You are here

Events at BookShop West Portal (see more)

 

Tuesday, August 25th

at 7PM

John Markoff

Machines of Loving Grace

As robots are increasingly integrated into modern society--on the battlefield and the road, in business, education, and health--Pulitzer-Prize-winning New York Times science writer John Markoff searches for an answer to one of the most important questions of our age: will these machines help us, or will they replace us?

In the past decade alone, Google introduced us to driverless cars, Apple debuted a personal assistant that we keep in our pockets, and an Internet of Things connected the smaller tasks of everyday life to the farthest reaches of the internet. There is little doubt that robots are now an integral part of society, and cheap sensors and powerful computers will ensure that, in the coming years, these robots will soon act on their own. This new era offers the promise of immense computing power, but it also reframes a question first raised more than half a century ago, at the birth of the intelligent machine: Will we control these systems, or will they control us?

In Machines of Loving Grace, New York Times reporter John Markoff, the first reporter to cover the World Wide Web, offers a sweeping history of the complicated and evolving relationship between humans and computers. Over the recent years, the pace of technological change has accelerated dramatically, reintroducing this difficult ethical quandary with newer and far weightier consequences. As Markoff chronicles the history of automation, from the birth of the artificial intelligence and intelligence augmentation communities in the 1950s, to the modern day brain trusts at Google and Apple in Silicon Valley, and on to the expanding tech corridor between Boston and New York, he traces the different ways developers have addressed this fundamental problem and urges them to carefully consider the consequences of their work.

We are on the verge of a technological revolution, Markoff argues, and robots will profoundly transform the way our lives are organized. Developers must now draw a bright line between what is human and what is machine, or risk upsetting the delicate balance between them.

 

Saturday, September 5th

at 12:00 PM

Sisters In Crime Meeting

Featuring Guest Speaker

Simon Wood

The One That Got Away

 

Graduate students Zoe and Holli only mean to blow off some steam on their road trip to Las Vegas. But something goes terribly wrong on their way home, and the last time Zoe sees her, Holli is in the clutches of a sadistic killer. Zoe flees with her life, changed forever.

A year later and still tortured with guilt, Zoe latches on to a police investigation where the crime eerily resembles her abduction. Along with a zealous detective, she retraces the steps of that fateful night in the desert, hoping that her memory will return and help them find justice for Holli. Her abductor labeled the Tally Man by a fascinated media lies in wait for Zoe. For him, she is not a survivor but simply the one that got away.

With an unforgettable heroine, a chillingly disturbed psychopath, and a story that moves at breakneck speed, "The One That Got Away" is thriller writer Simon Wood at his finest."

 

 

Tuesday, September 8 

at 7PM

Juliet Blackwell

The Paris Key

Sophie Littlefield 

The Guilty One

An American in Paris navigates her family s secret past and unlocks her own future, in this emotionally evocative novel by "New York Times "bestselling author Juliet Blackwell. 
As a girl, Genevieve Martin spent the happiest summer of her life in Paris, learning the delicate art of locksmithing at her uncle s side. But since then, living back in the States, she has become more private, more subdued. She has been an observer of life rather than an active participant, holding herself back from those around her, including her soon-to-be-ex-husband. 
Paris never really left Genevieve, and, as her marriage crumbles, she finds herself faced with an incredible opportunity: return to the magical city of her youth to take over her late uncle s shop. But as she absorbs all that Parisian culture has to offer, she realizes the city also holds secrets about her family that could change her forever, and that locked doors can protect you or imprison you, depending on which side of them you stand."
From the award-winning author of "The Missing Place"--in which "Littlefield's writing shines" ("The Boston Globe")--another gripping exploration of the damage people can do to each other, and the resilience they find in themselves. 
A man stands on the Golden Gate Bridge, poised to jump...if a woman on the other end of the phone tells him to. 
Maris's safe suburban world was shattered the day her daughter was found murdered, presumably at the hands of the young woman's boyfriend. Her marriage crumbling, her routine shattered, Maris walks away from her pampered life as a Bay Area mom the day she receives a call from Ron, father of her daughter's killer. Wracked with guilt over his son's actions (and his own possible contribution to them), he asks Maris a single question: should he jump? 
With a man's life in her hands, Maris must decide, perhaps for the first time, what she truly wants. Retribution? Forgiveness? Or something more? Having lost everything, she's finally free to recreate herself without the confining labels of "wife," "mother," or "mourner." But will this shocking offer free her, or destroy her?
 

