In Marin / READING LIST
MM: You have a law practice in
Novato and were once mayor of
Tiburon — impressive resume. Is
this your first stab at writing?
PL: As a civil litigator, I’m writing all
the time in the guise of legal briefs.
So it’s a different kind of writing, but
writing nonetheless. I also started
birding at a very young age and
have had a number of essays on the
topic published in the past. But I
never thought about writing a book.
And before I discovered that long-
forgotten news article, I thought
everything there was to say about
John James Audubon had been said.
MM: What news article?
PL: I found a clipping from The San
Francisco Call — an old city newspa-
per — from 1896 in a scrapbook kept
by the Audubon family. It recounted
the memories of a man named
Joseph Coolidge who, at 18 years
old, had journeyed with Audubon
to Labrador in Canada in the sum-
mer of 1833. This was a critical time
period in Audubon’s life: he was in
the middle of the production of The
Birds of America, his magnum opus,
and he was recovering from a stroke.
I’ve been interested in Audubon
for most of my life, and Audubon
is pretty much the patron saint of
bird-watchers. So I had heard about
the Labrador expedition but had
never heard any of these stories.
MM: What was your biggest
takeaway from researching this
portion of Audubon’s life?
PL: The expedition taught him more
about himself than I think any
other journey into the wilds had. He
began to recognize that he was facing the end of his life and he had this
massive publication to finish. After
his stroke, he needed this return to
wilderness in order to recover from
the trauma. And, lastly, he began
to understand, based on what he
observed in Labrador, that mankind had the ability — even at that
rather early stage in our [modern]
history — to completely wipe out
species of wildlife. So he returned
as a nascent conservationist.
CALIN VAN PARIS
Author Talk Audubon: America’s Greatest
Naturalist and His Voyage of Discovery
to Labrador by Peter B. Logan (Novato), Ashbryn
Press, $40. The Birds of America was one man’s
dream to illustrate and publish a work depicting
all of the birds of North America. Midway through
the nearly 12-year project, the French-American
painter and naturalist John James Audubon was beset by obstacles
and began to doubt if he could complete it. Peter B. Logan recounts
the unforgettable story of the famed American woodsman.
Appearing at Book Passage Corte Madera on August 25, 7 p.m.
The Shaking Reeds by John Pedersen (San
Anselmo), Amazing Grace Media, $15.95.
When Soren Rauhe accidentally dumps his coffee
in the lap of Jenny Farrar, his life of vintage motor-
bikes, NorCal surf and Irish tunes gets seriously
complicated. The Shaking Reeds is jam-packed
with musical references, unexpected twists and
lots of humor. What else would you expect from John Pedersen,
owner and operator of San Anselmo’s Amazing Grace music store?
Appearing at Book Passage Corte Madera on August 6, 4 p.m.
Dropping the Struggle: Seven Ways to
Love the Life You Have by Roger Housden
(Larkspur), New World Library, $19.95.
The latest short book from teacher and antholo-
gist Roger Housden is an antidote to the anxiety
and stress of constantly feeling that you have
to battle your way toward a life of meaning, love
and personal significance. It offers an alternative view of and
vocabulary for the language of struggle and competition that is
so commonly used in any conversation about career, purpose,
intimate relations and even spiritual practice. Appearing at Book
Passage Corte Madera on September 8, 7 p.m.
Let There Be Laughter by Michael Krasny
(Greenbrae), William Morrow, $19.99.
From the host of KQED’s Forum with Michael
Krasny comes a compendium of Jewish jokes
that packs the punches with hilarious riffs.
Krasny delves deeply into the themes, top-
ics and form of Jewish humor. Borrowing
from traditional humor and such Jewish comedy legends as
Mel Brooks, Joan Rivers, Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld and Amy
Schumer, Let There Be Laughter is a pleasure for members of the
tribe and the goyim alike. Appearing at Book Passage Corte Madera
on September 27, 7 p.m.
Local Page Turners
Book picks by Book Passage Marketing Director Zack Ruskin.
We sat down with
Novato’s Peter B.
Logan to discuss his
new book, Audubon:
Naturalist and His
Voyage of Discovery