If one of your goals is to have a cleaner, more organized, and less cluttered home (and if it isn't, then you should probably write a book of your own), consider dropping a very worthwhile $15 on Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The Japanese organization expert, who boasts a month-long waiting list of clients in Tokyo, has been building a steady cult in the U.S. around her philosophy of determining which objects "bring joy," and ruthlessly culling all those that don't. It's a recipe for an emotional reckoning with your stuff, which is what most of us need far more than another set of tips for rearranging it.
Appearances: January 22 at Book Passage SF
Michelle Tea is familiar to most San Franciscans with a literary bent, having published numerous books and articles about her life in our fair city (in addition to founding the lesbian-oriented literary tour Sister Spit and its associated book imprint with City Lights). But she's poised for her biggest breakout yet with the new memoir How to Grow Up, which is garnering major national buzz. It's the story of how Tea grew from a druggy youngster working dead-end jobs into the writer she always wanted to be, even as SF changed around her and constantly demanded more of her energies. Considering she flirted with death more than once, it's a remarkable comeback tale, and her many local fans will definitely appreciate her take on maturing in a city full of Peter Pan types.
Appearances: January 27 at Books Inc. Castro
Speaking of people who are near and dear to San Francisco's heart, the Grateful Dead are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, priming the path for SF State professor Peter Richardson's encyclopedic cultural history of the group, No Simple Highway. It's an easy sell for hardcore Deadheads, but if you've ever wondered why a band which had only one top-ten hit (which came 20 years into their run, no less) was able to accrue such a dedicated parade of fans, this book is your answer, attempting to puzzle out the Dead's enduring appeal even as the initial crowd of Deadheads have aged and band members have passed on. Any music fan who wonders what makes a band popular and what makes one last will find ample material of interest in this book.