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  • Betsy Barnes

    “Glitter and Glue” author Kelly Corrigan comes here March 13.

  • courtesy Random House / Random House

    Anne Perry’s next book is “Death on Blackheath,” a Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novel.

  • /

    Joyce Maynard, whose “Labor Day” has been made into a motion picture, will be in town May 29.

Sacramento writes the book on author appearances

Published: Monday, Feb. 17, 2014 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Monday, Aug. 25, 2014 - 7:53 pm

Our town is multifaceted, all grown up and moving forward. One thing is for certain: Sacramento reads.

Never have so many local and national authors visited so many bookstores for appearances and special events. Further, more readers than ever are forming private book clubs with their friends and fellow readers, and joining the ones sponsored by independent bookstores and Capital Public Radio.

One book-industry insider who has seen Sacramento undergo a reading renaissance is Ron Shoop, a Northern California sales representative for publishing giant Random House for the past 18 years.

“I’ve been a bookseller in various guises in California for a long time, and I’ve seen a lot of ups and downs in the various local markets,” he said. “After the demise of Tower Books and, later, Borders Books, the Sacramento area was becoming a literary ghost town.

“Things have changed, and the picture has become very positive. There’s a tangible feeling that Sacramento’s level of reading sophistication matches that of any major city.”

Also “particularly telling,” Shoop said, is the recent news that ebook sales are flattening to levels well below the industry projection of five years ago.

“What we’re hearing is, ‘Print is here to stay,’ ” he said.

Here’s a sampling of places where readers can see author performances and get involved in our literary community.

For details, upcoming author appearances and events, and more information for each listing, see the calendars on their websites.

Authors are booked by availability, and events can come together quickly, so consult those sites often.

Sacramento Bee Book Club

Founded in 1997, the Bee Book Club brings nationally renowned, award-winning authors to Sacramento and invites the public to attend free presentations and book-signings. Barnes & Noble is the bookseller at the venue, offering the book of choice for 30 percent off the retail price.

Upcoming events:

•  March 13: Kelly Corrigan is a Bay Area memoirist who has written about family and women’s issues in “The Middle Place” and “Lift.” Her new book, “Glitter and Glue,” is about her sometimes frustrating but ultimately rewarding relationship with her mother.

•  May 1: Anne Perry lives in England and comes to the U.S. only once every other year. She has written more than 70 novels in six series, most of them mysteries and historical fiction.

•  May 29: Joyce Maynard is a former New York Times reporter and syndicated columnist, and the author of eight novels and four books of nonfiction. Her coming-of-age novel “Labor Day” was made into a movie that opened Jan. 31.

Information :(916) 321-1128. Events are held in the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, 828 I St., Sacramento, in partnership with the Sacramento Public Library.

Sacramento Public Library

The Central Library (828 I St., Sacramento) and its 27 branches regularly host authors and sponsor special events, most of them free.

“The Sacramento Public Library is more than a venue for authors,” said library director Rivkah Sass. “We do it all, from hosting best-selling writers in the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria at the Central Library for crowds of hundreds, to hosting local authors in all library locations.”

Upcoming events:

• Authors on the Move is the library’s primary fundraiser, a formal dinner and book-signing that offers attendees the rare opportunity to chat with California writers. The theme for the 11th annual event is “Bridges to Other Lands,” and will feature keynote speakers Orville Schell and John Delury, authors of “Wealth and Power: China’s Long March to the Twenty-First Century.” Among the 45 authors will be John Lescroart (“The Ophelia Cut”), Anthony Marra (“A Constellation of Vital Phenomena”) and Victoria Loustalot (“This Is How You Say Goodbye”). 5 p.m. March 8 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1209 L St., Sacramento. Tickets are $200 per person or $1,500 for a table of eight.; (916) 264-2711.

• Among the writers appearing for the Central Library will be Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Stephen Dunn on Feb. 23 in conjunction with the Sacramento Poetry Center; $15 in advance at Diana Gabaldon, mega-best-selling author of the “Outlander” time-travel series, is due June 13.

Information: (916) 264-2920, (click on “Newsletter” under “Recent News”)

Sacramento Speakers Series

The paid subscription series brings top-tier professionals from the arts, sciences, media and other fields to Sacramento to speak about their careers and issues of the day, answer questions and autograph their books.

Four of the six speakers for the 2013-14 season have already appeared. The 2014-15 series will be announced Tuesday.

“The 2014-2015 series will be our 10th anniversary, and some of the biggest names in the country will be coming to Sacramento,” said series managing principal Mitchell Ostwald.

Upcoming events:

• Tuesday: Judy Smith is a TV producer and crisis-management expert who served as special assistant to President George H.W. Bush. The ABC political-thriller series “Scandal” is partly based on her résumé. Her recent book is “Good Self, Bad Self: How to Bounce Back from a Personal Crisis.”

• April 1: Ina Garten is a Food Network celebrity chef and cookbook author. Her most recent title is “Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust.”

