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Literary guide

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:31:25 UT

Literary guide John Brooks “The Girl Behind the Door.” 1 p.m. Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. Alex George “Setting Free the Kites.” 5 p.m. A Great Good Place for Books, 6120 LaSalle Ave., Oakland. Yuval Noah Harari “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow.” 5:30 p.m. Kepler’s Books and Magazines, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. 6 p.m. Green Apple Books on the Park, 1231 9th Ave., S.F. (415) 742-5833. www.greenapplebooks.com. Dweezil Zappa “Stories Beyond the Spotlight.” Kimberly Ford Ford discusses Ken Kesey’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” 1 p.m. Kepler’s Books and Magazines, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. Eastwind Books of Berkeley, 2066 University Ave., Berkeley. Clair Brown Buddhist Economics: An Enlightened Approach to the Dismal Science. 7 p.m. Books Inc., 1491 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. Dirty Old Women book launch party Erotica readings. 7 p.m. Octopus Literary Salon, 2101 Webster St., Oakland. oaklandoctopus.org. Mary Feliz “Scheduled to Death.” 7 p.m. Books Inc., 301 Castro St., Mountain View. New York, Oliver, and Me. 7:30 p.m. Mrs. Dalloway’s, 2904 College Ave., Berkeley. Beth Kobliner “Make Your Kid a Money Genius.” 7 p.m. Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. 6 p.m. Copperfield’s Books, 775 Village Court, Santa Rosa. Kepler’s Books and Magazines, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. How Play Made the Modern World. 7 p.m. Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. 7 p.m. City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus Ave., S.F. (415) 362-8193. www.citylights.com. Sylvia Lindsteadt “Lost Worlds of the San Francisco Bay Area.” Pola Oloixarac “Savage Theories.” 7:30 p.m. Green Apple Books on the Park, 1231 9th Ave., S.F. (415) 742-5833. www.greenapplebooks.com. Acharya Shunya “Ayurveda Lifestyle.” 7:30 p.m. Pegasus Books Downtown, 2349 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. Commonwealth Club, 555 Post St., S.F. (415) 597-6705. www.commonwealthclub.org. 7 p.m. Copperfield’s Books, 775 Village Court, Santa Rosa. 7:30 p.m. Green Apple Books on the Park, 1231 9th Ave., S.F. (415) 742-5833. www.greenapplebooks.com. Dean Rader, Dana Levin Rader’s “Self-Portrait as Wikipedia Entry” and Levin’s “Banana Palace.” 7 p.m. Mrs. Dalloway’s, 2904 College Ave., Berkeley. Layli Long Soldier, Truong Tran Poetry from Soldier’s “Whereas” and Tran’s “The Book of Perceptions.” 7 p.m. The Poetry Center, Humanities Building, SFSU, 1600 Holloway Ave., S.F. (415) 338-2227. lca.sfsu.edu/events/2017-03-03-030000/815586. Amy Walter, Scott Shafer “The Cook Political Report.” Constance Hale “'Iwalani's Tree.” 6 p.m. Diesel, 2419 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur. 2 p.m. Octopus Literary Salon, 2101 Webster St., Oakland. oaklandoctopus.org. Babylon Salon Christina Garcia, Joshua Mohr, Ethel Rohan, Chris Drangle and Sue Staats are featured. 6 p.m. The Armory Club, 1799 Mission St., S.F. www.babylonsalon.com. Joel Berg “America, We Need To Talk.” 7 p.m. Copperfield’s Books, 138 N. Main St., Sebastopol. www.copperfieldsbooks.com. Clair Brown “Buddhist Economics.” 4 p.m. Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. 7 p.m. Copperfield’s Books, 140 Kentucky St., Petaluma. (707) 762-0563. www.copperfieldsbooks.com; 2 p.m. Borderlands Books, 866 Valencia St., S.F. borderlands-books.com. 2 p.m. Books Inc., 2712 Augustine Dr. #120, Santa Clara. 7 p.m. Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera.



