Kepler's Events Coming Soon
Kepler's events are FREE to the public unless otherwise noted.
To request a signed copy of the book from any in-store event, please click HERE
Hearts for Justice: Coming Together to Confront Violence Against Women: Our Community, Our Response, Our Healing
Saturday, November 1, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Trinity Church, 330 Ravenswood Ave, Menlo Park
Join us as we focus a spotlight on the trafficking of women and girls, which takes place not only across the world but across the streets of our own communities.
With the help of our expert panel of presenters who are renowned practitioners as well as social entrepreneurs and authors, we will identify the causes, address the healing needs of survivors and highlight solutions for ending this modern day slavery. Each foundation works in advocacy, prevention, and rehabilitation for survivors of human trafficking.
This event is free but you must REGISTER.
Launch: Carole Bumpus
Saturday, November 1, Reception: 6:00 p.m. - Event: 7:00 p.m.
We're so pleased to welcome local author, Carole Bumpus, on the release of her first novel.
This historical novel is based on three women’s compelling stories of love and loss during times of war. By searching old letters and diaries to obtain clues ranging from World War I to 9/11, two of the women journey through the French countryside to honor the third woman’s dying wish to find her father—and in their quest to redeem her name, they both discover answers to their own family secrets
Carole Bumpus, a retired family therapist, writes a food/travel blog taken from excerpts of her interviews with French and Italian families, known as Savoring the Olde Ways. She has been published in both the U.S. and France for her articles on WWII veterans and has also been published in three short-story anthologies.
Credit: Chris Hardy
Keith Raffel in conversation with Ellen Sussman
Sunday, November 2, 5:00 p.m.
Come help us celebrate the launch of Keith Raffel's fifth novel, Temple Mount! Former high tech exec Alex Kalman sets off on a quest that takes him from Washington's corridors of power to ancient passages under Jerusalem's Temple Mount. Finally, Americans, Arabs, and Israelis can agree on something -- the need to stop Alex Kalman.
The New York Times called Keith Raffel’s first novel Dot Dead, "worthy of a Steve Jobs keynote presentation."
Ellen Sussman is the author of four national bestselling novels: A Wedding in Provence, The Paradise Guest House, French Lessons and On a Night Like This.
Fulbright Scholar Mary O'Hara in conversation with Michael Stoll
Monday, November 3, 7:30 p.m.
While we can debate if Mitt Romney’s infamous 47% comment cost him the presidency, the more relevant debate is about seeking the real truth behind the narrative of “personal responsibility” and “government dependence” that governments in the US and Western Europe have been using to justify welfare cuts.
Mary O’Hara’s new book tells the true story of how the UK government's austerity program has hurt millions of British citizens and illustrates the futility of the policies underpinning austerity following the crash of 2008. It has been called "a must read" for all politicians and policymakers in the UK by reviewers, but its exploration of how the stigmatizing of the poor and disabled and government rhetoric in defense of cutting back on social programs has resonance way beyond the UK.
Mary O’Hara is an award-winning journalist. She has been writing about health, poverty, and social justice for the BBC, The Guardian, The Observer, The New Statesman, and several specialist social affairs and health magazines. Mary has won a number of prestigious awards including Mind Journalist of the year 2008, Mental Health Media multi-media award 2008 and ‘Year of Equal Opportunities for All Special Prize’ for her work on racism and homophobia. She was named ‘Highly Commended European Diversity Journalist of the Year’ 2013. Mary is also a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts and a trustee of the education charity, Arts Emergency.
Michael Stoll is executive director and editor of the San Francisco Public Press (www.sfpublicpress.org), a nonprofit, noncommercial news organization that produces in-depth reporting projects on public policy and spotlights important local stories in other public media. He has been a reporter for numerous publications including the Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Examiner, Columbia Journalism Review, Earth Island Journal, SF Weekly, San Francisco Magazine, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Christian Science Monitor and The New York Times. He has taught journalism at two local universities, and from 2003 to 2006 researched media ethics at gradethenews.org.
Credit Jonathan Sprague
Launch: Lalita Tademy in conversation with Natalie Baszile
Tuesday, November 4, 7:30 p.m.
Don't forget to pre-order your personalized signed copies HERE and include personalization information under "order comments."
Please join us to celebrate the long-awaited release of Lalita Tademy's new novel!
