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Jack Vance
Jack Vance

Charlie Haas
Charlie Haas

Gertrude Stein
Gertrude Stein

Jack London
Jack London


Walden Pond Books endeavors to keep new and used copies of books by local authors in stock at all times.
    Living in Oakland (or in close proximity):
  • Daniel Alarcón: War by Candlelight: Stories (2005), Lost City Radio (2007), The Secret Miracle: The Novelist's Handbook (2010), At Night We Walk in Circles (2013), The King Is Always above the People (2017)

    Wars, both national and internal, are being waged in jungles, across borders, in the streets of Lima, in the intimacy of New York apartments. War by Candlelight is an exquisite collection of stories that carry the reader from Third World urban centers to the fault lines that divide nations and people -- a devastating portrait of a world in flux.

    As the host of Lost City Radio, Norma reads the names of those who have disappeared in the violence of a decade-long civil war. Through her efforts lovers are reunited and the lost are found. But her own life is about to forever change—thanks to the arrival of a young boy from the jungle who provides a cryptic clue to the fate of Norma's vanished husband.

    In The Secret Miracle editor and author Daniel Alarcón brings together the foremost practitioners of the craft to discuss how they write. Paul Auster, Roddy Doyle, Allegra Goodman, Aleksandar Hemon, Mario Vargas Llosa, Susan Minot, Rick Moody, Haruki Murakami, George Pelecanos, Gary Shteyngart, and others.

    The King Is Aways Above the People: Migration. Betrayal. Family secrets. Doomed love. Uncertain futures. In Daniel Alarcón's hands, these are transformed into deeply human stories with high stakes.
  • Elaine Beale: Another Life Altogether (2010)
  • Anthony Boucher: Mystery novels: The Case of the Seven of Calvary (1937) The Case of the Crumpled Knave (1939) The Case of the Baker Street Irregulars (1940) Nine Times Nine (as H. H. Holmes) (1940) The Case of the Solid Key (1941) Rocket to the Morgue (as H. H. Holmes) (1942) The Case of the Seven Sneezes (1942)
    Collections: Far and Away; Eleven Fantasy and SF Stories (1955) (fantasy and science fiction) The Compleat Werewolf and Other Stories of Fantasy and SF (1969) (fantasy and science fiction) Exeunt Murderers (1983) (mysteries) The Compleat Boucher (1999) (fantasy and science fiction) The Casebook of Gregory Hood, Radio Plays by Anthony Boucher and Denis Green, edited by Joe R. Christopher (2009) (scripts from a radio program)
  • Emily Brady: Humboldt: Life on America's Marijuana Frontier (2013)

    (Grand Central)
    "Emily Brady spent a year living with the highly secretive residents of Humboldt County, and her cast of eccentric, intimately drawn characters take us into a fascinating, alternate universe. It's the story of a small town that became dependent on a forbidden plant, and of how everything is changing as marijuana goes mainstream... A moving portrait of a culture and a region at a crossroads." - Publishers Weekly
  • Joshua Braff: Peep Show (2010), The Daddy Diaries (2015)
  • Novella Carpenter: Farm City - The Education of an Urban Farmer (2009), The Essential Urban Farmer (2011)

    Farm City has been nominated for the 2010 Northern California Book Award for Creative Nonfiction! Novella Carpenter turned a vacant lot in Oakland, California, into a working mini-farm, complete with vegetables, herbs, pigs, chickens, ducks, and bees. This utterly enchanting book chronicles the author's experiences as an urban farmer with wit, grace, and style.
    Novella Carpenter's most recent book is Possum Living: How to Live Well Without a Job and with (Almost) No Money (2019)

  • Michael Chabon: The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (1988), A Model World and Other Stories (1991), Wonder Boys (1995), Werewolves in Their Youth (1999), The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000), Summerland (2002), The Final Solution (2004), The Yiddish Policemen's Union (2007), Gentlemen of the Road (2007), Maps and Legends (2008), Manhood for Amateurs (2009), Telegraph Avenue (2012), Moonglow (2016), Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces (2018), Bookends: Collected Intros and Outros (2019).

    The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon's first work of fiction, began as a university degree thesis, became a 1988 bestseller, and launched the literary career of this gifted author. The recently reissued edition of the book features an author's addendum which details some of the inspiration, problems and process by which the novel was written.

    In The Final Solution, Michael Chabon has condensed his boundless vision to craft a suspenseful tale of compassion and wit that reimagines the classic nineteenth-century detective story. Swiss bank accounts, a nine-year-old refugee from Nazi Germany, a parrot who speaks in code... Subtle revelations lead the reader to a wrenching resolution. This brilliant homage is the work of a master storyteller at the height of his powers.

