.Local Bookstores Keep the Conversation Going Online

Before Marin County’s shelter-in-place orders went into effect in March, Corte Madera’s Book Passage boasted a nearly daily schedule of live events with authors reading and talking about their latest literary works.

Many other North Bay booksellers did the same, bringing renowned writers to their intimate venues. Though the doors remain closed at shops around the region, the events are moving online.

Book Passage’s “Conversations with Authors” is a live online series of free sessions with top writers and thinkers that are less of a formal reading and more of an insightful discussion. Registration guarantees you a spot in every upcoming event, and the audience participants will have the chance to ask questions and engage in the conversation themselves.

Book Passage’s schedule of conversations includes a talk between award-winning journalist and author Joan Ryan and scholarly writer Phil Cousineau on Saturday, May 23, at 4pm. Ryan‘s fascinating new book, Intangibles: Unlocking the Science and Soul of Team Chemistry, explores how sports teams bond and work together to achieve a singular goal.

The next day, Sunday, May 24, novelist Julia Alvarez and essayist Jaquira Diaz engage in a conversation centered around Alvarez‘s timely new novel, Afterlife. On Wednesday, May 27, bestselling author John Grisham joins the conversation series, talking with Book Passage founder Elaine Petrocelli about his new novel, Camino Winds. Join the conversations at bookpassage.com.

With nine locations in the North Bay, Copperfield’s Books has become a community hub in three counties, where authors gathered to share their literary works. As the current shelter-in-place that looms over the North Bay during the coronavirus outbreak keeps Copperfield’s closed for in-stire events, the company is hitting the web with their own web events.

On Thursday, May 21, Berkeley-based author Adam Hochschild appears via Zoom to talk about his new nonfiction work, Rebel Cinderella, about early 20th century social activist and feminist icon Rose Pastor Stokes.

The next week, on Thursday, May 28, authors Veronica Roth and Charlie Jane Anders come together for an engaging discussion on the theme of “Kill Your Darlings: Why Writers Imperil Their Heroes.” Roth is best known for her popular young adult books like the Divergent series and her new novel, Chosen Ones. Anders is the former editor-in-chief of io9.com, the popular site devoted to science fiction and fantasy, and she is the author of the highly acclaimed science fiction novel, City in the Middle of the Night.

The next day, May 29, longtime sports columnist Lowell Cohn revisists 40 years of covering Bay Area sports in his new memoir Gloves Off. On Wednesday, June 3, an assembly of poets read their works on the theme of “Poems for a Dark Time.” All of these events are free to attend, and all begin at 7pm. Visit copperfieldsbooks.com or register through Eventbrite to receive your Zoom invite through email.

Other local bookstores going online include Point Reyes Books, which hosts Jazmina Barrera, author of On Lighthouses, and Philip Hoare, author of In Search of the Soul of the Sea, in a conversation about lighthouses, the ocean, and more as a benefit event for the Point Reyes National Seashore Association on Saturday, May 23, at 7pm.

Point Reyes Books also hosts writer and biologist Merlin Sheldrake and bestselling author Helen Macdonald in a conversation about Sheldrake’s book Entangled Life, which shows the reader the world from a fungal point of view, on Friday, June 5, at Noon. Visit ptreyesbooks.com or register on Eventbrite to attend these virtual events.

Napa Bookmine is another bookshop that is temporarily closed to the public due to Covid-19, but the store is still accepting online orders, and now it gets into the virtual realm for author events and online book clubs.

On Wednesday, May 27, Napa Bookmine’s monthly Feminist Book Club, which meets to discuss books exploring feminist issues, will be held virtually on Zoom. This month’s book is Octavia E Butler’s Parable of the Sower. The book club meets at 6:30pm.

The next day, May 28, Lowell Cohn talks Gloves Off with Napa Bookmine and the Napa Library in a virtual author event at 7pm. Following that, on Friday, May 29, at 6pm, author Katie M Flynn appears in a virtual conversation with writer Kara Vernor. That talk will be focused on Flynn’s book The Companions, an insanely timely novel that deals with a highly contagious virus, uploaded consciousnesses, and a chain of events that that sweeps from San Francisco to Siberia to the very tip of South America.

Napa Bookmine’s online schedule also includes a Virtual Resilience Book Club, in partnership with the Cope Family Center and Resilient Napa, that will discuss the book How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7, led by Cope’s Director of Programs, Julie Murphy on Sunday, May 31, at 4pm. Visit napabookmine.com to register for these and other virtual events.

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