Decade of Bawdy Storytelling opens gateway to sexual underground

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 20:39:04 UT

“I used to have a very boring day job,” she said by phone, and then my life was made more exciting by the fact that I fell down the rabbit hole and discovered sex parties. Being from the South, I loved the freedom and I loved the fact that it was safe, and all of the things that I had never thought sex really was. [...] it was usually a first-timer, and I really liked keeping an eye on that person and making sure they were safe, and letting them find the thing that they were there to find — maybe it was a young girl looking to kiss a girl for the first time, and I’d introduce her to people. [...] celebrating 10 years of Bawdy Storytelling, De La Tour has created a sort of gateway to the underground. What started as a place for sex-positive people to gather outside of a sex party has become a scene that people from all walks of life want to be a part of. What makes Bawdy distinct is the way De La Tour works with each storyteller to strip their stories of bravado. The events, which occur monthly in San Francisco and Seattle and rotate quarterly between Chicago, Los Angeles and Portland, provide a provocative but safe space for people looking to make new connections, and De La Tour encourages this by beginning each with a game of Bang-O — adult Bingo with directives like “find someone who is polyamorous” and “find someone who identifies as bisexual.” Olga Zilberbourg celebrates the publication of her new collection of short stories, “A Clapping Land” — published in Russian — with an English-language party discussing Russian literature and themes within a global and specifically American context. Liminal celebrates two years with performances by Kate Schatz (“Rad Women Worldwide”), Akilah Monifa, Mg Roberts (“Anemal Uter Meck”), Indira Allegra, Alison Luterman (“Desire Zoo”) and Audacious IAM (7 p.m. Saturday, Liminal, 3037 38th Ave., Oakland, $15-$25). www.theliminalcenter.com Ali Eteraz (“Native Believer”), Chronicle columnist Vanessa Hua (“Deceit and Other Possibilities”) and Shanthi Sekaran (“Lucky Boy”) discuss issues of immigration and identity (1 p.m. Sunday, Oakland Main Library, 125 14th St., Oakland, free). www.oaklandlibrary.org Juan Pablo Villalobos (“Down the Rabbit Hole”) reads from his new novel “I’ll Sell You a Dog” and talks with Mauro Javier Cardenas (“The Revolutionaries Try Again”) (6 p.m. Sunday, Green Apple Books on the Park, 1231 Ninth Ave., S.F., free). www.greenapplebooks.com



Another independent bookstore coming to Silicon Valley

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 20:29:57 UT

Books Inc., the Bay Area independent bookstore chain, has announced that it will open a new Silicon Valley store, in Campbell, in early summer 2018. “Ellis Partners has a long history of supporting independent businesses and creates a great tenant mix,” Books Inc. said in a statement. Books Inc. also announced it will move its Mountain View store early this summer, from 301 Castro St. to nearby 317 Castro St. The new store’s 4,000 square feet will provide an author event space and a larger children’s books section, the store said.



Tom Hanks debut book of short stories due in October

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 19:58:17 UT

Actors, when on the road, often have a lot of downtime between shoots. The actor — and producer and director — has written a collection of short stories, his first book, which will be published in October by distinguished house Alfred A. Knopf. Hanks owns hundreds of vintage manual typewriters; in a piece for the New York Times, the Bay Area native celebrated “the sheer physical pleasure of typing; it feels just as good as it sounds, the muscles in your hands control the volume and cadence of the aural assault so that the room echoes with the staccato beat of your synapses.” Knopf said the stories in Hanks’ collection, begun in 2015, center on a diverse set of characters, including an immigrant in New York City, an ESPN celebrity and an eccentric billionaire. “I read a story by Tom in the New Yorker several years ago,” said Sonny Mehta, chairman and editor in chief of Alfred A. Knopf, and was struck by both his remarkable voice and command as a writer. ...



Writers and artists sign letter condemning Trump’s immigration ban

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:34:24 UT

Writers and artists sign letter condemning Trump’s immigration ban Dozens of prominent authors and artists have signed an open letter to Donald Trump condemning his executive order banning immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries. “Your January Executive Order caused the chaos and hardship of families divided, lives disrupted, and law-abiding faced with handcuffs, detention, and deportation,” reads the letter. In so doing, the Executive Order also hindered the free flow of artists and thinkers and did so at a time when vibrant, open intercultural dialogue is indispensable in the fight against terror and oppression.




