Kepler's Events Coming Soon

Kepler's events are FREE to the public unless otherwise noted. 

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JANUARY EVENTS - Happy New Year!

Credit: Sebastian Mlynarski




PREMIER EVENT: Joshua Davis in conversation with Wired magazine's Mark Robinson

Tuesday, January 13, 7:30pm

Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream

Tickets are available at Kepler's and online at Brown Paper Tickets

Student tickets are available!


Join us for an evening with Joshua Davis, the author of Spare Parts, the book that tells the incredible story of a team of undocumented Mexican American students who win a national robotics competition against all odds.

From Carl Hayden High, a scrappy, underfunded public school in West Phoenix, the newly formed robotics team, under the guidance of two unconventional teachers, took part in a national, NASA-sponsored underwater robotics competition. A seemingly classic underdog story, the Carl Hayden team beat out not only other better funded high schools with top-notch robotics programs, but also college teams, including a team of students from MIT.

Set against the backdrop of urban desert decay, a faltering school system, and our country’s cutthroat immigration policies, this becomes more than a book about triumph, it reveals the startling truth about what it means to be an American and where we will find the next generation of talent.

The book is soon to be adapted into a major motion picture starring George Lopez, Marisa Tomei, Jamie Lee Curtis, and others. We will be holding an exclusive screening of a clip from the movie. Click HERE to view the trailer.

Joshua Davis is an SF-based contributing editor for Wired magazine, a Stanford alum, and the cofounder of Epic magazine ( He is the author of The Underdog: How I Survived the World’s Most Outlandish Competitions, a memoir about his experiences as an arm wrestler, backward runner, and matador. In 2014, his work for Wired was nominated for a National Magazine Award for feature writing. He has also written for The New Yorker and other periodicals, and his writing is anthologized in the 2012 edition of Best American Science and Nature Writing, as well as in the 2006, 2007, and 2009 editions of Best Technology Writing.

In more than a decade at Wired, Mark Robinson has served as a senior editor, articles editor, and, now, features editor. Robinson attended Stanford’s master’s program in communication.

Credit: Jim Alinder



Mary Street Alinder

Wednesday, January 14, 7:30 p.m.

Group f.64: Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, and the Community of Artists Who Revolutionized American Photography


Join us for an evening of photography and history with Mary Street Alinder, the author of Ansel Adams: A Biography, as she discusses perhaps the most famous movement in the history of photography, and shares her favorite photographs.

Revolutionary in its day, Group f.64 was one of the first modern art movements defined by women and men working as equals and contributed significantly to the recognition of photography as fine art. The group - first identified as such in a 1932 exhibition - was comprised of strongly individualistic artists brought together by a common philosophy and held together in a tangle of dynamic relationships. Their name, f.64, they took from a very small lens aperture used with their large-format cameras, a pinprick that allowed them to capture the greatest possible depth of field in their lustrous, sharply detailed prints.

The book contains over 100 different photographs (included a special 16 page insert), as well as chapters on individual artists such as Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, and Sonya Noskowiak, and more. Mary is an wonderful storyteller, expertly rooting the reader in the lives and thoughts of these famous photographers.

As a former assistant to Ansel Adams from 1979 until his death in 1984, Alinder personally knew most of the featured artists, and is perfectly situated to write this narrative. In addition to her writings, Alinder has curated exhibitions worldwide, including the 1987 Adams blockbuster at the de Young Museum and a 2002 Adams centennial exhibition.

Credit: Gretje Fergeson


Credit: Anne Knudsen 

Anita Diamant in conversation with Alice LaPlante

Thursday, January 15, 7:30 p.m. 

The Boston Girl


From the New York Times bestselling author of The Red Tent and Day After Night, comes a character written with such powerful emotional resonance that you will hurt when she hurts and rejoice when she rejoices. That character is Addie Baum, born in 1900 to immigrant parents. The novel is framed as 85-year-old Addie telling her life story to her 22-year-old granddaughter, Ava, who has asked her, "How did you get to be the woman you are today?"  