 

Thursday, September 17

at 7 pm

Stephanie Clifford

Everybody Rise

It's 2006 in the Manhattan of the young and glamorous. Money and class are colliding in a city that is about to go over a financial precipice and take much of the country with it. At 26, bright, funny and socially anxious Evelyn Beegan is determined to carve her own path in life and free herself from the influence of her social-climbing mother, who propelled her through prep school and onto the Upper East Side. Evelyn has long felt like an outsider to her privileged peers, but when she gets a job at a social network aimed at the elite, she's forced to embrace them.

Recruiting new members for the site, Evelyn steps into a promised land of Adirondack camps, Newport cottages and Southampton clubs thick with socialites and Wall Streeters. Despite herself, Evelyn finds the lure of belonging intoxicating, and starts trying to pass as old money herself. When her father, a crusading class-action lawyer, is indicted for bribery, Evelyn must contend with her own family's downfall as she keeps up appearances in her new life, grasping with increasing desperation as the ground underneath her begins to give way.

Bracing, hilarious and often poignant, Stephanie Clifford's debut offers a thoroughly modern take on classic American themes - money, ambition, family, friendship - and on the universal longing to fit in.

 

Tuesday, September 22

at 7 pm

Kirke Mechem

Believe Your Ears:

Life of a Lyric Composer

Believe Your Ears is the memoir of composer Kirke Mechem, whose unorthodox path to music provides a fascinating narrative. He wrote songs and played music by ear as a newspaper reporter, a touring tennis player, and a Stanford creative-writing major before studying composition and conducting at Harvard. He describes his residencies in San Francisco, Vienna, London, and Russia, and gives detailed attention to his choral music, operas, and symphonies. He writes that the twentieth century gave us much brilliant music but shows how atonality came to dominate the post-war period. His lyric style belongs to no particular school, avoiding the trends, isms, experiments, fads, and lunacies of the period. He encourages younger composers who are trying to bring back beauty, passion, and humor even entertainment to classical music. He asks music lovers to believe their own ears, not the lectures of experts. Believe Your Ears is addressed to all who love classical music. Along the way, readers will meet Dimitri Shostakovich, Wallace Stegner, Billie Jean King, the Grateful Dead, Richard Rodgers, Benjamin Britten, Bill Tilden, and Aaron Copland a who s who in Mechem s storied career."

 

Tuesday, September 29

at 7PM

John King

Cityscapes 2: 

Reading the Architecture of San Francisco

The follow-up to Pulitzer Prize finalist John King's Cityscapes. Part pocket guide, part history, and part architectural primer, the companion piece to urban design critic John King's Cityscapes: San Francisco and Its Buildings contains all of the wit and wonder of the first installment. In epigrammatic prose and with detailed full-color photographs, King highlights fifty structures that tell the story of San Francisco through architecture. Included are emblematic buildings such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, and the Palace of Fine Arts; but King pays just as close attention to less celebrated structures that embody the politics, architectural fads, and cultural values of the eras in which they were conceived. A fresh take on the familiar, Cityscapes 2 shows us how to read the structures around us as signposts and translations for the story of a multilayered and ever-changing city.

 

Sunday, October 18th

at 11:00 AM

6th Annual

Ivy + Bean Weekend

With Special Guest

Annie Barrows

More Details TK

 

Thursday, October 22nd

at 7PM

Saeeda Hafiz

The Healing

A Memoir of Food, Family, and Yoga

The Healing is a story about a young African-American woman who signs up for lessons in yoga and cooking as a symbol that she has now entered the middle class. Little does she know that this self-healing journey will soon bring her face-to-face with inner demons fed by the domestic violence, addiction and poverty of her youth, thus putting her on a spiritual path of self-discovery and ultimately transformation.

Since January 1990, Saeeda has been experiencing the power of her yoga practice and the benefits of eating a whole foods diet. Her initial encounter with this holistic lifestyle led to a personal transformation that ultimately led her to become a certified yoga instructor and holistic nutrition educator for the last 20 years. 

Saeeda currently holds a position at San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) as a site nutrition coordinator, where she has been teaching basic holistic nutrition and yoga to kids and adults for the past 12 years. She also teaches yoga to adults at various San Francisco health clubs and studios, including the YMCA, Active Sports Clubs, and several corporate clients. She has appeared on various radio and television programs and has been featured in several national and regional publications. Her public speaking engagements have educated the public in yoga, holistic nutrition, and healthy living from coast to coast.  

Saeeda is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, with a degree in Business and Management Information Systems.  She has studied at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers and Ashrams, and Natural Gourmet in New York City. 