‘Age of Anger: A History of the Present,’ by Pankaj Mishra

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 02:26:53 UT

Around the globe — from the cold-blooded killers of the Islamic State to Polish patriots fearful of cultural contamination, from Hindu chauvinists in India to immigrant bashers in America — resentment is boiling over into rage. Mishra’s new book, “Age of Anger,” is a history of the present, a diagnosis that traces the violence of today to patterns set down in 18th century France and then repeated around the world as peoples deal with modernization and the loss of tradition. While cosmopolitan intellectuals like Voltaire were expressing faith in the inevitability of positive change, Rousseau saw a society that was fostering accelerated inequality — a society that was manufacturing vanity and resentment but no moral basis on which to build solidarity or community. In countries whose elites thought they had to “catch up” with the vanguard of economic or cultural change, there was often a counter-movement of people who felt they had to return to national roots in order to fend off change they found threatening. Mishra sees the pattern occurring again and again: in late 19th century Russia, in early 20th century Italy, in late 20th century Islamic countries and in contemporary America. The pursuit of democracy and equality fails to satisfy because the dynamic of historical change always produces new hierarchies and resentments. There has been no shortage of thinkers who have talked about this — from Nietzsche to Dostoevsky, from European fascists to democrats who wanted to decolonize the minds of those once dominated by the West. Cultural nationalism at those moments was expressed as violent anarchism of the dispossessed, something we’ve seen in our own time in the terrorism of Timothy McVeigh, al Qaeda and the Islamic State. Noting that we need a deeper understanding of our own complicity in suffering as well as a “transformative way of thinking,” he leaves readers with a dire diagnosis — not a recommended treatment.



New books by Michael Tolkin, Neil Gaiman and Kameron Hurley

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 21:24:34 UT

In Michael Tolkin’s darkly satirical new novel, the release of an amnesia-inducing North Korean bioagent turns near-future Los Angeles into a divided metropolis, one where the elite live in hedonistic luxury, protected from the more seriously brain-damaged by a 60-foot fence. Hopper, sent on a mission by an inner Silent Voice to reunite with a wife he doesn’t remember; Frank Sinatra, the security expert who ensures the safety of the Center Camp enclave; pop star Shannon Squier, globally famous before the disaster and now groomed to play some mysterious role in its aftermath; and, above all, Chief, the ruler who governs what happens inside the Fence while also trying to control the nearly mindless Shamblers and Drifters who stumble around on the other side of it. A director, writer and producer, Tolkin may be best known for his novel “The Player” and its film adaptation directed by Robert Altman. [...] the names also remind one of how easily people are turned into commodities, how slippery the grip on identity can be, how there’s always someone ready to set themself up as the savior of civilization. Wise and mysterious Odin and powerful-yet-slow-witted Thor play prominent roles in the proceedings, but the spotlight often turns to lesser-known figures, such as beautiful Freya and beloved Balder. Yet the best lines and most exciting scenes usually feature the wily Loki, the trickster god who may be smarter than the others but can’t help himself from causing trouble for his family — and himself. “Norse Mythology” ably captures the essence of a myth cycle that deserves to be better known, in an edition likely to speak to readers of all ages. Memory and amnesia play vital roles in “The Stars Are Legion,” the new novel by Kameron Hurley, author of “The Geek Feminist Revolution” and the Worldbreaker Saga. At the outer rim of the universe, a woman called Zan awakens with but a single, haunting memory, that of throwing a child away. At first, “The Stars Are Legion” seems like another standard wide-screen space opera, filled with training scenes and war battles, interspersed with treacherous family intrigue. [...] once one notices that there are no male characters in the cast and that the technology of the Legion is based more on biology than on physics, the novel reveals itself as something very different from the norm. Zan is dropped into the literal underworld, and with the aid of three fellow outcasts, she must make her way back to the lover who has betrayed her. Hurley won a 2014 Hugo Award for “We Have Always Fought,” an essay that explored the necessity of depicting more female warriors — of all kinds of backgrounds — in science fiction and fantasy. In “The Stars Are Legion,” she dramatizes her thesis, creating a setting where the male species is unnecessary and perhaps unknown and the women are capable, driven, strong, ruthless and often scary.