As a young Jewish woman growing up in Boston in the early twentieth century, Addie's intelligence and curiosity take her to a world that would've shocked her parents - a world of short skirts, movies, celebrity culture and new opportunities for women. Addie's controversial desires (for the times) complements and contrasts to Ava's own life desires, including her wish to become a rabbi.

The Boston Girl, written with the same historical detail as Diamant's previous books, is a moving portrait of one woman’s complicated life in twentieth century America, and a fascinating look at a generation of women finding their places in a changing world.

Anita Diamant is the bestselling author of the novels The Red Tent, Good Harbor, The Last Days of Dogtown, and Day After Night. An award-winning jouranlist whose work has appeared in The Boston Globe magazine and Parenting, she is the author of six nonfiction guides to contemporary Jewish life.

Alice LaPlante is the author of five books, including Turn of Mind, a New York Times, NPR, and American Independent Booksellers Association bestseller. She teaches creative writing at both Stanford and San Francisco State.

Credit: Hannah McQuaid


John McQuaid

Wednesday, January 21, 7:30 p.m.

TASTY: The Art and Science of What We Eat


Join us for an investigation into the mysteries of flavor - through kitchens, supermarkets, farms, restaurants, massive food corporations, and science labs - from the first bite taken by our ancestors to scientific advances in taste and the foodie revolution.

Tasty explains the scientific research taking place on multiple fronts and explores the most intoxicating taste-related questions:

  • How do genes shape our tastes?
  • How does the mind assemble flavors from the five senses and signals from the body's metabolic systems?
  • How can we better understand the dangerous addictive properties of sweet tasting things?
  • Why do some things disgust one person and delight another? For example, I know someone who is disgusted by the flavor of most pizzas, but the majority of people love it!
  • What does today's obsessions with extreme tastes tell us about the brain?

 A graduate of Yale, John McQuaid's journalism has appeared in Smithsonian magazine, the Washington Post, Wired, and Eating Well magazine. His science and environment reporting for The Times-Picayune anticipated Hurricane Katrina, explored the global fisheries crisis, and the problems of invasive species. His work has won a Pulitzer Prize, as well as awards from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute for Biological Sciences, and the International Association of Culinary Professionals.


Nir Eyal

Thursday, January 22, 7:30 p.m.

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products


79% of smartphone owners check their phone within 15 minutes of waking up every morning. One-third of Americans say they would rather give up sex than lose their cell phones. And as of 2013, more than 500 million people have downloaded Candy Crush Saga, which nets the game's maker nearly a million dollars a day using the "freemium" model.

Called the essential crib sheet for any start-up looking to understand user psychology, Hooked is a how-to guide for building better products. The don't-miss event of the New Year for product managers, designers, marketers, start-up founders, and anyone who seeks to understand how products influence our behavior.

This is not a book full of abstract theory; Eyal's years of research, consulting, and practice experience, provides readers with:

  • Practical insights to create user habits that stick.
  • Actionable steps for building products people love.
  • Fascinating examples from the iPhone to Twitter, Pinterest to the Bible App, and many other habit-forming products.

 Nir Eyal writes, consults, and teaches about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business. He spent years in the video gaming and advertising industries, where he learned and tested the techniques described in Hooked to motivate and influence users. He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and Fortune 500 companies, and has taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.



Elizabeth Svoboda

Monday, January 26, 7:30 p.m.

What Makes a Hero? The Surprising Science of Selflessness

Recent breakthroughs in biology and neuroscience reveal that the human brain is primed for selflessness. But how do biology, upbringing, and outside influences intersect to produce altruistic and heroic behavior? And how can we encourage selflessness in corporations, classrooms, and individuals?

Using dozens of fascinating real-life examples, science journalist Elizabeth Svoboda explains how our genes compel us to do good for others, how going through suffering is linked to altruism, and how acting generously can greatly improve our mental health.