 

 

Tuesday, October 29

at 7 PM

The Women's National Book Association Showcase

Martha Conway

 

Martha Conway’s historical novel, THIEVING FOREST, has been called “extraordinary” by the Akron Beacon Journal and “hypnotic” by Kirkus Reviews. Her first novel 12 BLISS STREET was nominated for an Edgar Award, and her short fiction has appeared in The Iowa Review, The Mississippi Review, The Quarterly, Folio, Puerto del Sol, Carolina Quarterly, and other publications. She graduated from Vassar College and received her master’s degree in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She has reviewed fiction for the San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Review of Books, and The Iowa Review, and is a recipient of a California Arts Council fellowship in Creative Writing. Martha teaches creative writing at UC Berkeley Extension and at Stanford University’s Online Writer’s Studio, and lives in San Francisco.

Carole Bumpus

Carole Bumpus, a retired family therapist, is a novelist and an author of short stories. A Cup of Redemption, her first literary novel is due out October 27, 2014. It is loosely based on the gripping excavation of an elderly French woman’s life and the honoring of her final request: to find a father she never knew lost during WWI. She also 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 in France for her articles on food. And, as a ‘war correspondent’ while traveling with U.S. Army World War II veterans, she wrote blog posts and newspaper articles back to the States for both the 65th and 70th anniversaries of the Allies Southern Landing in Provençe. (She recently returned from her trip this past August 2014, for the 70th anniversary.)
She is a member of the WNBA-SF Branch and also of the California Writers’ Club. She is the Treasurer of the CWC’s San Francisco/Peninsula Branch, along with being the Branch’s State board member and the Branch representative for Nor-Cal CWC. She has been published in three short-story anthologies: Fault Zone: Words from the Edge, Fault Zone: Stepping up to the Edge and Fault Zone: Over the Edge. 

Lisa Alpine

Lisa Alpine is the author of  Wild Life: Travel Adventures of a Worldly Woman (1st Place winner Travel Book 2014 North American Book Awards) and Exotic Life: Travel Tales of an Adventurous Woman (1st place winner Memoir 2014 North American Book Awards & Best Women’s Adventure Memoir BAIPA Book Awards). She is the recipient of the Best Travel Story of the Year 2014 Solas Silver for “Fish Trader Ray”—included in Wild Life.  Lisa curates and hosts “Adventure Travel Stories with an All Star Line-up” literary series held at the Mill Valley Library  and at Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA. Her stories appear in numerous anthologies, including Mambo Poa, Travelers’ Tales Best Travel Writing, BATW’s Travel Stories From Around the Globe, Lonely Planet Tales From Nowhere,I Should Have Stayed Home, I Should Have Gone Home, and Hyenas Laughed at Me and Now I Know Why. She is the winner of the 2013 bronze medal under “Animal Encounter” for Trumpets of Warning; and the 2012 gold medal for Most Unforgettable Character in her story, Rada’s Bloom. These stories are included in Wild Life: Travel Adventures of a Worldly Woman. She is an accomplished teacher leading workshops on Poetry in Motion, The Writer’s Toolbox, travel writing, and dance as a healing art form. Lisa is a member of Bay Area Travel Writers and Women’s National Book Association.
 

Thursday, November 5

at 7PM

David Talbot

The Devil's Chessboard

Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government

From the founder of Salon and the author of the New York Times bestseller Season of the Witch and Brothers, an explosive, headline-making portrait of Allen Dulles, the man who transformed the CIA into the most powerful and secretive colossus in Washington

America's greatest untold story: the United States' rise to world dominance under the guile of Allen Welsh Dulles, the longest-serving director of the CIA. Drawing on revelatory new materials including recently discovered U.S. government documents, U.S. and European intelligence sources, the personal correspondence and journals of Allen Dulles's wife and mistress, and exclusive interviews with the children of prominent CIA officials David Talbot reveals the underside of one of America's most towering and influential figures.

Dulles's decade as the director of the CIA was a dark period in American politics. The spymaster saw himself as above the nation's laws and elected leaders, manipulating and subverting American presidents in the pursuit of his personal interests and those of the wealthy elite he counted as his friends and clients colluding with Nazi war criminals and Mafiosi in the process. Talbot charges that Dulles utilized the same ruthless tactics he employed abroad targeting foreign leaders for assassination and overthrowing nationalist governments not in line with his political aims to further his goals at home, and offers shocking new evidence regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

An expose of American power that is as disturbing as it is timely, The Devil's Chessboard is a provocative and gripping story of the rise of the national security state and the battle for America's soul.

David Talbot, hailed as a pioneer of online journalism by The New York Times, is the founder and former editor-in-chief of Salon. He has worked as a senior editor for Mother Jones magazine and as a features editor for the San Francisco Examiner. Talbot has written for The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and other publications. He lives with his family in San Francisco.