Cow Tom, born into slavery in Alabama in 1810 and sold to a Creek Indian chief before his tenth birthday, possessed an extraordinary gift: the ability to master languages. As the new country developed westward, and Indians, settlers, and blacks came into constant contact, Cow Tom became a key translator for his Creek master and was hired out to US military generals. His talent earned him money—but would it also grant him freedom? And what would become of him and his family in the aftermath of the Civil War and the Indian Removal westward?
Lalita Tademy is the New York Times Bestselling author of two historical novels. Her debut, Cane River, was Oprah’s summer Book Pick in 2001 and was translated into 11 languages, and her second novel, Red River, was selected as San Francisco’s One City, One Book in 2007.
Before writing full-time, Lalita was Vice President and General Manager of several high technology companies in Silicon Valley, spending over a decade running business units within large corporations. Featured in Fortune’s “People on the Rise” list, as well as Black Enterprise and Ebony, in 1998 she was named an African-American Innovator in the New Millennium at the Silicon Valley Tech Museum of Innovation.
Natalie Baszile is the author of Queen Sugar. She has an MA in Afro American Studies from UCLA and earned an MFA at the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. She lives in San Francisco.
Wednesday, November 5, 7:30 p.m.
Cyclists of all skill levels and interests should check out 75 Classic Rides!
75 Classic Rides is pure cyclist's nirvana. A full-color guide of easy to epic bike rides across the Bay Area, Central Valley, Gold Country, Sierra and more. Oetinger includes everything from wine country jaunts to steep thigh-burners in this detailed information guide. He also provides route variations, prep and road safety advice, a handy rides-at-a-glance chart, easy-to-use mileage logs and downloadable cue sheets, and elevation profiles and route maps.
Bill Oetinger is an avid cyclist, the ride director and newsletter editor for the Santa Rosa Cycling Club for more than twenty years, and has planned and coordinated thousands of rides in the Bay Area.
Credit: Nina Subin
Premier Event: Bryan Stevenson
Thursday, November 6, 7:30 p.m.
Student tickets now available!
Peninsula Arts & Letters is very excited to host Bryan Stevenson, winner of the MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant, who has won relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, argued five times before the Supreme Court, and won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color.
Just Mercy is a true account of an idealistic young lawyer's coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justicefrom one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time.
A 1985 graduate of Harvard, with both a Masters in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government and a J.D. from the School of Law, Bryan Stevenson joined the clinical faculty at New York University School of Law in 1998.
Stevenson has been representing capital defendants and death row prisoners in the deep south since 1985 when he was a staff attorney with the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta. Since 1989, he has been Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a private, nonprofit law organization he founded that focuses on social justice and human rights in the context of criminal justice reform in the United States.
Click HERE to listen to his TED talks.
Click HERE to order tickets online.
Story Time with Jim LaMarche and Tony Johnston
Saturday, November 8, 10:30 a.m.
Join Jim LaMarche, one of our favorite illustrators, and Tony Johnston as they introduce us to their new book, Winter Is Coming. Witness the changing of a season through a watchful child’s eyes in this story of nature and discovery. Day after day, a girl goes to her favorite place in the woods and quietly watches from her tree house as the chipmunks, the doe, the rabbits prepare for the winter. As the temperature drops, sunset comes earlier and a new season begins. Silently she observes the world around her as it reveals its secrets. It takes time and patience to see the changes as, slowly but surely, winter comes. This gentle, lyrical celebration of the natural world is sure to charm you as it did us.
"A quiet, beautiful picture book to share." Booklist, *STARRED REVIEW
"A touching reminder about the beauty of the natural world." School Library Journal, *STARRED REVIEW.
Credit: Anne Knudsen
|EAT, DRINK, TALK AND SWAP BOOKS: An Evening at Kepler's|
Saturday, November 8, 6:30 - 9:00 p.m.
If you're interested in spending an evening with fun, smart, creative and lit-minded souls, Kepler's has put together an event for you: a Book Swap. If not tempted by the good company and great atmosphere, be tempted by delicious food and free-flowing wine. Bring a book you love, one you can talk about all night and are willing to part with at the end of the evening.
You'll go home with a book highly recommended by another BookSwapper, a free Advanced Reader's Edition of a book from Kepler's, and some great suggestions to add to your never-ending 'Must Read' list. There are also rumors of surprise giveaways.
