Upcoming Events


In the Library: California as an Island
Monday, April 21, 2014 5-7 pm

During this informal gathering in the library, view the Club’s 1972 publication, California as an Island with John McBride and Leonard Rothman. RSVP to georgie@bccbooks.org


Something Wild! Randolph Caldecott to Maurice Sendak and Beyond. An Illustrated Talk by Leonard Marcus.
Friday, April 25, 2014 5-7 pm

In this illustrated talk, historian Leonard Marcus will illuminate the trail-blazing contribution of Victorian illustrator Randolph Caldecott to the art of the picture book, and trace Caldecott’s influence on subsequent masters of the genre, including Beatrix Potter, Robert McCloskey, and Maurice Sendak. A question-and-answer period and book signing to follow.

Leonard Marcus is one of the children’s book world’s leading historians and critics. He is the author of over twenty critically acclaimed books including Dear Genius; Minders of Make-Believe; Show Me a Story!; and Randolph Caldecott: The Man Who Could Not Stop Drawing; and is the editor of Maurice Sendak: A Celebration of the Artist and His Work. Leonard reviews children’s books for The New York Times Book Review, writes a column for The Horn Book, and lectures around the world. He is a founding trustee of the Eric Carle Museum and is the curator of The New York Public Library’s landmark exhibition, “The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter.”

Photograph of Leonard Marcus by Elena Seibert.

Free & open to the public.


Reading: Ruth Asawa School of the Arts Senior Creative Writing Students
Monday, May 5, 2014 5-7 pm

Reading: 5-6 pm
Reception: 5-7 pm

At the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, every Creative Writing student in their 12th grade year proposes and completes a self-directed manuscript of publishable quality called the senior thesis.

Seniors work with a writer in the community who serves as a mentor and advisor, and over the course of a year the students develop and refine their manuscript (typically a collection of poems or short fiction, novella, or play). This year, most of the students are also designing and producing chapbooks of their thesis work.

Please join us to celebrate the completion of these ambitious and impressive theses at a reading on Monday, May 5,. Each of the seniors will read excerpts from their work and have their chapbooks on display. To get a taste of student writing in the CW program at SOTA, and for more information, please visit http://sotacw.org/

Free & open to the public.


Fridays at Enrico’s: A Tribute to Don Carpenter
Tuesday, May 6, 7 pm

An evening of readings and discussion about the life and work of Don Carpenter

With Peter Coyote, Curt Gentry, Louis B. Jones, Anne Lamott, and Jane Vandenburgh

Hosted by Peter Maravelis/City Lights Books at The Book Club of California.

Limited seating. RSVP to City Lights, (415) 362-8193.

Don Carpenter was a close friend of many San Francisco writers, but his closest friendship was with Richard Brautigan, and when Brautigan killed himself, Carpenter tried for some time to write a biography of his remarkable, deeply troubled friend. He finally abandoned that in favor of writing a novel. Fridays at Enrico’s is the story of four writers living in Northern California and Portland during the early, heady days of the Beat scene, a time of youth and opportunity. This story mixes the excitement of beginning with the melancholy of ambition, often thwarted and never satisfied. Loss of innocence is only the first price you pay. These are people, men and women, tender with expectation, at risk and in love. Carpenter also carefully draws a portrait of these two remarkable places, San Francisco and Portland, in the ’50s and early ‘60s, when writers and bohemians were busy creating the groundwork for what came to be the counterculture.

Don Carpenter was born in Berkeley in 1932. Raised in Portland, he enlisted in the air force and returned to the Bay Area at the end of his service. Carpenter was closely involved in the Bay area literary scene, and could often be found in the bars and coffee shops of North Beach with fellow writers like Evan S. Connell Jr., Curt Gentry and Richard Brautigan.He published 10 novels during his lifetime, including A Hard Rain Falling, which George Pelecanos called “a masterpiece,” and A Couple of Comedians, which is thought by some the best novel about Hollywood ever written. Don also had a successful career as a screenwriter, living for long periods in Hollywood where he wrote the movie “Pay Day” (1972).After years of deteriorating health, Don Carpenter committed suicide in Mill Valley in 1995. At the time of his death he was at work on the novel Fridays at Enrico’s. Nearly twenty years later Counterpoint Press is publishing this long awaited work.

About the panelists:

Peter Coyote is an ordained practitioner of Zen Buddhism, activist, and actor. He began his work in street theater and political organizing in San Francisco. In addition to acting in 120 films, Coyote has won an Emmy for narrating the award-winning documentary Pacific Century, and he has cowritten, directed, and performed in the play Olive Pits, which won The Mime Troupe an Obie Award. He is also the author of the memoir Sleeping Where I Fall. Coyote lives in Mill Valley, California.

Anne Lamott is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Grace (Eventually), Plan B, Traveling Mercies, and Operating Instructions, as well as seven novels, including Hard Laughter and Joe Jones. She is a past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Jane Vandenburgh is the award-winning author of two novels, Failure to Zigzag and The Physics of Sunset, as well as Architecture of the Novel, A Writer’s Handbook, The Wrong Dog Dream, and The Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth Century, A Memoir. She has taught writing and literature at U. C. Davis, the George Washington University, and, most recently, at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, California.

Louis B. Jones is the author of the novels Radiance and Innocence, both published by Counterpoint Press. His novels Ordinary Money, Particles and Luck, and California’s Over, are all New York Times Notable Books,

Curt Gentry is an American writer best known for his work co-writing Helter Skelter with Vincent Bugliosi, which detailed the Charles Manson murders and won the 1975 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Fact Crime book.


Exhibition Opening: Bits and Pieces: Ephemera from The Book Club of California Grabhorn Press Collection
Monday, May 12, 2014 5-7 pm

More information about the exhibition coming soon!

Photo: Brothers Edwin (left) and Robert (right) Grabhorn.


Publication Party for The Woods Were Never Quiet by Monique Wentzel
Monday, June 9, 2014 5-7 pm

Please join us for a party celebrating the Book Club’s 232nd publication, The Woods Were Never Quiet, a debut collection of short stories by Monique Wentzel. Printed by Jonathan Clark, with illustrations by Jessica Dunne.

Monique Wentzel is a fifth generation Californian. She earned her MFA at Portland State University and is the recipient of a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. Her work has appeared in ZYZZYVA and the Cimarron Review.

More information about this event coming soon!


A Feast for the Eyes: Gastronomy & Fine Print Symposium
Friday, October 24 & Saturday, October 25, 2014

Currently seeking panel & lecture proposals! Click here for more information.

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