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Author Events

Mikel Jollett - Hollywood Park

Wednesday, June 3, 6pm
Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar

hollywood park, mikel jollettJoin Mikel Jollett for a special VIP event before The Airborne Toxic Event's concert!  Just get your concert ticket from Delmar Hall and preorder Hollywood Park from Left Bank Books for VIP access!  VIP attendance is limited to the first 300 orders.

Both an Airborne Toxic Event ticket and proof of pre-order purchase from Left Bank Books is required for VIP Access!

Get your concert ticket here!

Pre-order a copy of Hollywood Park for VIP access here! 

 The VIP experience will include a book signing, a discussion of Hollywood Park, and a Q&A with the author.

Hollywood Park is a remarkable memoir of a tumultuous life. Mikel Jollett was born into one of the country’s most infamous cults, and subjected to a childhood filled with poverty, addiction, and emotional abuse. Yet, ultimately, his is a story of fierce love and family loyalty told in a raw, poetic voice that signals the emergence of a uniquely gifted writer.

We were never young. We were just too afraid of ourselves. No one told us who we were or what we were or where all our parents went. They would arrive like ghosts, visiting us for a morning, an afternoon. They would sit with us or walk around the grounds, to laugh or cry or toss us in the air while we screamed. Then they’d disappear again, for weeks, for months, for years, leaving us alone with our memories and dreams, our questions and confusion …

So begins Hollywood Park, Mikel Jollett’s remarkable memoir. His story opens in an experimental commune in California, which later morphed into the Church of Synanon, one of the country’s most infamous and dangerous cults.  Per the leader’s mandate, all children, including Jollett and his older brother, were separated from their parents when they were six months old, and handed over to the cult’s “School.” After spending years in what was essentially an orphanage, Mikel escaped the cult one morning with his mother and older brother.  But in many ways, life outside Synanon was even harder and more erratic.

In his raw, poetic and powerful voice, Jollett portrays a childhood filled with abject poverty, trauma, emotional abuse, delinquency and the lure of drugs and alcohol.  Raised by a clinically depressed, narcissistic mother, tormented by his angry older brother, subjected to the unpredictability of troubled step-fathers and longing for contact with his father, a former heroin addict and ex-con, Jollett slowly, often painfully, builds a life that leads him to Stanford University and, eventually, to finding his voice as a writer and musician.

Hollywood Park is told at first through the limited perspective of a child, and then broadens as Jollett begins to understand the world around him. Although Mikel Jollett’s story is filled with heartbreak, it is ultimately an unforgettable portrayal of love at its fiercest and most loyal.

Mikel Jollett was born in an experimental commune in Southern California called Synanon. Started as a drug rehabilitation program, it later morphed into one of the most notorious cults America has ever seen. When the community became violent, his mother fled the group with Jollett and his older brother. Raised in abject poverty and fighting the lure of drugs and delinquency, Jollet escaped with the help of his estranged father. He went on to attend Stanford University, before becoming an on-air columnist for NPR’s All Things Considered, an Editor-at-Large for Men's Health and editor of Filter Magazine. After McSweeney’s published his short story “The Crack,” he was accepted to Yaddo artists’ community, but ultimately decided to pursue music instead. He named his band Airborne Toxic Event after a section of Don DeLillo’s White Noise and quickly built a loyal fan base.

Pre-order a copy of Hollywood Park today gain VIP access to the event. VIP access is limited to the first 300 pre-orders!

Both an Airborne Toxic Event ticket and proof of pre-order purchase from Left Bank Books is required for VIP Access!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020 - 6:00pm

Allen Eskens - Nothing More Dangerous

Wednesday, December 4, 7pm
Left Bank Books

Allen Eskens, Nothing More DangerousLeft Bank Books presents an event with best-selling author Aleen Eskens, who will sign and discuss his new novel set in 1976 Missouri, Nothing More Dangerous!

