Winter Holiday Read(s)

Hi all:

After woefully neglecting my duty to post our books here, I am committing to getting back on track! The book club has developed into a lively group, meeting the last Wednesday of every month from 6p-9p.  This year, as in years past, we are going on hiatus for November and December, reading a long(er) book and gathering again at the end of January (1/28/15 at 6p). 

The two month text we have chosen is David Talbot's Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror and Deliverance in the City of Love.

From the description:
 
In a kaleidoscopic narrative, bestselling David Talbot recounts the gripping story of San Francisco in the turbulent years between 1967 & 1982—& of the extraordinary persons who led to the city’s ultimate rebirth & triumph. Season of the Witch is the first book to fully capture the dark magic of San Francisco in this breathtaking period, when the city radically changed itself & then revolutionized the world. The cool gray city of love was the epicenter of the 60s cultural revolution. But by the early 70s, San Francisco’s ecstatic experiment came crashing down from its starry heights. The city was rocked by savage murder sprees, mysterious terror campaigns, political assassinations, street riots & finally a terrifying sexual epidemic. No other city endured so many calamities in such a short time span. Talbot goes deep into the riveting story of his city’s ascent, decline & heroic recovery. He draws intimate portraits of San Francisco’s legendary demons & saviors: Charles Manson, Patty Hearst & the Symbionese Liberation Army, Jerry Garcia, Janis Joplin, Bill Graham, Herb Caen, the Cockettes, Harvey Milk, Jim Jones & the Peoples Temple, Joe Montana & the Super Bowl 49ers. He reveals how the city emerged from the trials of this period with a new brand of “San Francisco values,” including gay marriage, medical marijuana, immigration sanctuary, universal health care, recycling, renewable energy, consumer safety & a living wage mandate. Considered radical when they were first introduced, these ideas have become the bedrock of decent society in many parts of the country & exemplify the ways that the city now inspires a live-and-let-live tolerance, a shared sense of humanity & an openness to change. As a new generation of activists & dreamers seeks its own path to a more enlightened future, Season of the Witch—with its epic tale of the wild & bloody birth of San Francisco values—offers both inspiration & cautionary wisdom.

 February's read is also a longer one, though rumor has it that it moves quickly.  If you would like to get a head start, it is Doug Dorst's Alive in Necropolis.

Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!
Hi all and welcome to the heart of the summer.  If you are elsewhere besides our fair city, you are (hopefully) enjoying the summer sun.  We are fogged in and in sweaters -- ahhh, summer in San Francisco.  For our July read we are reading The Confessions of Max Tivoli by Andrew Sean Greer.  Described in turns as 'weird', 'mesmerizing' and 'so dark it makes Lolita appear almost gay' it is sure to warrant massive discussion -- Join us on the 30th to drink, discuss and enjoy. - M

May's Read

Hi all:

Its time to get back to some non-fictions.  This month we are reading Daniel Okrent's Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition.  Here is a link to the NY Times review.  To get the Two Sisters Book Club review, join us to discuss Weds May 28th from 6p-8p.  Hope to see you there!

April's Read

This month we are reading Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue.
From the back cover: As the summer of 2004 draws to a close, Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe are still hanging in there—longtime friends, bandmates, and co-regents of Brokeland Records, a kingdom of used vinyl located in the borderlands of Berkeley and Oakland. Their wives, Gwen Shanks and Aviva Roth-Jaffe, are the Berkeley Birth Partners, two semi-legendary midwives who have welcomed more than a thousand newly minted citizens into the dented utopia at whose heart—half tavern, half temple—stands Brokeland.

When ex–NFL quarterback Gibson Goode, the fifth-richest black man in America, announces plans to build his latest Dogpile megastore on a nearby stretch of Telegraph Avenue, Nat and Archy fear it means certain doom for their vulnerable little enterprise. Meanwhile, Aviva and Gwen also find themselves caught up in a battle for their professional existence, one that tests the limits of their friendship. Adding another layer of complication to the couples' already tangled lives is the surprise appearance of Titus Joyner, the teenage son Archy has never acknowledged and the love of fifteen-year-old Julius Jaffe's life.

An intimate epic, a NorCal Middlemarch set to the funky beat of classic vinyl soul-jazz and pulsing with a virtuosic, pyrotechnical style all its own, Telegraph Avenue is the great American novel we've been waiting for. Generous, imaginative, funny, moving, thrilling, humane, triumphant, it is Michael Chabon's most dazzling book yet.
 
We've also chosen May's book. If you want to get a jump on it, it'll be Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition by Daniel Okrent.*
 
As always we meet the last Wednesday of April (the 30th) at 6pm...read, enjoy, and join in the discussion.
 
*Text curtsey of Mairi Beacon
And just in case you had some curiosity about our October-December 2013 hiatus, we did not meet because I was a little busy taking care of this little gal:
 
She is now 3 months old and I am back behind the bar on Friday and Sunday nights :-)
And we're back! Our lovely books and booze club had a rousing January meeting discussing East of Eden, with its beautiful, haunting, difficult characters and its monstrously impressive story line.  For February we are going to take it a bit easy on ourselves and enjoy My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss.  A dear autobiography of that tender and internationally cool gal I have often wished I could be, Ms Weiss also provides some delish and easy to emulate recipes.  Enjoy this quick read (available at most independent bookstores in the city and via amazon in print and for Kindle), make a dish or two and join us on Wednesday March 5th from 6p-8p to discuss.  Happy Reading!

Until We Meet Again....

Hi all:

Our dear book club has decided to curl up with a substantial book, and meet again in January 2014 to discuss.  With all of the excitement in our lives and the holidays looming, it seemed most prudent to choose a long one, enjoy it in our spare moments, and meet again when the chaos has subsided.  As such, the choice was made to read East of Eden by John Steinbeck. 

While East of Eden was not outright banned (unlike Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men) Steinbeck's language and forthrightness was difficult for his contemporaries to swallow.  That same language speaks to us -- calls us back time and again to his work -- almost universally, and acts as a potent reminder of the necessity of shared language in literary form.  In recognition of this necessity, seek out banned books (a good place to start is http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/ -- Toni Morrison's Beloved has come up time and again, almost as if by tradition)...read them...support their authors.  In doing so we help to carve out a literary space where thoughtfulness, creativity, self-expression, and shared experiences trump fear and conformity. 

Enjoy East of Eden and then join us on January 29th 2014 from 6p-8p...I am looking forward to getting to join in once again in the booze part of our club!