Mar 12, 2020
6:15 pm

726 K Street



Policy and a Pint: New York Times Reporter Conor Dougherty Talks California Housing

California Groundbreakers has decided to heed Governor Newsom’s advice for public gatherings during the COVAD-19 outbreak and cancel tonight’s event. The book is still available for purchase in our store or our online store for shipping. The event will be rescheduled when it is safe to gather again. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Talking about the current state of California housing can be a major bummer. But one good thing about the Golden State is that it’s home to people who don’t take “no” for an answer, and who come up with out-of-the-box ways to fix the problem. Sometimes they come up with a solution, sometimes they do the groundbreaking that makes it easier for others to fix the problem. Conor Dougherty found a few of those Groundbreakers who are trying to correct our housing crisis.

As an economics reporter for The New York Times, Dougherty has chronicled California housing craziness from his home base in Oakland — and we’ve gotten a few ideas (and panelists) for housing-focused events from his articles.

With his newly-released book, Golden Gates: Fighting for Housing in America, Dougherty does a deeper dive into how hard the housing crisis has hit California by profiling people who’ve been hit hard but are fighting back.

  • A struggling math teacher who builds a political movement dedicated to ending single-family-house neighborhoods (she was on on a CA Groundbreakers housing panel, and helped spark Sacramento’s YIMBY activist group!).
  • A teenaged girl who leads her apartment complex against their rent-raising landlord.
  • A nun who tries to outmaneuver private equity investors by amassing a multimillion-dollar portfolio of affordable homes.
  • A suburban bureaucrat who roguishly embraces density in response to the threat of climate change.
  • A developer who manufactures homeless housing on an assembly line.
  • The saying “As California goes, so goes the nation” is a scary thought when it comes to housing affordability. But are there still ways — and people— to innovate California out of this crisis?

We’ll be down in the basement at Ruhstaller’s taproom to ask Dougherty what he’s seeing, what he predicts, and what he suggests as housing fixes. Bring some great questions so you can ask him, too.

About the Book:

In Golden Gates Fighting for Housing in America (Penguin Press, Feb 18, 2020), Dougherty chronicles America’s housing crisis from its West Coast epicenter — the San Francisco Bay Area — peeling back the decades of history and economic forces that brought us here, and taking readers inside the activist uprisings that have risen in tandem with housing costs.

This event will be held just down the street from Capital Books at Ruhstaller. We’ll be there to sell the book.


  • General Admission: free
  • Book and a Beer Deal: $30 — Buy a copy of Golden Gates in advance, and you’ll get a free Ruhstaller beer before the Q&A starts, then be first in line after the Q&A for Conor to sign your book.

Mar 14, 2020
1:00 pm


Secret Window Book Club

Run by Aleksandra Sasha Byers

3/13/20, 8:00am: The organizer of the bookclub has decided that it will be safer to resume bookclub after the COVAD-19 virus has passed. We apologize for any inconvenience. Sasha will keep everyone aprised through Meetup.

This group is for women who enjoy traveling through stories, and books become friends and markers of our lives. This book club is for women who like to escape a bit through reading stories that inspire, encourage, expand and elevate us. Capital Books will offer a 10% discount on the club book orders. Book club will meet in our Secret Window Space upstairs.

The book they’ll be reading and discussing on March 14 at 1pm is FROM SCRATCH by Tembi Locke.

Sasha is running attendance through Meet Up.

March 14, 2020
6:00 pm


Student Anthology Readings

3/12/20, 4:30pm: 916 Ink is heeding Governor Newsom’s advice about public gatherings and has decided to cancel this evening’s event. This event will be rescheduled when it is safe to hold public gatherings again. We apologize for any inconvenience.

At the end of every creative writing program, 916 Ink publishes an anthology of student work—young writers become young authors. 916 Ink has published more than 100 anthologies over the years and are excited to share the diverse stories and experiences with the public.