After fifteen years of growing up in the Ozark hills with his widowed mother, high-school freshman Boady Sanden is beyond ready to move on. He dreams of glass towers and cityscapes, driven by his desire to be anywhere other than Jessup, Missouri. Even his beloved woods, his playground as a child and his sanctuary as he grew older, seem to be closing in on him, suffocating him. Then Thomas Elgin moves in across the road, and Boady's life begins to twist and turn. Coming to know the Elgins -- a black family settling into a community where notions of "us" and "them" carry the weight of history -- forces Boady to rethink his understanding of the world he's taken for granted. Secrets hidden in plain sight begin to unfold. But the biggest secret of all is the disappearance of Lida Poe, the African-American woman who keeps the books at the local plastics factory. As the mystery of her fate plays out, Boady begins to see the stark lines of race and class that both bind and divide this small town -- and he will be forced to choose sides.

Allen Eskens is the USA Today bestselling author of The Life We Bury, The Guise of Another, and The Heavens May Fall. His debut novel, The Life We Bury, has been published in 16 languages and is being developed as a feature film.

This event is free and open to the public, but proof of purchase of Nothing More Dangerous from Left Bank Books will be required to enter the signing line. 
Click here to order your copy!

Parking: Lot one block north; street parking (meters free after 7pm). For directions and public transportation information, click here.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - 7:00pm

Whitaker Jazz Speaks: Nate Chinen - Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century

Wednesday, November 13, 7pm
St. Louis Public Library - S
chlafly Branch, 225 N. Euclid

Nate Chinen, Playing ChangesJazz St. Louis presents, Nate Chinen, who will sign and discuss his book, Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century.

“Playing changes,” in jazz parlance, has long referred to an improviser’s resourceful path through a chord progression. Nate Chinen’s Playing Changes boldly expands on the idea, highlighting a host of real changes—ideological, technological, theoretical, and practical—that jazz musicians have learned to navigate since the turn of the century. Woven throughout the book is a vibrant cast of characters—from the saxophonists Steve Coleman and Kamasi Washington to the pianists Jason Moran and Vijay Iyer to the bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding—who have exerted an important influence on the scene. This is an adaptive new music for a complex new reality, and Playing Changes is the definitive guide.

This event is free and open to the public!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - 7:00pm

Paul Hendrickson - Plagued by Fire: The Dreams and Furies of Frank Lloyd Wright

Tuesday, November 12, 7pm
St. Louis County Library HQ, 1640 S. Lindbergh

paul hendrickson, plagued by fireSt. Louis County Library presents best-selling author Paul Hendrickson, who will sign and discuss his new book Plagued By Fire.

Bestselling author Paul Hendrickson presents an illuminating biography that will change the way we understand the life, mind, and work of America's premier architect–Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright has long been known as a rank egotist who held in contempt almost everything aside from his own genius. Harder to detect, but no less real, is a Wright who fully understood, and suffered from, his often alienating behavior. This is the Wright whom Hendrickson reveals in this masterful biography. In showing us Wright's facades along with their cracks, Hendrickson helps us form a fresh, deep, and more human understanding of the man behind the genius.

This event is presented by the St. Louis County Library. For more information, please call 314-994-3300.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019 - 7:00pm

Left Bank Books Presents: Andrea S. Boyles - You Can't Stop the Revolution

Wednesday, Novemer 6, 7pm
Left Bank Books

andrea s boyle, you cant stop the revolutionLeft Bank Books welcomes local professor and author of You Can't Stop the Revolution, Andrea S. Boyles, in conversation with St. Louis community activist Amy Hunter. 

You Can’t Stop the Revolution is a vivid participant ethnography conducted from inside of Ferguson protests as the Black Lives Matter movement catapulted onto the global stage. Sociologist Andrea S. Boyles offers an everyday montage of protests, social ties, and empowerment that coalesced to safeguard black lives while igniting unprecedented twenty-first-century resistance. Focusing on neighborhood crime prevention and contentious black citizen–police interactions in the context of preserving black lives, this book examines how black citizens work to combat disorder, crime, and police conflict. Boyles offers an insider’s analysis of cities like Ferguson, where a climate of indifference leaves black neighborhoods vulnerable to conflict, where black lives are seemingly expendable, and where black citizens are held responsible for their own oppression. You Can’t Stop the Revolution serves as a reminder that community empowerment is still possible in neighborhoods experiencing police brutality and interpersonal violence.

Andrea S. Boyles is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Lindenwood University, Belleville. She is a feminist, race scholar, and the author of Race, Place, and Suburban Policing: Too Close for Comfort.