AND THAT'S NOT ALL! Because we're featuring ALICE LAPLANTE with her novel A Circle of Wives. Yes, Alice will be joining us to discuss her book about which The San Francisco Chronicle said "Exhilarating and smart, A Circle of Wives is a wild ride of love, loss, marriage and murder, with a finale that's provocative, thrilling and grand. It all shows that while some deaths are a mystery, so, too, are some loves."
Come at 6:30 to mingle over drinks and munchies. We'll start the book discussions at 7pm and we'll wrap up the Book Swap festivities around 9pm.
Tickets are $25 and are now on sale in the store or from Brown Paper Tickets.
"Think cocktail party, with a bookish twist." - Litquake
Premier Event: Francis Fukuyama
Tuesday, November 11, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available at Kepler's and online at Brown Paper Tickets
Student tickets now available!
Political Order and Political Decay is the completion of the most important work of political thought in at least a generation. Compared to such seminal thinkers as Jean-Jacques Rosseau, John Locke, John Rawls, and Amartya Sen, Fukuyama boldly reckons with the future of democracy in the face of entrenched political paralysis in the West.
Fukuyama argues that economic growth produces middle classes that in turn demand accountable institutions, the kind that make democracies healthy. But powerful elites can end up controlling those very levers of democracy, leading to the political paralysis evident in some Western societies.
Join the conversation today by submitting your questions for Fukuyama through Google Moderator. The site will be active through November 11th -- you'll be able to view other questions and vote up/down for the questions you want to see asked during the live event. You can check back in at any time.
Broken into sections on "The State", "Foreign Institution", "Democracy", and "Political Decay", Fukuyama gives an account of how state, law, and democracy developed over the last two centuries; how they interacted with one another and with the other economic and social dimensions of development; and, finally, how they have shown signs of decay in the United States and in other developed democracies. Political Order and Political Decay has been called the companion volume to Fukuyama's The Origins of Political Order. Fukuyama writes with intelligence, eloquence, and erudition, making for an enjoyable read and a painless study.
Francis Fukuyama is the Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. He was a researcher at the RAND Corporation and served as the deputy director for the State Department's policy planning staff.
Thursday, November 13, 7:30 p.m.
Join us for a lovely evening with Susan Woodman, pumpkin cookies (the recipe is in the book!), and a gorgeous floral arrangement courtesy of the folks at Gamble Garden, as Susan presents the beauty of our very own city oasis. With over 200 photographs, Gamble Garden: The Landscape of Optimism, presents a seasonal tour of the garden and its draw to all who seek it and its restorative rewards.
Gamble Garden celebrates an early 20th-century property in Palo Alto, and tells how it has become a haven and treasured community centerpiece. Gamble Garden has thrived as a model public garden since its rebirth in 1985. The reader is introduced to Elizabeth Frances Gamble, a granddaughter of the co-founder of Procter & Gamble, and the family house and garden she left to the City of Palo Alto.
As a student at the College of William and Mary, Susan Woodman developed an interest in photography. Susan has more than decade of volunteer involvement with Gamble Garden, and for this book turned an historian's eye to the heritage and present-day vitality of this important local institution.
Credit: Clare Thomas
Click HERE to read more about the authors who will participate!
Sci Fi/Fantasy Day: An Afternoon of Aliens, Dragons, Magic and Other Worlds @Kepler’s
Saturday, November 15, 1:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Tickets are available online at Brown Paper Tickets.
1:00 p.m.: Other Worlds
Andy Weir (The Martian) in conversation with Matthew Jobin (The Nethergrim).
2:15 p.m.: A Class in Dothraki with David Peterson
Are you a fan of Game of Thrones® (and aren’t we all)? Dream of joining Daenerys in her march toward King’s Landing to claim the Iron Throne? Then join us in a class to master Dothraki with David Peterson, author of Living Language Dothraki and language consultant for the HBO® series.
3:30 p.m.: Face-off: Sci Fi Versus Fantasy. (What’s the Difference and Which Is Better?)
Writers Marie Brennan, Chaz Brenchley, Ellen Klages, and Pat Murphy will debate the differences between science fiction and fantasy – and which is better. And yes, you’ll get to vote!
5:00 p.m.: Steven Erikson in conversation with Tad Williams
Meet the man behind the Malazan Book of the Fallen series talking to the man behind the Otherland series.
All the authors will be around talking about writing and their books. They probably can even be convinced to sign a copy of one of their brilliant novels for you!
And finally, announcing the Kepler's Science Fiction/ Fantasy Fiction Prize!