‘Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life,’ by Yiyun Li

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 21:00:21 UT

Read the essays gathered in “Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life” and you’ll be left with the sense that they’re the product of a singular mind, one that has no time for cliches or pandering. For someone who’s devoted so many working hours to literature — there have been two novels and two story collections, each of them admiringly reviewed — she has some notably counterintuitive opinions about art and language and inspiration. Li, who was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship genius grant in 2010, is unlikely to be featured in an anthology of motivational quotes about the writing life; there’s a distinctly dark tenor to her work. Li worked on this book for two years, she says, as long as the period that led to it, a year of descending into the darkest despair and a year of being confined by that despair. The bleakness, which can be summarized with a few generic words — suicide attempts and hospitalizations — was so absolute that it sheds little light on things. Afterward, in an effort to discourage political dissent, she and many other university students were forced to serve a year in the army. For a long time, she worked all day in labs and wrote all night, often keeping at it until 4 a.m. The goal was to prevent her nascent fiction career from intruding on her “real life.” Li held to this schedule for a decade, and while she suggests that a lack of sleep exacerbated her subsequent mental health problems, she doesn’t regret it: Would I have deprived myself of such a basic necessity had I known it would leave such damage? I think so. When one thinks in an adopted language,” she explains, “one arranges and rearranges words that are neutral, indifferent even, to arrive at a thought that one does not know to be there. Li says she hears from fellow Chinese immigrants who dislike her work and suggest that she’s inauthentic; one wrote to tell her that she should be embarrassed by her relatively simple sentences. [...] there was the grad school instructor who told her to pack it in, she’d never master English. Trevor’s fiction, she says, provided her with a sense of sanctuary and fueled her decision to quit science and write full time.



‘The Refugees,’ by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 22:14:46 UT

If you’re still unconvinced that “nothing ever dies,” a chilling expression that served as the title of Viet Thanh Nguyen’s 2016 nonfiction work about the lingering effects of the Vietnam War, you should meet the characters populating “The Refugees,” his new book of short stories. Even someone such as the Alzheimer-ravaged professor in “I’d Love You to Want Me” remains in thrall to events of ages ago; he has taken to calling his wife by a long-lost paramour’s name. [...] they lend their pity-inducing name to the book, whose pages absorb both the nostalgia and bitterness that have characterized so many refugees in the decades since 1975, when South Vietnam fell to the communist North and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese began streaming out of their homeland. In the presence of his benefactors, “Liem’s sense of debt caused him to walk with eyes downcast, as if searching for pennies.” Only in “Black-Eyed Women” does Nguyen resort to anything resembling cliche as a means of laying bare a character’s snarled state of mind. The narrator, a 38-year-old ghostwriter who lives with her widowed mother, begins to receive visits from the ghost of her brother, who died at sea years ago. Yet even this well-worn conceit frames at least one arresting image: “The stunned look on his face, the open eyes that did not flinch even with the splintered board of the boat’s deck pressing against his cheek.” In addition to not having aged, you see, the narrator’s recently resurfaced brother wears the same haunting facial expression he did the moment he perished that terrible day. [...] it isn’t just the refugees of the book’s title for whom nothing ever dies, but almost everyone who experienced the war, from U.S. military personnel to those Vietnamese (the vast majority) who stayed behind.



‘The Nature Fix,’ by Florence Williams

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 20:33:46 UT

According to Florence Williams’ engaging new book, The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative, it turns out there’s solid neuroscience behind our strategy to remain sane parents. Reporting on an international roster of research, Williams explains that growing and green environments not only improve one’s mood, but slow down the aging process and support cognitive functioning on the highest order. A longtime journalist and author of the award-winning “Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History,” Williams’ most recent project is instigated by her own loss of nature. What was it about nature that people seem to need?” Increased clinical interest in the subject is traced to “a convergence of ideas and events: the relentless march of obesity, depression and anxiety ... the growing recognition of the environment on genes, and the growing academic and cultural unease with our widening breach from the outdoors. Every year hundreds of thousands of strollers walk 48 official leafy trails each year in pursuit of stress reduction and happier attitudes. Data on forest bathers shows their perambulations result in decreased cortisol levels, sympathetic nerve activity, blood pressure and heart rate. Williams reports on a study evaluating the effects of walking in these same woody trails on our NK, “natural killer immune cells,” which cause tumors and virus-infected cells to self-destruct. Williams heads to the wilds of Moab, Utah, with cognitive psychologist David Strayer, who frequently testifies before Congress on the dangers of driving while using a cell phone. Research suggests that moving in a nonthreatening natural environment allows the prefrontal cortex to relax for a change, and rest.