Information: (916) 388-1100, All events start at 8 p.m. at the Community Center Theatre, 1301 L St., Sacramento. Full subscriptions are from $210 to $450. The last two events of this season will be prorated and sold as a package for $70 to $150.

Distinguished Speakers Series

The Mondavi Center’s paid subscription series features A-list professionals from a variety of fields who discuss their work. Subscriptions range from $68 to $125; single-ticket sales are $25 to $64. Discounts for students.

“It has always been a vital part of our programming to present a broad range of cultural icons who represent the diversity of our university community and the region,” said director of marketing Rob Tocalino.

Upcoming events:

• Brian Greene, a physicist-mathematician who explains string theory, on March 20.

•  NPR’s Peter Sagal, host of the National Public Radio game show “Wait, Wait ... Don’t Tell Me,” on April 11.

• Laura Dern, an actress and activist, on May 13. (This appearance was rescheduled from November.)

Information: 1 Shields Ave., on the UC Davis campus, Davis; (530) 754-2787, (866) 754-2787,

Barnes & Noble

The Barnes & Noble bookstores in Citrus Heights, Sacramento, Roseville and Natomas host authors on a regular basis, and often sponsor special events.

“Our author appearances are one of our most popular programs,” said B&N community relations manager Michael Troyan. “Not only do we introduce the community to local talent, but we bring in nationally known authors who our customers would not ordinarily get to meet.”

For upcoming events, go to

Avid Reader at the Tower

The indy bookstore features local and national authors, and emphasizes hardback fiction, cookbooks and children’s books and toys. It carries an extensive selection of magazines. Its book club meets the fourth Wednesday of each month. Storytellers read the first Wednesday of the month. It displays works by local artists.

“We are very knowledgeable and experienced booksellers who know books and can talk books,” said owner Stan Forbes.

For upcoming events, see the calendar on the store’s website.

Information: 1600 Broadway; (916) 441-4400,

Avid Reader

The store is in two locations on the same block, each with a nickname. The Original store focuses on hardback fiction, history and children’s books. Being in Davis, there’s a huge literature section. The Active store specializes in books that reflect activities, including cooking, travel and sports. Toys, games and greeting cards have a big presence. Plus, the bookstore is a ticketing outlet for events.

“We start with top-quality reading based on our history with the community. Then we shape the categories further, based on what people are interested in,” said owner Alzada Knickerbocker.

For upcoming events, see the calendar on the website.

Information: 617 Second St. and 605 Second St., Davis; (530) 758-4040,

Face in a Book

Though the bookstore stocks every genre, most of its free events and author appearances are child-centric. It sponsors storytime programs for toddlers and preschoolers, and appearances by authors of middle-reader (10 to 13) and young-adult fiction.

As for adult programs, the Evening Book Club (6:30 p.m. the last Tuesday of each month) and Daytime Book Club (11:30 a.m. the last Wednesday of each month) invite readers to gather and discuss popular fiction and nonfiction titles.

“We give our community a place to connect with others who share their love of the written word,” said owner Tina Ferguson.

Upcoming event:

• R. Franklin James for “The Fallen Angels Book Club” and Kathy Asay for “Flint House” on Feb. 22.

Information: 4359 Town Center Blvd., El Dorado Hills; (916) 941-9401,

Time Tested Books

The store overflows with tens of thousands of gently used books, with a wide selection of hard-to-find, out-of-print books in a variety of fields.

“We make an effort to create a dynamic environ for community discussion with local and national authors,” said owner Peter Keat.

For upcoming events, see the calendar on the website.

Information: 1114 21st St., Sacramento; (916) 447-5696,

UC Davis Stores

This is the collection of bookstores on the campus of UC Davis, where most authors who appear are UC Davis faculty. Independent of that, various academic departments bring national authors to other campus venues.

“We try to expose the campus community to the work of our faculty, and expand that to include the greater Sacramento community at large,” said events coordinator Paul Takushi.

Upcoming event:

• MacArthur Genius Grant-winner Yiyun Li for “Kinder Than Solitude,” and Lucy Corin for “One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses” appear on March 12.

Information: 1 Shields Ave., Davis; (530) 752-9072,

CapRadio Reads

The open-to-all book club of Capital Public Radio meets at 6:30 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month in the Community Room at Capital Public Radio.

Most events are exchanges among readers about specific books and authors, but authors do make appearances and engage in staged conversations with “Morning Edition” host Donna Apidone. Registration required.

“The natural affinity between Capital Public Radio listeners and readers makes this a great venue for conversations about books and authors, and allows the radio station to interact with the community,” said CapRadio Reads moderator Vicki Lorini.

Upcoming discussions:

•  “The House Girl” by Tara Conklin on March 11.

• “Mother, Daughter, Me” by Katie Hafner on April 15.

Information: 7055 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento; (916) 278-8900,

Call The Bee’s Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128.

Read more articles by Allen Pierleoni

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