15 East Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara, CA   93101      805-962-3321
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Philosophy, Poetry, Science, & Scandal


Paris, 1933: three contemporaries meet over apricot cocktails at the Bec-de-Gaz bar on the rue Montparnasse. They are the young Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and longtime friend Raymond Aron, a fellow philosopher who raves to them about a new conceptual framework from Berlin called Phenomenology. “You see,” he says, “if you are a phenomenologist you can talk about this cocktail and make philosophy out of it!”

It was this simple phrase that would ignite a movement, inspiring Sartre to integrate Phenomenology into his own French, humanistic sensibility, thereby creating an entirely new philosophical approach inspired by themes of radical freedom, authentic being, and political activism.


Poet Glyn Maxwell wakes up in a mysterious village one autumn day. He has no idea how he got there–is he dead? In a coma? Dreaming?–but he has a strange feeling there’s a class to teach. And isn’t that the poet Keats wandering down the lane? Why not ask him to give a reading, do a Q and A, hit the pub with the students afterwards. Soon the whole of the autumn term stretches ahead, with Byron, Yeats and Emily Dickinson, the Brontes, the Brownings, Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, Wilfred Owen, and many more all on their way to give readings in the humble village hall.


The existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre once declared “the ideal limit of aquatic sports . . . is waterskiing.” The avid surfer and lavishly credentialed academic philosopher Aaron James vigorously disagrees, and in Surfing with Sartre he intends to expound the thinking surfer’s view of the matter, in the process elucidating such philosophical categories as freedom, being, phenomenology, morality, epistemology, and even the emerging values of what he terms “leisure capitalism.

Aaron James is the author of the immensely successful Assholes: A Theory.


Heiress to the nearly forty-billion-dollar L’Oraeal fortune, Liliane Bettencourt is the world’s richest woman and the fourteenth wealthiest person. But her gilded life has taken a dark yet fascinating turn in the past decade. At ninety-four, she’s now embroiled in what has been called the Bettencourt Affair, a scandal that dominated the headlines in France.


The legendary biologist and bestselling author mounts a timely and passionate defense of science and clear thinking with this career-spanning collection of essays, including twenty pieces published in the United States for the first time.


The 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death The 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death

by Cassandra Austen, pencil and watercolour, circa 1810

One can’t say that the bicentennial of Jane Austin’s death has revived interest in either the author or her work, for interest in her books and life have never faded. But the occasion has produced a bevy of new books. We like these two.


What Matters in Jane Austen? by John Mullan sets out to answer twenty pertinent questions about Austen’s books, including, “Which important characters never speak in the novels?” and, “Is there any sex in Jane Austen?”


Lucy Worsley’s new biography, Jane Austen at Home, shows how and why she lived as she did, examining the rooms, spaces and possessions that mattered to her, and the way in which home is used in her novels to mean both a place of pleasure and a prison.


Signed copies of Crazy Horse biography still available Signed copies of Crazy Horse biography still available

Our event last Sunday with the Tashunke Witko Tiwahe/Crazy Horse Family and author William Matson was a great success. We almost sold out of their book Crazy Horse: The Lakota Warrior’s Life & Legacy. We have just five copies left.

Each copy is signed by the author, William B. Matson, and by three of Crazy Horse’s descendants – grandsons Floyd Clown Sr. and Phoenix Clown, and great-grandson, Douglas War Eagle.


Book event: Crazy Horse: The Lakota Warrior’s Life & Legacy Book event: Crazy Horse: The Lakota Warrior’s Life & Legacy

We are proud to welcome members of the Tashunke Witko Tiwahe/Crazy Horse Family and author William Matson to the Book Den. Matson’s book, Crazy Horse: The Lakota Warrior’s Life & Legacy, is based on the family tales and memories told to the family about their famous grandfather.

This oral history differs from what has become the standard and widely accepted biography of Crazy Horse. The family clarifies the inaccuracies and shares their story about the past, including what it means to them to be Lakota, the family genealogy, the life of Crazy Horse and his motivations and death.


Join us June 25th,  from 3PM to 6PM at the Book Den.


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