Book Talk: discussions, swaps, readings and more

This month's book news

Stanford's Another Look book club hosts a free public discussion of James Baldwin's 1963 classic, "The Fire Next Time," Kepler's has a book swap and psychiatrist Susan Edelman encourages her readers: "Be Your Own Brand of Sexy."

ANOTHER LOOK ... Stanford University's Another Look book club will hold a public discussion of James Baldwin's 1963 classic, "The Fire Next Time," at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 5, at the Bechtel Conference Center at Encina Hall on Serra Street. The discussion is free and open to the public, with no reserved seating. Moderator will be Michele Elam, professor of English, with Harry Elam, vice provost for undergraduate education, and author Tobias Wolff, professor of English and founding director of Another Look. Podcasts of previous events are on the website. Info: anotherlook.stanford.edu

EAT, TALK, SWAP ... Kepler's will hold its next Book Swap on Saturday, March 7, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. Participants bring a book they love, talk about it, then swap it for another. Author Elizabeth Rosner will talk about her novel, "Electric City." Book swappers also get refreshments and a free advanced reader's edition of a book from Kepler's. Tickets are $25. Info: keplers.com or brownpapertickets.com

INTERNATIONAL THRILLER ... Monterey-based author Jack Erickson, who worked for years in Palo Alto as a wealth manager at Smith Barney (now Morgan Stanley), will appear at Books Inc. at Town & Country Village, Palo Alto, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 19, to discuss his latest book, "Thirteen Days in Milan" (RedBrick Press). Research for the novel, which is about an American single mother who's taken hostage by Italian terrorists, took Erickson to Milan where he attended high-level meetings with the DIGOS anti-terrorism unit. Erickson's mystery novel "True Crime" has been on Amazon's best-seller list since its publication in 2011. Info: jackerickson.com or booksinc.net

A WOMAN'S PERSEPCTIVE ... Palo Alto resident Christine Witzel has penned "She Also Served: Letters from a Navy Wife," based on a treasure-trove of letters found in her family's Menlo Park home after her mother's death in 2004. With an eye for detail, her mother, Virgilia Short Witzel, describes daily life for a Navy officer's wife in California during World War II, in China amid civil war and in London and Europe during the Cold War. Witzel will be doing a reading at the Menlo Park Library (City Council Chambers), on April 4. The book is available at amazon.com.

SOCIALISM V. SANTA ... Palo Alto resident, visual artist and teacher Vlasta Diamant's "Socialism v. Santa," a memoir ranging from postwar, Socialist Yugoslavia to the present, is available through Applebite Works. A resident of Stevenson House senior community, Diamant is the author of two previous children's books, "Once Upon Skates" and "This Really Happened." The book is available on Amazon.com. Info: applebiteworks.com

RECLAIM POWER ... Palo Alto psychiatrist and Stanford University Adjunct Associate Professor Susan Edelman published her "Be Your Own Brand of Sexy: A New Sexual Revolution for Women" by Options Press of Palo Alto. Her book deals with why women don't get what they want from men. Info: beyourownbrandofsexy.com

Items for Book Talk may be sent to Associate Editor Carol Blitzer, Palo Alto Weekly, P.O Box 1610, Palo Alto, CA 93202 or emailed to cblitzer@paweekly.com.

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Short story writers wanted!

The 33rd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 29. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

Contest Details