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    Recommendations from Book Passage 12.16.21

    Still Life (fiction) by Sarah Winman

    Tuscany, 1944: As Allied troops advance and bombs fall around deserted villages, a young English soldier, Ulysses Temper, finds himself in the wine cellar of a deserted villa. There, he has a chance encounter with Evelyn Skinner, a middle-aged art historian who has come to Italy with her friend who, although not openly gay, is unabashedly almost mater-of-factly so. While in Italy, Evelyn helps to salvage paintings from the ruins and recalls long-forgotten memories of her own youth. As Ulysses returns home to London, re-immersing himself in his crew of a motley mix of pub crawlers and eccentrics, he carries his time in Italy with him. And when an unexpected inheritance brings him back to where it all began, Ulysses knows better than to tempt fate, and returns to the Tuscan hills. With beautiful prose, extraordinary tenderness, and bursts of humor and light, Still Life is a sweeping portrait of unforgettable individuals who come together to make a family. It is a richly drawn celebration of beauty and love in all its forms. 

    100 Years of Joys and Sorrows (memoir) by Ai Weiwei

    Hailed as “one of the most important artists working in the world today” by The Financial Times, Ai Weiwei has written a sweeping memoir that presents a remarkable history of China over the last hundred years while also illuminating his artistic process. With candor and wit, he details his return to China and his rise from artistic unknown to art world superstar and international human rights activist—and how his work has been shaped by living under a totalitarian regime. At once ambitious and intimate, this memoir offers a deep understanding of the myriad forces that have shaped modern China, and serves as a timely reminder of the urgent need to protect freedom of expression. Like the artist himself, the book cover is colorful, bold, and alluring, making it not only a unique and pivotal read, but also an attractive and fantastic gift to give.

    Black Food: Stories, Art & Recipes from Across the African Diaspora (cookbook & essays) edited by Bryant Terry

    In addition to being a visually stunning and intoxicating cookbook, with a combination of traditional and contemporary easy-to-execute recipes, Black Food is one of the most enlightening and entertaining books on the topic of food. Edited by Bryant Terry— one of the most renowned vegan chefs, who is based in Oakland—this book is the culmination of his vow to serve the needs, hopes, and dreams of the people. It’s packed with recipes, art, poetry, and essays from more than 100 contributors. It will wake those sleeping on the future, the one in which Black food and the people who carried it across the globe for centuries will finally be centered, supported, respected, and celebrated. Black Food honors our earliest ancestors, today’s innovators, and tomorrow’s visionaries. It is grounded in the work of chef Edna Lewis, who celebrated local cuisines with seasonal ingredients, and the countless, nameless Black women and men who paved the way for her. This is a groundbreaking book, highly recommended by Book Passage, which looks and reads as good as the recipes you’ll be making for years to come.

    Upcoming Events

    The Book Buyer’s Guide to Last Minute Gifts
    December 22, 12:30 pm (Presented by our partner, Alta Live)
    Literary experts from Book Passage in Corte Madera, Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, and Bookshop will bullet-point top titles that’ll make perfect gifts for the challenging but beloved people in your life.

    Jean Chen Ho, Author of Fiona and Jane
    January 12, 5:30 pm (Online event)
    In stories told in alternating voices, Jean Chen Ho’s Fiona and Jane peels back the layers of female friendship—the intensity, resentment, and boundless love—to probe the beating hearts of young women coming to terms with themselves, and each other, in light of the insecurities and shame that hold them back.

    Published on December 16, 2021