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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.
 

 

 

 

  

Tuesday, March 10th at 7PM

12th Annual Irish-American Crossroads Festival 

Poetry Reading

Judy Wells and Kathleen McClung

  

Tuesday, March 17th at 7 PM

Cara Black

Murder On the Champ de Mars

Paris, April 1999: Aimee Leduc has her work cut out for her--running her detective agency and fighting off sleep deprivation as she tries to be a good single mother to her new "bebe." The last thing she has time for now is to take on a personal investigation for a poor "manouche" (Gypsy) boy. But he insists his dying mother has an important secret she needs to tell Aimee, something to do with Aimee's father's unsolved murder a decade ago. How can she say no? 

The dying woman's secret is even more dangerous than her son realized. When Aimee arrives at the hospital, the boy's mother has disappeared. She was far too sick to leave on her own--she must have been abducted. What does she know that's so important it's worth killing for? And will Aimee be able to find her before it's too late and the medication keeping her alive runs out?
  
 

Thursday, March 19th at 7 PM

Jacqueline Winspear

A Dangerous Place

Four years after she set sail from England, leaving everything she most loved behind, Maisie Dobbs at last returns, only to find herself in a dangerous place . . .

In Jacqueline Winspear's powerful story of political intrigue and personal tragedy, a brutal murder in the British garrison town of Gilbraltar leads Maisie into a web of lies, deceit, and peril.

Spring 1937. In the four years since she left England, Maisie Dobbs has experienced love, contentment, stability--and the deepest tragedy a woman can endure. Now, all she wants is the peace she believes she might find by returning to India. But her sojourn in the hills of Darjeeling is cut short when her stepmother summons her home to England; her aging father Frankie Dobbs is not getting any younger.

But on a ship bound for England, Maisie realizes she isn't ready to return. Against the wishes of the captain who warns her, "You will be alone in a most dangerous place," she disembarks in Gibraltar. Though she is on her own, Maisie is far from alone: the British garrison town is teeming with refugees fleeing a brutal civil war across the border in Spain.

Yet the danger is very real. Days after Maisie's arrival, a photographer and member of Gibraltar's Sephardic Jewish community, Sebastian Babayoff, is murdered, and Maisie becomes entangled in the case, drawing the attention of the British Secret Service. Under the suspicious eye of a British agent, Maisie is pulled deeper into political intrigue on "the Rock"--arguably Britain's most important strategic territory--and renews an uneasy acquaintance in the process. At a crossroads between her past and her future, Maisie must choose a direction, knowing that England is, for her, an equally dangerous place, but in quite a different way.

  
 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, March 24th at 7 PM

Carey Perloff

Beautiful Chaos: A Life In the Theatre 

""Beautiful Chaos" is an extraordinary journey of Carey Perloff and her theatre, ACT. Their continued evolution and ability to define and re-define themselves with courage, tenacity, and bravery allow them to confront what seem like insurmountable odds. This continues to shape and inspire Carey and those who work with her."--Olympia Dukakis, Academy Award-winning actress 

