The 2014 Oscar Lewis Awards

One of the key differentiators among book lovers riding the ferry these days is how content is consumed. While the Kindle set is gaining traction, we still see a good many readers toting traditional hard covers and paperbacks.

The Book Club of California is celebrating its 102nd anniversary. Photo courtesy of The Book Club of California

By Paul Duclos

Published: March, 2014

One of the key differentiators among book lovers riding the ferry these days is how content is consumed. While the Kindle set is gaining traction, we still see a good many readers toting traditional hard covers and paperbacks. The most devoted bibliophile, though, remains wedded to the rare or limited edition produced by the Book Club of California.

This month, two distinguished literary artists will be present at a reading and ceremony staged at the San Francisco-based club. One is a brilliant and original writer; the other is a woman widely-recognized for her book making marvels.

Rebecca Solnit is to be given the Oscar Lewis Award for Western History for her body of recent work. A gifted essayist and inspired historian, Solnit has authored numerous award-winning books and articles about art, landscape, public and collective life, ecology, politics, hope, meandering, reverie and memory. Her wide-ranging publications include Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas; A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster; and River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West.

Johanna Drucker, internationally known for her work in the history of graphic design, typography, experimental poetry, fine art and the digital humanities, is be awarded the Oscar Lewis for design and production.

She is a Breslauer Professor of Bibliographical Studies in the Department of Information Studies at UCLA. In addition, she has a reputation as a book artist, with her limited edition works appearing in special collections and libraries worldwide.

The Book Club of California established the Oscar Lewis Awards in 1994 in honor of the prolific and popular San Francisco writer-historian who served as Book Club secretary from 1921 to 1946. The nominees for this year’s awards were numerous—all deserving and accomplished individuals—making the decision by the awards committee a difficult one. In the end, however, the committee focused on the nominees’ print and publishing records.

Here’s what Executive Director Jennifer Sime had to say about this year’s award winners in a written statement:

"Both Rebecca Solnit and Johanna Drucker’s accomplishments are most impressive—the scope and volume of their contributions are broad and inspiring, the critical reception of their work is well-evidenced and the years of dedication they have given to their fields are more than noteworthy. Both honorees have remarkable depth, range, and scope, both are widely read and collected, and both are avid users of libraries and archives."

In sum, added Sime, Rebecca Solnit and Johanna Drucker represent the highest interests and values of the Book Club of California, which is celebrating its 102nd anniversary in support of fine printing related to the history and literature of California and the western states of America through research, publishing, public programs and exhibitions.


Bookmakers of a different stripe are convening at Golden Gate Fields this spring as the track readies itself for its prime season. And if the Daily Racing Form is their preferred publication, you can bet that they are buying it at the storied Turf Club.

Step into the Turf Club and step into the history and excitement of thoroughbred horse racing. You are greeted with rich leather furnishings and Tiffany style lights. The walls are adorned with art that showcases the majesty of the thoroughbred and chronicles the California Derby winners of the past. Also on display in gallery style are Hermés and Gucci equine scarves. The Turf Club is home to the "Lost In The Fog" tribute and memory wall. There are rare and candid photos of this true champion alongside Lost in the Fog’s bridle, halter and silks.

The Turf Club is designed theater-style with a wall of glass facing the race course and lake turf course, and is situated at the highest point at Golden Gate Fields, affording a completely unobstructed, panoramic view of the action as well as the Berkeley hills. Along with private viewing screens at every table, the Turf Club boasts over 80 flat screen, jumbo screen and regular monitors broadcasting simulcast racing from around the world, as well as a close up view of the live action as it happens.

For those of us who prefer to place our wagers in the traditional manner, the Turf Club also features live tellers at the betting window. 

The Turf Club offers patrons American style pub cuisine prepared by Executive Chef Bryan Taylor, with prices ranging from $6 to $24. Fine wines, traditional cocktails and refreshing beers are always available. The Turf Club is open live racing days from 11:00 a.m. until the last live race of the day. In addition to a la carte dining, the Turf Club also offers a buffet open on live racing days from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. On special event days times may vary, and reservations are strongly recommended.