    Maps and Legends is Chabon’s first collection of nonfiction. "A writer of prodigious literary gifts, Chabon brings the velocity, verve, and emotional richness intrinsic to the best of short stories to his exceptionally canny and stirring essays... A writer so versatile he seems to be a master of disguises, Chabon provides invaluable keys to his frolicsome creativity and literary chutzpah in this truly entertaining collection." — Booklist

    "A Model World and Other Stories [is] an exceptional collection ... These subtly ironic tales have a brevity and clarity that allows Chabon's bittersweet observations to hit home ... He deftly creates believable situations made remarkable by underlying twists of motivation and behavior." — Publisher's Weekly "These stories…establish [Chabon] as one of his generation’s most eloquent new voices." — New York Times
  • Janet Dawson: Author of the series of novels featuring Oakland private investigator Jeri Howard:
    Kindred Crimes, Till The Old Men Die, Take A Number, Don't Turn Your Back On The Ocean, Nobody's Child, A Credible Threat, Witness to Evil, Where The Bodies Are Buried, A Killing at the Track, Bit Player (2011), What You Wish For (2012), Cold Trail (2015), Water Signs (2017), The Devil Close Behind (2019).

    Bit Player (2011)
    A chance encounter in an Alameda movie memorabilia shop sets Jeri Howard on an investigation into her grandmother's past life in Hollywood.
  • Carolina De Robertis: The Invisible Mountain (2009)

    (Random House)
    "Three generations of women populate this sweeping saga [of Uruguay]. . . Beautifully written yet deliberate in its storytelling. It gains momentum as the women's lives spin increasingly out of control while Uruguay sinks into war, economic instability and revolution. An extraordinary first effort whose epic scope and deft handling reverberate with the deep pull of ancestry, the powerful influence of one's country and the sacrifices of reinvention." — Publishers Weekly (starred review). "The kind of novel you stay up late to finish and lie awake thinking about." — San Francisco Chronicle
    Perla (2012)

    A coming-of-age story, based on a recent shocking chapter of Argentine history, about a young woman who makes a devastating discovery about her origins with the help of an enigmatic houseguest.
    "This ambitious narrative is propulsive and emotionally gripping, culminating in a wrenching catharsis about rebirth and healing." — Publishers Weekly (starred review).
    The Gods of Tango (2015)

    Seventeen-year-old Leda, clutching a suitcase and her father's cherished violin, leaves her small Italian village for a new home (and husband) in Argentina. Upon her arrival in Buenos Aires, Leda is shocked to find that her bridegroom has been killed. Unable to fathom the idea of returning home, she finally acts on a passion she has kept secret for years: mastering the violin.
    Cantoras (2019)

    Five wildly different women find each other as lovers, friends, and ultimately, family in the midst of the Uruguayan dictatorship.
  • Susan Dunlap: Award-winning mystery and crime author of the Jill Smith series (10 titles), the Vejay Haskell series (3 titles), the Kiernan O'Shaughnessy series (4 titles), and, most recently, the Darcy Lott series (4 titles).
  • Thaisa Frank: A Brief History of Camouflage (1991), Finding Your Writer's Voice (1996),
    Sleeping in Velvet (1997), Enchantment (2012),

    Heidegger's Glasses (2010): As a failing Germany comes apart at the seams at the end of World War II, the Third Reich's strong reliance on the occult has led to the formation of an underground compound of translators responsible for answering letters written to those killed in the concentration camps. Into this covert compound comes a letter written by eminent philosopher Martin Heidegger to his optometrist, who is now lost in the dying thralls of Auschwitz.
  • Lisa Goldstein: The Red Magician (1982), The Dream Years (1985), A Mask for the General (1987), Tourists (1989), Strange Devices of the Sun and Moon (1993), Summer King, Winter Fool (1994), Walking the Labyrinth (1996), Dark Cities Underground (1999), The Alchemist's Door (2002), Daughter of Exile (2004), The Divided Crown (2005).