This reading event will celebrate Capital Books’ inclusion of 916 Ink anthologies in their Local Sacramento Authors display. Youth authors featured in the display will be given the opportunity to read their work and describe themselves as authors and artists.

About 916 Ink:

916 Ink is a local creative writing nonprofit that hosts workshops with underprivileged and at-risk youth in the Sacramento area. Through their programs, youth grades 3-12 discover that their story matters.

March 27, 2020
7:00 pm

CLARA Auditorium
1425 24th St


Stories On Stage
NYT Best-Selling Literary Crime Fiction Author Tod Goldberg and Award-Winning Fabulist/Noirist Author, Anita Felicelli

Stories on Stage has decided to heed Governor Newsom’s advice for public gatherings during the COVAD-19 outbreak and cancel this event. We’ll keep everyone updated on when it will be rescheduled.

Join us for a darkly funny, criminally touching story-time for grownups. You’ll hear the work of NYT best-selling literary crime fiction author and MFA program founder/director, Tod Goldberg, and award-winning fabulist/noirist author, Anita Felicelli.

Stories On Stage’s new casting director, Jessica Laskey, is auditioning performers now and soon we’ll share the actors she’s chosen to perform their stories.

Doors will open at The Clara at 7:00 and the performance will begin at 7:30. Please consider donating $10 to register and reserve your spot in advance. (We’ll always accept donations at the door on event night, but our January opening night did sell out!)

Capital Books will be there to sell copies of our authors’ novels and story collections. Sue Staats will bring her homemade cookies and Pushkin’s Bakery will donate gluten-free delights. The Clara will sell wine and beer.

Tod Goldberg

Tod Goldberg is the NYT, national, and international bestselling author of over a dozen books, including the novels Gangster Nation (Counterpoint), The House of Secrets (Grand Central), which he co-authored with NYT bestselling author Brad Meltzer, Gangsterland (Counterpoint), a finalist for the Hammett Prize, Living Dead Girl (Soho Press), a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Fake Liar Cheat (Pocket Books/MTV), and the popular Burn Notice series, including The Fix, The End Game, The Giveaway, The Reformed and The Bad Beat (Penguin), which were all named finalists for the Scribe Award.

Tod’s short fiction has also been collected in two acclaimed collections, Simplify (OV Books), a 2006 finalist for the SCIBA Award for Fiction and winner of the Other Voices Short Story Collection Prize, and Other Resort Cities (OV Books). His books have also appeared on the USA Today, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Publishers Weekly, iBooks, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and Bookscan bestseller lists. Both Gangsterland and Gangster Nation have been finalists for the International Thriller of the Year Award given by VN Magazine in Belgium.

His short fiction has appeared widely, including in Black Clock, The Normal School, and The Sun, and twice received Special Mention for the Pushcart Prize, as well as being named a Distinguished Story of the Year in the 2009 Best American Mystery Stories. His essays, journalism, and criticism have appeared in numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Wall Street Journal, Las Vegas Weekly and Salon, among many other publications, and have earned five Nevada Press Association Awards for excellence. His essay “When They Let Them Bleed,” which originally appeared in Hobart, was selected for Best American Essays 2013. For his body of work, Tod was honored with the Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame.

Anita Felicelli

Anita Felicelli is the author of Chimerica: A Novel (WTAW Press) and the short story collection Love Songs for a Lost Continent (Stillhouse Press), which won the 2016 Mary Roberts Rinehart Award. Anita’s stories have appeared in The Normal School, Joyland, The Rumpus, Kweli Journal, Eckleburg, and elsewhere. Her essays, reviews, and criticism have appeared in the New York Times (Modern Love), Slate, Salon, SF Chronicle, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Babble, Romper, Electric Literature, and elsewhere. She graduated from UC Berkeley and UC Berkeley School of Law. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and a Voices of Our Nations alum. Her work has placed as a finalist in multiple Glimmer Train contests and received a Puffin Foundation grant, two Greater Bay Area Journalism awards, and Pushcart Prize nominations. She lives in the Bay Area with her family.

