Events at BookShop West Portal

We are always happy to have any of these great books signed for you! When ordering online, simply request a signed copy using the order comments box in checkout.


Click to see the trailer!

Jane Smiley
Some Luck
Thursday, October 23rd at 7 PM

From the winner of the Pulitzer Prize, a powerful, engrossing new novel--the life and times of a remarkable family over three transformative decades in America. 

On their farm in Denby, Iowa, Rosanna and Walter Langdon abide by time-honored values that they pass on to their five wildly different children: from Frank, the handsome, willful first born, and Joe, whose love of animals and the land sustains him, to Claire, who earns a special place in her father's heart. 
Each chapter in "Some Luck "covers a single year, beginning in 1920, as American soldiers like Walter return home from World War I, and going up through the early 1950s, with the country on the cusp of enormous social and economic change. As the Langdons branch out from Iowa to both coasts of America, the personal and the historical merge seamlessly: one moment electricity is just beginning to power the farm, and the next a son is volunteering to fight the Nazis; later still, a girl you'd seen growing up now has a little girl of her own, and you discover that your laughter and your admiration for all these lives are mixing with tears. 

"Some Luck "delivers on everything we look for in a work of fiction. Taking us through cycles of births and deaths, passions and betrayals, among characters we come to know inside and out, it is a tour de force that stands wholly on its own. But it is also the first part of a dazzling epic trilogy--a literary adventure that will span a century in America: an astonishing feat of storytelling by a beloved writer at the height of her powers.                                                                                                                    



Click to see the trailer!




Andy Weir
The Martian
October 29th at 7 PM

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. 

Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. 
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. 
Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. 
But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

"Brilliant...a celebration of human ingenuity [and] the purest example of real-science sci-fi for many years...Utterly compelling."--"Wall Street Journal"
"Terrific stuff, a crackling good read that devotees of space travel will devour like candy...succeeds on several levels and for a variety of reasons, not least of which is its surprising plausibility."--"USA Today "
"An impressively geeky debut...the technical details keep the story relentlessly precise and the suspense ramped up. And really, how can anyone not root for a regular dude to prove the U-S-A still has the Right Stuff?"--"Entertainment Weekly







The Women's National Book Association:
San Francisco Chapter
November 4th at 7 PM 

The evening will be hosted by poet and past WNBA President Joan Gelfand.  There will be five WNBA members reading. 

Jane Ormerod is the author of Welcome to the Museum of Cattle (Three Rooms Press, 2012), Recreational Vehicles on Fire (Three Rooms Press, 2009), the chapbook 11 Films (Modern Metrics/EXOT Books, 2008), and the spoken word CD Nashville Invades Manhattan. Jane’s work also appears in numerous US and international anthologies and journals including Have a Nice NYC (Three Rooms Press, 2012), Maintenant, AND / OR, Marsh Hawk Press Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Ambush Review, and Sparring with Beatnik Ghosts. Born on the south coast of England, Jane now lives in New York City and performs extensively across the United States and beyond. She is a founding editor at great weather for MEDIA, an independent press focusing on edgy and experimental poetry and prose. 

Sarah Granger is a nationally recognized digital media innovator, author, and journalist whose writing has appeared in numerous publications, includingThe San Francisco Chronicle, Forbes, Harvard Business Review, and The Huffington Post. In 2012, she was recognized as a “40 Under 40” rising star byThe Silicon Valley Business Journal. Her lectures and keynotes have been delivered to a global audience at universities and conferences around the world. A frequent media commentator, she has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS, Mtv, and ABC. Learn more at
 Karen Lynch, author of the memoir, Good Cop, Bad Daughter: Memoirs of an Unlikely Police Officer is a native San Franciscan. After graduating from UC Berkeley, she joined the San Francisco Police Department in 1981. She lives in Novato with her husband and their three children, including Kyra, who was the subject of an essay that won the 2012 Notes & Words national essay contest. Her memoir, Good Cop, Bad Daughter, is the story of how growing up with a bi-polar mother trained Karen to be a cop. Facebook page.

Cassandra Dunn is the author of The Art of Adapting (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster), which Publishers Weekly called "a lively, engaging, and heartfelt tale of learning how to cope with change." She received her MFA in creative writing from Mills College. She was a semifinalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and a finalist for Glimmer Train's Short Story Award for New Writers. She's published 12 short stories. Her website is

Christina Nichol grew up in the Bay Area and received her MFA from the University of Florida. She received a Rona Jaffe Writer's Award in 2012.  She has traveled widely, worked for nonprofit film companies, and taught English in India, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, and the republic of Georgia. She has been published in Harpers, Guernica, Lucky Peach, and The Paris Review. Waiting for the Electricity is her first novel.





