In Marin / READING LIST
MM: Your book details a number of
exciting and varied journeys. What
is the most important lesson you’ve
learned while traveling? J W: I’ve
learned we are all just people — once
societal barriers are overlooked, we
all just want to live our lives. The
most contented people I encountered lived rather sparse, simple lives
in remote Tibetan villages.
MM: How long have you been working on your book? When did you
realize you needed to share your
story with others? JW: In many
ways, I’ve been working on my book
all my life, which is now approaching 80 years. I’m a strange duck who
loves life and wants to make the
very most of every minute of living.
What a Trip! was written to explain
who I am to my daughters and, in
effect, to me. But when I finished
— the writing part took 10 years —
Steve Costa of Point Reyes Books
really got me thinking about sharing my work and stories with others.
MM: Which experience would you
choose to relive if possible? JW:
I’d return to the Tibet of 30 years
ago in a heartbeat. It changed my
life in that it calmed my ambitions
and increased my contentment.
I also could retrace my journey
across America, which I traversed
via buses, trains and hitchhiking
in 1980–81. It would be fascinating
to see how things have changed.
MM: What advice do you have for
future life-embracers like yourself? J W: As you age, stay in the
game — don’t become a spectator
to life. Travel in an adventuresome
way, take public transportation
whenever possible, work hard doing
something that helps the community, exercise regularly and do
your best to stay positive. Don’t let
life tell you what to do; you tell life
how you want to live. Just because
you’re older doesn’t mean you have
to walk slow and hunched over —
stand tall. And smile. CALIN VAN PARIS
Tangled Vines by Frances Dinkelspiel (Berkeley),
St. Martin’s Press, $26.99. Noted California historian Frances Dinkelspiel investigates the tangled
history of California wine and uncovers the avaricious scheme behind the costliest destruction of
wine in history. Appearing at Book Passage Corte
Madera October 25, 4 p.m.
The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony
Marra (Oakland), Hogarth, $25. From the Stalinist
purges to contemporary Chechnya, Marra takes
us on a captivating tour of Russian life, illustrating
the dramatic changes over the last century. Here
we see both the beauty of St. Petersburg and the
darkness of Grozny, and we meet amazing charac-
ters like a Siberian beauty queen and a Russian soldier. Appearing at
Kidney Foundation Luncheon in San Francisco October 24, 10 a.m.
Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson (San Francisco),
Random House, $27. A programmer from Palo Alto, a
father in post-Katrina Louisiana, a former Stasi agent
in Berlin, defectors in Seoul — the characters in these
six short stories each struggle with love, loss and the
consequences of their past decisions. Appearing at
Book Passage Corte Madera October 21, 7 p.m.
Devil’s Chessboard by David Talbot (San
Francisco), Harper, $29.99. Allen Dulles may be
remembered as the longest-serving head of the
CIA, but the true story is far more mysterious: his
connections to top financiers in Germany during
World War II allowed Dulles to begin a shadow
campaign in both Europe and America early in his
career. Working from newly released U.S. government documents,
personal correspondence with Dulles’ wife and interviews with his
daughter, David Talbot exposes one of America’s greatest untold sto-
ries. Appearing at Book Passage Corte Madera November 10, 7 p.m.
The Only Woman in the Room by Rita
Lakin (San Rafael), Applause Theatre & Cinema
Book Publishers, $29.99. As a scriptwriter, Rita
Lakin broke into the boys’ club that was Hollywood
television in the early 1960s. Widowed and with
three young children to support, Lakin began with
a secretarial job at Universal Studios and with
perseverance climbed the ladder to become executive producer and
show-runner, meeting many fascinating Hollywood luminaries along
the way. Appearing at Book Passage Corte Madera October 24, 1 p.m.
Local Page Turners
Book picks by Book Passage Head Buyer Luisa Smith.
We sat down
Jim Wood to
discuss his new
book, What a
Trip! A Mostly
Positive Life Story.
Jim Wood will discuss What a Trip! at Book Passage in Corte Madera
on October 22 at 7 p.m. See book events in Calendar for more.