For an unpublished science fiction or fantasy fiction novel by an unpublished (fiction) author. The story must have a science fiction or fantasy element.
Submit the first 25 pages to firstname.lastname@example.org (please put Kepler's Science Fiction/Fantasy Fiction Prize in the subject line) or via mail to Angela Mann, Kepler's Books, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park CA 94025. Judging will be done by Kepler's staff. The winner will have his/her book - once published - featured in the window of the store for at least a week.
Monday, November 17, 7:30 p.m.
Born with a rare genetic mutation called Usher Syndrome type III, Rebecca Alexander has been simultaneously losing both her sight and hearing since she was a child, and was told that she would likely be completely blind and deaf by age 30. Then, at 18, a fall from a window left her athletic body completely shattered.
None of us know what we would do in the face of such devastation. What Rebecca did was rise to every challenge she faced. She was losing her vision and hearing and her body was broken, but she refused to lose her drive, her zest for life and – maybe most importantly – her sense of humor. Now, at 35, with only a sliver of sight and significantly deteriorated hearing, she is a psychotherapist with two masters’ degrees from Columbia University, and an athlete who teaches spin classes and regularly competes in extreme endurance races. She greets every day as if it were a gift, with boundless energy, innate curiosity, and a strength of spirit that have led her to places we can't imagine.
In Not Fade Away, Rebecca tells her extraordinary story, by turns harrowing, funny and inspiring. She meditates on what she’s lost—from the sound of a whisper to seeing a sky full of stars, and what she’s found in return—an exquisite sense of intimacy with those she is closest to, a love of silence, a profound gratitude for everything she still has, and a joy in simple pleasures that most of us forget to notice.
Not Fade Away is both a memoir of the senses and a unique look at the obstacles we all face—physical, psychological, and philosophical—exploring the extraordinary powers of memory, love, and perseverance. It is a gripping story, an offering of hope and motivation, and an exquisite reminder to live each day to its fullest.
"A remarkable story of resilience and heart, Not Fade Away follows Rebecca Alexander as she must navigate the world cursed with a rare genetic disorder that will one day rob her of both sight and hearing. Bereft of self-pity, funny, and bursting with honesty, Not Fade Away will get its hooks in you. I promise that by the end of her story, you will fall just as in love with Rebecca as I have." —Susannah Cahalan, New York Times bestselling author of Brain on Fire
Tuesday, November 18, 7:30 p.m.
Harris delves into the frontlines of America's new cyber war. The United States military currently views cyberspace as the “fifth domain” of warfare (alongside land, air, sea, and space), and the Department of Defense, the National Security Agency, and the CIA all field teams of hackers who can, and do, launch computer virus strikes against enemy targets. In fact, as @WAR shows, U.S. hackers were crucial to our victory in Iraq. The military has formed a new alliance with tech and finance companies to patrol cyberspace, and Harris offers a deeper glimpse into this partnership than we have ever seen before. Finally, Harris explains what the new cybersecurity regime means for all of us, who spend our daily lives bound to the Internet — and are vulnerable to its dangers.
Shane Harris is the author of The Watchers: The Rise of America's Surveillance State, which won the New York Public Library's Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism and was named one of the best books of 2010 by the Economist. Harris won the 2010 Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense. He is currently senior writer at Foreign Policy magazine and an ASU fellow at New America, where he researches the future of war. He has provided analysis and commentary for CNN, NPR, the BBC, and many other media organizations and radio stations.
The wars of the future are already being fought today.
An evening of poetry and enlightenment with Minal Hajratwala
Thursday, November 20, 7:30 p.m.
Bountiful Instructions for Enlightenment
Join us for an evening of poetry and enlightenment with Minal Hajratwala and soon-to-be-announced special guests from The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective. From the award winning author of Leaving India comes a "stunning" debut poetry collection called Bountiful Instruction for Enlightenment.
As an actor, poet, and writer, Minal's readings are particularly engaging and moving. She is an artist at the boundaries of theater, cult ritual and poetry. She has incarnated herself as original and fearless.
In an age where many women are reluctant to identify as feminists and the "war on women" is a potent political weapon, this path-breaking book explores how women can and should act on what they want.
Along with poets Shikha Malaviya and Ellen Kombiyil, Hajratwala is a founding member of The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective, a not-for-profit literary publisher specializing in new poetry from India. Under a peer mentorship model, the poets will publish several books by a range of poets each year, discovering and bringing forth new voices that are innovative and diverse. The Collective’s first title, Geography of Tongues by Shikha Malaviya, was published in 2013 to critical acclaim.
