How it works:

The Joy of History Book Club convenes once a month via Zoom. Each meeting is limited to 20 people to allow for an intimate, highly interactive, participatory experience. The Fall series is currently scheduled:

  • Second Saturdays of the month, from 1–3 PM Pacific
  • (Fall Series: October 9,  November 13, December 11)

Scroll below to take a look at what we’ll be reading. Purchase the books you want to read from the vendors of your choosing. Or check them out at your local library!

At The Joy of History, there is never any requirement to read the book. Come to the meeting anyway and be enriched by the discussion!

Fall Series: California Dreamin'


Deepen your understanding of the Golden State through 3 great reads in historical fiction and biography: from the lives of Japanese "picture brides" who immigrated to California in the early 1900s; to John Steinbeck's indelible impact on depictions of the state; to the rise of 20th-century Hollywood through the career of actor Lyle Talbot, as explored by his daughter, Margaret.

Fall Books:

Sat: October 9, 1-3 pm Pacific
Buddha In The Attic by Julie Otsuka (2012)

This beautifully crafted, award-winning historical novel tells the story of a group of young women brought from Japan to San Francisco as “picture brides” a century ago: from their arduous journeys, to their first nights as new wives; from their experiences raising children who would later reject their culture, to the implications of World War II.

Sat: November 13, 1-3 pm Pacific
Mad At The World: A Life of John Steinbeck by William Souder (2020)

Explore the complexities, passions, and points of view of John Steinbeck in this first full-length biography in a quarter century. His enduring depictions of California's landscapes, seascapes, people, and thorny social problems remain relevant to this day.

Sat: December 11, 1-3 pm Pacific
The Entertainer: Movies, Magic and My Father's Twentieth Century by Margaret Talbot (2013)

In this impeccably researched narrative—a charmed combination of Hollywood history, social history, and family memoir—Margaret Talbot captures the eras of the 1910s and 1920s small-town America and the Hollywood of the 1930s and 1940s while telling the story of mass entertainment across the first half of the twentieth century.

Register for the option that suits you:

The Fall series runs on the second Saturdays of October, November, and December. If you have to miss a meeting for the day you signed up for, recordings of each meeting will be made available (privately) for one week.

Attend individual monthly meetings in a series — $29.99 for 1 meeting
This is a great way to try out The Joy of History Book Club.
Attend this full 3-month series — $69.99
It will take you deep inside these topics and themes through multiple perspectives.

Sneak Peek: Coming Next!

Watch this space for what we'll be reading in 2022!


If your schedule doesn’t permit you to join an event right now, sign up to get notified when new TJOH Book Clubs and other opportunities are launched.

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Using the Past to Empower Your Present
Barbara Berglund Sokolov, PhD started The Joy of History in 2020 to foster a community of learning in these historic times we find ourselves living in. She is a native San Franciscan and a scholar of California and the American West. Read more about her here.