2015 Events


Exhibition Opening: Holiday Cards from William P. Wreden, Family and Friends. Monday, December 14, 2015, 5-7 p.m.

The Book Club’s pop-up holiday exhibition: Holiday Cards from William P. Wreden, Family and Friends features over seventy years of playful and festive fine press cards. Curator Bo Wreden will speak about the collection. More information on the exhibition here.


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.


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. RSVP to shruti@bccbooks.org to attend.


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

For a narrated slideshow of Dr. Ferrell’s talk, please click here.

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.


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

For a narrated slideshow of Nicholas Olesberg’s talk, please click here.

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.


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.


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

To view a narrated slideshow of Nicholas Basbanes’s talk, please click here.

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.


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.


Exhibition Opening: The Exhibition That Never Was: The Panama-Pacific International Exposition, the Book Club of California, and a Century of Fine Books.
Monday, September 28, 2015, 5-7 pm

PPIElogoWEBThe program will begin with brief remarks by Book Club Librarian Henry Snyder, and feature historian Laura Ackley, who will present an illustrated talk, “A Whirlwind Tour of the PPIE,” which traces the history of the fair from its original concept in 1904 through its development and all the way to its gala opening in February 1915.

Laura Ackley is the author of San Francisco’s Jewel City: The Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915published by Heyday Books, and winner of the 2015 California Book Award, Gold Medal for Californiana.

The event is free and open to the public. Presented in conjunction with PPIE100, the citywide celebration of the 100th anniversary of the PPIE.

More information on the exhibition here.



Center for the Art of Translation: Two Voices Salon with Clarice Lispector translator Katrina Dodson. Thursday, September 24, 2015, 5:30-7 pm

For the first Two Voices Salon of the 2015-16 season, the Center for the Art of Translation brings Clarice Lispector translator Katrina Dodson to the Book Club of California.

Katrina will be discussing her translation of The Complete Stories of Clarice Lispector with Scott Esposito, marketing director of Two Lines Press. Beginning with Lispector’s adolescence and ending just before her death, these eighty-six stories show a singular literary intelligence developing throughout an entire lifetime.

Katrina has spent years perfecting their English-language translation, and she will discuss with us all the ins and outs of working with Lispector’s famously bizarre Portuguese. We’ll also talk about how Lispector’s art evolved through the years and just why her mysterious, profound writing has touched so many readers.

As always, refreshments and snacks will be served, and don’t worry if you have to join us late. Be sure to bring your copies of Lispector with you, and be ready to participate in the conversation!


From A to B: Collections and Discoveries from Atlanta to Berkeley. An Illustrated Talk by David Faulds.
Monday, September 21, 2015, 5-7 pm

Co-sponsored by the NCC/ABAA. David Faulds has spent over a decade working with some of the finest rare book collections in the country. In his talk, David will discuss highlights of Emory University’s library and talk about some of the treasures he’s discovered in the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, where he is currently Curator of Rare Books and Literary Manuscripts–everything from medieval manuscripts and modern literary manuscripts, to fine bindings and cookbooks–while comparing and contrasting the collections at the two institutions.

Free and open to the public but seating is limited. RSVP to shruti@bccbooks.org.

David Faulds is Curator of Rare Books and Literary Manuscripts at The Bancroft Library. A native of Scotland, he received his Masters in Library Science from North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC. After graduation he worked as Assistant to the Librarian at St Edmund Hall, a college that forms part of the University of Oxford. He then returned to the United States to spend two years as Catalog Librarian at Yale University’s Beinecke Library. This was followed by a twelve year term as Rare Book Librarian at Emory University in Atlanta, GA before his move to the Bay Area in 2014.


