VIRTUAL: ZYZZYVA & The Booksmith Present: Lockdown Lit @ Lunch with Jessica Pearce Rotondi & Lauren Francis-Sharma

Tuesday, July 14, 2020 - 11:00am

logo for Lockdown LitBooksmith and The Bindery, in partnership with Zyzzyva, present Lockdown Lit @ Lunch, a weekly salon, Tuesdays at 11am PST. Lockdown Literature is a group of authors with books published during the coronavirus pandemic who have banded together to support one another. This event features Jessica Pearce Rotondi (What We Inherit: A Secret War and a Family's Search for Answers) & Lauren Francis-Sharma (Book of the Little Axe).

** Please note **

>  The books may be listed as out of stock -- this is because we're shipping directly from the warehouse to your door! If you'd like to purchase the books, please do so through the links above or below, at the bottom of this page.

>  You can find a full list of Lockown Lit authors here. Please save the dates and join us!

>  This event will be streaming live on our Facebook page.

Friends, neighbors: We are pleased to be able to bring you some of our events virtually while our doors are otherwise closed in the interest of public health. If you'd like to support the store, you can still do that in the usual ways:

Buy What We Inherit and/or Book of the Little Ax and we’ll deliver them directly to your door.
> Buy one of our gift certificates, which we keep on file and never expire. 
Make a donation.

Thank you very much for your support – we’re proud to be a legacy business and a mainstay of the Haight-Ashbury since 1976!

What We Inherit: A Secret War and a Family's Search for Answers by Jessica Pearce Rotondi

front cover of What We Inherit by Jessica Pearce RotondiIn the wake of her mother’s death, Jessica Pearce Rotondi uncovers boxes of letters, declassified CIA reports, and newspaper clippings that bring to light a family ghost: her uncle Jack, who disappeared during the CIA-led “Secret War” in Laos in 1972. The letters lead her across Southeast Asia in search of the truth that has eluded her family for decades. What she discovers takes her closer to the mother she lost and the mysteries of a secret war that changed the rules of engagement forever.

In 1943, 19-year-old Edwin Pearce jumps from a burning B-17 bomber over Germany. Missing in action for months, his parents finally learn he is a prisoner of war in Stalag 17. Ed survives nearly three years in prison camp and a march across the Alps before returning home.

Ed’s eldest son and namesake, Edwin “Jack,” follows his father into the Air Force. But on the night of March 29, 1972, Jack’s plane vanishes over the mountains bordering Vietnam and Ed’s past comes roaring into the present.

In 2009, Ed’s granddaughter, Jessica Pearce Rotondi, is grieving her mother’s death when she stumbles across declassified CIA documents, letters, and maps that reveal her family’s decades-long search for Jack. What We Inherit is Rotondi’s story of her own hunt for answers as she retraces her grandfather’s 1973 path across Southeast Asia in search of his son.

An excavation of inherited trauma on a personal and national scale, What We Inherit reveals the power of a father’s refusal to be silenced and a daughter’s quest to rediscover her voice in the wake of loss. As Rotondi nears the last known place Jack was seen alive, she grows closer to understanding the mystery that has haunted her family for generations―and the destructive impact of a family secret so big it encompassed an entire war.

photo of Jessic Pearce Rotondi courtesy of the authorJessica Pearce Rotondi is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn. Her work has been published by The History Channel, Reader’s Digest, Vogue, Salon, Atlas Obscura, The Huffington Post, and Refinery29. Previously, she was a senior editor at The Huffington Post and a staff member at the PEN American Center, the world’s oldest literary human rights organization. Her first job in New York City was at St. Martin’s Press, where she had a “room of her own” in the Flatiron Building to fill with books. She grew up in New England and is a graduate of Brown University. What We Inherit is her first book. Connect with Jessica on Twitter and Instagram @JessicaRotondi or visit

Book of the Little Ax by Lauren Francis-Sharma

In 1796 Trinidad, young Rosa Rendón quietly but purposefully rebels against the life others expect her to lead. Bright, competitive, and opinionated, Rosa sees no reason she should learn to cook and keep house, for it is obvious her talents lie in running the farm she, alone, views as her birthright. But when her homeland changes from Spanish to British rule, it becomes increasingly unclear whether its free black property owners―Rosa’s family among them―will be allowed to keep their assets, their land, and ultimately, their freedom.

By 1830, Rosa is living among the Crow Nation in Bighorn, Montana with her children and her husband, Edward Rose, a Crow chief. Her son Victor is of the age where he must seek his vision and become a man. But his path forward is blocked by secrets Rosa has kept from him. So Rosa must take him to where his story began and, in turn, retrace her own roots, acknowledging along the way, the painful events that forced her from the middle of an ocean to the rugged terrain of a far-away land.

photo of Lauren Francis-Sharma by Anna Carson DeWittLauren Francis-Sharma is the author of Book of the Little Axe and 'Til the Well Runs Dry, her first novel, which was awarded the Honor Fiction Prize by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Lauren is a contributor to Marita Golden’s anthology, Us Against Alzheimer’s, and her more recent work can be found at, and The Lily. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan Law School. She is also a MacDowell Fellow and the Assistant Director of Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference at Middlebury College.

This event is free and all ages.

RSVP appreciated by not required

What We Inherit: A Secret War and a Family's Search for Answers By Jessica Pearce Rotondi Cover Image
ISBN: 9781951213077
Availability: Out of Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Unnamed Press - April 21st, 2020

Book of the Little Axe By Lauren Francis-Sharma Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802129369
Availability: Out of Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - May 12th, 2020