Upcoming Events

*Unless otherwise noted, all events take place at the Book Club of California and are free and open to the public. Please refer to the description under each event.

Email programs@bccbooks.org for any questions, or call (415) 781-7532 ext. 3

Health Safety Update: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The safety and well-being of our members, visitors, and staff continues to be our primary focus. In an effort to encourage social distancing to halt the spread of the coronavirus, we have made the decision to temporarily close our club rooms and cancel in-person programs and events.

Please consider joining us for a live online program listed below.

Many of our staff will be working remotely so please contact them by email or phone. Staff contact information can be found on our website.

Glen Dawson: Mountaineer and Bookman
Monday, November 9, 2020, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

Glen Dawson (1912-2016) was a beloved and renowned man of books as well as an avid globe-trotting climber who achieved dozens of mountaineering first ascents. As a partner of Dawson’s Book Shop for 60 years, he was influential in rare book circles.

This program features the well-illustrated volume, tracing his long lifetime of accomplishments and including a history of the Book Shop, which was a cultural mecca for over a century.

A live online presentation by Elizabeth Pomeroy, author

Click here to register

Port of Los Angeles: Conflict, Commerce and the Fight for Control
Thursday, November 12, 2020, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

With years of research and more than 200 maps and images, Geraldine Knatz shapes an insightful story of the Port of Los Angeles, from its early entrepreneurs to the city’s business and political leadership, and the inevitable conflicts that arose between them. Knatz digs into the back stories of the key players in a hardcore, well-documented piece of storytelling at its best.

Port of Los Angeles matches a topic—the history of Los Angeles Harbor—with someone of unquestionable authority to tackle the subject. Knatz worked nearly four decades at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, her last eight years as Executive Director at Los Angeles. In this remarkable book, her expertise shows.

Port of Los Angeles reads like a script for another Chinatown, only this time it’s about saltwater and controlling the waterfront, not drinking water and controlling the land. Knatz takes readers on a journey that will educate and inspire, and fills these pages with real-life intrigue, masterminds, and politics extraordinaire. Port of Los Angeles will leave the world’s maritime aficionados spellbound and historians in awe. A must-read for anyone who treasures the history of Los Angeles.

A live, online presentation by Geraldine Knatz, author

This event is co-sponsored and hosted by the Pasadena Public Library

Click here to register!

H.G. Wells & Frederic Goudy: California Dreamin’
Monday, November 16, 2020, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

After H. G. Wells and Frederic Goudy collaborated on the Door in The Wall project — their creative compass seemed to always point west to “The Golden State” of California.

Part 1: “Time Traveler In Tinseltown” showcases H. G. Wells and Hollywood’s Golden Age — featuring such Sci-Fi classics as The Time Machine, The Invisible Man and The War of the Worlds.

Part 2: “Frederic Goudy: The Titan of Type” explores the great private presses of the age: The Village Press, The Grabhorn Press and University of California Press and their finest printed editions from Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, The Hollow Land by William Morris, Door in The Wall by H. G. Wells to Moby Dick by Herman Melville.

This talk will explore H. G. Wells first Sci-fi film and the creation of some of Goudy’s greatest California type designs. It will include some wonderful yarns of the key figures of the era — Mitchell Kennerley, William Morris, Sir Emery Walker, Henry James, George Bernard Shaw, William Randolph Hearst, Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, Orson Welles, Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Bertha Goudy, and Edwin, Robert and Jane Grabhorn.

An Illustrated talk by Rex Parker, artist, designer, and illustrator

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Aloha Amigos! Richard H. Dillon, Author, Librarian, Historian
Monday, November 23, 2020, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

Richard H. “Dick” Dillon (1924-2016) was a world-famous western historian, librarian, teacher, and public speaker.  He enjoyed a very long (60+ year) and tremendously productive association with the Book Club of California.   Between 1951 and 2012 Dick Dillon published more than 90 articles and book reviews in the Book Club’s Quarterly News-Letter and more than another two dozen stand-alone publications, mostly fine-printed keepsakes, but also full-length books, including Texas Argonauts (1987:  Book Club Publication No. 186) and Napa Valley Heyday (2004:  Book Club Publication No. 218). Dillon served as President of the Book Club of California for two consecutive terms, from 1977 to 1979.