Best Kept Secrets: The Fiction of Lucia Berlin. With Stephen Emerson, Gloria Frym, Barry Gifford, Alastair Johnston, August Kleinzahler, Jim Nisbet, and Michael Wolfe
Wednesday, September 9, 2015, 6:30-8 pm

Join City Lights Books and the Book Club of California to celebrate the release of A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories, by Lucia Berlin. Edited by Stephen Emerson. Foreword by Lydia Davis. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Opening statement and appreciation by Stephen Emerson, with readings by Gloria Frym, Barry Gifford, August Kleinzahler, Jim Nisbet, and Michael Wolfe

A Manual for Cleaning Women compiles the best work of the legendary short-story writer Lucia Berlin. With her trademark blend of humor and melancholy, Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday–uncovering moments of grace in the cafeterias and Laundromats of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Northern California upper classes, and from the perspective of a cleaning woman alone in a hotel dining room in Mexico City. The women of Berlin’s stories are lost, but they are also strong, clever, and extraordinarily real. They are hitchhikers, hard workers, bad Christians. With the wit of Lorrie Moore and the grit of Raymond Carver, they navigate a world of jockeys, doctors, and switchboard operators. They laugh, they mourn, they drink. Berlin, a highly influential writer despite having published little in her lifetime, conjures these women from California, Mexico, and beyond. Lovers of the short story will not want to miss this remarkable collection from a master of the form.

Lucia Berlin (1936-2004) was first published when she was twenty-four in The Atlantic Monthly and in Saul Bellow and Keith Botsford’s journal The Noble Savage. Berlin worked brilliantly but sporadically throughout the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s. Her stories are culled from her early childhood in various Western mining towns; her glamorous teenage years in Santiago, Chile; three failed marriages; a lifelong problem with alcoholism; her years spent in Berkeley, New Mexico, and Mexico City; and the various jobs she later held to support her writing and her four sons, including as a high-school teacher, a switchboard operator, a physician’s assistant, and a cleaning woman.

Stephen Emerson is the editor of A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories of Lucia Berlin. He was her close friend and constant correspondent from soon after their first meeting in 1978. His own books include Neighbors (stories, Tombouctou) and The Wife (short novel, Longriver Books). His work has appeared in New Directions in Poetry and Prose, Hambone, and The Review of Contemporary Fiction. Emerson worked as an editor for many years and, later, toiled in what Elmore Leonard called “the advertising game.” He is now writing new stories steadily, but slowly.

Gloria Frym is the author of two short story collections—Distance No Object (City Lights) and How I Learned (Coffee House Press)—as well as many volumes of poetry, including Mind Over Matter and Any Time Now. Her book Homeless at Home received an American Book Award. She currently chairs and teaches in the MFA in Writing program at California College of the Arts. The True Patriot, a collection of her prose, is due out in Fall 2015.

Novelist, screenwriter, and poet Barry Gifford’s most recent books include The Up-Down, Sailor & Lula: The Complete Novels, Imagining Paradise: New & Selected Poems and The Roy Stories. His film credits include Wild at Heart, Perdita Durango, Lost Highway, and City of Ghosts. His novel Night People was awarded Italy’s Premio Brancati, and he has received awards from PEN, the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Library Association, the Writers Guild of America, and the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. Gifford’s work appears in such magazines as The New Yorker, Punch, Esquire, La Nouvelle Revue Française, Film Comment, and Rolling Stone.

Alastair Johnston co-founded Poltroon Press in Berkeley with the artist Frances Butler in 1975 to publish original works of poetry and fiction. He has written much of the literature on California printing history, as well as books on the history of typography. In 1983 Poltroon published Lucia Berlin’s Legacy, a story about a dipsomaniacal dentist and grandfather, later re-titled “Dr. H.A. Moynihan.” In 1988 they published Safe & Sound, her third collection of stories, illustrated by Butler. Berlin herself helped set the book on the Linotype machine and later delighted in referring to herself as a “tramp printer.”

August Kleinzahler’s most recent collections of poetry are Sleeping It Off in Rapid City (Selected Poems), which won the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award, and Hotel Oneira, both from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. He is the author of two books of prose, Cutty, One Rock: Low Characters and Strange Places, Gently Explained and Music: I-LXXIV. Kleinzahler also edited the Selected Poems of Thom Gunn (2009). He is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books (where he’s written extensively about Lucia Berlin). In 2008, Kleinzahler won the Lannan Literary Award for Poetry. He walks in beauty like the night .

Jim Nisbet, a long-time friend of Lucia Berlin and an avid fan of her stories, has published twenty books including Lethal Injection, widely regarded as a classic roman noir, and Laminating The Conic Frustum, his sole non-fiction title. Current projects include a fourteenth novel, You Don’t Pencil, and a complete translation of Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal.

Michael Wolfe writes poetry and prose and produces documentary films. Twice a recipient of the Amy Lowell Traveling Poetry Scholarship, he was for many years the publisher of Tombouctou Books, a press based in Bolinas, California that published, among many other titles, Lucia Berlin’s second collection, Phantom Pain. His most recent book is a set of ancient Greek epitaphs in translation from Johns Hopkins University Press, Cut These Words into Stone. He lives with his wife in San Juan Bautista.

At the Book Club of California.


Robinson and Una Jeffers: A Life in Letters. An Illustrated Talk by James Karman.
Monday, August 31, 2015, 5-7 pm

Please click here to view a narrated slideshow of the presentation.

The Collected Letters of Robinson Jeffers, with Selected Letters of Una Jeffers, published in three volumes by Stanford University Press, tells the story of two remarkable people.  In this presentation, James Karman will provide an overview of the edition, read excerpts from important letters, and discuss the significance of Jeffers’ Book Club of California publications.

James Karman, Emeritus Professor at California State University, Chico, coordinated the Humanities Program and taught in the Department of English and the Department of Comparative Religion and Humanities. He is the author or editor of several books about Jeffers, including Stones of the Sur: Poetry by Robinson Jeffers, Photographs by Morley Baer (2001), The Collected Letters of Robinson Jeffers, with Selected Letters of Una Jeffers (2009, 2011, and 2015), and Robinson Jeffers: Poet and Prophet (2015), all published by Stanford University Press.


SOLD OUT: A Walk Through Alice in Bookland with Mark Burstein.
Thursday, August 20, 2015, 12-2 pm

In case you missed curator Mark Burstein’s delightful talk at the opening of Alice in Bookland, do join him at the Book Club for lunch and an intimate look at the collection before it comes down.

Alice in Bookland presents the highlights of the Mark and Sandor Burstein Collection, which spans over 3,500 items. On display are rarities like the limited edition bearing the illuminations of Salvador Dalí (1969), a Black Sun Press volume with pictures by Marie Laurencin (1930), and the Cheshire Cat Press editions (1988 and 1998), hand-typeset on handmade paper with fine bindings by Eleanor Ramsey. More information here.

A former Printer’s Devil of the Roxburghe Club, Mark Burstein claims to be genetically predisposed to loving the Alice books. He has served the Lewis Carroll Society of North America as chairman of the publication committee; editor of its magazine, Knight Letter; series editor of The Pamphlets of Lewis Carroll; vice president; and president. In addition, he has edited, introduced, or contributed to fourteen books on Carroll, including, as editor and art director, the forthcoming Annotated Alice: The 150th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (W. W. Norton, fall 2015) and Alice in Wonderland: Dodgson, Dalí, and the Fourth Dimension (Princeton University Press, fall 2015).

The BCC will provide beverages. To attend, please RSVP on EventBrite. Tickets are required for this event.


The Book As Art: Form and Function in Creative Book Structures. An Illustrated Talk by Dominic Riley
Monday, July 13, 2015, 5-7 pm

Please click here to view a narrated slideshow of the presentation.

This lecture illustrates the potential of the book as a three dimensional object, from pop-ups, hidden fore-edge paintings, peep-show books, to books with secret compartments and intriguing surprises. Whatever the reason for the creation of these unusual books, playfulness and humor are always the guiding principles. Dominic will show work from his favorite book artists, including examples of experimental book structures he has collected and some he has made himself as part of his interest in this creative genre. Seen together they represent over two hundred years of questioning the notion of “what is a book?”

Dominic Riley is an internationally renowned bookbinder, artist, and teacher, having won over twenty prizes for his unique fine bindings, made either for exhibitions, competitions, or for commission. His work is in many public and private collections including the British Library, the Grolier Club, and the Bodleian in Oxford. In June 2013 he won the Sir Paul Getty award for the best binding in the International Bookbinding Competition. He spent the year after the competition traveling throughout Europe with the exhibition, and recently spent two months lecturing and teaching in Australia and New Zealand.


Murder Most Foul: Printed Sources on Homicide in Early America Monday, June 22, 2015, 5-7 pm

In the summer of 2012 the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan mounted an exhibition of primary sources on murder in America from the 1670s to 1900.  Clements director Kevin Graffagnino’s will give us a virtual tour of that exhibition with his illustrated presentation featuring books, pamphlets, serials, prints, photographs, and ephemera that reveal the ways our ancestors dealt with murder as vehicle for moral instruction, basis for social attitudes and legal policy, and source of guilty-pleasure titillation.  Given the enduring popularity of crime and punishment for American readers, collectors, and researchers, this lecture should appeal to scholarly and popular audiences alike, while also offering libraries and historical organizations a golden opportunity to cultivate new support among their local cutthroats, assassins, poisoners, stranglers, hatchet men (and women), decapitators, cannibals, parricides, matricides, fratricides, pistoleros, and other mischievous folk.

Kevin Graffagnino has been director of the University of Michigan’s William L. Clements Library since 2008.  He has also served as executive director of the Vermont and Kentucky state historical societies, as library director at the Wisconsin Historical Society, and as a Special Collections curator at the University of Vermont.  Author or editor of seventeen books and dozens of scholarly and popular articles, Dr. Graffagnino has delivered hundreds of lectures from Maine to California on American history, antiquarian books, and related topics.  He started his bibliophilic career as a seventeen-year-old antiquarian bookseller specializing in Vermont history to pay his way through college.


Dance for Life: The California Legacy of Isadora Duncan. An Illustrated Talk by Margaretta K. Mitchell
Monday, June 15, 2015, 5-7 pm

Dance for Life,  Margaretta K. Mitchell’s stunning portfolio of photogravures and original text, tells the story of the Temple of Wings in Berkeley, California and the legacy of the dance of Isadora Duncan that was practiced there for three generations. The project is the result of twenty years of original research and photography. It culminated in a 1985 exhibition at the Oakland Museum, and inspired a symphony, Berkeley Images, commissioned by Kent Nagano for the Berkeley Symphony in 2000.

In this illustrated talk, Mitchell will share images from the portfolio as she describes the process of creating it—including printing and design. Along the way, she will describe the legacy of Isadora Dunca (as famous in her day as Madonna is now); the dance she inspired; her friendship with her fellow-progressive, Florence Treadwell; and the architecture of the Temple of Wings—the product of an early-twentieth-century Bay Area culture that envisioned a “new Mediterranean” with Berkeley as the Athens of the West.

Margaretta K. Mitchell is a highly accomplished photographer, writer, and educator. Her work has been exhibited nationally and is in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, the New York Public Library, Princeton University, UCLA, the Bancroft Library, Smith College Museum, and the Royal Print Collection, Windsor, England, among others, including many private collections. She is the author of five books (including, most recently, The Face of Poetry, UC Press, 2005) and is a contributor to many more books and publications.

Photo: Victory by Margaretta K. Mitchell, from the portfolio Dance for Life.


SOLD OUT. Paper is Part of the Picture: Highlights from the Strathmore Archive, 1898-1964. A reception, pop-up exhibition, and presentation by Chris Harrold, Creative Director at Mohawk Fine Paper.
Monday, June 8, 2015, 5-7 pm

Unfortunately, this event has sold out, but please click here to be added to the wait list.

Celebrate Design Week at the Book Club of California with a hosted reception, pop-up exhibition, and presentation by Chris Harrold, Creative Director at Mohawk Fine Paper.

The history of Strathmore Paper Company’s promotional efforts beginning in the late 19th century is intimately related to the emergence of American graphic design as a profession distinct from both printing and art. Throughout the twentieth century, Strathmore relied on well-known designers, illustrators and typographers to demonstrate how paper was more than a substrate but an element on par with illustration and type. The evidence of this sustained commitment has been beautifully preserved in the Strathmore Archives. Individually, every object is an example of impeccable craftsmanship. Together they chronicle over 100 years of American design and style.


In the Library: Clifford Burke’s Cranium Press
Monday, May 11, 2015, 5-7 pm

Join us for an informal gathering in the library to view works from the Book Club’s collection.

Free and open to the public but seating is limited. RSVP to georgie@bccbooks.org


Ruth Asawa School of the Arts: A Reading by Students in the Creative Writing Program
Monday, May 4, 2015, 5-7 pm

Reception: 5-5:30 pm
Reading: 5:30-6:30 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 4. 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.


You’ve Got Pirates! An Illustrated Talk by David Levy
Monday, April 20, 2015, 5-7 pm

5 pm: Hospitality
6 pm: Presentation

We all know the phrase “according to Hoyle” and likely grew up with a nearby edition of Hoyle’s Games. In this illustrated talk, David Levy will take us back to the beginning—the 1742 publication of Edmond Hoyle’s A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist and its troubled history. The book was quickly pirated and the owner of the copyright, bookseller Francis Cogan, took extraordinary, desperate steps to combat the pirates. Emerging from Cogan’s battle are some rare and unusual books and broadsides, and a Hoyle brand that has survived for more than 250 years. In his talk, David Levy will bring this tale to life with images of rarities from his personal collection, including piracies and works autographed by Hoyle to ensure authenticity, as well as contemporary source material: literary quotations, newspaper advertisements, business records, and a mid-eighteenth century decorative object that strangely provides bibliographical evidence of a Hoyle publication that has not otherwise survived.

David Levy is a collector and scholar of printed books about card and board games, with a focus on the writings of Edmond Hoyle. His Hoyle collection is second in scope only to that of the Bodleian Library. He maintains a blog, Edmond Hoyle, Gent, with more than a hundred essays on the bibliography and history of gaming literature, and is working on a descriptive bibliography of Hoyle’s work, an early version of which appears on his website.

Image: The Laws of Whist according to Hoyle


Pop-Up Exhibition: Bay Area Book Arts Programs, Student Showcase
Monday, April 13, 2015, 5-7 pm

5 pm: Exhibition & Hospitality
6 pm: Presentations

A one-night-only exhibition of work by students enrolled in the book art programs at Academy of Art University, Mills College, San Francisco Art Institute, and City College of San Francisco, with presentations by the students.

Free and open to the public. More information coming soon.


The 2015 Oscar Lewis Awards
Monday, March 30, 2015, 5-7 pm

Join us for a ceremony celebrating the recipients of the 2015 Oscar Lewis Awards, Dr. Gray Brechin for his contributions to Western History, and Harry and Sandra Reese for their contributions to the Book Arts.

The Oscar Lewis Awards were established by the Book Club of California in 1994 in honor of Oscar Lewis (1893-1992), San Francisco author, historian, and Book Club secretary from 1921-1946.

Please click here for more information about this year’s awards and a list of past recipients.