Recommended reading, Feb. 19

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 18:25:50 UT

Random House; 343 pages; $28 Sad, funny and wise, Saunders’ long-awaited first novel takes a little-known historical incident and spins from it a work of fiction that plays to his greatest strengths, his eye for the intermingling of the tragic and hilarious, his ear for the speech and thought patterns of the wounded and confused. A memoir of Hayes’ surpassingly tender and exuberant romance with the late neurologist in his last seven years of life, this is also a book about the necessity of self-reinvention. Fatal Atria; 352 pages; $26.99 Lescroart’s disturbing, satisfying read centers on two friends, Kate and Beth, San Francisco women in their 30s whose lives are transformed by a single impulse: Kate’s sudden desire to seduce a friend of her husband’s. Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk Rooney’s novel, inspired by Margaret Fishback, renowned copywriter and poet, is a disarming feminist picaresque. The perambulating 85-year-old Lillian solves problems, embraces adventures and flashes back to a colorful life.



Literary Guide, Feb. 19

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 18:25:38 UT

Literary Guide, Feb. 19 Kwame Alexander “The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot and Score in This Game Called Life.” 2 p.m. S.F. Public Library, 100 Larkin St., S.F. www.sfpl.org. 2 p.m. Borderlands Books, 866 Valencia St., S.F. borderlands-books.com. 4 p.m. Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. 2 p.m. Bird & Beckett Books & Records, 653 Cheneryt St., S.F. (415) 586-3733. www.birdbeckett.com. 7 p.m. Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. Martyn Burke “Music for Love or War.” 7 p.m. Books Inc., 74 Town & Country Village, Palo Alto. 7 p.m. Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. Valeria Luiselli Tell Me Host It Ends: 7 p.m. 826 Valencia Tenderloin Center, 180 Golden Gate Ave., S.F. www.greenapplebooks.com. 7 p.m. City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus Ave., S.F. (415) 362-8193. www.citylights.com. Commonwealth Club, 555 Post St., S.F. (415) 597-6705. www.commonwealthclub.org. George Shultz, Gloria Duffy “Learning From Experience.” 6:30 p.m. Marines Memorial Theater, 609 Sutter St., S.F. (415) 597-6705. www.commonwealthclub.org. 7 p.m. Books Inc., 301 Castro St., Mountain View. Deborah Crombie, Holly Brown “Garden of Lamentations” and “This Is Not Over.” Kepler’s Books and Magazines, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. Rebecca Katz “The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, Second Edition.” “Rad Families” release party 7:30 p.m. Pegasus Books, 2349 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. 7 p.m. Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. Commonwealth Club, 555 Post St., S.F. (415) 597-6705. www.commonwealthclub.org. Judd Winick “The Great Big Boom!” 7 p.m. Books Inc., 601 Van Ness Ave., S.F. (415) 776-1111. www.booksinc.net. Rachel Aspden “Generation Revolution.” 7 p.m. City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus Ave., S.F. (415) 362-8193. www.citylights.com. Deborah Crombie “Garden of Lamentations.” 5 p.m. Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. Brian Greene, Alexis Madrigal “Understanding String Theory.” David Kulczyk “California’s Deadliest Women.” Daphne Merkin “This Close to Happy: A Reckoning with Depression.” Commonwealth Club, 555 Post St., S.F. (415) 597-6705. www.commonwealthclub.org. 7 p.m. Diesel, 5433 College Ave., Oakland. 7 p.m. Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. Tom Zaniello “California’s Lamson Murder Mystery.” 7 p.m. Books Inc., 74 Town & Country Village, Palo Alto. Jane Ziegelman, Andrew Coe “A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression.” 6 p.m. Diesel, 5433 College Ave., Oakland. 7:30 p.m. Kepler’s Books and Magazines, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. From the Collection of Bay Area Photographer E.F. Joseph 1927-1979. 2 p.m. Berkeley Public Library, 1170 The Alameda, Berkeley. 2 p.m. Octopus Literary Salon, 2101 Webster St., Oakland. www.oaklandoctopus.org.