"Carey Perloff's lively, outspoken memoir of adventures in running and directing theatre will be a key document in the story of playmaking in America."--Tom Stoppard, Playwright 
"Carey Perloff, quite literally, raised a vibrant new theater from the rubble of an old one. This refreshingly honest account of her triumphs and misfires over the past two decades is both a fascinating read and an invaluable handbook for anyone attempting such a labor of love."--Armistead Maupin, author of "Tales of the City" 
"Carey Perloff's marvel of a book is part memoir of a working mother, a passionate artist, a woman flourishing in a male-dominated craft- and part lavish love letter to theater. It is as lively, thoughtful, and insightful an account I have ever read about the art form. This one is for any person who has ever sat in the dark and been spellbound by the transformative power of theater."--Khaled Hosseini, author of "The Kite Runner" 
"Carey Perloff is a veteran of the regional theatre wars. "Beautiful Chaos" is her vivacious account of her ambitious work commanding San Francisco's American Conservatory Theatre (ACT). The book exudes Perloff's trademark brio: smart, outspoken, full of fun and ferment."--John Lahr, author of "Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh" 
"This is an engaged, engaging, deeply intelligent, and passionate account of why the theatre matters and how it works in a city and in a society. It is also a fascinating and essential chapter in the history of San Francisco itself, as well as the story of a committed theatre artist's determination and vision."--Colm Toibin, author of "Nora Webster" 
Carey Perloff, Artistic Director of San Francisco's legendary American Conservatory Theater, pens a lively and revealing memoir of her twenty-plus years at the helm and delivers a provocative and impassioned manifesto for the role of live theater in today's technology-infused world. 
Perloff's personal and professional journey--her life as a woman in a male-dominated profession, as a wife and mother, a playwright, director, producer, arts advocate, and citizen in a city erupting with enormous change--is a compelling, entertaining story for anyone interested in how theater gets made. She offers a behind-the-scenes perspective, including her intimate working experiences with well-known actors, directors, and writers, including Tom Stoppard, Harold Pinter, Robert Wilson, David Strathairn, and Olympia Dukakis. 
Whether reminiscing about her turbulent first years as a young woman taking over an insolvent theater in crisis and transforming it into a thriving, world-class performance space, or ruminating on the potential for its future, Perloff takes on critical questions about arts education, cultural literacy, gender disparity, leadership, and power. 
Carey Perloff is an award-winning playwright, theater director, and the artistic director of the American Conservatory Theater of San Francisco since 1992.
  
 
 

Thursday, March 26th at 7PM

C.W. Gortner

Mademoiselle Chanel

For readers of The Paris Wife and Z comes this vivid novel full of drama, passion, tragedy, and beauty that stunningly imagines the life of iconic fashion designer Coco Chanel--the ambitious, gifted laundrywoman's daughter who revolutionized fashion, built an international empire, and become one of the most influential and controversial figures of the twentieth century.

Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her siblings are sent to orphanage after their mother's death. The sisters nurture Gabrielle's exceptional sewing skills, a talent that will propel the willful young woman into a life far removed from the drudgery of her childhood.

Transforming herself into Coco--a seamstress and sometime torch singer--the petite brunette burns with ambition, an incandescence that draws a wealthy gentleman who will become the love of her life. She immerses herself in his world of money and luxury, discovering a freedom that sparks her creativity. But it is only when her lover takes her to Paris that Coco discovers her destiny.

Rejecting the frilly, corseted silhouette of the past, her sleek, minimalist styles reflect the youthful ease and confidence of the 1920s modern woman. As Coco's reputation spreads, her couturier business explodes, taking her into rarefied society circles and bohemian salons. But her fame and fortune cannot save her from heartbreak as the years pass. And when Paris falls to the Nazis, Coco is forced to make choices that will haunt her.

An enthralling novel of an extraordinary woman who created the life she desired, Mademoiselle Chanel explores the inner world of a woman of staggering ambition whose strength, passion and artistic vision would become her trademark.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, April 7th at 7 PM

Jane Hirshfield

The Beauty: Poems

 This incandescent new collection from one of American poetry's most distinctive and essential voices opens with a series of dappled, ranging "My" poems--"My Skeleton," "My Corkboard," "My Species," "My Weather"--using materials sometimes familiar, sometimes unexpected, to explore the magnitude, singularity, and permeability of our shared existence. With a pen faithful to the actual yet dipped at times in the ink of the surreal, Hirshfield considers the inner and outer worlds we live in yet are not confined by; reflecting on advice an elder long ago gave her--to avoid the word "or"--she concludes, "Now I too am sixty. / There was no other life." Hirshfield's lines cut, as always, directly to the heart of human experience. Her robust affirmation of choice even amid inevitability, her tender consciousness of the unjudging beauty of what exists, her abiding contemplation of our moral, societal, and biological intertwinings, sustain poems that turn and re-tune the keys of a life. For this poet, "Zero Plus Anything Is A World." Hirshfield's riddling recipes for that world ("add salt to hunger," "add time to trees") offer a profoundly altered understanding of our lives' losses and additions, and of the small and larger beauties we so often miss.