    The Uncertain Places (2011)
    An ages-old family secret breaches the boundaries between reality and magic in this fresh retelling of a classic fairy tale.
    "An exquisitely beautiful, eerily compelling modern fairy tale. Graceful storytelling and a knack for making the fantastic all-too-believable make Goldstein's latest novel a treat for fantasy lovers and folk/fairy tale enthusiasts alike." — Library Journal (starred review).
  • Charlie Haas: The Enthusiast (2009) (store event)

    "Haas shows a skilled literary hand in his sharp first novel. The compelling side characters are central to the novel’s charm…but the characters encountered aren’t dismissed as freaks; rather, they’re examined with a near curatorial zeal. This is a slick first novel: funny, thought provoking and a little alarming." — Publishers Weekly (starred review).
  • Maxine Hong Kingston: The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts (1976), China Men (1980), Through the Black Curtain (1987), Hawai'i One Summer (1987), Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book (1989), To Be the Poet (2002), The Fifth Book of Peace (2003), Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace (2006), I Love a Broad Margin to My Life (2011)
  • Renay Jackson: Oaktown Devil (2004), Shakey’s Loose (2004), Turf War (2005), Peanut’s Revenge (2006), Crack City (2006), Sweetpea's Secret (2008)
  • Saul Landau: Assassination on Embassy Row (1981), My Dad was not Hamlet (1994), The Guerrilla Wars of Central America: Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala (1994), Red Hot Radio: Sex, Violence and Politics at the End of the American Century (1999), The Pre-Emptive Empire: A Guide to Bush's Kingdom (2003), The Business of America: How Consumers Have Replaced Citizens and How We Can Reverse the Trend (2004), A Bush & Botox World: Travels Through Bush's America (2007)
  • Yiyun Li: A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (2006), The Vagrants (2009), Gold Boy, Emerald Girl (2010)
  • Sophie Littlefield: A Bad Day for Sorry (2009), A Bad Day for Pretty (2010), Banished (2010), Aftertime, (2011), A Bad Day for Scandal (2011), Hanging by a Thread, (2012), A Bad Day for Mercy (2012)
  • Jenny Odell: How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy (2019)
    How to Do Nothing
    "An erudite and thoughtful narrative about the importance of interiority and taking time to pay close attention to the spaces around us." - San Francisco Chronicle
    "An eloquent argument against the cult of efficiency, and I felt both consoled and invigorated by it." - The New York Times
    "She struck a hopeful nerve of possibility that I hadn't felt in a long time." - The New Yorker
    "Approachable and incisive. . . clearly the work of a socially conscious artist and writer who considers careful attention to the rich variety of the world an antidote to the addictive products and platforms that technology provides. . . She sails with capable ease between the Scylla and Charybdis of subjectivity and arid theory with the relatable humanity of her vision." - The Washington Post
  • Sanjay Patel: The Little Book of Hindu Deities (2006), Ramayana: Divine Loophole (2010), The Big Poster Book of Hindu Deities (2011), Ganesha's Sweet Tooth (2012)
  • Ishmael Reed: The Freelance Pallbearers (1967), Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down (1969), Mumbo Jumbo (1972), Neo-HooDoo Manifesto (1972), Conjure: Selected Poems, (1963-1970, 1972), Chattanooga: Poems (1973), The Last Days of Louisiana Red (1974), Flight to Canada (1976), Secretary to the Spirits (1978), Shrovetide in Old New Orleans: Essays (1978), The Terrible Twos (1982), God Made Alaska for the Indians: Selected Essays (1982), Reckless Eyeballing (1986), New and Collected Poetry (1988), Writing is Fighting: Thirty-Seven Years of Boxing on Paper (1988), The Terrible Threes (1989), Before Columbus Foundation Fiction Anthology: Selections from the American Book Awards (1980-1990), Airing Dirty Laundry (1993), Japanese by Spring (1993), Conversations with Ishmael Reed (1995), Blues City: A Walk in Oakland (2003), Mixing It Up: Taking on the Media Bullies and Other Reflections (2008), Ishmael Reed: The Plays (2009), Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media: The Return of the Nigger Breakers (2010), Juice (2011), Going Too Far (2012).
  • Kathryn Reiss: Time Windows (1991), The Glass House People (1992), Pale Phoenix (1993), Dreadful Sorry (1994), Paperquake: A Puzzle (1998), Riddle of the Prairie Bride (2001), The Strange Case of Baby H (2002), Paint by Magic: A Time Travel Mystery (2002), Sweet Miss Honeywell's Revenge (2004), Blackthorn Winter (2006), The Tangled Web (2009), Puzzle of the Paper Daughter: A Julie Mystery (2010), A Bundle Of Trouble: A Rebecca Mystery (2011), The Silver Guitar: A Julie Mystery (2011).
  • Mary Roach: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (2003), Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife (2005), Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex (2008), Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void (2010), Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal (2013), Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War (2016)
  • Robert Stinnett: George Bush: His World War II Years (1992), Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor (1999)
    Day of Deceit
    (Simon & Schuster)
    "Stinnett provides overwhelming evidence that FDR and his top advisers knew that Japanese warships were heading toward Hawaii. The heart of his argument is even more inflammatory: Stinnett argues that FDR, who desired to sway public opinion in support of U.S. entry into WWII, instigated a policy intended to provoke a Japanese attack. Convincing enough to make Stinnett's bombshell of a book the subject of impassioned debate" — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • Bryant Terry: Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen (2006), Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine (2009), The Inspired Vegan (2012), Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed (2014).
  • Gail Tsukiyama: Women of the Silk (1991), The Samurai's Garden (1996), Night of Many Dreams (1998), The Language of Threads (1999), Dreaming Water (2002), The Street of a Thousand Blossoms (2007), A Hundred Flowers (2012)
  • Jack Vance (John Holbrook Vance): (featured/favorite author)
    Over 60 mystery, science fiction and fantasy books - most are vastly superior to any others in their respective genres. Notable individual novels include:
    To Live Forever (1956), Big Planet (1957), Slaves of the Klau (1958), The Languages of Pao (1958), Space Opera (1965), The Blue World (1966), Emphyrio (1969), The Gray Prince (The Domains of Koryphon) (1974), Showboat World (The Magnificent Showboats of the Lower Vissel River, Lune XXIII, Big Planet) (1975), Maske: Thaery (1976), Galactic Effectuator (1980), Night Lamp (1996), Ports of Call (1998), Lurulu (2004).
    Notable series include: The Dying Earth series, The Lyonesse Trilogy, The Demon Princes series, The Cadwal Chronicles, The Alastor series, The Durdane series, Tschai - The Planet of Adventure series
  • Umi Vaughan: Carlos Aldama’s Life in Batá: Cuba, Diaspora, and the Drum (2012), Rebel Dance, Renegade Stance: Timba Music and Black Identity in Cuba (2012),
  • Ayelet Waldman: Nursery Crimes (2000), The Big Nap (2001), Playdate With Death (2002), Daughter's Keeper (2003), Death Gets a Time-Out (2003), Murder Plays House (2004), The Cradle Robbers (2005), Because I Said So (2005), Bye-Bye, Black Sheep (2006), Love and Other Impossible Pursuits (2006), Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace (2009), Red Hook Road (2010), Inside This Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women's Prisons (2011), Love and Treasure (2015), And Murder Makes Three (2015), A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life (2018)
  • William Wong: Yellow Journalist: Dispatches from Asian America (2001), Oakland's Chinatown (2004)
  • Helen Zia: Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People (2001), My Country Versus Me: The First-Hand Account by the Los Alamos Scientist Who Was Falsely Accused of Being a Spy [with Wen Ho Lee] (2001), Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao's Revolution (2019)