Amy Hunter is a longtime community activist based in St. Louis, as well as a diversity and inclusion specialist for Boeing. Previously, she was the manager of diversity and inclusion at St. Louis Children's Hospital and director of racial justice for the St. Louis YWCA.

Parking: Lot one block north; street parking (meters free after 7pm). For directions and public transportation information, click here.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019 - 7:00pm

Observable Reading Series: Rosalie Moffett & Christine Gosnay

Monday, November 4, 7:30pm
Dressel's Public House, 419 N Euclid

observable readings November 2019The Observable Reading Series, brought to you by St. Louis Poetry Center, welcomes poets to Dressel’s Public House (CWE) on first Mondays. Reading begins at 7:30 p.m. in the upstairs loft of the restaurant. Suggested $5.00 donation at the door.

Rosalie Moffett is the author of June in Eden, winner of the Ohio State University Press/The Journal prize. She has been awarded the “Discovery”/Boston Review prize, a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Creative Writing from Stanford University, and scholarships from the Tin House and Bread Loaf writing workshops. Her poems and essays have appeared in Tin House, The Believer, FIELD, Narrative, Kenyon Review, Agni, Ploughshares, and other magazines, as well as in the anthology “Gathered: Contemporary Quaker Poets.” She lives in Athens, GA where she teaches and manages the Avid Poetry Series.

Christine Gosnay’s first book, Even Years (Kent State University Press, 2017), won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize. Her most recent collection is The Wanderer (Beloit Poetry Journal, 2019), which is part of the Walsh Chapbook Series. She studies classics at the University of Maryland. She is the founding editor of The Cossack Review. Her work has been published in POETRY, Redivider, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Sixth Finch, Sugar House Review, Juked, The Rumpus, and other magazines.

This event is presented by the St. Louis Poetry Center. For more information, please visit

Monday, November 4, 2019 - 7:30pm

Left Bank Books Presents: Susannah Cahalan - The Great Pretender

Tuesday, November 12, 7pm
.ZACK, 3224 Locust

susannah cahalan, the great pretenderLeft Bank Books presents best selling journalist and author of Brain On Fire, Susannah Cahalan, who will sign and discuss her new book investigating David Rosenahn's undercover legitimacy test of psychiatric asylums, The Great Pretender. Susannah Cahalan will be in conversation with Bill McClellan from the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

For centuries, doctors have struggled to define mental illness - how do you diagnose it, how do you treat it, how do you even know what it is?  In search of an answer, in the 1970s a distinguished Stanford University psychologist named David Rosenhan organized a study where he and seven other people -- sane, normal, well-adjusted members of society -- went undercover and had themselves committed to asylums around America to test the legitimacy of psychiatry's labels. Forced to remain inside until they'd "proven" themselves sane, all eight emerged with alarming diagnoses and even more troubling stories of their treatment. Rosenhan's watershed study – “On Being Sane in Insane Places” -- broke open the field of psychiatry, helping to close down institutions and changing mental health diagnoses forever. But, as Cahalan's explosive new research shows, very little in this saga is exactly as it seems. What really happened behind those closed asylum doors, and what does it mean for our understanding of mental illness today?  In The Great Pretender, Cahalan investigates through interviews with David Rosenhan’s colleagues and peers, searches for the anonymous participants or “pseudo-patients,” uncovers new never-reported material and information, and ultimately unravels the mystery surrounding Rosenhan’s research by shedding new light for the first time on the findings reported in his landmark study.

"The Great Pretender is a tight, propulsive, true-life detective story which somehow also doubles as a sweeping history of our broken mental health-care system. Cahalan herself has experienced this system as both a patient and a reporter, and her background informs every fascinating page of this dogged investigative odyssey. It is an amazing achievement, and there is no question it will go down as the definitive account of one of the most influential psychology experiments of all time." — Luke Dittrich, New York Times bestselling author of Patient H.M.

 Since her bestselling memoir Brain on Fire, where she chronicles her own struggles with modern medicine after being misdiagnosed with a serious mental illness, author and journalist Susannah Cahalan has become a leading voice on the treatment of mental illness in America. Brain on Fire has sold over a million copies, spent 52 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and was made into a feature film. 

