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    Top of Your Stack – Recommendations from Book Passage 9.21.23

    The Fraud (fiction – hardbound) by Zadie Smith

    From acclaimed and bestselling novelist Zadie Smith, The Fraud offers a kaleidoscopic work of historical fiction set against the

    legal trial that divided Victorian England, about who gets to tell their story—and who gets to be believed. It is 1873. Mrs. Eliza Touchet is the Scottish housekeeper—and cousin by marriage—of a once-famous novelist, now in decline, William Ainsworth, with whom she has lived for thirty years.Based on real historical events, The Fraud is a dazzling novel about truth and fiction,

    Jamaica and Britain, fraudulence and authenticity, and the mystery of “other people.”

    After the Last Border (nonfiction – paperback) by Jessica Goudeau

    The welcoming and acceptance of immigrants and refugees has been central to America’s identity for centuries, yet America has periodically turned its back at the times of greatest humanitarian need. After the Last Border is an intimate look at the lives of two women as they struggle for the twenty-first century American dream, having won the “golden ticket” to settle as refugees in

    Austin, Texas. This book is a dramatic, character-driven story within a larger history—the evolution of modern refugee

    resettlement in the U.S., beginning with World War II and ending with current closed-door policies.

    Diary of a Misfit (nonfiction/memoir – hardbound) edited by Casey Parks

    When Casey Parks came out as a lesbian in college, she assumed her life in the rural South was over. Her mother shunned her, and her pastor asked God to kill her. But then her grandma, a stern conservative who grew up picking cotton, shared a story about her childhood friend, Roy Hudgins. Roy claimed to have been kidnapped as a baby, and Roy was, in Casey’s grandma’s words, a “woman who lived as a man.” Her grandma said to Casey, “Find out what happened to Roy.” So begins Casey’s ten-year quest as well as one of the most stunning books you will experience.

    Upcoming Events

    Friday, September 29 @ 6 pm (free – Corte Madera store) Amy Chua, author of The Golden Gate

    In Berkeley, California, in 1944, Homicide Detective Al Sullivan has just left the swanky Claremont Hotel after a drink in the bar when a presidential candidate is assassinated in one of the rooms upstairs. A rich industrialist with enemies among the anarchist factions on the far left, Walter Wilkinson could have been targeted by any number of groups. But strangely, Sullivan’s

    investigation brings up the specter of another tragedy at the Claremont, ten years earlier: the death of seven-year-old Iris Stafford, a member of the Bainbridge family, one of the wealthiest in all of San Francisco. Some say she haunts the Claremont still.

    Chua’s page-turning debut brings to life a historical era rife with turbulent social forces and groundbreaking forensic advances, when race and class defined the very essence of power, sex, and justice, and introduces a fascinating character in Detective

    Sullivan, a mixed-race former Army officer who is still reckoning with his own history.

    Saturday, September 30 @ 7 pm (ticketed – Great Star Theater SF) Aparna Nancherla, author of The Unreliable Narrator

    Unreliable Narrator is a collection of essays that uses Aparna’s signature humor to illuminate an interior life, one constantly bossed around by her depression (whom she calls Brenda), laced with anxiety like a horror movie full of jump-scares, and plagued by an unrepenting love-hate relationship with her career as a painfully shy standup comedian. But luckily, crippling self-doubt comes with the gift of keen self-examination. These essays deliver hilarious and incredibly insightful meditations on body image,

    productivity culture, the ultra-meme-ability of mental health language, and who, exactly, gets to make art “about nothing.”

    Monday, October 2 @ 5:30 pm (free – Ferry Building store) Kashmir Hill, author of Your Face Belongs to Us

    In this riveting account, Hill tracks the improbable rise of Clearview AI, helmed by Hoan Ton-That, an Australian computer engineer, and Richard Schwartz, a former Rudy Giuliani advisor, and its astounding collection of billions of faces from the

    internet. Facial recognition technology has been quietly growing more powerful for decades. This technology has already been used in wrongful arrests in the U.S. Unregulated, it could expand the reach of policing, as it has in China and Russia, to a

    terrifying, dystopian level. Your Face Belongs to Us is a gripping true story about the rise of a technological superpower and an

    urgent warning that, in the absence of vigilance and government regulation, Clearview AI is one of many new technologies that challenge what Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once called “the right to be let alone.”

    Top of Your Stack – Recommendations from Book Passage
    Published on September 21, 2023