In Marin / READING LIST
MM: Did you grow up a San
Francisco Giants fan?
CH: Incorrigible. Though as I mention in the book’s introduction,
pro football was my first love. But
all it took was one Giants game at
Candlestick Park to convert me.
The first game I attended had five
future Hall of Famers in the lineup:
Willie Mays and Willie McCovey for
the Giants and Roberto Clemente,
Willie Stargell and Bill Mazeroski
for the Pittsburgh Pirates. How
many kids today can say that?
MM: What do you think makes
this team so special?
CH: The collegial feeling of “once
you’re a Giant, you’re always a
Giant” is something that really
exists. It’s almost tangible. Mays’
enduring presence as the fran-
chise patriarch has a lot to do with
maintaining this feeling. This past
spring training, I watched Joe
Amalfitano and Felipe Alou flank
Mays at a table in the clubhouse as
they chatted together, and I swear
Joey and Felipe looked like little
kids. With more than 50 years
since they played together, Willie
still had that effect on them. Club
management does an excellent
job of nurturing the relation-
ship between alumni players and
the team by honoring them in
various ways. Also, the organiza-
tion’s remarkable stability helps
everybody feel rooted.
MM: Who are your top three favor-
ite players of all time and why?
CH: My three favorite superstar
players are Willie Mays, Willie
McCovey and Juan Marichal. They
showed me the grandeur and grace
of baseball — Mays was regal,
McCovey was quietly ferocious
and Marichal was elegant. Non-superstar division, my favorites
are Ken Henderson, Chris Speier
and Bobby Bonds. Henderson
was the nicest person to the fans
I’ve ever seen; Speier had my first
name and his own élan at shortstop; and Bonds could simply
do it all. If Bonds belongs in the
superstar category, we can add in
“the Count,” John Montefusco. He
was so colorful and almost all we
had to root for in the mid-1970s.
CALIN VAN PARIS
Author Talk If These Walls Could Talk by Chris Haft
(San Francisco), Triumph Books, $16.95. The San
Francisco Giants are one of baseball’s most
storied franchises. In If These Walls Could Talk,
Haft recounts tales from that decorated Giants
dynasty, which earned World Series rings in
2010, 2012 and 2014. It also includes forewords by
both beloved announcer Mike Krukow and Giants ace shortstop
Brandon Crawford. Giants fans will not want to be without this
book. Appearing at Book Passage San Francisco June 6, 6 p.m.
Murder in Saint-Germain by Cara Black
(San Francisco), Soho Crime, $27.95. In the latest
installment of Cara Black’s Aimée Leduc mystery
series, the private investigator must discover the
truth behind a crime tied to a deceased Serbian
warlord who is somehow haunting one of the
counterterrorism agents who’d been tasked with
bringing him down. At the same time, Leduc has an 8-month-old
baby to care for, making the stakes even higher in this new addi-
tion to the best-selling series. Appearing at Book Passage Corte
Madera June 5, 7 p.m.
Lockdown by Laurie R. King (Santa Cruz),
Bantam, $28. Using a premise pulled from the
headlines — the very real physical vulnerability of
students and teachers and the power of a community to come together and prevail — Laurie R.
King, the best-selling author of the Mary Russell
mysteries, delivers a contemporary novel of psychological suspense. Tense, poignant and brilliantly paced,
Lockdown charts compelling characters on a collision course.
Appearing at Book Passage San Francisco June 14, 6 p.m.
On to the Next Dream by Paul Madonna (San
Francisco), City Lights Publishers, $17.95 . Paul
Madonna’s popular comic “All Over Coffee” had
been running for 12 years in the San Francisco
Chronicle when he was evicted from his longtime
home and studio in the Mission District. Madonna
decided to use his strip as a cathartic public platform to explore the
experience. On to the Next Dream is a series of drawings and stories
that capture the complex, highly charged atmosphere of a city —
and a life — being forced through a painful transition. Appearing at
Book Passage Corte Madera June 27, 7 p.m.
Local Page Turners
Reviews by Book Passage Marketing Manager Zack Ruskin.
We sat down with
San Francisco’s Chris
Haft to discuss his
new book, If These
Walls Could Talk.