Armistead Maupin tonight at the Main Library

October 23rd, 2014





Tonight, Thursday, October 23, Armistead Maupin, author of the 2014 One City One Book selection Tales of the City will be joined in conversation by K.M. Soehnlein at the Koret Auditorium at the San Francisco Public Library at Civic Center.  The program runs from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Armistead Maupin was born in Washington, D.C., in 1944 but grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. A graduate of the University of North Carolina, he served as a naval officer in the Mediterranean and with the River Patrol Force in Vietnam.

Maupin worked as a reporter for a newspaper in Charleston, South Carolina, before being assigned to the San Francisco bureau of the Associated Press in 1971. In 1976 he launched his groundbreaking Tales of the City serial in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Maupin is the author of nine novels, including the nine-volume Tales of the City series, Maybe the Moon, The Night Listener and, most recently, Michael Tolliver Lives. Three miniseries starring Olympia Dukakis and Laura Linney were made from the first three Tales novels. The Night Listener became a feature film starring Robin Williams and Toni Collette.

Maupin lives in San Francisco and Santa Fe with his husband, Christopher Turner.

K.M. Soehnlein is the author of the novels The World of Normal Boys, Robin and Ruby, and You Can Say You Knew Me When. He has been honored with the Lambda Literary Award and a Henfield Prize in fiction. His writing has appeared in the Village Voice, Out, San Francisco Magazine, 7×7 and other publications and anthologies. He is on the faculty of the MFA in Writing Program at the University of San Francisco

Novels you may have missed

October 21st, 2014








The Bees by Laline Paull –

Flora is a sanitation worker, a member of the lowest caste in her orchard hive, where work and sacrifice are the greatest virtues.  Suspenseful and imaginative, The Bees and its young heroine will change the way you look at the world outside your window.  (Available at the Library in hardcover book, audiobook, and e-book formats.)









Burial Rites by Hannah Kent –

The final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829 – inspired by a true story.









The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker, transl. from the French –

Thirty-three years after the fact, a successful young novelist tries to solve the mystery of what happened to Nola Kellergan, a fifteen-year-old who disappeared in 1975. A fast-paced, tightly plotted thriller. (Also available as an e-book and e-audiobook.)









The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

Suspenseful, sweeping, and intimate, The Lowland is an engrossing family saga that spans generations and geographies.



Awards season continues with Nat’l Book Award shortlists

October 16th, 2014

See the National Book Award shortlists here released yesterday and listed in The Millions!

Booker Prize goes to Richard Flanagan

October 16th, 2014





Australian Richard Flanagan has been awarded the Man Booker Prize for his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North.  The book centers on a surgeon and his experiences in World War II.  Flanagan is the third Australian to win the Booker – along with Peter Carey and Thomas Keneally.  (Available as a hardcover book, an audiobook, and an e-book)

Nobel Prize in Literature goes to Patrick Modiano

October 9th, 2014

The Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to Patrick Modiano, a French author.  Few of his works have been translated into English, but that should change very soon.  Read more about Patrick Modiano in this Times Literary Supplement article.

Here are books (and some films based on books) by Modiano in the SF Public Library.

What is art for?

October 8th, 2014

See the video-guide by Alain de Botton from The Guardian website:


October 7th, 2014

untitled 2靜坐的科學、醫學與心靈之旅:21世紀最實用的身心轉化指南 Jing zuo de ke xue, yi xue yu xin ling zhi lü: 21 shi ji zui shi yong de shen xin zhuan hua zhi nan  / 楊定一,楊元寧著, 2014





National Book Awards – Fiction Long List

October 6th, 2014

Here are the 10 books selected for the fiction long list of the National Book Awards (5 finalists in four categories – young people’s literature, poetry, nonfiction and fiction – will be selected on October 15, and winners will be announced on November 19):













An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine













The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol

Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Redeployment by Phil Klay

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Thunderstruck & Other Stories by Elizabeth McCracken

Orfeo by Richard Powers

Lila by Marilynne Robinson

Some Luck by Jane Smiley


I’ve read two of these – An Unnecessary Woman and All the Light We Cannot See - as well as earlier titles by Jane Smiley and Marilynne Robinson.


Gutenberg’s Apprentice, plus more historical fiction

September 30th, 2014


gutenberg's apprentice


I attended a reading last Wednesday at Arion Press (in the Presidio) by Alix Christie, author of the new historical novel, Gutenberg’s Apprentice The book focuses on apprentice printer, Peter Schoeffer, and his role in the development of the printing press – I can’t wait to read it.

For author Christie’s suggestions for additional historical fiction reads, here’s a list published in Publisher’s Weekly of her 10 favorite historical novels.

Great Hera! The Secret History of Wonder Woman

September 25th, 2014

untitledYes, Wonder Woman was a childhood heroine of mine, I guess my only childhood heroine, unless you count Little Lulu and Nancy Drew.  I was delighted when I learned historian Jill Lepore was working on this book.  See an excerpt in last week’s New Yorker.