Book TalkLOCAL FAME ... Heidi Durrow, whose debut novel, "The Girl Who Fell from the Sky," won the Bellwether Prize recognizing fiction that addresses issues of social injustice, will be reading from her book on Wednesday, April 7 at 5:30 p.m. at Stanford Bookstore, 519 Lasuen Mall, and on Thursday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Kepler's, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. A Stanford University graduate, Durrow went on to earn graduate degrees from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and Yale Law School. Her book is described as a haunting coming-of-age story set in the 1980s that explores biracial and bicultural identity. Joan Silber, author of "The Size of the World," calls her "a writer to watch."
THE GREEN HOME ... Bridget Biscotti Bradley, owner of eco-home store Reclaim in Menlo Park and Palo Alto Weekly columnist, has written a Sunset Design Guide — "The Green Home" — that takes home remodelers from assessing green living to choosing flooring, window treatments, countertops and more. Included are passages from local contractors, architects and interior designers with tidbits such as "pay attention to interior color selection because of the impact it has on lighting. More light will be required when it bounces off a dark surface," from architect Peter Pfeiffer.
LOCAL AUTHORS ... Upcoming readings by local authors at Kepler's, Menlo Park, include: Elif Batumen who teaches literature at Stanford, "The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them" (Thursday, March 11, 7:30 p.m.); Stanford medical student Blake Charlton, "Spellwright" (Friday, March 19, 7:30 p.m.); Frances Mayes, former Title Pages editor and author of New York Times bestsellers "Under the Tuscan Sun" and "Bella Tuscany" who now splits her time between Italy and North Carolina, "Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life" (Wednesday, March 24, 7:30 p.m.); and Jack Bowen, Menlo School philosophy teacher and water-polo coach, "If You Can Read This: The Philosophy of Bumper Stickers" (March 25, 7:30 p.m.).
ARE THEY OUT THERE? ... The Commonwealth Club will present Palo Alto resident Seth Shostak, author of "Confessions of an Alien Hunter: A Scientist's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence" on Thursday, March 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the Menlo Park City Council Chambers, 701 Laurel St., Menlo Park. Shostak will talk about the challenges of detecting alien communications and why the almost 50-year effort has yielded nothing. Info: Call 1-800-847-7730 or visit www.Commonwealthclub.org/sv.
UPCOMING READINGS ... at Books Inc., Town & Country Village, Palo Alto, include: Peter Abaci, "Take Charge of Your Chronic Pain" (March 12, 3 p.m.; and at Kepler's March 31, 7:30 p.m.); David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth, "What's Wrong with My Plant" (March 20, 3 p.m.); Peter Nathaniel Malae, "What We Are" (March 26, 7 p.m.); Kristen Horler, "Baby Boot Camp" (March 27, 2 p.m.); and at Books Inc., 301 Castro St., Mountain View, Cara Black, "Murder in the Palais Royal" (March 8, 7:30 p.m.; and at Kepler's March 10, 7:30 p.m.); and Shilpi Somaya Gowda, "Secret Daughter," (March 16, 7:30 p.m.).
AUTHOR, AUTHOR ... Further readings at Kepler's in March include: Raj Patel, "The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy" (March 8, 7:30 p.m.); Elaine Beale, "Another Life Altogether" (March 9, 7:30 p.m.); Kevin and Hannah Salwen, "The Power of Half: One Family's Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back" (March 12, 7:30 p.m.); Lionel Shriver, "So Much for That: A Novel" (March 15, 7:30 p.m.); Roy Morris, Jr., "Lighting Out for the Territory: How Samuel Clemons Became Mark Twain" (March 16, 7:30 p.m.); Sara Houghteling, "Pictures at an Exhibition" (March 16, 7 p.m., at the Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto); Anil Ananthaswamy, "The Edge of Physics: A Journey to Earth's Extremes to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe" (March 17, 7:30 p.m.); Anthony Brandt, "The Man Who Ate His Boots: The Tragic History of the Search for the Northwest Passage" (March 20, 2 p.m.); Aaron David Miller, "The Much Too Promised Land: America's Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace" (March 22, 7 p.m., at the Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto); Yoram Bauman, "The Cartoon Introduction to Economics: Volume One: Microeconomics" (March 23, 7:30 p.m.); and Paul McHugh, "Deadlines: A Novel of Murder, Mystery, and the Media" (March 30, 7:30 p.m.).
Items for Book Talk may be sent to Associate Editor Carol Blitzer, Palo Alto Weekly, P.O Box 1610, Palo Alto, CA 93202 or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by the last Friday of the month.