Things are unsettled for 13-year-old Jenna Metcalf, and she’s in desperate need of balance and closure. Jenna has lived with her maternal grandmother for the decade following the sudden and mysterious disappearance of her mother, Alice Metcalf, a research scientist with a specialty – studying the nature of grief among elephants.
After Alice moved from doing field work on a game reserve in Africa to helping her new husband run the New England Elephant Sanctuary, a tragedy occurred on the sanctuary grounds. The questions became: What was Alice’s involvement, why did she vanish, and where did she go?
Refusing to believe her mother had abandoned her, Jenna enlists the help of two dysfunctional adults to help her find out once and for all if Alice is alive or dead. One of them is a disgraced former celebrity psychic. The other is the retired police detective who fumbled the original case. Together, they hunt for the truth, which turns out to be what none of them could possibly have imagined.
New York Times best-selling author Jodi Picoult tells the moving and fascinating story in her 22nd novel, “Leaving Time,” the Bee Book Club’s choice for October (Ballantine, $28, 405 pages; on sale next Tuesday).
“(Ultimately) this is a book about keeping the people we love close to us,” she writes in the author’s note.
Picoult, 48, specializes in family-related drama; more than 25 million copies of her novels are in print worldwide, translated into 34 languages. Five of her books have been made into movies, including “My Sister’s Keeper” with Cameron Diaz and Alec Baldwin. She holds a creative-writing degree from Princeton and a master’s degree in education from Harvard. Visit her at www.jodipicoult.com.
Picoult will give her Bee Book Club presentation at 6 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, 828 I St., Sacramento (doors open at 5:15 p.m.). It’s a free event in partnership with the Sacramento Public Library, but tickets are required. They are available starting today at www.beebuzzpoints.com, limited to two per person. Look for more details in the Oct. 21 Living Here section. Information: (916) 321-1128.
“Leaving Time” will be offered at a 30 percent discount from Oct. 14 through Oct. 23 at these bookstores: Barnes & Noble, Avid Reader at the Tower in Sacramento, Avid Reader in Davis, Face in a Book in El Dorado Hills, Time Tested Books, Underground Books, Hornet Bookstore at California State University, Sacramento, the UC Davis Bookstore and the Bookseller in Grass Valley
One Book Sacramento
The choice for the Sacramento Public Library’s 10th annual “One Book Sacramento” program is “What It Is Like to Go to War” by Karl Marlantes (Grove, $15, 272 pages). It’s a personal account of his combat experiences, with analysis of leaving for war and then returning home. Marlantes holds a Navy Cross for heroism in the Vietnam War.
One Book Sacramento asks the community to read the same book and participate in events that include book discussions, films, readings and more, through October. Details: www.saclibrary.org/onebook and (916) 264-2920.
Marlantes will be in conversation with Mary Menzel, director of the California Center for the Book, at 6:30 p.m. today at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, 828 I St., Sacramento.
On the subject of “One Book” programs, California State University, Sacramento, has chosen “Blasphemy” by National Book Award winner Sherman Alexie, a collection of new stories and vintage tales. The author will read selections at noon and 7 p.m. Oct. 16 in the University Union Ballroom, 6000 J St., Sacramento, (916) 278-6011. To see the full program of “One Book” events: www.csus.edu/onebook.
It’s Archives Month
October is Archives Month, a national celebration. To honor it locally is the fourth annual Sacramento Archives Crawl, in which participants can get behind-the-scenes looks at our past at four venues that “bring California history to life.”
Memorabilia and hundreds of artifacts will be displayed, reflecting the theme “Having Fun in the Sacramento Region.” Related items will include books, pamphlets, programs, posters, photos and menus.
Take a look from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the California State Library (900 N St., 916-654-0261), California State Archives (1020 O St., 916-653-7715), Sacramento Public Library (828 I St., 916-264-2700) and the Center for Sacramento History (551 Sequoia Pacific Blvd., 916-808-7072).
Pick up a “passport” at any of the four venues; have it stamped at three of the sites and receive a set of limited-edition coasters.
Capital Public Radio’s book club, CapRadio Reads, continues with another provocative event. Author Michelle Richmond will appear in conversation with “Morning Edition” host Donna Apidone to discuss the novel “Golden State” (Bantam, $15, 304 pages). In it, a doctor must make her way across San Francisco to reach her sister in a hospital, but there’s a problem: The city is in turmoil because it’s the day voters will decide whether California will secede from the United States.
The $10 tab includes appetizers and wine. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 14 in the radio station’s Community Room, 7055 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento. Tickets at www.capradio.org/books. The book club hosts meetings the second Tuesday of each month.
Things are getting spooky as Halloween approaches. For instance, the fifth annual “Haunted Stacks” at the Sacramento Public Library will start with a screening of Mel Brooks’ hilarious classic “Young Frankenstein,” followed by an after-hours tour of the Sacramento Room. There, visitors will be transported to 1929. Plan on 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 17 at 828 I St., Sacramento; (916) 264-2700,
Young and talented
This could be a road map to your next good read: The National Book Foundation has released its annual list of five outstanding writers under age 35, as chosen by past winners of and finalists for the National Book Award. They are:
• Alex Gilvarry, “From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant”;
• Valeria Luiselli, “Faces in the Crowd”;
• Yelena Akhtiorskaya, “Panic in a Suitcase”;
• Phil Klay, “Redeployment”;
• Kirstin Valdez Quade, “Night at the Fiestas.”
For more about the National Book Foundation: www.nationalbook.org.
David Covin for “Prodigal,” 2 p.m. Saturday at Underground Books, 2814 35th St., Sacramento; (916) 737-3333.
Marie Lu for “The Young Elites,” 6 p.m. Oct. 16 at Face In a Book, 4359 Town Center Blvd., El Dorado Hills; (916) 941-9401.
Amy Stewart for “Wicked Plants,” 1 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Carmichael Library, 5605 Marconi Ave., Sacramento, (916) 264-2700; sponsored by Capitol Crimes, the Sacramento Chapter of Sisters in Crime, capitolcrimes.org.
Jack Parker for “The Valley of Tranquility” and his four-title “Adventure” series, 10 a.m. Oct. 18 at the Orvis store, Fountains shopping center, 1017 Galleria Blvd., Roseville, (916) 783-9400; and 1 p.m. Oct. 25 at Barnes & Noble, 3561 N. Freeway Blvd., Natomas, (916) 285-0387.
Todd Borg for “The Ghost Boat,” 3 p.m. Oct. 18 at the El Dorado Arts Council Art Space in the Fausel House, 772 Pacific St., Placerville; (530) 295-3496.
Constance Hale for “Sin and Syntax: How To Craft Wicked Good Prose,” for a meeting of the California Writers Club; 11 a.m. Oct. 18 at Cattlemen’s Restaurant, 12409 Folsom Blvd., Rancho Cordova. The event includes lunch for $16. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
JaNay Brown-Wood for “Imani’s Moon,” 1 p.m. Oct. 19 at Barnes & Noble, 6111 Sunrise Blvd., Citrus Heights; (916) 853-1511.
Barbara Rhine for “Tell No Lies,” 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at Time Tested Books, 1114 21st St., , Sacramento; (916) 447-5696.
LET US KNOW
If you have information on author appearances or other book-related special events, email it to email@example.com least two weeks before the event. To read the online calendar, go to www.sacbee.com/books.