Wednesday, August 24: Forrest Leo at Green Apple Books (SF)
Forrest Leo's debut novel The Gentleman opens with a dramatic flourish. Lionel Savage, a 22-year-old poet in Victorian England, has recently realized that he doesn't love his wife, only six months into his marriage.
I am a poet, I am a married man, and I am resolved to my own immediate suicide - for I married for money instead of love, and when I did I discovered I could no longer write.
Things take a turn for the worse (or maybe better) after Savage hits it off with the Devil, a fellow guest at a society party (the gentleman of the book's title). At the end of the night, the famous poet realizes that he's accidentally sold his wife to the Prince of Darkness. Thus begins a fast-paced, comedic farce through hell that has been compared to the best of Oscar Wilde and P.G. Wodehouse. Fans of steampunk and Lemony Snicket will love this one. Details here
Friday, August 26: Joel Selvin at Copperfield's Books, Petaluma
The disastrous free concert at the Altamont Speedway, headlined by the Rolling Stones in 1969, has long been acknowledged as the true end of the Summer of Love. In Altamont: The Rolling Stones, The Hells Angels, and the Inside Story of Rock's Darkest Day, San Francisco Chronicle music writer Joel Selvin compiles three decades of research and interviews for an exhaustive chronicle of the lead-up to the Dec. 6 concert, the murder and accidental deaths that occurred as the Rolling Stones performed before a crowd of thousands, and the concert's aftermath (Bill Graham, for one, screaming at a show promoter and calling him a murderer). By the end of the night, 18-year-old Meredith Hunter had been stabbed and beaten to death by a Hells Angel hired as security for the concert, and the Rolling Stones had run off back to England with $1.8 million in their band coffers. Details here
Saturday, August 27: Dan White at Book Passage, Corte Madera
Every summer I vow to camp at least once. And every summer, by late August, I wonder why I didn't do any camping. I love the idea of it: the dusty tent, sleeping under the stars, sitting around the fire drinking whiskey, hiking through the glories of nature knowing my sleeping bag bed is somewhere nearby. The execution of it all, that's the challenge. Luckily, Santa Cruz-based writer Dan White has written a wide-ranging book/memoir about the history of camping in the United States, so that I can feel like I'm camping even if I'm staying in the comfort of my own home. In Under the Stars: How America Fell in Love with Camping, White travels across the nation to explore the history, realities and joy of outdoor recreation. Yes, this does include a stint of glamping. Sunset magazine would be proud. Details here
Thursday, September 1: Tahereh Mafi and Ransom Riggs at Kepler's Books, Menlo Park
Talk about a literary power couple. Let's start with Tahereh Mafi. She's the best-selling author of Shatter Me, a dystopian young adult series about a teenage girl with a fatal touch. Her latest book, Furthermore, takes the magical themes even further. Mafi, not yet 30, calls it a love letter to her favorite childhood stories. Her husband, Ransom Riggs, wrote the best-selling Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, which has been turned into a film by your favorite adaptor of twisted fairytales Tim Burton. Rigg's latest, Tales of the Peculiar, delves deeper into a mystical world first introduced in 2011. You can read an excerpt from it here. In addition to the Kepler's appearance, Riggs and Mafi will be traveling around the Bay Area on September 3, stopping in at bookstores to celebrate Loop Day, a holiday observed by the children in the Miss Peregrine series. Details here