Minal Hajratwala is author of the award-winning epic Leaving India: My Family’s Journey from Five Villages to Five Continents, which was called “incomparable” by Alice Walker and “searingly honest” by the Washington Post, and editor of Out! Stories from the New Queer India. She graduated from Stanford, was a fellow at Columbia University, and was a 2011 Fulbright-Nehru Senior Scholar.
Premier Event: Tim Shriver
Wednesday, December 3, 7:30 p.m.Brown Paper Tickets
Remember when you believed you could actually change the world? Perhaps you imagined, as Timothy Shriver did, that the world could be changed “into a place of love and mystery and eternity.” The son of Eunice Kennedy and Sargent Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics, and nephew of John, Robert and Ted Kennedy, Timothy was born to families who have spent their lives advocating for people on the margins, inspired largely by Tim’s aunt Rosemary who was born with intellectual disabilities. Join us for an evening with Tim as he reveals how his meetings with world icons and cultural leaders such as Nelson Mandela, and through his own work with the Special Olympics, he changed his life from one focused on power, to a life of humility and vulnerability.
Tim Shriver’s new book, Fully Alive: Discovering What Matters Most, is at once a memoir and a roadmap for a life that is radically different and inspiring. This new life is inspired by the time he has dedicated to people with intellectual disabilities as chairman of the Special Olympics and co-founder of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the leading research organization in the United States in the field of social and emotional learning. Is disability to be feared or welcomed, pitied or purged? Shriver argues that we all have different abilities and challenges we should embrace. Here we see how those who appear powerless have turned this seeming shortcoming into a power of their own, and we learn that we are all totally vulnerable and valuable at the same time.
Support the Special Olympics by buying a Premier Ticket; Tim is donating all of his proceeds from the book to the organization.
Richard Ford in conversation with Rachel Smith
Friday, December 5, 7:30 p.m.
A brilliant new work that returns Richard Ford to the hallowed territory that sealed his reputation as an American master: the world of Frank Bascombe, and the landscape of his celebrated novels The Sportswriter, the Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Faulkner winning Independence Day, and The Lay of the Land.
In his trio of world-acclaimed novels portraying the life of an entire American generation, Richard Ford has imagined one of the most indelible and widely discussed characters in modern literature. Through Bascombe—protean, funny, profane, wise, often inappropriate—we’ve witnessed the aspirations, sorrows, longings, achievements and failings of an American life in the twilight of the twentieth century.
Now, in Let Me Be Frank with You, Ford reinvents Bascombe in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. In four richly luminous narratives, Bascombe (and Ford) attempts to reconcile, interpret and console a world undone by calamity.
Rachel Smith is a Wallace Stegner Fiction Fellow at Stanford. She earned an MFA at the University of Mississippi. Her writing has appeared in Brevity and she directed the documentary film "MINUSTAH Steals Goats". She lives in Oakland.
Credit: Veronica Weber, Palo Alto Weekly
Story Time with Caryn Yacowitz
Sunday, December 6, 11:00 a.m.
You've never seen Chanukah or the "I Know an Old Lady" story like this before - through hilarious takes on the world's greatest works of art! A family drives through the snow to visit their beloved grandma who spreads out a Chanukah supper for everyone to enjoy. But one dish goes a little wrong.
"I know an old lady who swallowed a dreidel
A Chanukah dreidel she thought was a bagel...
Perhaps it's fatal."
Indeed, that first bite leads to an insatiable taste for oil, latkes, applesauce, gelt -- even menorahs! But as the family tries to distract her, the items she devours grow ever larger. Will they be able to reconnect with her and bring her home for the last night of Chanukah? You'll love this old lady and will want to visit her every Chanukah for years to come.
JANUARY EVENTS - Happy New Year!
Credit: Sebastian Mlynarski
Joshua Davis in conversation with Wired magazine's Mark Robinson
Tuesday, January 13, 7:30pm
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 (www.epicmagazine.com). 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 Robinsons 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.
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.
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.
Thursday, January 22, 7:30 p.m.
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:
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.
Monday, January 26, 7:30 p.m.
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.
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: Jessica Tampas
Thursday, January 29, 7:30 p.m.
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.
Irvin D. Yalom
Wednesday, March 4, 7:30 p.m.
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.