 

  

Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World

A dazzling collection of essays on how the best poems work, from the master poet and essayist 
"Poetry," Jane Hirshfield has said, "is language that foments revolutions of being." In ten eloquent and highly original explorations, she unfolds and explores some of the ways this is done--by the inclusion of hiddenness, paradox, and surprise; by a perennial awareness of the place of uncertainty in our lives; by language's own acts of discovery; by the powers of image, statement, music, and feeling to enlarge in every direction. The lucid understandings presented here are gripping and transformative in themselves. Investigating the power of poetry to move and change us becomes in these pages an equal investigation into the inhabitance and navigation of our human lives. 
Closely reading poems by Dickinson, Bashō, Szymborska, Cavafy, Heaney, Bishop, and Komunyakaa, among many others, Hirshfield reveals how poetry's world-making takes place: word by charged word. By expanding what is imaginable and sayable, Hirshfield proposes, poems expand what is possible. "Ten Windows "restores us at every turn to a more precise, sensuous, and deepened experience of our shared humanity and of the seemingly limitless means by which that knowledge is both summoned and forged.

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, April 14th at 7 PM 

Bruce Henderson

 

Rescue At Los Baños 

 

From the bestselling author of Hero Found comes the incredible true story of one of the greatest military rescues of all time, the 1945 World War II prison camp raid at Los Banos in the Philippines--a tale of daring, courage, and heroism that joins the ranks of Ghost Soldiers, Unbroken, and The Boys of Pointe du Hoc.

In February 1945, as the U.S. victory in the Pacific drew nearer, the Japanese army grew desperate, and its soldiers guarding U.S. and Allied POWs more sadistic. Starved, shot and beaten, many of the 2,146 prisoners of the Los Banos prison camp in the Philippines--most of them American men, women and children--would not survive much longer unless rescued soon.

Deeply concerned about the half-starved and ill-treated prisoners, General Douglas MacArthur assigned to the 11th Airborne Division a dangerous rescue mission deep behind enemy lines that became a deadly race against the clock. The Los Banos raid would become one of the greatest triumphs of that war or any war; hailed years later by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell: "I doubt that any airborne unit in the world will ever be able to rival the Los Banos prison raid. It is the textbook operation for all ages and all armies."

Combining personal interviews, diaries, correspondence, memoirs, and archival research, Rescue at Los Banos tells the story of a remarkable group of prisoners--whose courage and fortitude helped them overcome hardship, deprivation, and cruelty--and of the young American soldiers and Filipino guerrillas who risked their lives to save them. 
 

 

 

Thursday, April 30th at 7 PM

Sam Quinones

Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic

 In fascinating detail, Sam Quinones chronicles how, over the past 15 years, enterprising sugar cane farmers in a small county on the west coast of Mexico created a unique distribution system that brought black tar heroin--the cheapest, most addictive form of the opiate, 2 to 3 times purer than its white powder cousin--to the veins of people across the United States. Communities where heroin had never been seen before--from Charlotte, NC and Huntington, WVA, to Salt Lake City and Portland, OR--were overrun with it. Local police and residents were stunned. How could heroin, long considered a drug found only in the dense, urban environments along the East Coast, and trafficked into the United States by enormous Colombian drug cartels, be so incredibly ubiquitous in the American heartland? Who was bringing it here, and perhaps more importantly, why were so many townspeople suddenly eager for the comparatively cheap high it offered?

With the same dramatic drive of "El Narco" and "Methland," Sam Quinones weaves together two classic tales of American capitalism: The stories of young men in Mexico, independent of the drug cartels, in search of their own American Dream via the fast and enormous profits of trafficking cheap black-tar heroin to America's rural and suburban addicts; and that of Purdue Pharma in Stamford, Connecticut, determined to corner the market on pain with its new and expensive miracle drug, Oxycontin; extremely addictive in its own right. Quinones illuminates just how these two stories fit together as cause and effect: hooked on costly Oxycontin, American addicts were lured to much cheaper black tar heroin and its powerful and dangerous long-lasting high. Embroiled alongside the suppliers and buyers are DEA agents, local, small-town sheriffs, and the US attorney from eastern Virginia whose case against Purdue Pharma and Oxycontin made him an enemy of the Bush-era Justice Department, ultimately stalling and destroying his career in public service.

"Dreamland" is a scathing and incendiary account of drug culture and addiction spreading to every part of the American landscape.

  

 

 

 

 

Thursday, May 7th at 7 PM

Colette Lafia

Seeking Surrender 

An unlikely friendship between Colette Lafia and a silent monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani, where Thomas Merton lived, comes to life through seven years of shared letters. Lafia's palpable openness and warm storytelling lead readers through the same compassionate process that led the author to accept herself, find peace with life, and strive for an ever-deepening relationship with God. 

  

 

   

Tuesday, May 12th at 7PM

Patricia Park

Re Jane 

Journeying from Queens to Brooklyn to Seoul, and back, this is a fresh, contemporary retelling of "Jane Eyre" and a poignant Korean American debut 
For Jane Re, half-Korean, half-American orphan, Flushing, Queens, is the place she's been trying to escape from her whole life. Sardonic yet vulnerable, Jane toils, unappreciated, in her strict uncle's grocery store and politely observes the traditional principle of "nunchi" (a combination of good manners, hierarchy, and obligation). Desperate for a new life, she's thrilled to become the au pair for the Mazer-Farleys, two Brooklyn English professors and their adopted Chinese daughter. Inducted into the world of organic food co-ops, and nineteenth-century novels, Jane is the recipient of Beth Mazer's feminist lectures and Ed Farley's very male attention. But when a family death interrupts Jane and Ed's blossoming affair, she flies off to Seoul, leaving New York far behind. 
Reconnecting with family, and struggling to learn the ways of modern-day Korea, Jane begins to wonder if Ed Farley is really the man for her. Jane returns to Queens, where she must find a balance between two cultures and accept who she really is. "Re Jane" is a bright, comic story of falling in love, finding strength, and living not just out of obligation to others, but for one's self. 

  

 

 

 

 

Thursday, May 14th at 7PM

Geshe Thupten Jinpa

The Fearless Heart 

The Buddhist practice of mindfulness caught on in the west when we began to understand the everyday, personal benefits it brought us. Now, in this extraordinary book, the highly acclaimed thought leader and longtime English translator of His Holiness the Dalai Lama shows us that compassion can bring us even more.

Based on the landmark course in compassion training Jinpa helped create at Stanford Medical School, A Fearless Heart shows us that we actually fear compassion. We worry that if we are too compassionate with others we will be taken advantage of, and if we are too compassionate with ourselves we will turn into slackers. Using science, insights from both classical Buddhist and western psychology, and stories both from others and from his own extraordinary life, Jinpa shows us how to train our compassion muscle to relieve stress, fight depression, improve our health, achieve our goals, and change our world.

Practical, spiritual, and immediately relevant, "A Fearless Heart" will speak to readers of" The Art of Happiness" and "Wherever You Go, There You Are." 
  
 

 

 

 

 

Monday, May 18th at 7 PM

Celeste Ng

Everything I Never Told You 

"Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet" . . . So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother's bright blue eyes and her father's jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue--in Marilyn's case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James's case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party. 
When Lydia's body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart. James, consumed by guilt, sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to find a responsible party, no matter what the cost. Lydia's older brother, Nathan, is certain that the neighborhood bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it's the youngest of the family--Hannah--who observes far more than anyone realizes and who may be the only one who knows the truth about what happened. 
A profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home, "Everything I Never Told You" is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family, and uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another. 

  
 

 

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

Dates for upcoming classes in the adult series:

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

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

For more information contact Diane at diane@dianefrankenstein.com

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

  

January      

Fiber Arts Classes with Thea Gray

 

 

Fiber Arts Classes with Thea
DROP-IN CLINIC & FREE SOCIAL
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:          

                           
  • February 25th
  • March 11th
  • March 25th
  • April 8th
  • April 22nd
  • May 6th

 

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!

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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