Events – Current and Past
Archive for the Events Category
On Thursday, April 16th, David Stephens will present a “telling” – a thirty-five minute presentation – of the story which “they tell in the border country, where Massachusetts joins Vermont and New Hampshire”.
Hailed as an instant classic when it first appeared in The Saturday Evening Post in 1936, The Devil and Daniel Webster stands in the front ranks of great American short stories. A hard-luck New Hampshire farmer sells his soul to the Devil and then enlists the help of Daniel Webster, “…the biggest man in the country…” to win it back. The Devil assembles a jury of the worst criminals and traitors from our history, and Webster must convince them to set free their fellow man. Can he? The verdict is a testament to Benet’s deep faith in the flawed beauty of the American journey.
Robert and Elizabeth, Two Voices – One Love
A shy invalid and her impetuous lover tell the intimate and intensely moving story of their secret romance, their daring escape from her controlling father, and their life in Italy of joy and sorrow. Their narrative is based on real events and emotions gleaned from the letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, whose life and love have become legendary.
Roberto Palumbo, playwright and Professor Emerita (Holy Names University), on Thursday, March 26th, will present the story of the secret courtship of young, robust Robert Browning and older, frail Elizabeth Barrett, including several of Elizabeth’s famous sonnets: from her desire for death to her acceptance of life with Robert – certainly a story of “love gone good.”
Please join us on Thursday, February 19, at 7:30 p.m. for a poetry reading by Amy Glynn!
After the hearts and flowers of Valentine’s day, we will all be ready for an evening of “Love Gone Bad” poetry. Amy Glynn, prize-winning poet, will be at Swan’s Fine Books to regale us with a selection of love-gone-bad poems, from the mythological to the more….mmm, personal.
Please join us on Thursday, January 22, at 7:30 p.m. for a discussion on Jack London.
Jack (John Griffith) London (1876-1916) was the most successful writer in American in the early 20th century. His vigorous stories of men and animals against the environment, and survival against hardships were drawn mainly from his own experience.
An illegitimate child, London passed his childhood in poverty in the Oakland slums. At the age of 17, he ventured to sea on a sealing ship. The turning point of his life was a thirty-day imprisonment that was so degrading it made him decide to turn to education and pursue a career in writing. His years in the Klondike searching for gold left their mark in his best short stories; among them, The Call of the Wild and White Fang.
Details surrounding the event will be sent to those on our email list in early January; if you are not yet on our email list, please sign up today!
In Beyond the Silk Mills, Ms. Rupley spins a compelling saga of family discord, ambition, romance, and regret. The Epstein family’s struggle during the early twentieth century in New York City and Paterson, New Jersey, illuminates the roots of modern feminism and contemporary labor issues.
Emma Epstein arrives in America in 1898 craving wealth and status. Her husband Meyer, a socialist and textile worker, has a passion for worker’s rights, stemming from his days as a weaver in the Jewish ghetto of Lodz, Poland, where he was an activist in the socialist Labor Bund.
As she peddles corsets door-to-door, Emma realizes that Meyer will never change or want the same things she does. He clings to his idealism and guides his comrades through the protracted Paterson Silk Strike of 1913. Disillusioned and angry, Emma tramples Meyer’s idealism with a zeal to acquire riches and finagles her way to success as proprietor of an upscale women’s dress shop, The New Woman. By leveraging her earnings in the stock market, she hopes to usher the family into high society.
Plot twists, a dark secret, and vivid historical details make Beyond the Silk Mills an enthralling read.
The Streets of Walnut Creek, Yesterday and Today
From Pioneer Days to the Present
Walnut Creek wasn’t always the bustling commercial and financial mecca that it is today. How did we get to where we are? Who were the movers and shakers of yesteryear? This year, 2014, we celebrate 100 years of our incorporation as a city, but our history goes back further than that.
We are pleased to welcome to our shop two distinguished members of the Walnut Creek Historical Society, Sheila Rogstad and Ann Shelton. Sheila and Ann will be walking us through the past 100+ years of Walnut Creek’s history, so join us to learn more about the wonderful city in which many of us live, work, and play.
We will have a limited number of copies Walnut Creek, An Illustrated History, available the evening of the discussion. This is one of several books Brad Rovanpera has written on local history; Brad was born in Walnut Creek and served as the city’s public information officer from 1985 to 2009. The book is lavishly illustrated with more than 260 early photographs and illustrations and will serve as the basis of our discussion together.
Seating will be limited, so please RSVP to hold a space.
China’s Wings: the story of the remarkable encounter between an ancient civilization and the most modern technology in the world.
Please join us on Thursday evening, September 11th, for a presentation by Gregory Crouch, author, on his book China’s Wings: War, Romance and Adventure in the Middle Kingdom During the Golden Age of Flight. Greg will be discussing how the book came to be written and sharing stories about the characters, airplanes, places and situations that populate the book.
Joseph Conrad was a literary lion who wrote dozens of novels, short stories, plays, and nonfiction.
Please join us on Thursday evening, August 7th, for an informal discussion about Joseph Conrad’s fascinating life, an overview of his books and his writing style, and collecting his first editions.
There is no “requirement” to have read Conrad’s books. Hopefully, our discussion of his life and works will inspire you to take on a Conrad story you always meant to read.
Leading the discussion will be Tim Peck, a Conrad enthusiast who has read books written by Joseph Conrad, books about Joseph Conrad and who also collects Conrad first editions.
As you know if you’ve visited our shop, we have a broad range of books available – “better used”, “collectible” and “rare”. This month’s event is geared towards the book collector – whether an advanced collector or one who just dreams about collecting – to give you some broad knowledge and commonly used terms to prepare you for the adventures of book collecting!
We will be using Charles Dickens as our example, so those of you who are admirers of Mr. Dickens will hear much about his work during the evening.
Leading the discussion will be Vic Zoschak, ABAA, one of the country’s foremost experts on Charles Dickens and a regular presenter on the topic of book collecting at the ABAA book fairs each year.
Since seating is limited, please R.S.V.P. to hold a space.
On Thursday, June 12th, Swan’s Fine Books hosted about 35 customers and friends for an informal discussion on Wallace Stegner.
James Dourgarian, Bookman, ABAA, who knew Wallace Stegner personally, shared many memories of visits he made to Mr. Stegner’s home during the twelve years Jim knew Mr. Stegner before his death in 1993. “He was a great man”, Jim stated. His literary accomplishments, including being awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1972 (Angle of Repose) and the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction in 1977 (The Spectator Bird), his environmental efforts, the students he coached, and his kindness to others all added up to a remarkable man.
Wallace Stegner’s work was colored by his life experiences – as Jim warned the group, watch what you say when in the presence of a writer, as it’s likely to appear in print someday. Wallace Stegner’s early life was marked by many family moves, at one point living for ten years (in a dozen different locations) in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mr. Stegner would late use much information from his early life in his books Mormon County and the semi-autobiographical work The Big Rock Candy Mountain.
Always most comfortable around women, Wallace Stegner had a special place in his heart and soul for them. Partly due to the abandonment of his mother by his father when she experienced a resurgence of breast cancer (an event for which he never forgave his father), many of his most memorable protagonists were women who in some cases were also battling breast cancer, and he had the ability to see many aspects of life with a woman’s eye and understanding.
Wallace Stegner has left a legacy that will endure: in his written words, the creative writing program at Stanford University (which he founded), and the many awards and programs named for him, he has left an indelible print on 20th-century literature.