Press play below below to listen to Gray Brechin’s 2015 acceptance speech:

Press play below to listen to Harry and Sandra Reese’s 2015 acceptance speeches:


In the Library: A Circle of Friends. A showing of books by and about Ward Ritchie, Lawrence Clark Powell, and Gloria Stuart
Monday, March 23, 2015, 5-7 pm

In conjunction with our winter/spring 2015 exhibition, A Circle of Friends: Ward Ritchie, Lawrence Clark Powell, and Gloria Stuart

Space is limited. RSVP to georgie@bccbooks.org


On Paper: The Everything of its Two-Thousand Year History. An Illustrated Talk by Nicholas A. Basbanes
Monday, March 16, 2015, 5-7 p.m.

Regarded by the Chinese as one of their four outstanding inventions of antiquity, paper has had an extraordinary run over the past two thousand years as a “defining technology.”  Hailed in the seventeenth century by Sir Francis Bacon as an “absolutely singular substance,” it has been civilization’s constant companion, preserving our history, recording our thoughts, facilitating our research, assisting our thoughts as an instrument of the creative process. Claims of a “paperless society” being imminent notwithstanding, there are still, today, more than 20,000 identifiable commercial uses of paper in the world.  Nicholas Basbanes will discuss his eight years of research into this fascinating subject, one that began as an inquiry into the stuff of textual transmission over the past two millennia, but in the process became an examination of a much larger cultural phenomenon.

Nicholas A. Basbanes is the author of nine works of cultural history, with a particular emphasis on various aspects of books and book history. 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 named a New York Times Notable Book. His most recent, On Paper: The Everything of Its Two Thousand Year History (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013), was selected last year by the American Library Association as one of three finalists for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. He has reviewed books and written OpEd pieces for numerous national publications, and writes a featured column for Fine Books & Collections magazine. He is now working on a dual biography of the nineteenth-century poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Frances Appleton Longfellow, to be titled Cross of Snow, and to be published by Alfred A. Knopf.


Poetry at the Edge: Five Contemporary California Poets. Publication party at the Gamble House, Pasadena Monday, March 9, 2015, 5-7 p.m.

The Book Club of California’s publication number 233 features poems by Joseph Stroud, Kay Ryan, Gary Young, Martha Ronk, and Michael Hannon, and was exquisitely designed and edited by Carolee of Campbell of Ninja Press.

Join us for this Southern California publication party at the Gamble House, 4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena, 91103. More information about the Gamble House is available here.

Click here for more information about the book, and to order it.


The Book Club of California at the 48th California International Antiquarian Book Fair
February 6-8, 2015

This event is being held in conjunction with Rare Book Week West.

More information about the book fair is available here.


BA escudo ByN 

A City Built on Books: Pedro de Mendoza and the Founding of Buenos Aires. An Illustrated Talk by Alberto Manguel
Monday, February 9, 2015, 5-7 pm

Press play below to hear a recording of Alberto Manguel’s talk:

This event was held in conjunction with Rare Book Week West.

In 1536, Pedro de Mendoza arrived in South America and founded a city on the banks of a wide and muddy river. Mendoza named the city Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Ayre, a name that the centuries would abbreviate to Buenos Aires. Five years later, due to the resistance of the natives and Mendoza’s own shortcomings, the city was abandoned, to be founded again in 1580 by Juan de Garay. Mendoza had brought with him a small collection of books that in a secret way define perhaps the city that he had imagined. Perhaps all cities are founded with a library in mind.

Alberto Manguel was born in Buenos Aires in 1948 and is now a Canadian citizen. He is the author of A History of Reading and The Library at Night. His latest book is Curiosity, to be published in March 2015 by Yale University Press.



The Book Club of California at CODEX V
February 8-11, 2015

This event is being held in conjunction with Rare Book Week West.

More information about the book fair is available here.



Exhibition Opening: A Circle of Friends: Ward Ritchie, Lawrence Clark Powell, and Gloria Stuart
January 26, 2015, 5-7 pm

With a talk by Henry Snyder, BCC librarian and exhibition curator.

More information available here.

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