Svoboda argues that it’s a common misconception that heroes are innately destined to be that way. In fact, anyone can be a hero if they’re committed to developing their heroic potential.

“The world would be a better place if everyone read Elizabeth Svoboda’s fun, fascinating, and deeply researched book.” —Joshua Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein

Credit: Jay Blakesberg




LAUNCH: Jan Ellison in conversation with Ann Packer

Tuesday, January 27, 7:30 p.m.

A Small Indiscretion


With a stunning combination of tension - "The scarf I was wearing had been hand-colored a blunt red. It was tied around my neck like a choker, like a noose. But it wasn't me who was about to hang" - and eloquence - "It was a photograph innocent enough to anyone unacquainted with its history, its treacherous biological imperatives, its call for reparations left unpaid," Ellison has written a riveting debut novel that fixes an unflinching eye on the power of desire and the danger of obsession. What happens when our youthful mistakes come back to haunt us? When our indiscretions come to light and violently interfere with the success of our established careers and our families?

At nineteen, Annie Black trades a bleak future in her washed-out hometown for a London winter of drinking and abandon. Decades later, living in San Francisco with a family and a career, she receives a photograph in the mail, setting off a chain of events that threaten to overturn her family's hard-won happiness. Annie returns to London seeking answers, but she must first piece together the mystery of her past. This debut novel is sure to have you reading through the night, reminding you of your own intense youthful desires and secrets.

Jan Ellison is a graduate of Stanford and San Francisco State’s MFA Program. She has published award-winning short fiction and was the recipient of a 2007 O. Henry Prize for her first story to appear in print. Her work has also been shortlisted for Best American Short Stories and the Pushcart Prize.

Ann Packer is the author of two national bestsellers, the novels Songs Without Words and The Dive from Clausen’s Pier, which won a Great Lakes Book Award, an American Library Association Award and the Kate Chopin Literary Award. Her first book, Mendocino and Other Stories, included stories published in The New Yorker and featured in the annual O. Henry Awards prize stories anthology, and her essays have appeared in Vogue, Real Simple, and the Washington Post. Her most recent book is Swim Back to Me, a novella and five short stories.

Credit: Christopher Turner




PREMIER EVENT: Armistead Maupin

Wednesday, January 28, 7:30pm

The Days of Anna Madrigal (Tales of the City)

Tickets are available at Kepler's and online at Brown Paper Tickets


Think you have to make the trek all the way up to San Francisco to see Armistead Maupin? Think again!! Peninsula Arts and Letters is honored to host Armistead Maupin at Kepler’s Books on Wednesday, January 28 at 7:30 p.m.

It's a rare thing for a book to capture a time and place as beautifully as Armistead Maupin's original Tales of the City series did for 1970's San Francisco. In the era of mood rings and discos, Maupin created a cast of characters he lovingly calls the Logical Family (as opposed to the biological family).

Originally a newspaper serial in the San Francisco Chronicle, Maupin's series started in 1976 and ends in 2013 with his final book, The Days of Anna Madrigal. Whether you are a child of the '70s who wants to reconnect with a bygone era or a first-time reader who wants to experience how the ties of love and friendship transcend decades, you will not be disappointed by tales of Mary Ann Singleton, Michael Tolliver, Mrs. Madrigal, and the rest of the groovy crew that populates Maupin's San Francisco. Gay, straight, bi, or anything else, you will feel like a member of the Logical Family by the end.

The timelessness and popularity of the series lives on in a stage-musical version in May 2011 and Armistead’s continued recognition, including the Lamdba Literary Foundation’s Pioneer Award that he received in 2012 and the Visionary Award at the Legacy Gala he received in November 2014 for the first adaptation of the novels. Featuring Laura Linney, Olympia Dukakis, Chloe Webb, Marcus D’Amico and Donald Moffat, the show garnered the highest ratings ever for a dramatic program on PBS.

