Book Talk | June 27, 2014 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

- June 27, 2014

Book Talk

SECRET FRIENDSHIP ... Palo Alto author Betty Schneider's book, "Forbidden Friends, Living Under Apartheid," was recently published by the Menlo Publishing Group. The book deals with the time she and her husband Jack, who was a Fulbright lecturer, lived abroad, mainly from 1970 to 1994, including 16 years in Africa. During their 14 years in South Africa, she earned a Ph.D. in African Decorated Mud Homesteads and African Art and went on to curate the Ethnological Museum in Johannesburg for six years. Once back in the states, she wrote a book on the Ndebele people, which the New York Public Library named the "Best Book for the Teenage" in 1998. She's currently writing a new book, "Academic Gypsies," which covers the five countries where they worked and lived. So far, no blog. The book is available at

POSITIVE SIDE OF WAR? ... Ian Morris, the Jean and Rebecca Willard Professor of Classics, professor of history and a fellow in the Archaeology Center at Stanford University, has written "War! What Is It Good For? Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots" (Profile Books Ltd., London). While working on his previous book, "Why the West Rules — for Now," he found "that every time there was a big turning point in the story, mass violence was always involved." But afterward, societies were made safer and richer. "War" delves into why war drives progress and questions what future wars might lead to. The book is available at

A KILLER TOPIC ... Palo Alto resident Alan Wu, a professor of lab medicine at University of California, San Francisco, and director of the Clinical Chemistry and Toxicology Laboratories at San Francisco General Hospital, has published the second of three books based on his 30 years as a practicing toxicologist. "Toxicology! Because What You Don't Know Can Kill You," a collection of stories based on real events in which people faced unusual and life-threatening situations, was released in January through The second book, "The Hidden Assassin: When Clinical Lab Tests Go Awry" was released in April, and the third, "Microbiology! Because What You Don't Know Will Kill You," is now being written.

AUTHOR TALKS ... Upcoming authors speaking at Books Inc., #74 Town & Country Village, Palo Alto, include John Rosengren, "The Fight of Their Lives" (July 2, 7 p.m.); and Karen Rizzo, "Famous Baby," in conversation with Lisen Stromberg and presented by Peninsula Parlour (July 9, 7 p.m., with a portion of sales benefiting Abilities United). And at 300 Castro St., Mountain View, these authors will speak: Kim Stolz, "Unfriending My Ex: And Other Things I'll Never Do" (July 9, 7 p.m.); Erika Johansen, "The Queen of the Tearling" (July 11, 7 p.m.); and M.P. Cooley, "Ice Shear" (July 22, 7 p.m.). Information:

MORE TALKS ... Upcoming authors at Kepler's Books, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, include K.D. Keenan, "The Obsidian Mirror" (June 28, 2 p.m.); Lee Kravetz and David Feldman, "Supersurvivors: The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success" (July 10, 7:30 p.m.); and Ellen Sussman, "A Wedding in Provence" (July 15, 7:30 p.m.). Information:

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 by the last Friday of the month.


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