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    Top of Your Stack: Recommendations from Book Passage 12.2.21

    A Carnival of Snackery: Diaries 2003–2020 (memoir) by David Sedaris

    A window into humorist David Sedaris’ mind and full access to his diaries is as entertaining as you would expect, and then some. We are reminded that not too long ago we really hated George W. Bush, and Donald Trump was just a harmless laughingstock … at least on French television. The entries reflect an ever-changing background, new administrations, and new restrictions on speech and conduct. It’s a sampler of sorts at its best, and a book that makes a great holiday gift: the gift of joy and laughter.

    All In (autobiography) by Billie Jean King

    This is an inspiring and intimate self-portrait of an athlete whose greatness transcended her sport and carried over into her activism for equality. Billie Jean King was the first of her kind, a woman athlete who became a global cultural icon because of her pioneering activism. Throughout it, she does not hold back in describing the early days of the pro tennis world she pushed to create, and her success in achieving 39 Grand Slam championship wins. King recounts how fearful she was of admitting her sexual identity, her closeted time that led to health issues, and her ultimate embracing of who she was. This is a powerful, all-engrossing read that also makes for a great holiday book gift, especially since Book Passage still has signed first edition copies.

    The House in the Cerulean Sea (fiction)by TJ Klune

    New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab refers to this wholly creative and enjoyable ride of a book as “being wrapped up in a big gay blanket. Simply perfect.” The story’s protagonist, Linus Baker, has an uneventful job and life as a meticulous caseworker in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. His quiet life changes when he receives a curious and classified assignment to travel to an orphanage on a distant island and determine whether six dangerous magical children are, in fact, about to usher in the end of days. While there, he meets Arthur, the master of the orphanage, and others. The House in the Cerulean Sea is an enchanting love story about the experience of discovering an unlikely family and realizing who you are and that family is yours.

    Upcoming Events

    Sunday, December 5 @ 1 pm (in-store/San Francisco) – John Briscoe & Noah Griffin; A Child’s Christmas in San Francisco

    At the core of A Child’s Christmas in San Francisco are seven poems composed, author John Briscoe tells us, by generations of San Francisco schoolchildren. Over the week before Christmas, these children paired iconic San Francisco food and drink with the days of the week. Each day got a poem featuring a particular food or beverage. In this way, Briscoe observes, the young poets showed “a precocious affection for the culinary tradition and abiding spirits of Christmas in their City of St. Francis.” This little book provides a history of San Francisco. It is a bit of nostalgia: for first visits to Playland, first trips to Fisherman’s Wharf, and first dates.

    (John Briscoe is a San Francisco poet, author, and lawyer. His poetry has been praised by Kirkus Review, Columbia, and other reviews. His book Crush: The Triumph of California Wine took the Oscar Lewis Award in Western History for 2020, 1st prize in the Top Shelf Book Awards, and his Tadich Grill: The Story of San Francisco’s Oldest Restaurant, is a critically praised history of the Tadich, but also of all of San Francisco’s remarkable culinary history.

    Noah Griffin has sung professionally since the age of seven. As a soloist for the San Francisco Boy’s Chorus, he performed in La Boheme, Turandot, Carmen, and Bor Gudenov, He has sung with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Philharmonic, the Fisk Jubilee Singers, the Nashville Symphony, the Harvard University Choir, and soloed with Duke Ellington.)

    Tuesday, December 7 @ 5:30 pm (online ticketed event) – Peter Coyote in Conversation with Anne Lamott

    Sharing a series of mindfulness techniques and acting exercises that show how malleable the self can be, award-winning actor, narrator, and Zen Buddhist priest Peter Coyote reveals how to use masks, meditation, and improvisation to free yourself from fixed ideas of who you think you are and help you release your ego from constant defensive strategizing, calm the mind’s overactivity, and allow spontaneous playfulness to arise out of your deepest nature. Developed through 40 years of research and personal study, Coyote’s synthesis of mask-based improv games and Zen practices is specifically designed to create an ego-suppressed state, akin to the mystical experiences of meditation or the spiritual awakenings of psychedelics. After preparatory exercises, seeing yourself in a mask will temporarily displace your familiar self and the spirit of the mask will take over.

    (Peter Coyote is an award-winning actor, author, director, screenwriter, and narrator who has worked with some of the world’s most distinguished filmmakers. Recognized for his narration work, he narrated the PBS series The Pacific Century, winning an Emmy award, as well as eight Ken Burns documentaries, including The Roosevelts, for which he won a second Emmy. In 2011 he was ordained as a Zen Buddhist priest and in 2015 received “transmission” from his teacher, making him an independent Zen teacher. The author of several books, he lives in northern California.

    Anne Lamott is the author of The New York Times bestsellers Almost EverythingHallelujah AnywaySmall VictoriesStitchesHelp, Thanks, WowSome Assembly RequiredGrace (Eventually)Plan B; and Traveling Mercies, as well as several novels. A past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an inductee to the California Hall of Fame, she lives in Northern California.)

    Published on December 2, 2021