Come help us celebrate the ninth and final novel in Armistead’s classic Tales of the City series, a triumphant resolution to a saga of urban family life that has enchanted and enlightened readers around the world.

Credit: Jessica Tampas


Allyson Hobbs

Thursday, January 29, 7:30 p.m.

A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life


Join us for a look back at the history of racial passing, and a topical discussion of race and identity problems in America today.

For centuries, countless African Americans passed as white, leaving behind families and friends, roots and community, almost always for the benefits of expanded opportunity and mobility. But along with these brighter possibilities came grief, loneliness, and isolation that often outweighed the rewards. A Chosen Exile is a beautiful, extensively researched book, with historical photographs and over 82 pages of notes.

As racial relations in America have evolved so has the significance of passing. To pass as white in the antebellum South was to escape the shackles of slavery. After emancipation, many African Americans came to regard passing as a form of betrayal, a selling of one's birthright. When the initially hopeful period of Reconstruction proved short-lived, passing became an opportunity to defy Jim Crow and strike out on one's own.

Allyson Hobbs is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Stanford. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and she received a Ph.D. with distinction from the University of Chicago. Hobbs teaches courses on African American history, African American women’s history and 20th century American history. Her research interests include American social and cultural history, racial mixture, identity formation, migration and urbanization, and the intersections of race, class and gender.


YA: Courtney Alameda

Thursday, February 5, 7:00 p.m.


Micheline Helsing can see the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet; the spiritual undead by the lens.

With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She's aided by her crew. When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn't exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die.

Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she's faced before - or die trying. Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.


Credit: Reid Yalom


Irvin D. Yalom

Wednesday, March 4, 7:30 p.m.

Creatures of a Day: And Other Tales of Psychotherapy

The newest from eminent psychotherapist and leading author of late-20th century writing on psychotherapy, Irvin D. Yalom, is an absorbing collection of ten tales of psychotherapy that uncover the mysteries, frustrations, pathos, and humor at the heart not only of the therapeutic encounter but of life itself. Yalom grapples with two of the biggest challenges everyone faces: how to live a life worth living, and how to deal with its inevitable end.

Never maudlin or cheap, Yalom's writing is funny, earthy, and often shocking, an act of radical honesty about the facts and ultimate destiny of human life that most of us spend too much time trying to avoid recognizing. 

Irvin D. Yalom is an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Stanford and a psychiatrist in private practice in San Francisco. He is the author of many books, including Love's Executioner, Theory and Practice in Group Psychotherapy, and When Nietzsche Wept.




PREMIER EVENT: Jacqueline Winspear

Thursday, March 19, 7:30pm

A Dangerous Place: A Maisie Dobbs Novel

Tickets are available at Kepler's and online at Brown Paper Tickets


When Jacqueline visited us in July of 2014, she announced the upcoming publication of the newest book in the Maisie Dobbs series. We are so pleased to announce that we will be celebrating the release of it with a reading by Jacqueline only two days after the publication date.

Spring 1937. In the four years since she left England, Maisie Dobbs has experienced love, contentment, stability and the deepest tragedy a woman can endure. Now, all she wants is the peace she believes she might find by returning to India. But her sojourn is cut short when her stepmother summons her home to England; her aging father Frankie Dobbs is not getting any younger.

But on a ship bound for England, Maisie realizes she isn't ready to return, so she disembarks in Gibraltar. Days after Maisie's arrival, a photographer and member of Gibraltar's Sephardic Jewish community, Sebastian Babayoff, is murdered, and Maisie becomes entangled in the case, drawing the attention of the British Secret Service. Under the suspicious eye of a British agent, Maisie is pulled deeper into political intrigue and renews an uneasy acquaintance in the process. At a crossroads between her past and her future, Maisie must choose a direction, knowing that England is, for her, an equally dangerous place, but in quite a different way.

Jacqueline has won numerous awards, including the Agatha Award for Best Novel, and since An Incomplete Revenge was published in 2008, each of her novels has been an instant New York Times and National Bestseller.