Apr 2, 2020
6:00 pm

News Anchor and Author, Courtney Friel

About the Author:

Courtney Friel has been a news anchor at KTLA-TV, the number one news station in Los Angeles, since 2013. She also hosts the highly successful podcast “Keepin’ It Friel: Conversations on Recovery.” In 2007, at the age of 26, Friel was hired by Fox News Channel as a national news correspondent and fill-in host for “Fox & Friends,” where she worked for six years. She remains to this day the youngest on-air talent ever hired by the cable network. Previously she reported for CBS, ABC and Fox affiliate stations as well as shows including “America’s Most Wanted,” “Extra,” and “E! News.” Friel has more than a decade sober and speaks around the country on the topic of sobriety. Friel was born and raised in a suburb of Philadelphia and currently resides in Los Angeles with her fiancé and two children.

About the Book:

Tonight at 10: Kicking Booze and Breaking News gives readers a front row seat to Friel’s crazy life while she was abusing alcohol and drugs as well as her experiences in rehab and eventually journey to sobriety. The book also gives tips on getting and staying sober, with chapters on dating, raising children, divorce, career stress, chronic pain, meditation and having fun. Currently there are more than 48 million Americans struggling with substance abuse, with an estimated 130 people dying every day from opioid overdoses.

While at Fox News, Friel had several uncomfortable encounters with both Donald Trump and Fox News head Roger Ailes, which she touches upon in the book.

June 27, 2020
3:00 pm

Local Author Shelley Blanton-Stroud


Join novelist Shelley Blanton-Stroud (Copy Boy) and memoirist Dorothy Rice (Gray is the New Black) in conversation about themes their books share—the tyranny of the body, the vulnerability of adolescence, the presumptuousness of girls who want “too much.”

About the Author

Shelley Blanton-Stroud grew up in California’s Central Valley, the daughter of Dust Bowl immigrants who made good on their ambition to get out of the field. Their stories are at the heart of her debut novel. She teaches college writing at Sacramento State and consults with writers in the energy industry. She co-directs Stories on Stage Sacramento, where actors perform the stories of established and emerging authors, and serves on the advisory board of 916 Ink, an arts-based creative writing nonprofit for children.

About the Book:

Jane’s a very brave boy. And a very difficult girl. She’ll become a remarkable woman, an icon of her century, but that’s a long way off.

Not my fault, she thinks, dropping a bloody crowbar in the irrigation ditch after Daddy. She steals Momma’s Ford and escapes to Depression-era San Francisco, where she fakes her way into work as a newspaper copy boy.

Everything’s looking up. She’s climbing the ladder at the paper, winning validation, skill, and connections with the artists and thinkers of her day. But then Daddy reappears on the paper’s front page, his arm around a girl who’s just been beaten into a coma one block from Jane’s newspaper―hit in the head with a crowbar.

Jane’s got to find Daddy before he finds her, and before everyone else finds her out. She’s got to protect her invented identity. This is what she thinks she wants. It’s definitely what her dead brother wants.

June 30, 2020
6:00 pm

Ace of Spades
1417 R St

Book signing, pictures, 10-minute talk about Mikel Jollett’s memoir, and a 20-minute Q&A

Capital Books is delighted to offer tickets to an exclusive VIP experience prior to The Airborne Toxic Event’s concert at Ace of Spades.

For Mikel’s fans to gain access to the VIP event, you will need a receipt or online confirmation of the book purchased from Capital Books (1011 K Street, Sacramento) AND a ticket to the concert (purchased through Ace of Spades.

Book Price: $27.99 + fees
On sale May 5, 2020 | Celadon Books
VIP space capacity: 300 people

About the Author:

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, Jollett 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.

About the Book:

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.