Jack Vance (John Holbrook Vance)
(August 28, 1916 – May 26, 2013)
"One of the greatest science fiction and fantasy writers of the 20th century", Jack Vance died May 26, 2013 at the age of 96 in his longtime home in the Oakland Hills. His son, John Holbrook Vance II, described the cause as simply the complications of old age, saying, "everything just finally caught up with him." The weeks after his death have seen an outpouring of homage and tributes to Vance by scores of authors, including George R. R. Martin, Michael Moorcock, Ursula K. Le Guin, Harlan Ellison, Neil Gaiman, Robert Silverberg, Gene Wolfe, J.G. Ballard, and Elizabeth Bear. Hundreds of messages have been posted to a memorial site set up by his family.

Tor Books

"If you had never read Vance and were browsing a bookstore’s shelf, you might have no particular reason to choose one of his books instead of one next to it... And if you chose one of these alternatives, you would go on your way to the usual thrills with no idea that you had just missed out on encountering one of American literature’s most distinctive and undervalued voices." — New York Times Magazine, July 19, 2009

"I felt myself seized by a writer’s style in a way I had never experienced before... I read the book in a kind of rapt delirium and went looking for more." — Carlo Rotella, Director of American Studies, Boston College
Walden Pond Books
salutes local author Jack Vance
  • A true Bay Area native, Jack Vance lived in Oakland for his entire professional career. Since his first published story, "The World-Thinker" in 1945, Vance has written over sixty books.
  • Walden Pond Books has at least two Jack Vance fans on our staff who have consistently and unhesitatingly recommended the works of Jack Vance to our customers as some of the finest science fiction and fantasy ever published.
  • We therefore took some delight in finding our effusiveness about this author echoed by the July 15, 2009 New York Times Magazine author profile, "The Genre Artist"

Orb Books

"Jack Vance is the greatest living SF writer. His work continues to exhibit imagination, originality and style, three things sadly lacking in 95 per cent of the SF being published today." — George R. R. Martin

"Vance has a velvety elegance that rivals John Gielgud reciting poetry... The remarkable consistency of Vance's poetic writing coupled with his extraordinary visions of exotic planets is one of the treasures of speculative fiction." — Washington Post Book World

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