Spring Reading

With the advent of spring and rebirth, we wish to share a number of publications and a literary event that deserve attention.


Published: April, 2019


With the advent of spring and rebirth, we wish to share a number of publications and a literary event that deserve attention.


While one could hardly describe Claude Monet as a late bloomer—he was one of those rare painters who had won widespread recognition in youth—his work in his “late years” is now being celebrated again in a stunning exhibition at San Francisco’s de Young Museum.


In the later years of his life, Monet, who lived from 1840 to 1926, stayed close to home, turning to his extraordinary garden at Giverny for inspiration. Those of you planning on seeing this show before it closes on May 27 are also well advised to purchase Monet: The Late Years, a beautiful 208-page hardcover selling for around $50.


This book demonstrates how the garden became a laboratory for the artist’s concentrated study of natural phenomena—and for a revolutionary shift in the appearance and execution of his paintings. It also examines the last phase of Monet’s career, beginning in 1913, bringing together approximately 60 of his greatest works from this period.


More specifically, Monet: The Late Years focuses on the series that Monet invented and reinvented at Giverny, reevaluating many large-scale works that have long been considered preparatory studies, reexamining their relationship to and status as finished works.


Essays by a roster of distinguished scholars address topics such as Monet’s plans for displaying his late paintings, the mechanics of his painting technique, and the critical and market reception of these works. Through this visually engaging reassessment, Monet’s late works, still astonishing a century later, recast the titan of impressionism as a radical modern painter.


For more information, see yalebooks.yale.edu and www.famsf.org.



Book Club of California Update


A visit to the Book Club of California is always edifying—and often amusing. We were most recently charmed by a Monday evening event featuring Duggan McDonnell, author of Drinking the Devil’s Acre: A Love Letter From San Francisco & Her Cocktails.


As most ferry aficionados know, the Devil’s Acre was the nickname for a single waterfront block within the notorious Barbary Coast, densely packed with “bar-bars” and drinking dives. In his lecture, McDonnell shared many colorful anecdotes about some of the more notorious joints, and the cocktails invented there.


Contained in this handsome tome are 25 iconic cocktail recipes including Pisco Punch, the Mai Tai and Irish Coffee, the rediscovery of the Gold Rush-era Sazerac and the whimsical Lemon Drop. These are accompanied by an additional 45 recipes and McDonnell’s “bartender’s secret formulas,” including contemporary San Francisco classics such as the Revolver and La Perla.


On a more sobering note, the Book Club of California will be hosting its 2019 Oscar Lewis Awards on Monday, April 8. This year the club will honor Dr. Rose Marie Beebe and Dr. Robert Senkewicz for their contribution to western history, and Fred and Barbara Voltmer for their contributions to the book arts.


For more information, see www.bccbooks.org.



Lawrence Ferlinghetti Turns 100


When we last interviewed Lawrence Ferlinghetti, just four years ago, he had just finished Writing Across the Landscape, which chronicled his physical and spiritual journeys around the world. At that time, he told us that “a new book was in the works,” but had no idea when it would be finished.


Ferlinghetti just turned 100, and we never guessed that the book he was writing would be called Little Boy, but there you have it. What comes as little surprise, however, is the widespread praise critics from all over the world have lavished on it. Here’s what our own Michael McClure (author of The Beard) has to say about it:


“A Goethean poly-directional consciousness on an exciting journey through time and space, Ferlinghetti’s unclassifiable act is delightful, tragic, magical. Here is seriousness at play with all the power of a spontaneous concert. Bravo Maestro Lawrence!”


For more information, see www.citylights.com.