Upcoming Events


Offsite Litquake Event: The Growth and Evolution of the Bay Area Artisanal Food Movement.
Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Club will co-present a panel on the growth and evolution of the artisanal food movement as part of Litquake’s inaugural food book festival: Eat, Drink, and Be Literary (located offsite at Z space in SF’s Mission District). Moderated by author and chef Joyce Goldstein, this panel will feature leaders of Bay Area culinary treasures such as Cowgirl Creamery, Guittard Chocolate, Fatted Calf Charcuterie, Della Fattoria Bread, and Bi-Rite Market.

For more information on ticketing, please visit the Litquake event page.


Litquake Event: Materiality and the Longfellows.
Monday, October 12, 2015, 5-7 p.m.

Nicholas Basbanes speaks about his work-in-progress Cross of Snow: The Love Story and Lasting Legacy of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Alfred A. Knopf), which traces the lives of 19th-century poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his wife Frances Appleton Longfellow. Earlier this year, Basbanes was awarded a Public Scholar research fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities in support of this effort, one of 36 scholars selected nationwide in the new program. In this talk, he will give us an early look at the book’s narrative structure, which heavily relies on an examination of material objects, and what they can tell us about these interesting people and their times.

Space is very limited, so please RSVP to programs@bccbooks.org. Co-presented by Litquake.

A long-time Book Club member, Nicholas Basbanes is the author of nine critically acclaimed works of cultural history, focusing primarily on books and book culture. His first, A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books, was a finalist in 1995 for the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction, and was named a New York Times Notable Book. His most recent, On Paper: The Everything of Its Two Thousand Year History (Knopf, 2013, Vintage, 2014), was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities research fellowship, and was a finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction for 2014.


100th Anniversary of the PPIE: Print-Your-Own Broadside Party.
Monday, October 19, 2015, 5-7 p.m.

Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition by printing your own commemorative broadside on the Book Club’s Columbian Hand Press. The broadside will feature an original woodblock by engraver Richard Wagener to be unveiled at the event.

The event is free, but an RSVP to shruti@bccbooks.org is required, and does not guarantee a chance at the press. Printing will occur on a first come first serve basis. A limited number of broadsides will be available for purchase after the event: all proceeds go towards supporting future events at the Book Club. Please email lesya@bccbooks.org to reserve a copy of the print.

Special thanks to Li Jiang, and Fred and Barbara Voltmer of Havilah Press for their generous contributions to this event, which include designing, typesetting, and preparing the broadsides for completion on the Club’s Columbian.



Publication Party for Architects and Artists: The Work of Ernest and Esther Born.
Monday, October 26, 2015, 5-7 p.m.

Please join us for a party celebrating the Book Club’s 234th publication, Architects and Artists: The Work of Ernest and Esther Born, by Nicholas Olsberg. At once a serious contribution to the literature on modern architecture and design and a rich and varied visual feast, this publication makes evident the legendary draftsmanship and graphic inventiveness of Ernest Born and rediscovers the brilliant photographic eye of Esther Born.

With remarks by author Nicholas Olsberg.


Victorian Bibliophilia: How the Parker Society Invented the Reformation.
Monday, November 2, 2015, 5-7 p.m.

Presented by the California Rare Book School at The Book Club of California.

5 pm: Hospitality
6 pm: Talk

Dr. Lori Anne Ferrell discusses the Parker Society: a nineteenth century subscription association organized to publish “accurate” editions of Tudor reformation texts (sixty volumes in all, still found, in crumbling splendor, on every research and clerical library shelf in America and Britain). This is no genteel and pious tale, but a gripping narrative of Victorian religious politics, mad runs on London book auctions, and cut-throat collecting, peopled by bibliophiles determined to not only corner the market in sixteenth century memorabilia but also to rewrite history.

Dr. Lori Anne Ferrell is a professor of Early Modern Literature and History at Claremont Graduate University and a long-time reader at the Huntington Library in Southern California. Her talk is based upon research conducted while she was a visiting fellow at Pembroke College Cambridge and the Newberry Library in 2014-15.



Southern California Launch Party for Architects and Artists: The Work of Ernest and Esther Born.
Tuesday, November 3, 2015, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

The Book Club invites its Southern California members to a publication party celebrating Architects and Artists at the home of Doug Moreland in Bel Air. Book Club members, RSVP to shruti@bccbooks.org to attend.



A Celebration of the Catamaran Literary Reader.
Monday, November 9, 2015, 5-7 p.m.

5 pm: Hospitality
6 pm: Reading

Join the Book Club of California to celebrate three years of the Catamaran Literary Reader and the launch of the Fall 2015 issue, with readings by Syed Afzal Haider, Robert Kerwin, Christian Kiefer and Jack Shoemaker.

Syed Afzal Haider was born in India, grew up in Pakistan and was educated in America. Oxford University Press, Milkweed Editions, Penguin Books, and Pearson, Longman Literature have anthologized Haider’s writings, and his short stories and essays have been published in a variety of literary magazines including The Saint Ann’s Review, Amerasia Journal, Rambunctious Review, The Journal of Pakistani Literature and Indian Voices. His novel, To Be With Her, was published by Weavers Press of San Francisco in 2010. “Life of Ganesh” is excerpted from his forthcoming novel of the same title. Haider is the founding editor of the Chicago Quarterly Review and lives in Evanston, Illinois.

Robert Kerwin’s celebrity profiles, essays, short stories, travel and op-ed pieces have appeared in Playboy, Cosmopolitan, Travel & Leisure, Ellipsis, Chicago Quarterly Review, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune Magazine, and Los Angeles Times Calendar, among others. Born in Chicago, he received a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Illinois, and attended University College Dublin, Ireland, as a graduate student reading English Literature. He now lives in northern California, and most recently has been working on a memoir, All To Myself Alone.

Christian Kiefer is the author of the novel The Infinite Tides. His second novel, The Animals, was published in 2015 by Liveright. He is a member of the English faculty at American River College in Sacramento.

Jack Shoemaker was born in California in 1946 and came of age working as a bookseller at a time of political and literary revolution on the West Coast. He has been co-founder, editor and publisher of three major independent imprints, North Point Press, Counterpoint Press, and Shoemaker and Hoard. The list of titles published by Shoemaker traces the careers of several contemporary masters such as Gary Snyder and Wendell Berry, often from an author’s first book to his last.


POSTPONED: Gold Beating: How Gold Leaf Is Made. An Illustrated Talk by John Hastings.

Please check here for the rescheduled date. 

In 1820, John Hastings’ great grandfather founded Hastings and Company, a gold leaf manufacturing company in Philadelphia. It went on to become the largest gold leaf manufacturing company in America, lasting nearly 150 years. In this illustrated talk, Hastings will describe the age-old craft and all the traditions, methods, and surprising facts surrounding it–for example, it takes one ounce of gold to make 175 square feet of gold leaf. Hastings will also discuss gold beating in Japan and Burma, various uses of gold leaf, and why the market for gold leaf collapsed, and he will show an 80-year-old film about gold beating.

John Hastings was the fourth generation to run his family’s business, Hastings & Co., which manufactured gold leaf in Philadelphia for 148 years. After the business closed in 1968, he spent twenty years at the archeological museum of the University of Pennsylvania, developing computer databases for archaeology, and also working on digs in France, India an Tunisia. He moved to the Bay Area in 2001 and lives in Orinda. In recent years he has written several books about gold leaf and his family’s genealogy.

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