Tickets are available here!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019 - 7:00pm

Mo Rocca - Mobituaries

Friday, November 22, 7pm
St. Louis County Library HQ, 1640 S. Lindbergh

mo rocca, mobituariesThe St. Louis County Library Foundation presents an evening with popular TV correspondent and humorist, Mo Rocca, author of Mobituaries: Great Lives Worth Reliving.

“CBS Sunday Morning” correspondent, history buff, and humor writer Mo Rocca presents a charmingly irreverent and rigorously researched book that celebrates the dead people who made life worth living. In this companion book to his popular podcast “Mobituaries,” Mo Rocca profiles the people who have long fascinated him—including the 20th century’s greatest entertainer, sitcom characters gone all too soon, and a shamefully forgotten Founding Father. Even if you know the names, you’ve never understood why they matter…until now.

Tickets go on sale October 15 and can be purchased through Brown Paper Tickets or at Library Headquarters. Seating will be offered on a first come, first served basis. Call 314-994-3300 for more information.

Friday, November 22, 2019 - 7:00pm

Left Bank Books presents: Christopher Kimball - Milk Street: The New Rules

Tuesday, November 19, 7pm
.ZACK, 3224 Locust

Milk Street: new rules, Christopher Kimball

Left Bank Books proudly presents chef and founder of Christopher Kimball's Milk Street, Christopher Kimball himself! Christopher will discuss and sign his new book Milk Street: The New Rules.

Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street is changing the way America cooks for the better—with simpler techniques, fresher flavors, and trustworthy recipes that just work. The result is a growing fan base that loves how Milk Street makes cooking fun again. Now, Kimball returns with everyday recipes driven by powerful principles that will upgrade the way you cook. 

In MILK STREET: The New Rules, Kimball defines 75 new rules that will dramatically simplify your time in the kitchen and improve your results. These tips, tricks, and techniques appear in more than 200 recipes that teach you not only how to make your food more delicious and interesting, but precisely why each recipe works.

The New Rules is the perfect follow-up to 2018’s James Beard and IACP Award-winning Milk Street: Tuesday Nights. Here, you’ll learn how to rev up the flavor in bland supermarket tomatoes, create creamy textures without using dairy, tenderize tough greens, and incorporate yogurt into baked goods. You’ll also trade time-consuming marinades for brighter finishing sauces that only take a minute to produce. You’ll learn that braising meats with minimal liquid creates a more concentrated, richer flavor. And you’ll learn banish one-note flavors and textures to make every dish balanced and interesting—without any fuss.

Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street is located in downtown Boston—at 177 Milk Street—and is home to a cooking school, a bimonthly magazine, and public television and radio shows. This is Milk Street’s third book.

Tickets Available Here!


Tuesday, November 19, 2019 - 7:00pm

Observable Reading Series - Tosh Berman & Devin Johnston

Monday, October 7, 7:30pm
Dressel's, 419 N. Euclid

Tosh Berman was born in the late fifties in Los Angeles, the son of Wallace and Shirley Berman, mainstays of that scene described by the California historian Richard Candida Smith as “Utopia and Dissent.”  Raised in Topanga Canyon, his early adult years were taken up in poetry — his eighties poems The Plum in Mr. Blum’s Pudding were re-printed in 2014 — and public access television production.  Ultimately he has been called upon to be executor of his father Wallace’s estate.  Tosh: Growing Up in Wallace Berman’s World is just out from City Lights.  The publisher of TamTam Books, Tosh Berman vlogs on YouTube and writes cultural journalism that’s published widely.

Devin Johnston was born in 1970 in Canton, New York, and grew up in Winston-Salem. Educated at Oberlin and the University of Chicago, he teaches now at Saint Louis University.  He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Mosses and Lichens (2019), Far-Fetched (2015), Sources (2008), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Aversions (2004), and Telepathy (2001). His prose writing includes the critical study Precipitations: Contemporary American Poetry as Occult Practice (2002) and Creaturely and Other Essays (2009).  A former poetry editor for the Chicago Review, Johnston co-founded and co-edits the literary publisher Flood Editions with Michael O'Leary. 

Monday, October 7, 2019 - 7:30pm


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