July 10, 2020
5:30 pm

Author Mary Helen Fein

Mary Helen Fein was born in New York City, in 1943. She attended schools in New York and began writing at the age of twelve when her mother died. Writing has ever since been an important part of her life, a way to understand and process life’s events. Mary Helen holds a BA in English literature from Temple University and an MS in computer science engineering from the University of Pennsylvania; she also studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, America’s oldest art school, for two years. Today she lives in Northern California, where she owns her own website design company, writes, paints, and teaches Insight meditation. In 2014, she published her first novel, Loss of Deliverance―the story of a young woman’s adventures in the drug trade during the 1960s.

About Stitching a Life: An Immigration Story (She Writes Press, June 9, 2020):

It’s 1900, and sixteen-year-old Helen comes alone in steerage across the Atlantic from a small village in Lithuania, fleeing terrible anti-Semitism and persecution. She arrives at Ellis Island, and finds a place to live in the colorful Lower East Side of New York. She quickly finds a job in the thriving garment industry and, like millions of others who are coming to America during this time, devotes herself to bringing the rest of her family to join her in the New World, refusing to rest until her family is safe in New York. A few at a time, Helen’s family members arrive. Each goes to work with the same fervor she has and contributes everything to bringing over their remaining beloved family members in a chain of migration. Helen meanwhile, makes friends and―once the whole family is safe in New York―falls in love with a man who introduces her to a different New York―a New York of wonder, beauty, and possibility.

Aug 11, 2020
6:30 pm

Laura Jensen Walker, author

Laura Jensen Walker is the award-winning author of 17 books (humorous non-fiction and several chick-lit novels). A former reporter and columnist for the Sacramento Bee Neighbors section, Laura flew a typewriter across Europe in the Air Force and also worked as a research writer for the State of California. She loves spinning stories and is thrilled to be a full-time author once again–in a brand-new genre she never expected to find herself writing: mysteries! MURDER MOST SWEET is Laura’s first cozy mystery. Her second, FAITH, HOPE, & A CORPSE, releases in January 2021.

About the Book:

MURDER MOST SWEET finds local baker and mystery author Teddie St. John suspected of strangling a woman with one of her signature scarves. And not just any woman, but the beautiful blonde fiancee (ex-fiancee, we later learn) of bestselling English suspense author Tavish Bentley, who has come to Teddie’s hometown of Lake Potawatomi, Wisconsin for a book signing, and who shows an interest in Teddie. When another woman is strangled with one of her scarves, Teddie, with the help of her childhood friends Sharon and Char (affectionately dubbed The Three Musketeers) put their heads together to clear Teddie’s name and try to figure out who murdered the two women.

Sept 13, 2020
12:00 pm

Award-Winning Author and Editor, Robert K Elder

Robert K. Elder is the award-winning author and editor of 12 books, including Hidden Hemingway and Last Words of the Executed. He’s spent the last three years of his life researching and celebrating the life and work of artist Gilbert Wilson.

About the Book:

Movie director John Huston called artist Gilbert Wilson “a brilliant artist and one of America’s foremost painters.” Though Wilson died penniless and in obscurity, his work is being discovered by a new generation of artists.

This 7½ × 9¼-inch coffee-table book showcases never-before-published artwork, notes and meditations on the novel—drawing from unprecedented access to Wilson’s estate. This book also provides a platform for the international art community to reassess and rediscover this remarkable man and his work.

Moby-Dick became Wilson’s lifetime obsession, for which he produced more than 200 paintings and drawings, and helped inspire Huston’s 1956 film adaptation starring Gregory Peck and Orson Welles. Hat & Beard Press is celebrating Herman Melville’s 200th birthday and honoring Wilson’s singular achievement and life with an illustrated edition of Moby-Dick. Being published in tandem is Edward K. Spann’s biography of Wilson, Unfinished and Unbroken: The Life of Artist Gilbert Wilson, whose family has roots in Sacramento.

Click through the book slideshow below to see a few images from the book.

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