Dillon was the head librarian at the Sutro Library for nearly 30 years, and also taught librarianship and history at many institutions, including U.C. Berkeley, the University of Hawaii and UCLA, but for the longest uninterrupted period (40 years) at the University of San Francisco. No other California writer of recent vintage was as widely published:  he was the author of more than two dozen prize-winning full-length books at major commercial and university presses, of hundreds of articles and more than a thousand book reviews in scholarly journals, in popular magazines, and in more than a dozen different newspapers.  First published at age 10, Dick Dillon was a 4th generation Californian and a decorated WWII WIA combat veteran. His 40 academic and literary awards, including the Book Club’s Oscar Lewis Award (1997) and the Laura Bride Powers Award from the City of San Francisco (1970), spanned a 73-year period.  His life and remarkable literary output have just been celebrated in a brand-new book, Aloha, Amigos! The Richard H. Dillon Memorial Volume, published as Brand Book 24 (2020) by the Los Angeles Corral of Westerners International.

This is a live, online presentation by Brian Dervin Dillon, Ph.D., editor and author

Click here to register 

Beauty Bound as British Propaganda: The Bengal Annual for 1830
Wednesday, December 9, 2020, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

In an effort to spread the authority of England, London publishers often fostered the distribution of illustrated literary annuals and other serial forms to all of Britain’s colonial holdings, including India where Macauley claimed that British reading materials were culturally and socially superior over the colonial (and colonized) subjects. Editor and poet, David Lester Richardson, banked on this popularity by publishing the first literary annual in India, The Bengal Annual for 1830, which included 49 literary texts and 7 woodcut engravings. Far from the gilt-edged and lavishly bound London annuals, Richardson pronounced that “an Editor has to exercise his taste and skill in the arrangement of the various materials” (Preface iv) and opens the volume with a 6-stanza poem immediately followed by “The Literati of British India: A Sketch” by an anonymous author who declares that “we have in India few such personages as men of letters” (4) and that the demand for English literature as a hindrance to the growth of “an indigenous literature” (5). Even with all of this nationalist rhetoric, Richardson closes the 352-page volume with Harachandra Ghose’s translation of “Anacreon, An Ode” from Greek into Bengali. Does The Bengal Annual, despite Richardson’s protests, break free of British colonialism’s stranglehold on material forms of the serial? Or is The Bengal Annual simply another representation of Western capitalism co-opting cultural and artistic excellence for its own glorification? And, at that, promulgating the excellence of a literary form that had been disdainfully accused in 1829 of being merely women’s books?

An illustrated talk and digital exhibit by Katherine D. Harris, Professor, Department of English and Comparative Literature, San José State University

Click here to register








Charmian Kittredge London: Trailblazer, Author, Adventurer
Thursday, December 10, 2020, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

> This event is co-sponsored and hosted by the Pasadena Public Library

Charmian Kittredge London (1871–1955) was the epitome of a modern woman. Free-spirited and adventurous, she defied modern expectations of femininity. Today she is best known as the wife of the famous American author Jack London, yet she was a literary trailblazer in her own right. This biography is the first book to tell the complete story of Charmian’s life—freed from the shadow cast by her famous husband.

In this biography, Iris Jamahl Dunkle draws the reader into Charmian’s private and public worlds, underscoring her literary achievements and the significant role she played in promoting her husband’s legacy. Her life, as Dunkle emphasizes, required fortitude and bravery, and in many ways it paralleled the history of the American West.

An illustrated talk by Iris Jamahl Dunkle, author

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The Book as Art Object in California, Then and Now
Monday, December 14, 2020, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

> This event is co-presented by the American Printing History Association Northern California

The history of printing in California, though still relatively young, is yet venerable, spotty, and incomplete. In this talk, Peter Koch surveys roughly a century of printing in the Golden State that emphasises the book as a work of art, from the Arts and Crafts movement to more contemporary movements. From this fragmented history, Koch will pick up on threads that nevertheless tie seemingly disparate printerly activity into a discernible–if polysemic–tradition.

An illustrated talk by Peter Koch, printer

Click here to register





A Bookbinder’s Miscellany
Monday, December 21, 2020, 5-6:15 PM
*A live online presentation

Dominic has been a self-employed bookbinder since 1990. Since that time he has bound, rebound and restored many fabulous books. He has also collected interesting and unusual bindings, seen many more, and had adventures teaching in four continents. In this light-hearted talk he will share some of his favourite moments from his encounters with the world of bookbinding and it’s related disciplines.

An illustrated talk by Dominic Riley, bookbinder and artist

Click here to register


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