Click to see Peg's site including her beautiful greeting cards carried right here at BSWP!



Peg Conley
Imagine the Life You'd Love to Live, Then Live It
Thursday, November 6th at 7 PM 

Reading Peg Conley’s book, Imagine the Life You’d Love to Live, Then Live It, provides the opportunity to engage with your playful nature, challenge yourself to think differently and consider incorporating various practices into your daily routine that will bring about the peace and happiness we all long to experience.

With 52 chapters, there’s plenty of wisdom scattered throughout the pages. Her inspiring stories will help you reconnect with your own playful spirit. There’s a joie de vivre that leaps off the page as you read her encouraging words. Clearly Peg has been a student of many pop psychology books and teachings. She’s distilled her learnings and experiences into an easy read with bullet points that suggest actions steps one can take as they discover that it really is easy to Imagine the Life You’d Love to Live then Live It!  Originally from Indiana by way of Seattle, Peg Conley is an artist, writer, and CEO of her own company, Words and Watercolors, in San Francisco where she also resides.   



Click to watch the trailer!



Mary F. Burns
The Spoils of Avalon
Wednesday, November 12th at 7 PM

The death of a humble clergyman in 1877 leads amateur sleuths Violet Paget and John Singer Sargent into a medieval world of saints and kings—including the legendary Arthur—as they follow a trail of relics and antiquities lost since the destruction of Glastonbury Abbey in 1539. Written in alternating chapters between the two time periods, The Spoils of Avalon creates a sparkling, magical mystery that bridges the gap between two worlds that could hardly be more different—the industrialized, Darwinian, materialistic Victorian Age and the agricultural, faith-infused life of a medieval abbey on the brink of violent change at the hands of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell. First in a new series of historical mysteries, The Spoils of Avalon introduces two unlikely detectives and life-long friends—beginning as young people on the verge of making their names famous for the next several decades throughout Europe and America: the brilliant and brittle Violet Paget, known as the writer Vernon Lee, and the talented, genial portrait painter John Singer Sargent.  
Ms. Burns was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in the western suburb of LaGrange. She attended Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, where she earned both Bachelors and Masters degrees in English, along with a high school teaching certificate.  She left Illinois in 1976 and headed straight to San Francisco, where she now lives with her husband Stuart Gardiner in the West Portal neighborhood.  Ms. Burns has a law degree from Golden Gate University, has served as president of her neighborhood association and is active in citywide issues.

Click to watch the trailer!

Mary F. Burns
Isaac and Ishmael
Thursday, November 13th at 7 PM 

First in a new biblical trilogy, Isaac and Ishmael is an original re-telling of the beginnings of two great peoples—the Hebrews and the Arabs, starting with the births of the sons of Abraham. Ishmael was born to an Egyptian princess who was a captive slave in his household, at a point in the patriarch’s life when he despaired of having any children by his wife Sarah. But then the three mysterious messengers of Yahweh appear and tell him that Sarah, in her old age, will conceive a son. Ishmael and his mother, Hagar, are sent into the desert by Sarah, jealous of her husband’s affection for his first-born son. And so the trouble begins…. The second and third books will be Joseph and Moses.



Diane Frankenstein's Literature Series
Call or stop by with questions!

Dates for upcoming classes in the adult series:

November 11th, December 9th, January 13th, February 24th, March 24th and April 21st

November 13th, December 11th, January 15th, February 26th, March 26th and April 23rd 

For more information contact Diane at

Texts purchased for Diane's literature series are discounted 20%.  Use the coupon code DIANE and your discount will be taken at checkout.                                                                                                



Fiber Arts Classes with Thea Gray



Fiber Arts Classes with Thea
Alternating Wednesdays from 7-9:00 PM

Drop-in sessions, which combine a knitting clinic and social circle, are generally held 7 to 9 pm on alternating Wednesdays at Bookshop West Portal. Sometimes you'll find folks have brought skeins of yarn, knitting needles, and other goodies to give away or trade.

Here are the upcoming dates:          

  • October 22
  • November 5
  • November 19
  • December 3
  • December 17


Knitting Clinic: $10 per hour.
If you can't commit to an ongoing class, or you only need a bit of help here and there, this beginning and intermediate knitting clinic is for you. Bring your questions and whatever project you're currently working on and get the help you need. Help is free to those folks who are working on a pattern from a class they'd previously taken with me at BSWP.

Social Circle: Free
No help needed? You're welcome to drop by for our free social circle and enjoy a fun, relaxing evening in the company of other knitters. Crocheters, needlepointers, sewers—all are welcome!