Yesterday’s blog looked at the 2010 accomplishments of members of Word of Mouth Bay Area, a coalition of women writers who’ve had at least one book published. Today, we look to 2011–what’s happening now and what’s coming in this marvelous slice of the incredible Bay Area world of books? Here are some treats in store (and a few are already in the store–so check them out).

Jacqueline Luckett’s Searching for Tina Turner, (paperback edition, Jan. 2011, Grand Central Publishing) is the story of a woman confronting the hard truths of what it means to have it all and still find oneself unfulfilled. She determines that what she needs is the strength to say no to all that is extraneous in her life, and Tina Turner becomes the icon from whose story she derives strength, even as everyone else tells her she’s crazy for giving up her cashmere cocoon.

Susan Wels’ Amelia Earhart: The Thrill of It was published in October 2009, but this month—in January 2011—it was named to the American Library Association’s 2011 Amelia Bloomer List of recommended feminist literature from birth through 18.

Amelia Earhart: The Thrill of It is an intimate illustrated biography of Earhart that features new information and more than 300 images, many of which have never been published before. It’s been praised by the San Francisco Chronicle, People Magazine, Smithsonian’s Air & Space Magazine, The New York Post, Booklist, Library Journal, School Library Journal, and Elle Magazine, Italy.

Lynne Kaufman’s one man show about Ram Dass, Acid Test, will have its third staged reading at North Coast Rep in Solana Beach on Feb. 28th. It had a staged reading at The William Inge Theatre Festival in Independence, Kansas, where Lynne was playwright in residence, in November and a staged reading in December at The Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley.

Cara Black’s Murder in Passy (Mystery/Crime SOHO Press NY, March 1. 2011) is the next book in her beloved and bestselling series. It’s springtime in Paris and time for crime in MURDER IN PASSY, an Aimée Leduc investigation set in the chic 16th arrondissement of Paris when Aimée investigates Basque separatists and links to a kidnapped Spanish princess. Murder in the Latin Quarter (9th in series) dealing with Haitian emigrés and the elite Grands Ecoles in Paris was published in 2009 and shortlisted for Best Novel by the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association.

Tracy Seeley’s memoir My Ruby Slippers: the Road Back to Kansas (‘American Lives Series,’ Editor Tobias Wolff, University of Nebraska Press, March 1, 2011) has already received high praise.  A trip back to Kansas after thirty years away from the place she grew up leads to a lyrical meditation on place and displacement, and on what it means to dwell deeply in the only life we have.

Zoe FitzGerald Carter’s acclaimed memoir about her mother’s decision to end her life, Imperfect Endings: A Daughter’s Story of Love, Loss and Letting Go (paperback edition, Simon & Schuster March 8th, 2011) was excerpted in O magazine, was a B&N Discover Great New Writer’s Pick, and was nominated by the MS Society in the inspirational memoir category. It was just optioned for film.

Meg Waite Clayton’s national bestseller The Wednesday Sisters was a word-of-mouth sensation and book club favorite. Now the beloved author is back with a page-turning novel, The Four Ms. Bradwells (March 22, 2011, Ballantine), that explores the secrets we keep, even from those closest to us, and celebrates the enduring power of friendship.

Susan Freinkel’s Plastic: A Toxic Love Story (April 2011, Houghton Mifflin) uses everyday objects — including a frisbee, a disposable lighter, a credit card,a chair – -to explore how we came to live in a world dominated by plastic, and what it means for our health, the environment, our culture, and eocnomy. It already has a great review on Publishers Weekly.

Susan Griffin and Karin Carrington have co-edited a vital and important anthology called Transforming Terror: Remembering the Soul of the World. It can be pre-ordered now on Coming in May from UC Press. With an introduction by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, this inspired collection offers a new paradigm for moving the world beyond violence as the first, and often only, response to violence.

Katherine Ellison’s life-changing book, Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention, (Oct. 2010; paperback edition, May 24, 2011, Hyperion) got a four-star review in People, which called it a fast-paced, insightful, unexpectedly funny read. said reading it is “like downing triple venti espressos,” and Literary Mama called it, “wickedly funny, irreverant, mordant, and always compelling.”

Ellen Sussman’s sizzling new novel, French Lessons (July 12, 2011, Ballantine), sweeps us overseas. A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning not just about language but also about love and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways.

What books are you looking forward to sinking into this year, from this list or elsewhere?


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