By Tara Kaveh
on Wed, Nov 27, 2013 at 12:31 PM
Renowned for The Joy Luck Club, author Amy Tan has a new novel, The Valley of Amazement. Following the lives of an American mother and her half-Chinese daughter who are separated when the Qing Dynasty is overturned, the novel spans the collapse of China’s last dynasty to the beginning of the republic, and recaptures the lost world of Shanghai through the inner workings of courtesan houses. Tan reads from her story of trauma, desire, deception and the power of love on Monday, Dec. 2, at Copperfield’s Books. 140 Kentucky St., Petaluma. 7pm. Free.
By Anna Hecht
on Wed, Aug 7, 2013 at 8:36 PM
Think your travel stories are incredible to hear because they were adventurous, heroic and life-altering? Well, that just might make author Tim Cahill laugh. The acclaimed travel writer has faced every travel situation one could dream up, as well as ones never imaginable. If the titles of his books, including A Wolverine Is Eating my Leg and Pass the Butterworms: Remote Journeys Oddly Rendered don’t provide enough explanation into his crazy travel adventures, skeptics (or fans) can listen to the author’s own accounts when he joins with National Geographic writer Don George in an evening of travel discussion and readings on Thursday, Aug. 8, at Book Passage. 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. $10. 8pm. 415.927.0960.
In the latest New Yorker, staff writer George Packer asks why the huge profits made in Silicon Valley’s tech world have grown as big as the massive gap between America’s rich and poor. He uses a wider lens his new book, The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, taking on the last 35 years of U.S. history in a nation that’s in steady economic decline. Hear Packer read on Monday, June 3, at Book Passage. 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. 7pm. 415.927.0960.
Cheryl Strayed’s fame is well deserved; she happened to write Wild, a memoir about her cathartic, months-long solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, and one of the best-selling books of 2012. She’s also the force behind the fabulous Dear Sugar columns over at The Rumpus. See the Oprah Book Club alumni for a writing workshop, craft talk and reading on Saturday, June 1, at the Petaluma Sheraton. 745 Baywood Drive, Petaluma. 9am-5pm. $197-$245, includes lunch and workshop materials. www.cherylstrayedevent.com.
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.