What to Wear for a Book Tour?

By Frances Dinkelspiel / November 9, 2008 /

My book, Towers of Gold, officially goes on sale November 11, and amid all the worry about reviews, publicity, and speaking engagements, I have been obsessed by an equally important question: what do I wear for my book tour? Now, I am a pants and sweater kind of gal who occasionally puts on slightly nicer…

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That Minefield Called Writing

By Frances Dinkelspiel / November 6, 2008 /

When you write a book, it’s like you enter a vast, dark universe. There are no markers to guide you. You just fumble along, stringing sentences and paragraphs together, hoping they make sense. From the beginning, you try and create order but you know you are only fooling yourself. You really are just hanging on…

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The World of Jewish Book Fairs

By Frances Dinkelspiel / November 1, 2008 /

  It was cold and foggy on Thursday as I left my house in Berkeley to drive to the Jewish Community Center in Walnut Creek. I was scheduled to give a talk on my book, Towers of Gold, to those who had gathered at the center for the Contra Costa Jewish Book and Arts Festival.…

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San Francisco Magazine gives Towers of Gold a Great Review

By Frances Dinkelspiel / October 27, 2008 /

The editor of San Francisco Magazine, Bruce Kelley, has written a strong review of Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California. I think the article captures the spirit of the book. Here it is, from the November 2008 edition of the magazine: Visionary financier Isaias Hellman was the Warren Buffett…

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Towers of Gold Touring

By Frances Dinkelspiel / October 23, 2008 /

   I will will be talking tonight at the California Studies Association, a group of professors, independent academics, journalists, and writers who are interested in the state’s history, economy, ecology, culture and more. When I attended a recent meeting to hear Charles Wollenberg talk about his new book on Berkeley, I was stuck by how…

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Claremont Book Group — 90 Years Old and Still Going Strong

By Frances Dinkelspiel / October 18, 2008 /

The Claremont Book Club must certainly be one of the oldest book groups in the nation: it has been in continuous existence for 90 years.   Every month, women who live within the gates of the Claremont residential section of Berkeley — once the most exclusive area in the East Bay — gather to hear…

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Submersion Journalism

By Frances Dinkelspiel / October 14, 2008 /

Is it ethical to disguise yourself as a businessman and interview Washington D.C. lobbyists about how they can help promote a totalitarian government? Is it okay to tape those conversations? Can a reporter sign up for a poetry conference, attend without identifying he is a reporter, and write about it for Harper’s Magazine? Is it…

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Culture is Exhausting

By Frances Dinkelspiel / October 13, 2008 /

There’s so much going on in the Bay Area that I sometimes finish a weekend more exhausted than when I started.   On Saturday, I attended the 20th anniversary benefit luncheon for the Kidney Foundation of Northern California. This is one of the premier author events in the country as it showcases top authors. They…

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Book Whirlwind

By Frances Dinkelspiel / October 7, 2008 /

I got my first taste of book touring this past weekend, and it was a thrill. I didn’t start out tentatively, one toe in the water. I leapt, making my first appearance on in a 15-minute interview Saturday on West Coast Live, a radio program from KALW 91.7. I think I got through it with…

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No Editors on Deck at the San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

By Frances Dinkelspiel / September 24, 2008 /

I heard over the weekend that Regan McMahon, the last editor standing at the San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, had taken a buyout, leaving the section without an editor. I e-mailed Regan, but she did not respond until today, when the SF Weekly had an article about the matter. “When SF Weekly contacted McMahon Monday…

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