Amazon to open bookstore in Bay Area

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 18:20:07 UT

The online giant that got its start in books — and has in the past two years opened three brick-and-mortar stores on the West Coast — is opening a store in Walnut Creek. The store will be at Broadway Plaza, an open-air shopping center, a spokeswoman for Amazon said. The opening of an Amazon store in the Bay Area — a hub of independent bookstores — seemed inevitable, as there are stores in Seattle, Portland and San Diego. Calvin Crosby, executive director of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, said he is confident that stores will be able to weather Amazon’s venture into the region. “The virtue of our stores is their abilities to adapt, to continue to create a place where ideas and information can exchange in a safe and supportive environment,” he said in an email. Northern California indie bookstores have shown that they are dynamic enough to sustain and thrive despite a fixed profit margin and increasingly high rents and the ever-increasing payroll expenses.



‘All They Will Call You,’ by Tim Z. Hernandez

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 22:25:05 UT

On a clear January morning in 1948, a plane carrying 32 passengers departed from the Oakland Municipal Airport, destined for El Centro, a city near the U.S.-Mexico border. During the violent descent, passengers still attached to their seats were sucked out of the hole in the plane’s left side, screaming until they crashed to earth. The plane plowed into a creek bed and erupted into a giant fireball that scorched the tops of trees. The tragedy was the deadliest airplane disaster in California history, the sort of grisly affair that would typically attract widespread media attention and sympathetic articles about the deceased. News reports identified the four dead Americans — two pilots, a flight attendant and an immigration agent — by name. Angered at the erasure of the names of the dead, he wrote a poem called “Plane Wreck at Los Gatos (Deportee),” in which he asked, “Who are these friends all scattered like dry leaves?” The poem would be put to music by a college student named Martin Hoffman, who would teach it to Pete Seeger, who would turn it into one of the century’s great protest songs. More than half a century later, Tim Z. Hernandez, a poet and novelist who teaches at the University of Texas at El Paso, became consumed by Guthrie’s haunting question. The result, “All They Will Call You,” is a stunning piece of investigative journalism and a lyrical meditation on memory, meaning and the immigrant experience. [...] Hernandez, who grew up in a string of farmworker towns in the San Joaquin Valley, has a deep empathy and familiarity with his subjects, and he steps with care and compassion. (The ruse didn’t work for long.) José Sánchez Valdivia was a Babe Ruth-obsessed young man who took breaks in the field to smack dirt clods; soon he had organized teams of Stockton farmworkers into a Mexican baseball league, where they used wilted heads of cabbage for bases. Fred Ross and Grassroots Organizing in the Twentieth Century (University of California Press) and “Working in the Shadows: A Year of Doing the Jobs (Most) Americans Won’t Do” (Nation Books).



Reading to fund girls’ education, not mutilation

Thu, 9 Feb 2017 20:28:40 UT

In 2006, Kim Rosen arrived at the Tasaru Safe House in Narok, Kenya, and stood before a group of Maasai girls who had run away from their homes, and their tribe’s traditions of female genital mutilation and early marriage, seeking education and an alternate way of life. [...] I always have been very shy personally, and I figured if I could come out of myself and relate to these 50 teenage girls, in a culture that was totally other than my own, I would make great strides in overcoming my shyness. Rosen had long heard of the Safe House from her friend Eve Ensler, author of “The Vagina Monologues” and founder of V-Day, a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. In 2002, V-Day provided the funding for the Safe House, which was founded by Agnes Pareyio, a Maasai woman who spent years traveling by foot from village to village, teaching people about the harms of female genital mutilation in an effort to end its practice. “It’s always Agnes’ intention to bring the girls back to the community to, in a very public ceremony, create a reconciliation with the parents,” Rosen said, and to show the community this beautiful, educated young woman, and what the alternative to FGM and enforced childhood marriage can look like. In 2010, Rosen set up the Safe House Education Fund and began to sponsor the first girl, Jacinta, through college — including all costs, a total of $3,500. A fundraiser on Saturday, Feb. 11, features readings by poets and early SHE Fund supporters Ellen Bass, Marie Howe, Jane Hirshfield and Rosen, with a special performance by vocalist Melanie DeMore. Writers With Drinks features readings by cartoonist Tom Tomorrow (“This Modern World”), writer Sarah Schulman Conflict Is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility and the Duty of Repair, theoretical physicist Sean Carroll (“The Particle at the End of the Universe”), Jennifer Ouellette Me, Myself and Why: