when Heilemann and Halperin appear on Sunday, March 14, at Book Passage. 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. 2pm. 415.927.0960.Gabe Meline